a disparaging term coined by Theodore Roosevelt to describe
journalists who focused on exposing corruption and crusading
for reform. A fashionable figure with an Ivy League education
and a penchant for stylish dress, Phillips developed quite a public following.
After completing “The Treason of the Senate,” Phillips
turned his attention to the world of insurance. In the wake of a
series of scandals and investigations in the insurance industry
that generated a great deal of negative publicity, Phillips—rather
than undertaking his own investigation of the business—decided
to treat the subject in fictional form. The resulting novel, Light-
Fingered Gentry, was serialized in Pearson’s magazine from
late 1906 to early 1907. Clearly inspired by press accounts of
the insurance industry, it painted a devastating picture of the
shenanigans prompted a
devastating portrait of the
life insurance industry in a
muckraking1907 novel .
once widely acclaimed, the novel’s
crusading author is now almost
completely forgotten .
sets her eye on Armstrong. But
Armstrong remains focused on his
work—more so than Fosdick wish-es—and he begins to observe some
financial irregularities at the OAD.
Money, for example, is clearly
being transferred from the company’s surplus into business ventures controlled
by Fosdick and others. Armstrong himself was previously the beneficiary of some of these transfers,
giving Fosdick the potential to blackmail him as he
had done to force Shotwell out of the company. Fosdick also has demanded that the firm’s architects, Alois and
Narcisse Siersdorf, inflate the invoiced expenses for the projects they complete for the OAD, providing Fosdick with cover
for still more pillaging of company funds.
When Armstrong learns of these issues, he suspends the
OAD’s longtime chief financial officer, Westervelt. Making an
ally of Westervelt, Armstrong persuades him to keep close guard
over the firm’s multiple sets of books, not allowing Fosdick the
opportunity to hide or manipulate them. Fosdick appoints his
SHUTTeRSTOCk / BONOTOM STUDiO