Frank Shaw: The First U.S. Mayor Recalled from Office

In 1933 Frank Shaw, formerly the chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, was elected as the new Los Angeles mayor. Shortly after winning reelection in 1937 he would be thrown out with the dubious title of having the most corrupt city government in Los Angeles history.

The whole downfall began when John Anson Ford took over as chairman of the county board of supervisors. Shortly after his term, he began an investigation into the rumored corruption in the food services division at the Los Angeles County General Hospital. Appointing Clifford Clinton, the founder of the Clifton Cafeterias and an anti-crime and graft crusader and with others had formed CIVIC (Citizens Independent Vice Investigating Committee). to head the investigation as a member of the County Grand Jury. Clinton's investigations into the alleged City Hall corruptions led him to issue a report that identified more than 1,000 gambling and prostitution rackets allegedly under the protection of Shaw's administration. At first, the charges were thought to be nothing but gossup. Instead, Clinton's cafeterias endured unusual scrutiny by city health inspectors and police.

However, on January 14, 1937, a bomb exploded in the car of private investigator and former cop Harry Raymond (He survived the bomb) who was investigating the Shaw administration for Clinton. At first the media blamed the mob for the bombing, and the Los Angeles Times even suggested that it was a stunt by Raymond and Clinton to frame Shaw. But eventually the truth was revealed as it was learned that secret police unit had been watching Raymond for months. The most damaging evidence came from an immigrant fruit vendor, who despite threats, implicated LAPD Captain Earl Kynette, who was convicted. Evidence also began pointing that someone at City Hall had ordered the attack on Raymond.

After the initial implications, Los Angelinos could stand no more and in early 1938 recalled Shaw from office. Which some believe, lead the mob to move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Shaw was never charged with any crimes, and his alleged corruptions are still debated by historians to this day. He died, in 1958 after being recalled at the age of 61 and is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetary.


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