October 25, 2020: Teapot Dome Scandal
This episode is brought to you by the Hulu original series Kallstrom. Just in time for Halloween Hellstrom is a scary mature action packed series full of twists and turns you won't see coming Hellstrom follows the story of two children who were estranged and raised separately and must come together to save their mother. This dark thrilling and chilling show is produced by Marvel Television and based on characters for Marvel Comics. Every family has its demons but not like the Hellstrom family and the world is ready for Hellstrom family reunion. Are. You. All episodes of Hellstrom are now streaming only on Hulu. Today is Sunday October Twenty Fifth Two Thousand Twenty on this day in nineteen twenty nine president harding's Interior Secretary Albert. B Fall was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office no other cabinet member before him had ever been convicted of a crime. Welcome to today in true crime a spotify original from podcast due to the graphic nature of today's crimes. Listener discretion is advised extreme caution is advised for listeners under thirteen. Today recovering the Teapot Dome Scandal it was revealed that Albert fall the secretary of the Interior took approximately four hundred thousand dollars worth of bribes from major oil companies. Now, let's go back to Washington DC on October twenty. Fifth Nineteen Twenty. Nine. Albert B fall sat in the prisoner's dock of a DC courtroom coughing a year ago he'd been president harding's secretary of the Interior. Now, he was sick with a lung ailment and on trial for one of the greatest scandals in the nation's history, a nurse stood on his right side and a physician on his left as he awaited his final verdict. The trial began back in April of nineteen twenty two after Wyoming Oilman spotted the Sinclair logo on the side of a few trucks. The next day, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that a deal had been brokered between the federal government and Harry Sinclair to develop a naval oil reserve at teapot dome. Wyoming. Full had spun it well at first saying that the deal was an excellent thing for the United States but there were suspicions as to why there's been no competitive bidding government answered that Sinclair oil had won the contract because it was only one of two corporations that had the capacity to undertake the project with their cooperation. If it hadn't been for Wyoming Senator John, B Kendrick, they might have even gotten away with it. But. Kendrick wanted to investigate further the teapot dome was government owned land. There wasn't a president for the rights to drill being given to private interests. President Roosevelt had intended for the land to be conserved not dug up for profit Kendrick, inquired to the cabinet as to how the contract had come about, but he'd gotten no. Information. So on April Sixteenth Nineteen twenty two, he introduced and passed a resolution that required fall to give an answer full responded within the week stating truthfully that the contract had been given to Henry Sinclair's newly-formed mammoth oil company two weeks prior to the announcement but his answer wasn't enough for the Senate on April Twenty Ninth Nineteen twenty two Wisconsin Senator Robert. La. Follett. Authorized the Committee on public lands and surveys to investigate all of the leases of naval oil reserves. This also required Secretary Fall to release all documents and information on the matter. Something about the deal wasn't right for one Albert fall had become suddenly rich. He was an avid poker player but there was no way that he would have been able to purchase a new. Mexico ranch from gambling winnings alone plus he'd previously carried a mountain of debt and when someone ransacked lefale office in the Senate, he became even more suspicious. The investigation was slow and tedious initially led by junior minority member Montana Democrat Thomas Walsh. It's stalled out then in January of nineteen twenty-three, Albert Fall resigned from his position to spend time on his new ranch in August of nineteen twenty-three president harding died suddenly and President Calvin Coolidge, was sworn in. Coolidge appointed new Special Democrat, and Republican prosecutors to the investigation emblazoned by New Authority. The Investigatory Committee soon, discovered that fall had purchased his New Mexico ranch with a one hundred thousand dollar interest free loan from an oil man named Edward Doe Heaney the owner of Panamerican Petroleum Company when he was called in to testify he admitted that he had given his son Ned dough heaney a black bag containing five stacks of twenty thousand dollars each to be delivered directly to fall. Not long after Doe Heaney's company was given exclusive drilling rights to two different naval reserves in California. The investigation also discovered that a large herd of livestock had been purchased by Harry Sinclair and delivered to falls. Ranch Sinclair's company then transferred some three hundred thousand dollars, worth of bonds and cash to falls son-in-law. When asked why he had kept these contracts, a secret from the public fall claimed that it was to protect the locations of valuable national resources but by then fall had already looked very guilty. On October Twenty Fifth Nineteen Twenty nine former secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was convicted of accepting a one hundred thousand dollar bribe from tycoon Edward Doe Heaney. He was sentenced to a fine of the same amount and one year in prison. Fall was the first cabinet member in US history to be convicted of bribery. He would not be the last. Coming up president harding's involvement in the scandal. 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Until he dies, you can find and follow haunted places, ghost stories for on spotify or wherever you get your podcasts and don't forget October is our favorite month and one of our busiest. So make sure to search podcast network in the spotify search bar to see all our new shows. WanNa keep scratching that edge for solving mysteries the Nintendo switch system can help. Solve the puzzles and find power moons in Super Mario Odyssey. Explorer the challenges of the legend of Zelda breath of the wild. Or find some friendly neighbors in animal crossing new horizons. Nintendo switch. It's my way to play games and system sold separately games rated e ten plus now back to our story. On October Twenty Fifth Nineteen Twenty nine former secretary of the interior. Beef fall was officially convicted of bribery and sentenced to one year in prison. Fall had taken bribes from oil tycoons Edward. Doe Heaney and Harry Sinclair in exchange for exclusive mining contracts on U s naval reserves despite no historical precedent. Fall had not necessarily been a rogue actor from the US government. In fact, the entire administration was wrought with scandal. Publicly President Warren be harding had run on a platform of small town values, return to normalcy and generally conservative agenda that involved protecting American interests over his predecessor Woodrow Wilson's international involvement. But privately, he had the growing oil industry tugging his ear. Oil was booming at the time by nineteen twenty. The US exported more than eighty percent of the world's oil. The Chairman of the Republican National Committee was an attorney who frequently represented oil interests and sat on the board of a major oil company Henry Sinclair himself funneled three million dollars into that year's convention. So after he won the nineteen twenty election harding appointed fall to the position of secretary of the Interior, a major win for the oil companies. Fall a senator from new. Mexico was a strong opponent of Teddy. Roosevelt's conservationist movement which sought to protect and limit the drilling of all on American soil. Instead fall firmly believed that any regulations were an impediment to jobs and development and wanted to get drilling. He quickly convinced president harding to transfer the naval oil reserves over to falls interior department. Once transferred fall began negotiating with his oil industry friends to sell the lease rights after contracts were drawn up with both sinclair and DOE Heaney harding himself signed the papers. But. There was one problem the teapot dome land leased to Sinclair already had been claimed by Colonel James. G Darden and in the summer of Nineteen, twenty, two Darden began drilling fall right into the White House and demanded that harding send in the US Marines to contend with the squatters. As he called Darden in his crew harding was reluctant at first Darden was a friend and campaign donor but fall aggressively persuaded him and marched straight to then Secretary of the Navy Ted Roosevelt. Junior. And told him to send in the Marines. When Roosevelt asked if it was legal fall lied and told him that there was precedent. Not, long after dealing with Darden, the Denver, post got wind of the confrontation and published it. They threatened additional editorials detailing the scandal but possibly pressured by both fall and harding Harry Sinclair paid the paper one million dollars to keep quiet soon after fall stepped down as secretary of the Interior. By January of Nineteen twenty-three harding's entire cabinet was falling apart known as the Ohio Gang. Other members also faced accusations of corruption and bribery even harding himself was suspected of taking money from Sinclair after a suspiciously high offer came in for the purchase of harding's newspaper harding tried to keep his distance from the scandals even famously claiming that he could take care of his enemies. All right. But his friends were the ones who kept him walking the floor at nights. The controversy weighed on him behind closed doors on August second nineteen twenty-three harding died at the young age of fifty seven. The cause of death is debated but believed to be either a heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile fall served nine months in jail but was released early on account of his health he died in nineteen forty four but his legacy would live on in an important way the nineteen twenty, nine Supreme Court ruling in Sinclair versus the United States gave the Senate the power to investigate criminal cases involving government officials a practice that continues to be important even today. Thanks for listening to today in true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson for more stories about government oversight check out the spotify original from podcast political scandals. Today in true crime is a spotify original from podcast. You can find more episodes of today and true crime and all other originals from podcast for free on spotify. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in. True Crime. Today true crime was created by Max Cutler and spotify original from podcast. It is executive produced by Max. Cutler sound designed by Juan Boorda with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode today in true crime was written by Stacey Lean Nemec with writing assistance by Abigail Cannon I'm Vanessa. Richardson. Remember to join Alistair murden Thursday for the all new series haunted places. Go stories don't miss the most chilling spirits ever imagined by authors from around the world follow haunted places, ghost stories free on spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.