Ann Forst (true name Almerdell Forrester, but known to the newspapers as the “Black Widow”) ran a large white slave ring in prewar Southern California. She had a falling-out with her police and political protection in 1940, when a young prostitute named Brenda Allen Burns blew the whistle on her operation. After the “Black Widow” was sentenced to five years at Tehachapi, Brenda Allen (aka Marie Mitchell, probably the same person as Brenda Allen Burns) developed a similar call-girl setup, with the twist of catering to a higher class clientele. By 1948, she was taking out display ads in Hollywood trade papers for her “escort service,” which featured over a hundred girls. Seeing an opportunity to protect her business, she became romantically involved with a Hollywood vice cop, LAPD Sgt. Elmer V. Jackson, who soon became her business partner, paying him $500 (current dollars) a week per woman employed. She could easily afford this, as her women brought in about $80,000 (current dollars) a day. Allen took half the top, a third went to corrupt cops, doctors, lawyers, judges, and bail bondsmen, and the rest was divided amongst the girls. Her customers included 250 entertainment industry figures, politicians, and gangsters. Allen and Jackson's empire came crashing down in 1948 after an LAPD phone tap proved extensive police involvement with the prostitution ring. This set off a series of events that ultimately led to the resignation, and subsequent perjury indictment, of LAPD Chief Clemence Horrall in 1949. Allen was found guilty of attempted pandering after she tried to recruit an undercover policewoman. At her trial, Allen testified about the protection payoffs she made to police, naming her lover Sgt. E. V. Jackson and Hollywood vice squad Sgt. Charles Stoker as the main recipients of the money. Brenda Allen was sentenced to only one year in prison, serving just eight months, with five years’ probation. Somehow, Jackson continued with the LAPD until his retirement in the 1960s, but Stoker was thrown off the force due to what he claimed was a trumped-up burglary charge (his 1949 trial resulted in a hung jury). Brenda Allen’s last appearance in the newspapers was in 1961 when, amidst accusations of domestic violence, she divorced former Navy pilot Robert H. Cash whom she had married a few months previously. "Queen Bee" Brenda Allen in her jail uniform. Photograph dated August 12, 1948.
1 photographic print :b&w ;26 x 21 cm. Photographic prints
Allen, Brenda Los Angeles City Jail (Los Angeles, Calif.) Jails--California--Los Angeles Criminals--California--Los Angeles Women--California--Los Angeles Prostitution--California--Los Angeles Lincoln Heights (Los Angeles, Calif.) Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs Herald-Examiner Collection photographs