Friday, 29 August 2008

John Jakob Raskob

John Jakob Raskob - DuPont and GM Top Executive; Builder of the Empire State Building; Political Mover and Shaker

John Jakob Raskob (1879-1950) was a financial executive and businessman for DuPont and General Motors, and the builder of the Empire State Building. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a key supporter of Alfred E. Smith's candidacy for President of the United States. After Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, Raskob was a prominent opponent of the New Deal through his support of a number of anti-Roosevelt organizations including the American Liberty League. Raskob was also a leader in the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment.


He was hired in 1901 by Pierre du Pont as a personal secretary. In 1911, he became assistant treasurer of DuPont, in 1914 treasurer, and in 1918 vice-president for finance of both DuPont and General Motors (Raskob had been an early investor in General Motors and had engineered DuPont's ownership of 43% of GM, purchased from the financially troubled William C. Durant.

While with GM, he led the creation of General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the corporation that allowed GM dealers to offer installment credit directly to customers. He also promoted the use of standard financial statistics to measure the performance of different operations within a diversified company, primarily through his associate Donaldson Brown.

Raskob was very bullish in the stock market in the 1920s and wrote an article for Ladies Home Journal entitled "Everybody Ought to be Rich." He suggested that every American could become wealthy by investing $15 per week in common stocks.

Raskob held the head financial job at both GM and DuPont until 1928, when he resigned from GM in a dispute with chairman Alfred P. Sloan. He had supported Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith in the 1928 election, and Smith invited Raskob to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Sloan, a supporter of Herbert Hoover, insisted that Raskob resign either from GM or the DNC. Raskob left GM after the board supported Sloan, sold his GM stock, and used the proceeds to build the Empire State Building. Raskob made Smith president of the Empire State Co., that operated the building, based on a promise to do business together the night that Smith lost the presidential election. Raskob served as chairman of the DNC through 1932. He continued to promote the Smith candidacy as Chairman of the DNC, and to advocate for the adoption of an anti-prohibition policy. Both of these positions were opposed by different factions within the Democratic Party, and in 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt won the party's nomination, and the election, Raskob withdrew from politics. He was later involved with the American Liberty League, an anti-New Deal organization active around the time of the 1936 election.

Among his long-time achievements, John J. Raskob is well known in the Claymont and Wilmington Delaware areas for building the "Patio" at what is now Archmere Academy in the late 1920s. The Patio was originally his residence, and one of its most significant features is a fountain made of marble, which has each of his 13 children sculpted around the side. Archmere Academy, which has built many buildings since, is now a thriving school, and one of the top high schools in Delaware.

Raskob's business interests from this time were focused on the Empire State Building, but also included extensive precious metal mining interests in Nevada and New Mexico. Raskob remained with DuPont until his retirement from the company in 1946.

Raskob had 13 children, and lost one son, William F. Raskob II, to an auto accident at the age of 20, establishing a charitable foundation in his honor which survives to this day.[1]. In 1921, he was appointed a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Pius XI, recognizing him for his contributions.[2] After his death, a substantial amount of his wealth went to support the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities which had been founded in the mid-1940s, and remains one of the largest family-operating charitable foundations in the U.S.[3] In 2006, RFCA was chaired by William F. Raskob III. John J. Raskob is buried at Cathedral Cemetery in the city of Wilmington, DE.[citations needed]
The treasurer of the SMOM was none other than John J. Raskob, the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), who opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt in his campaign to win the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1932, and who in 1934, inspired by the French fascist Croix de Feu, and working closely with Morgan Bank's John Davis, was the principal financier of the fascist coup plot against FDR.
Immensely wealthy American financier gave an interview to Samuel Crowther of the Ladies' Home Journal in which he proposed that everyone invest heavily in the stock market. In fact, he advocated buying stocks on margin:

Suppose a man marries at the age of twenty-three and begins a regular savings of fifteen dollars a month -- and almost anyone who is employed can do that if he tries. If he invests in good common stocks and allows the dividends and rights to accumulate, he will at the end of twenty years have at least eighty thousand dollars[...] I am firm in my belief than anyone not only can be rich but ought to be rich.

Raskob's scenario implies a phenomenal 26% annual yield on the young man's stock investments. As it happens, the article (entitled Everybody Ought to be Rich) arrived at newsstands in August 1929, just two months before the calamitous market crash.

Raskob was among the plotters attempting to depose Franklin D. Roosevelt by force in 1933.
Smedley Butler ultimately blew the whistle on the scheme.

Brother: William Frederick Raskob
Wife: Helena Springer Green (12 children)

DuPont (1900-46)
Member of the Board of General Motors (1915-28)
Democratic National Committee Chairman (1931-32)
Democratic National Committee Chairman (1929)
Knights of Malta Treasurer

In 1927, Raskob cofounded the U.S. association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a secretive Catholic order, based in Rome, with supposed origins in medieval crusaders who ruled Malta and Rhodes. Considered by some a sovereign state, it has diplomatic relations with 49 countries, its own passports and stamps. U.S. members included John Farrell (U.S. Steel), Joseph Kennedy (JFK’s father), New York’s Cardinal Francis Spellman, and CIA directors William Casey, William Colby and John McCone.

File: Title: Dates: Items
1276 Knights of Malta 1926-1930 50

Publications and press clippings concerning the establishment
of a chapter of the Catholic honorary organization in America,
to be comprised mainly of prominent Catholic businessmen;
arrangements for meetings of American Knights and
correspondence concerning appointments and selections of
members, and congratulatory messages on JJR's appointment.


2356 Vatican 1927-1950 125

Correspondence with Vatican officials, Frank Spellman (see
also file 2152), Giuseppe Pizzardo (file 1836), Edward Hearn
(file 1061) and Ambassador Dwight Morrow (file 1594).
Topics include Vatican financial matters; anticlericalism in
Mexico; JJR's appointments as Knight of Malta and Papal
Chamberlain; JJR's support of Papal charities and causes,
including donation of $43,000 in support of the writing and
publishing of an authoritative history of church doctrine;
arrangements finishing and shipping Cadillac to Mons.
Pizzardo, a gift of JJR; [...]

The American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
(Knights of Malta, SMOM) was founded in 1927. "By 1941 Francis
Cardinal Spellman was listed as the 'Grand Protector' and
'Spritual Advisor' of the Order, with John J. Raskob as
. Members included John Farrell, then President of U.S.
Steel, Joseph P. Grace, and John D. Ryan. In 1934 Raskob,
inspired by the French fascist Croix de Feu, and working closely
with Morgan Bank's John Davis, had been a principal financier in
the plot to organize a fascist coup in the U.S.
The plan failed
when General Smedley Butler, who had been set up to lead the
project, denounced it."

Using his inherent talent, drive, and devotion to the Association, Cardinal Spellman was able to enlist the aid of some of America’s elite, including: John J. Raskob, chairman of General Motors; John Farrell, then president of U.S. Steel; Joseph P. Grace of W.R. Grace & Co.; Joseph Kennedy, a Boston entrepreneur; George MacDonald of Pennsylvania; and John D. Ryan.
Raskob, John J. SMOM • built Empire State Building • D. 1950
Another deceased member was John J. Raskob, formerly General Motors board chairman and a major financier of the Democratic party. Raskob was one of the 13 founding SMOM members in the US. He was serving as "treasurer of the SMOM's US component when he was implicated in a military plot to seize the White House in the early 1930s. (The goal was to turn President Franklin Roosevelt into either a Mussolini-type strong-man or a figurehead. But the scheme was exposed when General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corps commander, blew the whistle on Raskob and coup plotters.)"
Other sites mentioning Raskob being a SMOM member:
Social Network Diagram:

* Chernow,R. The House of Morgan. 1990 (302-3, 371-2)
* Colby,G. DuPont Dynasty. 1984 (401-3)
* Cooney,J. The American Pope. 1984 (39-40)
* CounterSpy 1976-SP (22)
* Lernoux,P. People of God. 1989 (284)
* Lundberg,F. The Rich and the Super-Rich. 1969 (81, 204)
* Perloff,J. The Shadows of Power. 1988 (54)
* Seldes,G. One Thousand Americans. 1947 (178, 202, 205, 226-7, 258, 297)
* Vankin,J. Whalen,J. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies. 1998 (236-7)

pages cited this search: 23

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