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Newspaper Page Text
PEOPLE SCORE FIRST VICTORY IN WAR ON
PHONE TRUST TUNNEL FIGHT EXPECTED
All charges of faking and trickery
back of the proposed merger of the
Chicago Telephone Coand the Auto
matic Co. took a new slant-yesterday.
Lawyers for the Automatic came to
the city hall and in printed briefs and
speeches made the admission that the
Automatic company has "less than
For the last eight months teh law
yers for the Automatic have fought
against a count of the phones. At
torneys Sam Ettelson and Dan
Schuyler declared positively over and
over again last May and June before
the council committee on gas, oil and
electric light that there was no need
for another count of automatic
phones. They pointed at the two
counts made and swore that another
count wouldn't do any good.
From the Penny Phone league and
five other organizations came the de
mand for another count. The city
council ordered one. The department
of public service started to make the
count. And, last of all, an outside
committee of citizens from the wom
an and labor movements and an out
side "reputable accountant" were
granted permission to "assist" in the
Backed into a corner and forced to
a showdown, the company men came
in yesterday without warning or no
tice and threw up the whole game
with this declaration:
"The number of bona-fide subscrib
ers to the Automatic company has
gradually diminished and now is less
than 20,000. This admission is
frankly made. The plant is there
ready for subscribers, but the people
of the city are not ready to become or
continue subscribers to the service."
Ralph M. Shaw came before the
committee as the lawyer for 1,463
bondholders. Five of these bondhold
ers hold $1,722,000 and 1,458 hold $3,-
Qn9 Qflrt rf VinnrJo Whn fhoco nnmorc
are, Shaw does not say. "A commit-
tee from Pennsylvania, where most of
the bonds are held, visited me," said
Shaw. "Most of the bonds were sold
from Scranton, Pa."
Shaw is a member of the firm of
Winston, Payne, Strawn & Shaw.
This firm handles all big cases of the
Armour interests. And the Armour
interests are understood to have large
holdings in the Chicago Tunnel Co.
For these reasons, some people pre
sume that Shaw's argument yester
day was in behalf of Armourinterests.
Shaw, however, wants it distinctly
specified that he was hired by "a com
mittee from Pennsylvania."
Aid. Merriam gave Shaw a stiff
handling before the gas-oil commit- .
tee. He claimed that Shaw was "pre
posterous" and "absurd" in asking
consideration for a merger of the two
telephone companies until the city's
position was more clearly defined.
Three ways are open to thecity, Mer
riam pointed out:
1. It can attempt to seize the Chi
cago Tunnel Co. property and oper
ate the automatic telephone system
directly as a city enterprise.
2. It can attempt to seize the
property and sell it to the Bell sys
tem, and put the cash in the city
3. It can attempt to seize the
property and later transfer it to the
federal government for a postalized
Shaw cried out: "If you want to
commit yourself to the people of Chi
cago on the proposition of confisca
tion, why don't you do it now?"
Merriam attacked Shaw's claim
that courts and public utility commis
sion decisions have all been for mo
nopoly and against competition. He
"The California railroad commis
sion has decided in several cases that
competition should be encouraged
when a monopoly company is giving
poor service or charging high rajes.'
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