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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane police broke up a clever scheme to blackmail lovelorn residents.

Police told reporters that a local couple had established a “matrimonial bureau” and had taken out want ads asking men or women “of means” to write in if they wanted a mate.

The couple then charged “the suckers” who wrote in $3 to $5. But instead of providing them with a mate, they would try to trap them.

“They were working to catch a man with money and reputation,” said a detective. “It would have been fixed so he would have been placed in a compromising position, and to save his reputation and the disgrace of a police hearing, would have given up a good sum.”

The police called it a “badger” scheme.

50 years ago: Spokane was preparing to vote on a business and occupation tax, but opposition was growing.

The Spokane County Bar Association, in an unusual move, voted unanimously to oppose the measure: “We deplore the easy approach of balancing a budget by enacting new taxes.”

Also on this date

1857: The U.S. Supreme Court holds that Dred Scott, a slave, could not sue for his freedom in a federal court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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