An informant dubbed T-23 whom the FBI characterized as "active in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania politics for many years" advised on February 24, 1958 "that in his opinion there is a tie-up between the criminal element of the City of Philadelphia and the political representatives," and "he bases this conclusion upon what he personally has observed and the information related to him by various persons":
T-23 stated that many of the office holders in the present City Government are dishonest, either in those instances where they take "tips" in order to expedite the handling of various documents such as leases, court orders or motions, or else in those fields where they dishonestly use their power in order to decide matters of a penal nature. In the latter category, he cited the police officers, building inspectors, employees of the Weights and Measures Department as the more prevalent violators.
The FBI informant provided specific details about dirty cops in the "red cars" who took bribes to provide protection to the numbers racket:
[H]e stated that he believes Commissioner of Police THOMAS GIBBONS is honest and above the control of the politicians. However, the officers under his control who are in direct contact with the public answer either directly or indirectly to the politicians and crooks. As an example, he stated that a close friend had recently related to him the following incident. This friend has a son who was recently graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy. On graduation the boy was assigned to a police district and placed into a Red Car with an older officer. During the first week of his duty on assignment the older officer stopped when a stranger came to the car and handed the older officer a $10.00 bill. The man left. The driver patrolman then reached into his pocket and took out a $5.00 bill which he handed to the new officer. When inquiry was made as to what the $5.00 represented, the older officer told the recruit that was his share of payment from the numbers runner. The younger officer informed him that he did not desire to obtain money in this manner and returned the $5.00. The recruit was then informed that if he did not desire to take this money he would have to walk a beat instead of riding in the Red Car. The boy was removed from the Red Car and placed on the street. Later he was placed back into the Red Car and it is the opinion of T-23 that this recruit is now receiving his share of payments from the illegal operators. He stated that the system under which officeholders must perform their duties makes dishonest individuals of them even though they basically have every intention of leading an honest life.
The informant further advised that "the gamblers operating with the various Wards approach the Ward Committeeman and offer to make him a partner in their gambling operation, furnishing to him a partnership share of their profits" in exchange for "the best protection possible from the Ward Committeeman" with great influence over the Ward Magistrate "who is the judicial officer in the lower court." According to the informant "in the event the gambler is arrested his case will be controlled before the Magistrate either by discharge or continuance out of existence."
Further reading that may be of interest: