Los Angeles Visionaries Association

V is for Vice: Eight Decades of Sin & Scandal, from the Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills

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Join us in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into the history and practice of forensic science in Los Angeles, in support of new research coming out of the Criminalistics Department. 

Presentation #1: V is for Vice

Mike Fratantoni, an LASD Jailer who sits on the board of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Museum and is organizing the new exhibition space in the Hall of Justice, makes a return engagement with a fascinating presentation on the unwritten history of vice in West Hollywood and corruption in law enforcement.

In 1940, West Hollywood madam Lee Francis was arrested on a morals charge, her first. Media coverage of the subsequent trial exposed the thriving trade in sin along the Sunset Strip, and had southland husbands quaking in their socks. But the papers never printed the name of one prostitute arrested in the “House of Francis” raid: LaVonne Weaver, soon-to-be wife of gang kingpin Mickey Cohen. For decades, mob historians have chased down rumors that “dance instructor” Lavonne was actually a “working girl.” Wonder no more, as in a LAVA exclusive, LaVonne Weaver’s mugshot will be unveiled. Lee Francis had a reputation, but madam Brenda Allen was an underworld superstar, as famous for her wardrobe and high-powered social connections as she was for the services available at her hillside brothel. Her 1948 arrest and subsequent Grand Jury investigation revealed deep veins of corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department.

Presentation #2: Beverly Hills Confidential

Clark Fogg, the lead forensics investigator at the Beverly Hills Police Department, and investigative journalist Barbara Schroeder share the sensational crimes and scandals of the glamorous city of Beverly Hills, as chronicled in their book “Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders.”

Featured topics include:

The city’s first blockbuster scandal — the Doheny murder mystery at Greystone Mansion — New information on who really killed gangster Bugsy Siegel — The true story of the death of Lupe Velez, the movie star known as “The Mexican Spitfire” — The mysterious execution of publicist-to-the-stars Ronni Chasen

Copies of “Beverly Hills Confidential” will be available for purchase and signing during the event.