Saturday, January 24, 2004

Old School 

Sarah McClendon: Mizzou J-School, Class of 31
"I think that George Bush is a crook and a liar."

interviewed 9-23-93
(Sarah McClendon, senior White House correspondent)

The late Paul Wilcher was a Chicago attorney who died in Wash ington, D.C. in June 1993, one month before Vince Foster. Wilcher had been investigating a number of scandals and had interviewed Gunther Russbacher, while the latter was incarcerated in the Missouri correctional facility at Jefferson City, Mo. Wilcher believed Russbacher’s story that he was a CIA agent and Navy intelligence officer and had piloted George Bush back from Paris as a part of the October Surprise.

Who do you write for?

I write for anybody I can. I used to be on KMOX (CBS radi o in St. Louis), but I guess they thought I was too liberal or something. They don't have me on there. I wish they did

How long have you been a correspondent in Washington?
Since 1944.

How old are you?
I'm 83.

You're still working.?

The (Paul) Wilcher case, who do you write for, you said you write for, are you a syndicated columnist?
Well, I'm syndicated, but I'm not syndicated far enough, I need to be syndicated farther. You know anybody that would take my colu mn, I'd sure like to have it. I haven't been promoted. I need the promotion badly. I do a radio show for some people in about 60 cities for 30 minutes once a week, and I do a column once a week and I do a newsletter that goes out quite widely now. My newsle tter is on Washington events and people, it's not on technical matters. I lecture. I do go on radio and TV whenever I can.

I graduated from the University of Missouri school of journalism, 1931.

I feel like it's a privilege to talk to you.
I thank you. I'm working hard this is my 11th president. I'm still working because there is a need here to get a lot of stuff out that's not getting out.

I believe that.
You got newspaper people up here that would rather hurt and hit and be rude to people in the White House then to get a news story.

Ok, go ahead. Ask what you want.

I called about Paul Wilcher. How were you working with him?

Well, he was a friend of mine. I had met him through another friend. I have a study group that meets every week. He was a member of it, a very strong member of it. I had met him because I was one of the first people to have worked on the October Surprise story in 1986. The woman that broke that story was Barbara Honneger and she came to me and gave me the story and she and I wrote it together.

Wilcher had gotten interested in the Russbacher case, as you know, and went out there and stayed a long time with him. That’s one way that I became acquainted with Wilcher, I don't remembe r e xactly how.

He came to our study group every week and he was one of our strongest supporters. He was investigating four or five different things and he could have been killed by any one of four or five different people.

We can't establis h th at he was murdered, but we are quite sure that he was. Gunther Russbacher had several theories about it.

But Wilcher, I was the one that insisted that the police go in there and find him, because I couldn't find him. He had been missing. I insisted that they go in and they did and they found him dead.

So you believe it was murder?
Of course it was murder. It wasn't suicide and the autopsy showed that it was not a natural cause. They don't know what. They kept his heart and they kept two s pecimens of fluid from his body. And they put them through the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology ... Anyway, they put them through there and they still couldn't (determine) the cause of death.

I have asked them to send the body to [body has alrea dy been cremated, must be talking about the heart] to a very fine institute up in Pennsylvania, but it would cost a lot of money and they won't send it, the District won't.

And now they won't even talk to me about it anymore. They told me to come out there with a lawyer and present my case and I did.

Out where?
To the, it's called, the District of Columbia does not have a coroner it's called the examiner, medical examiner. Yeah, medical examiner.

His body has not been buried then?
No, he was cremated. The assine family came here and said they couldn't afford to take the body back to Ohio and so they cremated him here. And they had already taken the heart out and taken out these two specimens, so they didn't get to cremat e that.

He has a very stupid asinine brother who is a society-type divorce lawyer in Chicago and successful, but got on drugs and now I think he's been convicted maybe once or twice and may be in jail, I don't know. But his brother came with his par ents and identified him and all that so.

They didn't ever take a fingerprint of him. I'm sorry they didn't, but they didn't. ...

The only member of that family that makes any sense is the mother. The father is a retired Methodist minister who is so deaf that he can't talk over the phone. And the wife is Carol and she works [unintelligible] and she's scared to talk to anyone.

He was investigating about five things at the time he died, anyone of which could have killed him.

He was i nvestig ating the death of (Danny) Casolaro. He had told someone that he had found out so much about Casolaro that he thought his life was in danger. He did that a few days before he died.

Who did he tell?
He told that to a woman named [confiden tial sou rce]. She was a woman who had pushed him aside. She didn't like him. He tried to date her about a year ago and she decided she didn't want anything to do with him, but she knew him and so they talked. And he told her that at one of my sessions. S he used t o come to my sessions, too.

She and I split. We were working together at first. We went out there together after the body was found. But we split because she wanted to go her way and I wanted to go mine. ...

Now we had something her e that's b een written up that you could get the whole scenario better and quicker then I could tell you on the phone. It's just too much for me. I spent about a month working on this case. I can't do it anymore.

This paper is from a man named Gorb y Leon of Columbia Pictures in Hollywood did a great summary of this whole story. And sent it to Janet Reno, who never replied.

Wilcher had talked to the Justice Department people, tried to talk to Reno. He talked to them just before he died. He was trying to tell them about Waco being a terrible illegal murderous action on the part of the United States government. He got a lot of his information from Gunther. The Justice Department said it doesn't make any sense. And they just sort of kind of wilte d him.

And then somebody here they wrote an erroneous piece for the Spotlight magazine saying that Wilcher had committed suicide. He hadn't committed suicide. There is no evidence of suicide there at all.

The last thing I heard from the po lice, it sa id that, the last I heard from the medical office is that `death was of undetermined causes.' Undetermined.

Have you written articles on this?
I wrote several articles on it.

Could I obtain copies of them?
[Raises voice] I haven't got staff to go back in my files and pick out, I just can't do that kind of service for people.

I understand.
I just can't do it. I got somebody comin' in here about twice a week and that's all. I don't have any capital and I don't have any money, and I just, I write a report every two weeks. And I wrote frequently about Wilcher.

I wrote out a report and sent it to four or five newspapers in this area. Not one of them even paid boo to it. Not a single one of them paid any attenti on to it at all. [Kmox quote from top here].

Finally, The Washington Times printed a little story saying that Wilcher and other bodies were at the morgue.

What other bodies?
Wilcher with the other bodies being killed here every n ight in Wash ington. ... They had very little about Wilcher in there, saying he was an investigative attorney.

I don't know why people shut up and clamped up so much on Wilcher, unless I think, I really think what reporters do in this town, they have networks an d big papers and they sit around and think of how to not write stories, what to leave out, instead of what to put in. That's the truth.

I believe it.
I think they have somebody like from the CIA advising them not to print this and not to print t hat.[Walter Pincus at the Washington Post?]
I believe that, too. I don't have any proof, but.

There's a man here in town who has investigated this somewhat and he thinks that Wilcher was killed by racketeers. He had been investiga ting the RICO s tatute in connection with a woman whose case he took on here in town. She paid him several thousand dollars to work on the case. She didn't like the way he was directing it so she, for her own personal reasons, she fired him. But they think that he had fo und out enough already that he was probably killed on orders by contract killers.

I think he was killed by somebody because he found out so much about Casolaro.

Other people think that he was killed by the CIA, because he knew so much about Gun ther Russbacher.

So you see he could have been killed by, he was also working on Waco.

Could these things possibly be tied together?
Oh, yes, I think they're all tied together. We've got to get you this, I just don't have time to be your cl erk here. As you can see, I'm working hard tonight. ...

His family had gone through a very hard life in Chicago. They had lost a lot of money in some development case up there, through bankruptcy court. He got disgusted with that. They had a lot of money. And he was so disgusted he came to Washington to start a new life. And he had no money and no job. And because of that the Justice Department kind of made fun of him, when he came down there. ...

[Recommends I call [confidential source] in Maine.]

I'v e covered the White House since 1944. This is my eleventh president. I'm the dean of the White House correspondents. ...
That's one of the reasons I'm so busy now is that this fellow Clinton is driving us crazy with work.

[talks more about KMOX and being on Anne Keefe's show]

Study group meets on Friday nights. ...

[talks further about government corruption in Washington.] I think that Foster was murdered. I think he was murdered because he was about to tell Clinton some of the thi ngs he had found out in government and so certain people didn't want Clinton to know.

[Foster dead a month later]

You don't kill yourself when you're going to see the president of the United States the next day and tell him something.

Rose law firm whi ch Foster and Hilary Clinton were both partners in handled the Stephens Investment Company in Little Rock, according to McClendon, which operates worldwide. Stephens had a little to do with BCCI, she says.

Somebody said that Stephens helped that Cla rk Clifford's firm (First American).

Talks about Mena. "It was established by George Bush and John Paul Hamerschmidt.

CIA stopped investigation, according to McClendon.

"Here's another angle on Wilcher. There's a man here in town that claims to be a great investigator out here in Virginia. Sometimes he makes sense and sometimes he doesn't.

He claims that he won't tell because he wants to live. But he thinks that Wilcher was killed by contract murderers because we was investigating RICO. [?]

This other man, [confidential source] and he lives out here in Virginia. He says that he's definitely sure, he'll write you and talk to you forever and ever and none of it makes any sense to me. But he claims that he knew Casolaro and Wilcher. And he w as going to tell Wil cher to quit investigating because he was under threats and might be killed.

He claims that when he went to see Wilcher there was another man there. And that the man said, he claims he (the other man) predicted Wilcher's murder.

`Wilcher's go ne to New York, he's not here,' the stranger told [confidential source], according to McClendon.

He claims that this man whose name he will not give me was also killed about the same time Wilcher was killed. I don't know who th e man was, but Gunther Russbacher thinks there was a man killed with Wilcher.

This man's name is [confidential source].
the policeman who worked on this case was named Henry. He was in homicide in D.C. He was a nice person and a very nice black man. He'd tell you everything he can. Some of the police here have tried to put out that Wilcher, that he died a natural death. That's not true at all.

One or two policemen tried to testify on that. And I went back to the policemen who investigated the ca se, this fellow Henry, and he said, `no, I never told anybody that.'

"They have never, as far as I know. The coroner's office won't tell me anything else, they'll only talk to the family.

The family wanted it all hushed up. They didn't want it investiga ted or anything. They didn't want to recognize what Wilcher had done. They didn't have any respect for what Wilcher was doing. He was doing a great job. But he hadn't had any money and he hadn't kept up with his family and he hadn't supported his kids for 13 years. So Mrs. Wilcher was very much disgusted.

Are they from Ohio?
Worcester [spelling is incorrect, I’m sure] ...

After all, I had a lot of interest. He had a lot of my information, my papers. They say there was nothing in the computer, He (Wilcher) had a computer.

The computer had Wilcher's phone number at the time he died was 202/546 3843. And then the apartment right next to him there was a government telephone that he been disconnected, when we got over there.

How do you know it was government?
Because when you rang the phone, you rang that number. They said this is a government telephone that has been disconnected.

How did you know that number?
We went over to the apartment house trying to wake up Wilcher, we find out, [confide ntial source] was trying to get in to take him some groceries. He was out of money and out of food. She went in over their one Sunday and she couldn't get in the apartment at all. Couldn't even get in the apartment. So she was ringi ng every bell she could. She rang this bell. They said this a government telephone, that this number has been disconnected.

Well, he'd been dead for a day or two when that happened. He'd been dead three or dour days when they found him.

Now the re was no papers and nothing on the computer?
Now the family said that the brother was computerwise and found blanks on the computer. That's what I just found out this week from somebody.

I think there was a Methodist minister here who had talk ed to Wilcher his name is very close to yours. He called me the other day and said that the family had said there was nothing on the computer.
I think Rodney Stich,... he may have been the one that told me that, I don't know. ...

I feel very sorry f or Gunther Russbacher. A lot of people don't think he's telling the truth, but I do.

Do you have a reason you think that?
It's instinctive. It's because he's talked so much. He's talked so much that some of the things he says I don't believe with, a lot of I do. He couldn't have known all this, if he hadn't had done something.

I think he's telling the truth about George Bush, and I think that George Bush is a crook and a liar. ...

Dunc, Defender of Fascism 

excerpted from Danny's Dead
copyright 1992 by C.D. Stelzer

... The implications of this kind of surveillance are alarming. A case in point is the Regional Justice Information System (RJIS), the St. Louis crime computer, which (INSLAW owner) William Hamilton's brother Alan once managed. In 1984, Duncan Bauman, the former publisher of the now defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat, was appointed to the seven-member citizens commission attached to RJIS.

That same year Bauman's name also was listed on the roster of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength (CPTS), a group formed by the extreme right-wing American Security Council (ASC).

During his tenure at RJIS, Bauman ardently supported the FBI's plan to expand their National Crime Information Computer (NCIC). The local police are already plugged into NCIC through RJIS and use its services to do background checks for even the slightest traffic offense. The expanded database that Bauman lobbied for would have included not only criminals, but associates of such people. The FBI's reason for this invasion of privacy was it would make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor movements of terrorists and drug traffickers.

A 1980 news story from shortly after Ronald Reagan's election shows Bauman was then the honorary chairman of the Missouri chapter of CPTS. In addition to the newspaper publisher, local officials in the group included a public relations man, business executive, union boss and a retired military officer. ...

CPTS's parent, the ASC, was first formed and funded by union-busting industrialists to spy on their employees. The ASC has direct links to the World Anti Communist League, which has supported death squads in Central America and has ties to neo-Nazis and World War II fascists.

In 1981, police officials rejected a request from First National Bank in St. Louis to allow the financial institution to indiscriminately tap into the regional crime computer system. The Regional Justice Information System did, however, admit to providing vehicular registration routinely to corporations such as McDonnell Douglas, Monsanto and Anheuser-Busch.

Dunc's Sources 

So who did Globe publisher G. Duncan Bauman call to confirm whether reporter Denny Walsh's reporting was accurate? As you'll recall from the last Media Mayhem entry, Bauman killed Walsh's story that linked former Mayor A.J. Cervantes to the Mafia. In an interview with gossip columnist Jerry Berger years later, Dunc claimed that he called some reliable sources and found that Walsh's reporting was inaccurate.

One of Dunc's reliable sources might have been Harold Koplar, then-owner of the Chase-Park Plaze Hotel. In 1958, Dunc joined the board of the newly formed City Bank of St. Louis with restaurant owner Julius (Biggie) Garagnani and Koplar. Koplar was the brother-in-law of mob lawyer Morris Shenker, who Cervantes later appointed to head a city anti-crime initiative. Koplar's brother-in-law also acted as criminal defense attorney for the late Anthony Giordano, the Mafia Don of St. Louis. Walsh's story pegged Giordano, Shenker, gangster Jimmie Michaels and Anthony Sansone as cronies of the mayor.

Ol' Dunc and Floyd: Two Peas in a Pod 

Yet another reason to check your own morgue or stop by Phil's desk and Shoot the Shit

Duncan Bauman, the retired publisher of the now-defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat is a close friend of Floyd C. Warmann, who has now been nominated by County Exec Charlie Dooley to the St. Louis County Police Board.

Here's the gist of a 1982 story by Roy Malone and Phil Sutin of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which lays out how Bauman and Warmann teamed up to influence the city police more than 20 years ago.

In 1982, a dispute arose about the price difference of gasoline between two police department suppliers, Sunset Oil and Warmann Oil. Police Commissioner Charles E. Valier was critical of St. Louis Comtroller Paul M. Berra, who v owed to withhold payments on gasoline purchases by the police because the police board stopped buying gasoline from Warmann.

"(Valier) said the Globe-Democrat's publisher, G. Duncan Bauman, `is using the Globe to punish the Police Bo ar d for failing to promote his crony, William E. Brown, to chief. It's clear that the Globe will not print the facts about the bids. ...

"The head of Warmann Oil Co. is Floyd C. Warmann, a Democratic political power and friend of Bauman. Warman n contributed $1,000 on July 1 (1981) to a fund to pay off Berra's campaign debts. ...

"Berra used to be chariman of the city's Democratic Central Committee. He left the post when he was sworn in as comptroller. Circuit Clerk Joseph P. Roddy succeeded hi m. After Roddy resigned from the position last summer, state Rep. Anthony D. Ribaudo, D. St. Louis, became chairman.

"Ribaudo is vice president of one of Warmann's companies, Missouri Terminal Oil Co.

"Last summer, a legistlative committee headed by R ibaudo investigated the way in which the Police Board had chosen a new chief. The board ignored the recommendations of influential businessmen, called "aces" by policemen, who were pushing their own candidates for chief.

Warmann, Ribaudo and Bauman are all "aces," who put pressure on the board, according to police sources. ..."

For more on the how Bauman unduly influenced public perceptions check out this excerpt of a Jerry Berger interview with Dunc:

Berger: Have you ever kill ed a major story, Dunc, and why?

Bauman: Absolutely not! NEVER have I EVER killed a story of ANY consequence, minor or major. And I'm proud of that. As a matter of fact, I don't know of any major story that was ever killed by anyone on the Gloe-Democrat. Now, that isn't to say that decisions were not made to not print material, and those were reasons which were in the best interest of the Globe-Democrat. For example, we had a reporter by the name of Denny Walsh and he had a series of storie s on the underworld in St. Louis. And, where there was a major story of that consequence, I expected to review those stories.

When I read Walsh's series of stories on organized crime, I found he went to great lengths to link Mayor Cervantes to organi zed crime. I then made some personal phone calls to the sources that Walsh said he was using and I found out that Walsh was not reflecting the views of those sources accurately. So, I told Walsh we would not print that installment of the story; we'd print the other installments, maybe seven or eight of them, but I would not print the one respecting Cervantes.

Walsh became angry and quit. Subsequently, we found out that was a fortunate decision. He sold his organized crime story to Life magazine, w h ich subsequently was used for libel. (The case was later dropped.) Walsh and a fellow Globie were the last St. Louis reporters to win a Pulitzer. They did it despite Bauman's efforts to muzzle them, of course.

The lesson of this story is th at t he local newspaper refused to go after City Hall because of interference from the top. By deep-sixing Walsh's story that connected the mayor to the Mafia, publisher Bauman was protecting his own cronies. Bauman made no secret about his role as a poli tical insider, when Berger asked him about using the Globe editorial pages to back a friend -- William Brown -- for chief of police:

Berger: Do you think it's appropriate for a newspaper publisher to get so deeply involved in public affairs?

Bauman: Absolutely, without a question.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Covering All the Bases 

While Scott Warmann of Warmann Oil donated $1,000 to County Exec Dooley's conressional campaign coffers, Floyd Warmann gave $2,000 to his opponent William "Lacy" Clay Jr. "Give early, give often and give to both sides."


Now You See It, Now You Don't  

Trouble finding St. Louis County Police Incident Report 79-15980, which documents the arrest of Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, for promoting prostitution? Well, it probably disappeared from the files years ago. Now I wonder how that could have happened? It couldn't have had anything to do with Floyd Warmann's brother being on the County Police Board, I'm sure.

One Good Turn Deserves Another Department
County Exec Charlie "Combat" Dooley received a $1,000 donation from Warmann, The Next Generation, in 1999, when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress against William "Lacy" Clay Jr. Here's the contribution as listed in the FEC filings:

12/9/99 $1,000.00
ST LOUIS, MO 63138
WARMANN OIL -[Co ntribution]
Transaction itemized by: DOOLEY FOR CONGRESS

Hey, He's Not the President! 

Tonight on the PBS News Hour, New York Times columnist David Brooks said that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's worst campaign error so far3 was saying that "President Bush was not his neighbor." Mr. Brooks, I got news for you: Bush is not only not my neighbor -- he's not our president. He stole the election with the help of the U.S. Supreme Court. He's a pretender to the presidency. That fact can't be repeated often enough. Bush has no legitmacy. He is illegimate. And you, sir, ar e a pompous ass. Can I say it any more plainly?

No Good Story Will Go Unpunished 

Some of Shelley's Blues
The Riverfront Times has a pretty good cover story this week. Staffer Shelley Smithson slams an ExxonMobil coal mine for polluting the groundwater in rural Illinois. But Shelley should be forewarned: the idiot managers at New Times corporate headquarters in Phoenix and Denver won't necessarily appreciate your good work. For one thing, the story is politcally correct because it is critical of Exxon and defends the residents who are being impacted by the pollution. New Times executive editor Mike Lacey abhors anything that smacks of being politically correct. So, Shelley, you didn't get a feather in your cap for all your hard work. No, you got a black eye.

Moreover, the cover doesn't even mention Exxon or anything else that would explain what the story is about. Instead, it features a cartoon illustration with the headline: "Gob Story." The subhead is "What's Black and Sticky and Oozes All Over?"

The story has been intentionally dumbed down despite the honest efforts of the reporter. This was probably done by your editor in hopes that Lacey and company wouldn't realize that he actually sanctioned a cover story that had substance and was newsworthy.

In addition, there's a very real chance that Smithson will be blamed for not getting decent photographs for the story. I had that happen to me when I wrote about Floyd Warmann. Seriously, former RFTSafir Ahmed blamed me for not arranging for the photographer to get pictures of Warmann.

The point is Andy Van De Voorde, the invertebrate who handles editorial decisions from the offices of Westword in Denver will attack anything associated with the story, if he feels threatened by the whichever way the wind is blowing out of Mike Lacey's ass on any particular day.

Your best bet is if the story wins some lame journalism award. That will buy you some time. That's the best you can hope for. The next time you go in the conference room for a staff meeting look at the eight or ten people seated around you and realize that within the next year two or three of you all will either have been fired or quit. You have a temp job. Have a nice day.

Emulating the Dean Scream in Print 

Media Mayhem will kick ass and take names from Sauget to Baghdad to Washington, D.C. From the shore of Tripoli to South Beach, Fla., to Paradise Valley, Ariz. to Malibu Beach, Calif., to the Ruxton Group in Chicago! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

See No Evil: Ridge's Right Hand Man 

The Right Man for the Right Job
Asa Hutchinson, the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security, is a former U.S. Attorney from Ft. Smith, Arkansas. In the late 1980s, Hutchinson, the federal prosecutor, oversaw the truncated inves tigation of the alledged drug trafficking and gun-running that occurred at Mena, Ark. The players involved in that case included Oliver North, cocaine smuggler Barry Seal, pilot Terry Reed and brainiac Michael Riconiscuito. Intermountain Aviation, the co m pany involved in the Mena operation, has a long history as a CIA-proprietary company.

The Missouri Connection
You have to remember that the entire state of Arkansas is part of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's fiefdom. With that in mind, here's an excerpt from Alexander Cockburn's Beat the Devil column, which appeared in the April 5, 1992 edition of The Nation:

By Definition
"You can't be a lawyer if you don't represent banks." Hilary Clinton, Chi cago, March 16, 1992.

The Secret Life of a Parking Meter Manufacturer
At a crucial stage in the contra war in Nicaragua being sponsored by the Reagan Administration, Governor3 Bill Clinton's personal creation, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, made its first industrial development loan, in 1985, to POM Inc., a parking meter manufacturer in Russellville, Arkansas. POM, it has been alleged , was under secret contract to make components of chemical and biological weapons for use by the contras, as well as special equipment for C-130 transport planes. such planes were at the time ferrying durgs and weapons in and out of Mena, a town not too far away in Western Arkansas. POM's lawyer during those transactions was a partner in the Rose law firm, of which Hilary Clinton was, and is, a member. ..."

Who contracted POM to outfit the C-130s with auxillary fuel tanks? McDonnell-Douglas. Whitewater was a cover up of a cover up. ... And one of the guys who didn't uncover much is now the Assisant Secretary of Homeland Security -- Asa Hutchinson. Do you really think that's just a coincidence?

Kerry and Mueller Show 

On Aug 1, 1991, Sen. John Kerry questioned Justice Department lawyer Robert Mueller about dropping the ball on the BCCI affair, a big banking scandal involving money laundering by the CIA, Mafia and drug cartels. The questioning came before a subcommitte e of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was investigating the black hole of U.S. involvement with terrorists and drug traffickers. Among those snared in the investigation -- Jimmy Carter's trusted aide Bert Lance, Missouri's own Clark Cliffor d and Robert Anderson, former Secretary of the Navy in Eisenhower administration. BCCI remains one of the murkiest cases in U.S. history. Free-lance journalist Danny Casolaro died in late August 1991, while investigating BCCI and a plethora of other corru pt government actions. Kerry, of course, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Senator from Massauchusetts is claiming now that he disapproves of the Bush administration's draconian security measures, including the Patriot Act. Mueller, on the other hand, is currently the FBI director -- who failed to see 9/11 coming.

Here's how part of the testimony played out in front of the Senate subcommittee in August 1991:

Kerry: "...Do we need to think up here in Congress about a different li ne of communication for the overall law enforcement coordination? Now you have the IRS out there, under Treasury; you have Customs under Treasury; you have the FBI, and you have the DEA; you have your -- I mean do we need to rethink this?

Mueller: "I think we all continuously need to address the problem. I know when I first started as a prosecutor, and I saw the various jursidictions, and I also had some, on occasion, deal(ings) with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who were all under one umbrella. And my initial reaction was as prosecutor, wouldn't it be helpful if we had one, national, law enforcement agency?

Over a period of time, though, I think in this country, there is a natural and perhaps deserved desire not to have a national police agency. And in the same way that we have checks and balances between the three branches of Government, to a certain extent there are checks and balances between the agencies. ..."

Entrapping Ms. Julie 

Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, is the longtime partner of oil broker Floyd Warmann, who controlled a lease on the riverfront in the 1990s. For this choice piece of real estate, Warmann paid the city less per month than what my landlady charges f or rent on my Dogtown apartment.

During this period, Argosy Gaming, which is controlled by Republican boss William Cellini of Illinois, was interested in opening a St. Louis casino. To keep Warmann interested, Cellini and company was paying Warmann's company, WPW, $50,000 a month.

But Warmann's name didn't show up on the corporate papers for WPW or St. Louis Concessions, another of his companies associated with the riverfront property. Instead, Julia Von Wellen's name is on the corporate papers.

Warmann's other businesses had tanked, forcing him to file for bankruptcy. By putting his companies in Von Wellen's name, Warmann hoped to avoid his creditors. So far, his plan has been successful.

After the First Exchange bank failed in the early 90s, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) attempted to get Warmann to cough up some of the loan money he had received from the bank. That's when a lot of Warmann's shady business dealings became part of the public record.

The FDIC issued a subpoena on Von Wellen and forced her to give a deposition. But she kept her lips tight, pleading the 5th Amendment more than 100 times.

A private debt collector then bought Warmann's bad debt from the Resolution Trust Corporation, the government outfit that oversees failed financial institutions. But the debt collector has hadn't had any more luck collecting from Warmann than the FDIC.

Meanwhile, Warmann has continued to lead the life of a prominent citizen for the past decade. He attends gala charity functi ons, accompanied by other women not Von Wellen. The late County Exec Buzz Westfall even appointed Warmann to the Zoo-Museum Board, which handles the finances of the St. Louis Zoo, the Art Museum, Science Center and Shaw's Garden -- St. Louis' finest cultural institutions. Now the new County Exec Charlie Dooley has nominated Warmann to the St. Louis County Police Board to take the place of his Gene Warmann, who is ill.

Here's more on the 1979 arrest of Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, for promoting prostitution:

Sgt. S. Wilcox of the University City Police Department contacted County vice cops Donald Trentham and Paul Dillender on Monday, March 26, 1979. "He (Wilcox) had related that he had information that a female known as Julie, was ... operating a house of prostitution within his city and further requested aid in conducting an investigation per this information," according to the police report.

Based on Wilcox's request, the county cops staked out the apartment building at 8524 Old Bonhomme Ave. They observed a male go into the apartment and after he left sometime later they followed him and pulled him over. The suspect admitted that Julie headed the house and that he had retained her services for $30.00 a visit for the last year. The cops forced the john to call up Julie and pretend to introduce her to a new customer, Mike, who was actually Sgt. Thomas Robinson, a narc.

When Robinson set up a "date" with Julie for two days later, he wore a wire. After he was admitted to the apartment by Julie, he was introduced to three other prostitutes who she managed. Following some banter in the living room, "Mike" selected one of the women, Jerry, and retired to the rear bedroom. After he partially disrobed, negotiations were further carried out and Jerry told the undercover cop that he should pay Julie for services rendered because she headed the household. That's when "Mike" busted Jerry and called for back up.

Among those arrested was Dorthoy Ann Pyron, "Julie's" real name. This account is based on St. Louis County Police Incident Report 79-15980.

Cards Owners 

William DeWitt III, Mercer Reynolds and Dudley S. Taft, owners of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club, also own U.S. Playing Card Co. of Cincinnati through their Bicycle Holding Inc. (BHI).

Q. Who buys the most playing cards in the country?
A. Casinos. They break open a new pack every time they play a game.

By the rules of the league, professional baseball team owners are prohibited from betting on baseball or associating with those who do.
Nothing wrong with a friendly game of blackjack, though.

Follow the Leader 

The Wall Street Journal reports today that two Halliburton employees stationed in Kuwait accepted $6 million in kickbacks from the Kuwaiti company that supplied Hulliburton's subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root with gasoline destined for sale in Iraq. KBR got the no-bid contract to supply gasoline to Iraq from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has denied that its supplier had overcharged American taxpayers for the gasoline. VP "Dick" Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995-2000, when he was appointed vice president by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Take Me Back to 19 and 68 

Former Senator Eugene McCarthy is, at age 87, still telling it like it is. In the January 19th, 2004 of the New Yorker, he is quoted as saying:

"I think Bush is an impostor - a pretender. He couldn't find a mandate so he found a war. But there is the reality of the Twin Towers, which is a challenge to political structures everywhere, and he had to respond. There were no precedents for a democracy. You either do a huge undemocratic thing or you lose. This was a case where we used a massive response when all we had to do, I think, is catch about three people, and you can do that without creating a regional war."

"I think the country is in some danger," he continued. "You see how a pretender can take over the throne. Whether it's a democracy or a monarchy, a pretender generally starts a war. But what a pretender can do under our Constitution is an interesting question."

Suffering from a Sports Complex 

Tuft Enough
Maybe attorney Larry Deskins, the chairman of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, thought that by traveling in the right circles he would avoid press scrutiny.

Deskins oversees the Sports Authority, a voluntary board that makes decisions about the football stadium downtown. Most of these decisions are perfunctory, of course, because the formula for paying off the bonds on the stadium has already been hashed out. It's a split between the city, county and state. So those named to the Sports Authority are typically political insiders, who aren't really expected to do that much. They show up at a meeting once in while and rubberstamp whatever is on the agenda.

In return, they get some nice perks, such as free seats to Rams games in the Authority's luxury suite. Past board members have included former dump owner James Becker and lawyer Andrew Leonard, the former general counsel for the Riverfront Times. The past board members get to go to the Rams games free, too. It's kind of like a lifetime membership deal, I guess.

What's the big deal? The Authority only budgets itself $1 million a year. And it just created a $17 million annuity for itself to keep the pork coming well into the new century. By the time the money runs out, it will probably be time to tear down the Edward Jones Dome, or whatever its called then, and build a new stadium with taxpayers' dollars.

The sweet deal that Deskins and his cronies have through the Sports Authority probably wouldn't have made any waves, if it weren't for three things. For one, state auditor Claire McCaskill is running for governor. So she's making noise about how the Sports Authority is spending money. Two, Mayor Francis Slay appointed an honest guy, Mike Gavin, to fill one of the city slots on the board. Gavin worked for years in the city counselor's office and before that he was a newspaper reporter.

The other impediment for Deskins and his football buddies is Carolyn Tuft, the ballsy St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter. See, Deskins probably figured that the Post would give the Sports Authority a free pass because he is a partner at Lewis Rice & Fingerish, the law firm that represents the Post-Dispatch. But apparently that doesn't matter to Tuft.

On Thursday, she reported on the Sports Authority endowing its future. She also reported that the Sports Authority is spending $50,000 to redecorate its luxury suite, which was just fixed up three years ago. Fifty Grand? That's chump change. What's the big deal, Carolyn?

Oh, yeah, and then there's the small matter of the Sports Authority paying its former chairman J. Kent Underwood $114,000 last year to do part-time consulting work. Underwood, a graduate of the Virginia Military Academy and a retired Air Force captain, works as the "manager of projects managment" at Solutia, the giant St. Louis-based chemical polluter. I know the title sounds redundant, but, hey, this is an important executive position. Tuft reported that Underwood received $90 an hour from his buddies at the Sports Authority for his part-time consulting work. I guess he's qualified to do the work. After all, Underwood is Solutia's manager of projects management. Look what a good job Solutia has done managing its retirees' pension fund.

Busting Ms. Julia 

Floyd Warmann's business assoicate Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, was allegedly arrested by St. Louis County Police at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, 1979 at a residence located at 8524 Old Bonhomme Road. Report # 79-15980. The charge: promoti ng prostitution.

County Exec Charlie Dooley has nominated Warmann to a position on the St. Louis County Police Board. The nomination will be voted on by the County Council at its Feb. 3 meeting, if Dooley hasn't withdrawn Warmann's name by then. Why wo uld he do that?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Warmann Nomination 

Floyd Warmann's nomination to the St. Louis County Police Board will be heard before the County Council on Feb. 3, Media Mayhem has learned.

Col. Dowd Dies 

Col. Edward L. Dowd, former St. Louis circuit attorney and police commissioner, died today. The Dowd family has long been active in Democratic politics in the city of St. Louis. Dowd's late brother Robert was a circuit judge. Edward Dowd Jr. is the former U.S. Attorney for Eastern District. Douglas and Richard are partners in the family law firm.

Their father graduated from Saint Louis University Law School in 1941. He served as an FBI agent during World War II. While working on an atomic bomb spy case in Berkeley, California, he met Carol Thorlassson, daughter of a Lutheran minister. Dowd started a law firm in St. Louis after the war. He was elected as circuit attorney in 1952. He later served as president of the St. Louis Police Board. Dowd ran unsucc essfully for governor against Christopher "Kit" Bond in 1972.

The Brownies, Bill Dewitt and Emprise 

Like Father Like Son?
When Bill Dewitt Sr., the father of the principal owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, bought the St. Louis Browns in 1949, he declared "We are in this ourselves, we have no backers." But to make the nut Dewitt sold the concession rights to the Jacob Brothers of Buffalo, New York. Eventually, the Jacobs Brothers created Emprise Corp. out out their sports empire. Emprise was revealed to have serious ties to organized crime in the 1970s. The company now goes unde r a different name -- Delaware North.

Palm Beach Weekend? 

Was Cardinals owner Stephen F. Brauer of Hunter Engineering at last weekend's groundbreaking ceremonies for the new publicly-financed private stadium or was he lounging at his Palm Beach, Fl. estate? Property records indicate that the fat-cat Republican bought the manse on Oct. 9, 1998 for a cool $2.9 million. That's a far cry from the shack that Ray Hartmann bought in Miami Beach, which only cost $350,000. Steve and Camilla tan themselves at 131 Barton Ave., Palm Beach, Fl. 33480-6113.

Know I How a Heather Looks 

So the Warmann story has been shunted over to the cop beat. That should guarantee lame coverage.

Bodies Litter the Trail 

Now that County Exec Buzz Westfall is dead there's one less person to explain what was going on at the now-defunct First Exchange Bank. He went to the hospital with a back pain and came out on a slab.

Mel and Roger Carnahan won't be called to testify at any litigation brought against Floyd Warmann, either. In May 2000, months before the Carnahans took a nosedive in their Cessna, attorneys for Interim Holdings requested copies of two $1,000 checks drawn from Mercantile Bank by Warmann and made out to the Carnahan for Senate campaign.

Randy Carnahan sent copies of the requested checks on May 16, 2000. The letterhead on his cover letter is not from the Carnahan campaign, but his Rolla-based law firm, Carnahan, Hickle & Calvert.

Wedding Bells 

Bulletin: Sources tell Media Mayhem that Floyd Warmann and Julia Von Wellen are now presumed to be man and wife. Speculation has it that this would allow Floyd to get some the assets she's shielding from his creditors, if she ever bailed out on h im. Ah, matrimonial bliss!

Grilling Ms. Julia: Part IV 

Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, pleads the 5th and covers for her business partner Floyd Warmann. The deposition was taken in July 1999 by attorneys representing the FDIC. County Exec Charlie Dooley nominated Warmann to the County police board t his week. The County Council will vote on the nomination at next week's Council meeting.

Q. Isn't it true that Floyd Warmann has diverted money and property to you in an attempt to defraud, hinder and delay his creditors?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Isn't it true that you're holding money and property which Floyd Warmann has diverted to you in your efforts to defraud, hinder and delay creditors of Floyd Warmann?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Isn't it true that you're asserting your Fifth Amendment privilages at this deposition here today and for the record to actively c onceal money and property of Floyd Warmann from his lawful creditors including the FDIC?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Grilling Ms. Julia Part III 

More stonewalling by Julia Von Wellen, business partner of Floyd Warmann, who was nominated to the County police board by County Exec Charlie Dooley this week. Von Wellen, aka, Dothothy Ann Pyron, was deposed by the FDIC in July 1999.

Q. Please admit that WPW Ventures, Inc. was being used as a front by yourself and Floyd Warmann for the purposes of diverting funds and payments from Argosy Gaming Company out of the reach of creditors of Floyd Warmann, including the FDIC.
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Please admit the St. Louis Concessions, Inc. was being used as a front by you and Floyd Warmann for the purpose of diverting funds and payments from Argosy Gaming Company out of the reach of creditors of Floyd Warmann, including the FDIC.
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Please admit that you acted in conspiracy with Floyd Warmann to divert and concel payments from Argosy Gaming Company out of the reach of creditors of Floyd Warmann, including the FDIC.
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Q. Please admit that you have conspired with Floyd Warmann to hide from creditors of Floyd Warmann the fact that Floyd Warmann was the person who actually and individually performed all the consulting services on behalf of Argosy Gaming Company for which Argosy Gaming company paid money to WPW Ventures, Inc.
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Grilling Ms. Julia: Part II 

More unanswered questions posed in 1999 by the FDIC to Julia Von Wellen, business partner of Floyd Warmann. County Exec Charlie Dooley nominated Warmann for the position of police commissioner this week:

Q. Do you rent or own the residence located at 4 North Tealbrook Dr., Creve Coeur, Missouri?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Q. Who pays the utilities for the Tealbrook property?
A. I respectfully invoke the righ t granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q.Have you ever resided at 7801 Weaver, St. Louis, Missouri, 63143?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution an d decline to answer.

Q. Do you drive a 1994 Jeep Cherokee?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Is your license plate number on the 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2315?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. What does 2315 stand for
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline t o answer.

Q. Have you been accused of a crime?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. What was the disposition of the accusation?
A. I respectfully invoke the right gran ted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Q. D id Floyd Warmann establish WPW Ventures Inc., as a vehicle to fraudulently transfer funds from the reach of creditors of Floyd Warmann.
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Q.Was the transfer or obligation from Argosy Geming Company concealed from creditors of Floyd Warmann, including the FDIC?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer. ...

Q. Did Floyd Warmann abscound with these assets and payments from Argosy Gaming Company?
A. I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

So the businessman who County Exec Charlie Dooley nominated this week to the County police board has been accused in the past by the FDIC of cheating them out of money he owed the federal government. Sorry, Charlie, you're busted in the court of public opinion.

What's in a Name? 

The FDIC deposed Julia Von Wellen on July 15, 1999 as a part of a civil suit brought by the feds against Floyd Warmann, Stephen C. Bradford and Argosy Gaming Company The suit had to do with the bankruptcy of First Exchange Bank, one deep black hole that the late County Exec Buzz Westfall fell into and never came out. Von Wellen refused to testify, pleading the 5th Amendment about 100 times. Here's a little bit of how it went:

Q. Have you ever gone by any other names or aliases other than Julie VonWellen?

A.I respectfully invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Who is Dorothy Pyron?
A. I respectfully

Q.Is Dorothy Pyron an alias you have used?
A. I respectfually invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Where were you born?
A. I respectfually invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. What is the date of your birth?
A. I respectfually invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. What is the last grade that you completed in school?
A. I respectfually invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

Q. Are you married?
A. I respectfually invoke the right granted to me by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and decline to answer.

It goes on like that for 127 pages. This is one tough broad. She didn't role over on Floyd and in certain respects that's to be admired. But do the citizens of St. Louis County really want her business partner Floyd Warmann to a Police Commissioner? I seriously doubt it. 

The Al Kerth Tribute Series 

I must have been out of town, when Al Kerth committed suicide. I haven't read the Post's multi-part tribute to him, either. A source of mine, however, said he was astounded by the column inches devoted to the PR man's obit. Then he told me who wrote it -- Richard Weiss. Weiss is a bigshot editor down at the Post. He was also Kerth's next door neighbor. How do I know this? I have my sources. Now why should a guy's next door neighbor write the obit? He's biased. More importantly, does the average reader of the Post know that Kerth's next door neighbor wrote the stories? Of course not. This is just one more example of how the Post plays insider politics even with dead guys.

Telegraph to Martin, County Beat Reporter 

County Exec Charlie Dooley's appointment of Floyd Warmann to the County police board is subject to approval by the County Council at the Feb. 3 County Council meeting. Warmann has been dodging his creditor John Foley of Interim Holdings in Omaha, Neb. for years. Warmann's longtime "business" associate is Julia Von Wellen. Von Wellen's former name is Dorthoy Ann Pyron. Dorthoy Ann Pyron has a record dating back to the 70s in St. Louis County for aiding and abetting prostitution. Caveat: Your editors don't want to touch this. They might actually have get off their dead asses for a change. [See earlier Media Mayhem entry for background on Warmann's career.]

The "Presidential" Issue 

Following his third-place finish in the Iowa caucauses Monday night, Democratic candidate Howard Dean gave a fiery stump speech to his loyal supporters at a Des Moines hotel. Truth be told he ranted, listing the litany of states where he will do battle against the status quo during the coming primary season. The establishment press and D.C. pundits have glommed onto this bit of bravado and have been flogging Dean about it for the last 48 hours. This they say is proof of Howard Dean's temper. Howard Dean, they say, is unstable. Howard Dean is a member of the radical whacko fringe.

My response: It's good to have you on board, Howard. Have you ever noticed that the most articulate candidates, the ones that actually say something, are the the same ones who are labeled by the press as being "angry" or "unpresidential?" Gone now is Missouri's favorite son Dick Gephardt, who articulated the bread and butter issues too well. I suppose Gephardt and Dean sniped at each other until the good citizens of Iowa decided on a more moderate voice of reason, John Kerry. To date, Dennis Kucinich has been the favorite whipping boy, of course. Now the frontrunner, Dean, has been added to the fold. In between these two are the middle-of-the roaders.

Kerry, the torch-bearer for the old, liberal, Northeastern wing of the Democratic Party will be lucky to carry New Hampshire next week let alone a single Southern state. Look what happened the last time the Democrats nominated a New Englander to go after a Bush. Michael Dukakis lost in a landslide in 1988. This leaves Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a Southern populist, as one of the most viable Democratic candidates. Edwards like Clinton possesses the kind of salesman-like personality capable of winning voter approval. We know he's just a politician telling us what we want to hear, but he has a nice smile -- and he doesn't rant.

Bush's Ties to Nugan-Hand and BCCI Scandals 

The following was excerpted from a story by Stephen Pizzo, which first appeared in the September 1991 issue of Mother Jones.

George W. Bush, Jr.
None of George Bush's offspring is more his father's son than George W. Bush. George Jr., or "Shrub" as Molly Ivins refers to him, began his own Texas oil career in the mid-1970s when he formed Bush Exploration. Like the business dealings of his brothers, George's company was not a success, and it was rescued in 1983 by another oil company, Spectrum 7, run by several staunch and well-heeled Reagan-Bush supporters. But by mid-1986, a soft oil market found Spectrum also near bankruptcy.

Many oil companies went belly-up during that time. But Spectrum had one asset the others lacked -- the son of the vice-president. Rescue came in 1986 in the form of Harken Energy, just in the nick of time. Harken absorbed Spectrum, and, in the process, Junior got $600,000 worth of Harken stock in return for his Spectrum shares. He also won a lucrative consulting contract and stock options. In all, the deal would put well over $1 million in his pocket over the next few years -- even though Harken itself lost millions.

Harken Energy was formed in l973 by two oilmen who would benefit from a successful covert effort to destabilize Australia's Labor Party government (which had attempted to shut out foreign oil exploration). A decade later, Harken was sold to a new investment group
headed by New York attorney Alan G. Quasha, a partner in the firm of Quasha, Wessely & Schneider. Quasha's father, a powerful attorney in the Philippines, had been a staunch supporter of then-president Ferdinand Marcos. William Quasha had also given legal advice to
two top officials of the notorious Nugan Hand Bank in Australia, a CIA operation.

After the sale of Harken Energy in 1983, Alan Quasha became a director and chairman of the board. Under Quasha, Harken suddenly absorbed Junior's struggling Spectrum 7 in 1986. The merger immediately opened a financial horn of plenty and reversed Junior's fortunes. But like
his brother Jeb, Junior seemed unconcerned about the characters who were becoming his benefactors. Harken's $25 million stock offering in 1987, for example, was underwritten by a Little Rock, Arkansas, brokerage house, Stephens, Inc., which placed the Harken stock offering with the London subsidiary of Union Bank -- a bank that had surfaced in the scandal that resulted in the downfall of the Australian Labor government in 1976 and, later, in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal. (It was also Union Bank, according to congressional hearings on international money laundering, that helped the now-notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International skirt Panamanian money-laundering laws by flying cash out of the country in private jets, and that was used by Ferdinand Marcos to stash 325 tons of Philippine gold around the world.)

Stephens, Inc., also helped introduce the BCCI virus into US banking in 1978 when it arranged the sale of Bert Lance's National Bank of Georgia to BCCI front man Ghaith Pharoan. (The head of Stephens, Inc., Jackson Stephens, is a member of President Bush's exclusive "Team 100," a group of 249 wealthy individuals who have contributed at least $100,000 each to the GOP's presidential-campaign committee.)

If any of these associations raised questions in the mind of George Bush, Jr., he had little incentive to voice them. ....

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Comish 

Some Things Never Change
Sources tell Media Mayhem that County Exec Dooley has appointed Floyd Warmann to a three-year term on the County Police Board. Warmann will take the place of his bro Gene, who is ill. Floyd and his param our Julia Von Wellen, aka, Dorthoy Ann Pyron, have both had long, checkered careers. Why would Dooley appoint a sleeze like this to the police board? Nobody at the Post will even ask the question let alone investigate it.

Floyd's bio
In 1964 Warmann joined the staff of Warren Hearnes, who was then running for Missouri governor. After Hearnes took office, Warmann became his chief administrative assistant. Press accounts from the time describe the 31-year-old aide as a savvy, c igar-chomping insider who often attended social functions in the company of attractive female
companions. More important were reports that Warmann maintained de facto control over the state's patronage system and its hundreds of jobs. As the governor's right-hand man, Warmann developed into a masterful behind-the-scenes negotiator and consummate deal-maker, learning skills that have served him ever since.

Although his back-channel ways have been effective, they have also at times stirred controversy. At least two grand juries subpoenaed Warmann -- as a witness, not a target -- as part of investigations into corruption within Hearnes' scandal-ridden administration. By the time the second grand jury was empaneled, Warmann had left government and return ed to the private sector, becoming a partner in Total Communications Inc., an advertising, public-relations and management-consulting firm. Then, in 1972, he inherited Warmann Oil Co. on the death of his father, Gus Warmann.

After taking over leadershi p of the company, Warmann expanded operations. By the end of the decade, with a branch office in Houston, Warmann's Missouri Terminal Oil Co. supplied 26 independent MoTer gasoline stations in the St. Louis area. The company's tanks on the St. Louis river f ron t had the capacity to store almost 9 million gallons of gasoline. The facility also had the added advantage of being hooked directly to a pipeline running from Lake Charles, La., to Chicago. Besides the oil trade, Warmann has dabbled in a variety of other enterprises over the years, ranging from nursing homes to restaurants. Warmann's corporations also own a long list of commercial and residential real estate. One of his companies, St. Louis Concessions, moored a barge on the riverfront below the Ga te way Arch that was home to a Burger King. Warmann's floating tourist attraction also included a World War II-vintage minesweeper and a heliport. He paid the city of St. Louis an annual fee of just over $3,000 to
lease the site, less money than a typical city resident shells out to lease a Dogtown apartment for a year.

But by 1992, Warmann found himself in dire financial straits. His businesses were on the skids. Two of his oil firms were sold to a holding company controlled by one of his lawyers, and Warmann Oil Co., the mothership, filed for bankruptcy. Boatmen's Bank then sued Warmann to recover $1.7 million in debt. At the same time, Warmann allegedly reneged on a $500,000 real-estate loan from First Exchange Bank. The Cape Girardeau-based thrift h ad established itself as a high-stakes player in St. Louis in the wake of the savings-and-loan debacle of the 1980s, snapping up the assets of failed financial institutions. Before long, the bank's two local branches were themselves doling out questionable loans to homebuilders and commercial developers. After homebuilder James P. Davis -- a political donor and campaign manager for St. Louis County Executive George "Buzz" Westfall -- became chairman of one of the St. Louis branches, he approved millions of dollars' worth of loans to companies in which he had interests. When the FDIC finally took over First Exchange in 1992, it cost the government insurer an estimated $250 million. Although Warmann was not accused of wrongdoing, the collapse remains the l argest bank failure in state history. After the U.S. attorney for eastern Missouri announced a string of indictments, two of the bank's officers -- a husband and wife -- died almost immediately in an apparent murder-suicide pact. Another First Exchange executive later hung himself with an electrical cord while serving time in federal prison.

Bush Lies Out His Ass 

Why on earth are the idiots in Congress applauding this moron? Norway and El Salvador have committed troops to Iraq. Yeah, we got a real coalition, fellow Americans. Don't forget the Pacific Island of Palau.

Kiss My Pink German-Irish Ass, Mr. Lacey 

Crumpling a Paper Tiger: Part I

Mike Lacey, the executive editor of New Times Inc., likes to act the part of a bad ass, priding himself for barroom brawling more than journalistic excellence.

From his personal behavior to the way that h is corporation treats its employees, it's clear that New Times is a company that values power and greed above all else.

Since taking over the Riverfront Times
in 1999, Lacey's corporate style has been responsible for a 100 percent turnov er in the news staff. The list is long. And many of those who left were fired without notice. This is a pattern often repeated at the dozen New Times papers across the country. To say that Mr. Lacey doesn't give a shit about the lives of the people who w o rk at New Times would be an understatement.

One of the means by which New Times reporters are often fired is the company quota system, which requires that each reporter write 12 long features and an equal number of short features each year. In many ca s es, it is impossible for the entire staff to meet this goal simply because there's not enough room in the newspaper to fit all these stories. The quota system also gives the company an excuse not to give raises, too. This allows the upper management, i nc lu di ng Lacey, to get paid hefty six-figure salaries. In 1995, a internal company document showed that Lacey made $300,000 that year. I'm sure he's given himself several raises since then. One of the many contradictions at New Times is that Lacey hims elf fa lls far short of his own standards. For one, he wouldn't know a news story if it bit him on the ass. Secondly, this guy can barely write a declarative sentence let alone string together a paragraph. But more revealing his Lacey's own output. New Ti mes edi tor s, including the company's executive editor, are expected to contribute copy themselves. In the last 11 years, more than a decade, Mr. Lacey has written a total of 59 news items. When New Times fired me after a two-year with the RFT I had writ ten 49 items.

Here's what others have had to say about New Times and Lacey:

The Nation, July 29, 1998
Reporters throughout the chain say privately that a climate of ear pervades the company. "When they want to get rid of someone, they just come in and lop their head off," says one. "Boom! One day he's there; the next he's gone. Everybody sees the way people leave, and there's a long-term erosion of morale. That's part of the corporate theos here. In fact, it is anti-alternative in terms of it c las sic c orporate structure. It's top down, unlike many independently owned papers that are run in a more democratic fashion.

Michael Lacey has certainly developed a reputation for the type of crass outbursts more often associated with old-time tyrants lik e William Randolph Hearst than with do-gooder weeklies. He derides those he fires as "deadwood."

American Journalism Review
Lacey has also imposed a quota system, requiring most writers to author one cover-length story as well as a few shor ter p ieces. Staffers says the workload can be gruleing -- a far cray from what most daily reporters imagine life is like at a weekly alternative.

"It's a grind," says Jim Schutze, a former Houston Chroniclereporter who now writes for the Da llas Observer. "The standard is fairly demanding in terms of what reporting we need to do." But he adds, it's also rewarding.

Some former staffers maintain the pace is intentially breaknekc to keep reporters fearful: Most don't want their names used, but they say th e qu ota system creates a sword-of-Damocles effect that stifles good work rather than encourages it. And though reporters often are hired at salaries competitive with those of dailies, not meeting quotas can mean no raise.

Others talk of sudden, inexplicable firings that make surviving reporters wonder who's next. But New Times editors point out that small operations like theirs can't afford deadwood. If you can't delvier, you're out.

"In any organization there's going to be disagree ment," Lacey says. "In some instances, I think that there are bitter feelings because it didn't work out. And, you know, how does any ballplayer feel when they've been sent back to the minors?"

That about sums up the Mr. Lacey's mentality. He uses a spor t analogy to describe the New Times' news operation. Believe me, the firings at New Times papers have less to do with "deadwood" then they do Mr. Lacey's thick head. As for going back to the minor leagues, that's exactly where Mr. Lacey sent the RFT. Look at it. It's vaccuous. There's nothing there. The reader is lucky if there's one decent story a month and you can count on that one being less than timely because it takes six weeks for the writer to report and write the 5,000 to 10,0000 word piece, the required length o f a New Times cover story. The reporters that manage to stick around aren't necessarily doing good work or meeting the quota, either. Their longevity can be attributed to kissing ass and stabbing backs. But it's just a matter of time before the cannibalizing New Times system catches up with them, too.

Notes From the Underworld 

Reporter's Notebook

Throughout the 80s and early 90s, private eye/mercenary Joe Adams would be mentioned in Jerry Berger's column like he was a celebrity. Jerry's such a naughty boy.
The Post didn't seem to care that Adams had been a minor player in the Iran-Contr a scandal and before that a federal informant and before that a cocaine trafficker. Adams was fined $50 for invading Nicaragua, which was a violation of the U.S. Nuetrality Act. It is illegal for private citizens to engage in acts of war against sovereign nations. Around the same t ime, I got a parking ticket for double parking in front of the downtown post office, which I forgot to pay on time. By the time I did pay the ticket, it cost me more than what Adam's was fined for organizing Indians in the jungle to fight the Sandinistas. Here's a few notes on Adam's background as a snitch and "bodyguard" for CIA puppet Aldolfo Calero. Note: I was in the Boy Scouts with Lou Berry, one of the narcs who handled Adams. It's small world, ain't it?

To: Safir
From: C.D.’s dustbin


Notes based on Adams’ testimony in the 1984 trial of Bayard Spector. Spector was set up by Adams.

Adams acted as a federal informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1984. As a part of being a snitch, he testified against Bayard Spector, then a 31-year-old Miami record chain owner. The U.S. attorney’s office in St. Louis cut a deal with Adams, which essentially let him off the hook for his own cocaine trafficking. In exchange, Adams was never even arrested. Spector’s defense attorney, Ronald Dresnick, questioned the legality of the agreement between the government and Adams.

Spector’s trial took place in September 1984. By December, Adams was again in Miami. This time he was associating with Jack Terrell and Tom Posey, two mercenaries who headed Civilian Military Assistance, an Alabama based paramilitary operation engaged in the support of the Contras in Nicaragua.

A federal jury found Spector guilty and he was sentenced to 11 years i n prison.

Irl B. Baris, a criminal defense attorney from St. Louis, was also a part of Spector’s defense team.

Spector’s Miami attorney, Dresnick , was listed as having an address of 4770 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fl., 3313 4. His phone number in 1984 was (305) 573-4400.

When Spector filed for a new trial in 1989, Clayton attorney, Arthur S. Margulis, represented him

Spector’s co-defendants in the case were: George Kelly, Vinson Rood, Phillip Rima and Bruce Cohen,
aka, Bruce Copelan.

The court set Spector’s bail at $5 million.

The trial was set for July 2, 1984, but was delayed.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Debra Herzog prosecuted the case
After exhausting his defense attempts, the court ordered Spector to report to Leavenworth on Feb. 2, 1987

On Jan. 9, 1989, Spector asked for a new trial based upon new evidence that had previously been sealed. A civil case, asking that the conviction be overturned was filed in Spector’s behalf in 1991. At that time, Spector was represented by Thomas M. Dawson of Leavenworth, Kan. Dawson’s address is 2300 S. 4th St., Leavenworth, Kan., 66048. His phone number is (913) 6821-5331. The request was turned down by the original trial judge, Edward L. Fillippine of the 8th District of Eastern Missouri.

Spector was also represented by another Miami attorney Samuel J. Smargon.

Spector’s efforts for a new trial were denied by U.S. Magistrate Catherine D. Perry on July 2, 1993.

Spector’s plea at that time includes an affidavit from one of the co conspirators in the trial, Bruce Copeland. Copeland states that Spector was not involved in the cocaine deal and had no knowledge of the crime.

At the original trial, Joseph S. Adams testified that he was a “collector” and bodyguard for drug dealers. Adams testified that his role involved :”planting the seed” that people in St. Louis needed drugs.

George Kelly told Adams that he and Phillip Rima could provide 25 kilos to Adams. Bayard Spector’s name didn’t come up during these conversations in April 1984, Adams testified.

Copelan wanted $200,000 up front to go through with the sale, according to Adam’s testimony.

Bob Craig, an employee at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, testified that he had a business appointment with Spector on May 2, 1984. Telephon e records show that the appointment with Craig was made before any contact between Kelly and Spector.

The defense asked George Kelly about Spector’s involvement. Here is the exact question and response:

Q: It’s not your testimony is it that Bayard Spector ever saw, touched felt or had anything to do with that cocaine?

A: I never said he did.

Spector’s case is number (89) S1-84-94-CR (2)
The district court’s decision was upheld on appeal on Nov. 3, 1989
The defense claimed that Spector had been entr apped by Adams, who was working as a confidential informant for numerous federal agencies, including the DEA.

The defense cited two cases to support its case. One was the Dailey decision of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts the other was the Wat erman decision in the 11th Circuit.

Spector’s attorney, Dresnick, took exception to the terms of the government’s agreement with Adams, which in part read:
“The government will carefully and in good faith consider and evaluated Mr. Adams’ cooperation and the information he provides in making its determination whether or not to reduce or forgo some or all of the aforementioned maximum charges and imprisonment exposure.”

The government must have decided that Adams did a good job, because he never served one day.

Another of Spector’s attorneys, Paul Rashkind of Miami, stated:
“It’s clear that this is an agreement that provides Joe Adams with two things, a guarantee and a contingency. He has a guarantee if he’s cooperative and truthful that a number of charges will not be brought and his exposure is limited and contingent that if he’s successful in solving crimes and the government is successful in prosecuting, he may suffer even less penalty and there may be none at all.”

According to U.S. Assistant Attorney Debra Herzog, Adams had worked as an informant in five federal cases by the fall of 1984. “He’s only peripherally involved with this particular defendant in this case,” Herzog said.

“The problem,” continued He rzog, “is Mr. Adams is still active ly working with the government in cases that are pending and other cases that he has participated in are cases are still open.”

This statement indicates that Adams may have very well been working with the government as an informant in the Contra resupply operation or related guns or drug smuggling.

Herzog defended the government’s agreement with Adams by saying that his freedom was tied to his ability to provide valuable information: “The more important we deem tha t information and cooperation, the
more likely the reduction of charges and his sentencing risk,” Herzog said.

Rushkind questioned the governments agreement with Adams by saying that it set a dangerous precedent. “It has never been keyed to the government’s success, that’s the part that violates due process,” said Rushkind.

DEA agent Luss is mentioned by Rushkind on page 31 of the pre-trial motions?

The Jenck’s Act is mentioned repeatedly.

At least one audio tape exists that has to do with Adams and his role as informant in the Spector case. That tape includes a phone conversation that took place between Adams and George Kelly. Adams called Kelly from the Atlanta airport. The tape also includes Adams talking to himself.

The court transcript also includes the testimony of Norman Hausfater, a St. Louis wholesale record distributor who knew Spector. Court testimony shows that the Spector family owned 18 record stores in Florida.

Adam operated a security consulting business in Miami called G-2 Enterprises. The slogan that appeared on Adams’ business card was: “Survival Needs No Apologies.”

Adams said his other business interests included the renting of athletic equipment in St. Louis.

Attorney Ronald Dresnick asked, “Would it be fair to say that most of your clients are drug dealers?”

Adams replied: “Oh, yes.”

The two DEA agents in charge of handling Adams were Archie Luss and Tom Robinson.

Dresnick asked Adams: “Did this investigation of yours have anything to do with stolen airplanes or stolen airplane parts?

Adams said, “no.”

“Do you know anything about stolen airplanes?” asked Dresnick.

“That was a case I put together,” said Adams.

At one point, Adams stated: “I don’t trust the government, I trust Tom Dittmei r.” Dittmeirr was U.S. attorney in St. Louis at the time and gave Adams his get-out-jail-free card on Dec. 27, 1983. The letter is actually signed by Assisant U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan.

As a part of the Spector drug sting, Adams wore a Kel-set device, a wireless transmitter that the DEA agents then recorded from a nearby van.

Adams arranged for the bust at the Marriott Hotel in downtown St. Louis. He rented the presidential suite for the occassion.

As a part of the operation, DEA agent Dean Dempsey and electronic technician George Jenkins listened in from the van. Spector himself stayed at another St. Louis hotel, the Bel Air Hilton in room 507

The agent who arrested Spector found a hotel key and matchbook from the Bel Air in his possession. Meanwhile, a blue Samsonite suitcase was seized from room 1414 of yet another St. Louis hotel, the Rodeway at Jefferson and Market.

A local television station was brought in to videotape the bust and had some advance knowledge of the arrest. This was brought up as a reason to dismiss the charges against Spector, but Judge Fillippine denied the motion.

Still another of Spector’s attorney has a last name of (Richard) Sindell.
DEA agent Thomas Robinson denied intimidating Spector in his pre-trial testimony, which took place on June 26, 1984.

When asked under oath, Adams denied working for the CIA, although he admitted working for other federal agencies including, DEA, FBI, Customs, ATF, and IRS.

Adams testified on Sept. 20, 1984. He became involved with Terrell a few short months later.

Dresnick asked for a mistrial based on thfact that Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Herzog questioned Adams about the morning’s cross examination during lunch break.

It was brought out during the trial that DEA agent Robinson told Adams to lay off the Red Metrik ATF entrapment until after Spector was busted. The last name of the ATF agent involved in that case was “Lewis.”

“I ha d to do what (DEA agent) Tom Robinson said,” testified Adams. “The other agencies told me in the office, only if it’s ok with Tom Robinson.”

Marcy was the name of a Canadian courier associated with Adams.

Ada ms named Bruce Cohen as the person who provi ded cocaine to the “jet set.”

Adams indicated that Valenti’s restaurant was a known hangout for drug pushers. Other hangouts included the Rainbow Lounge and the Eclipse Lounge in Miami.

Dresnick asked whether Adams had ever seen him at Valenti’s. He ask ed whether Adams’ was saying everybody who ate at Valenti’s was a drug dealer. Adams said they weren’t all drug dealers. During this series of questions and answers Dresnick asked -- “Do you remember seeing Jim Ryder, the chairman of the board of Ryder Trucks or the ex-chairman of the board at Ryder Trucks?”

“Where is he from?” asked Adams

“Eating at Valenti’s. From Miami,” said Dresnick.
The questioning then moves to events that transpired in St. Louis.

“Do you remember seeing (DEA agent) Tom Robinson on the night of the 24th of April?” asked Dresnick.

“Oh, yes, sir, at the Edge Restaurant,” answered Adams.
The Edge is a known mafia hangout in St. Louis.

Hank Pyla is mentioned as being anothe r of the DEA agents involved in the Spector case

Adams met with U.S. Attorney Thomas Dittmier in December 1983.

Louis Berry is one of the St. Louis police detectives assigned to the DEA task force that worked on the case. His partner was Terrence Sloan.

The Issue of National Security 

In his victory speech last night, Sen. John Kerry told supporters in Iowa that if George Bush wants to make an issue of national security during the presidential campaign, let him "bring it on." Kerry was challenging the president on supposedly his strong est suit. But as the former committee chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry has knowledge of the events leading up to 9/11. Consider the testimony of congressional inves tigator Jack Blum, who was called before Kerry's committee:

Narcotics and Foreign Policy Implications of the BCCI Affair
Thursday, Aug. 1, 1991

... Senataor Cranston: There have been allegations that Argentina during its military rule and Libya unde r Qadhafi, and Pakistan used BCCI in their efforts to construct a nuclear device. Do you have any information on that?

Mr. Blum: I don't, but again, the people involved in BCCI who I have talked to, have suggested that was probably the case. They don't have firsthand knowledge. What has to happen is this has to be proved through. We have to get those bank people. They have to be put under oath and they have to be givenen the opportunity to thell the story.

I think we are going to find out an awful lot. Look, I was told in one meeting about BCCI helping finance and ship scud missiles from North Korea to Syria; assist in the movement of Chinese silkwork missiles from China to the Middle East; hangle the financing and the payoffs involved in the purchase of Chinese armaments in many parts of the world.

I found it extraordinary that the Government of China and apparently it had to have been the Government of China, intervened to bllock the closing of the Hong Kong branch of BCCI ...

Senator Cranston: yo u mentioned that a faction of the Afghanistan guerrillas, the Majahadeen were involved in heroin traffikcing. Could you tell us which factions were?

Mr Blum: again this is from people who are involved in it, but I don't have firsthand knowledge. It is th e faction controlled by Hecmonti Ar, which is the faction we have supported. There has been some reporting on that. I think there should be a lot more.

Senator Cranston: Can you tell us anything you know about BCCI's relationship, if there was one, to n arcotics trafficking next door to Afghanistan -- in Pakistan and in China?

Mr. Blum: It is very hard to say except that the people I talked to at the bank, again, one who was a particpate in the black unit, said the branch networks in China were establis hed to service the needs of people who were smuggling heroin out of southern China. BCCI was one of the very few private banks operating in southern China.

As far as relationships in Pakistan, people have said that that is the core of the matter, and th a we should be looking at an investigative matter, about the links between the bank, the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani military, and particularly the links with the money we have expended in support of the war in Afghanistan, through that military.

Senator Cranston: Given the revelations that were made yesterday by Senator Kerry concerning CIA knowledge of BCCI activities, and looking in retropect, what do you think was the relationship between BCCI and U.S. Govenment agencies, including the CI A and any others?

Mr. Blum: Senator, I am very terribly reluctant to speculate about who and which and how. I know that there are many people, particularly at the CIA who thought very badly of this organization.

Whether there were other intelligence peo ple who were involved in it is very hard to sort out, however, we can say that there are links back to what appear to have been the old network that was being run out of the NSC, and whether that continued, whether there is information in this bank that that networkd continued, I can't answer but I think it is a matter of serious inquiry. ...

Monday, January 19, 2004

True Colors 

New Times Inc., the owner of the Riverfront Times, considers Martin Luther King Day, a half-day holiday. Half-day. This further prooves that Mike Lacey, the "executive" editor of New Times, is half a man. Mr. Lacey, you're no Ray Hartmann.

My MLK Movie 

Oliver Stone's film crew will have to tear down that new wall on top of Art Hill to film the opening scene

Veiled Profits
by C.D. Stelzer, copyright 2004


The camera slowly crosses the frozen basin and ascends a snowy hill crowded with sledders .CREDITS roll.

At the summit, a bonfire blazes, heatwaves blurring the images of those huddled around it. SOUNDS of revelry. The silouhette of the statue of St. Louis looms in the background. A young couple (college-aged) at the edge of the illuminated fire ring wander into the shadows, embracing. At the base of the statue, (CLOSEUP)they kiss. In the chill air, their breath is visible.

The camera then focuses on a noisy-dirty-white 1965 Chevrolet sedan that appears on the street behind the lovers. The woman gasps at the SOUND of the car doors slamming. Three men quickly exit the vehicle (oblivious to the couple) and walk with deliberate speed towards the museum entrance. They are dressed similarly : Vietnam-era Army fatigue jackets, bluejeans and ski masks. One of the men carries a 16-pound sledge hammer. A DATELINE appears at the bottom of the screen: Sunday Jan. 29, 1978, 10:30 p.m. CST.

SOUNDS of broken glass can be heard and moments later the trio of burglars reappear from the darkness carrying four statuettes. One of the men brushes chards of glass off the sleeve of his coat as they nonchalently amble back to the car, which is idling noisily, a plume of exhaust fumes roiling from its tailpipe. After the thieves awkwardly pile into the vehicle, the driver slowly pulls away.


The three burglars remove their ski masks revealing themselves to be young to middle-aged black men. One or more of them have 1970s-style Afro haircuts.

Jesus fuckin’ Christ, I got glass in my shoe, man.

Shut the fuck up Crenshaw, this was your idea. Byers better have have all of the money upfront for this gig, you hear what I’m
saying, nigger?

Don’t fuckin’ worry about it, dude. You’ll get your cut. Hey, slow the fuck down, Gunn. I don’t want no motherfuckin’ pigs jumpin’ our ass before we even get outa the park.

Whatever you say, motherfucker. I wish you never would have talked
me into this shit, man. Ain’t no goddamn pawn shop from here to Kansas City goin’ buy this shit, man. It be way too hot to touch. We’re fucked.

Be cool, be cool, bro. Byers already got a buyer lined up. That honky knows more greedy rich folks than your sorry ass could ever dream. Now lets just get the fuck out here. I gotta call up the man and see what he wants done next. As for you, White (turning to the man next to him in the back seat), if you don’t keep your motherfuckin’ mouth shut, you gonna get more than you bargained for. Byers ain’t nobody to fuck with. Him and all those other bastards are seriously cold blooded. I shit you not.

I can’t understand why anybody would buy this shit anyway (holding up the Remmington broze , Bronco Buster) . Come on, gimme a sip of that Mad Dog, Crenshaw. It should be on the floor of the backseat, man.

No fuckin’ way, man. You ain’t drinkin’ no motherfuckin hooch tonight, motherfucker. Now drive like your life depended on it, or I just might fuck you up my ownself.

The interior of the club house is opulent. A waiter approaches a table of civic and business leaders. From the clutter of glasses on the tabletop, it is clear that many of the men have been drinking heavily since finishing their golf games late that afternoon. They are wearing cartigan sweaters and many, if not all, are silver-haired.

Phone call for you, sir.

(Obviously annoyed) Is it my wife?

No, sir. It is gentleman. I’m sorry, sir, he didn’t give his name.

Very well, John, I’ll take it at the bar. Please excuse me, gentlemen. I’ll be back shortly. John, please see that my friends here are provided with another round of drinks.

The businessman walks to the nearby bar and picks up a phone.

Yes, what is it? (pause, then lowers voice, and glances toward the bartender, who appears not to be listening) Didn’t I tell you never to call me hear, Mr. Byers. I am in the company of Judge Webster right now, for Christ sake. (pause) I don’t care, if you are acquainted with the judge or not. You are not to call me at the club, again. Do you understand?

MLK Day Tribute 

St. Louis Scenes -- the movie in my head

A two-family flat at 1115 Claytonia Terrace in Richmond Heights: The site of the 1979 car-bombing death of convicted contract murderer John Paul Spica. Spica met James Earl Ray while serving a life sentence at the Missouri Penitentiary. Spica's brother-in-law Russell Byers, a suspect in two 1978 Art Museum burglaries, testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he received a $50,000 contract offer to assassinate the Rev. Martin Luther King from two St. Louis businessmen in 1966 or 1967. Spica met his violent death within a year of congressional investigators interviewing him about his brother-in-law's allegations.

The Bluff Acres Motel in Barnhart: The motel on Highway 67 in Jefferson County was owned by the late John Kauffmann, one of two bussinessmen implicated by Russell Byers in a conspiracy to murder the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The other businessman named in congressional testimony by Byers was John H. Sutherland, a prominent patent attorney in St. Louis and a neighbor of Kauffmann. Kauffmann, a retired stock broker, was convicted on 1968 charges of selling anphetemines along with several others, including a Jefferson County deputy sheriff.

The Missouri Penitentiary: Spica and James Earl Ray were housed in the same cell block and worked together for a time in the prison hospital. Both were alleged in newspaper accounts to have dealt drugs inside the prison. The prison doctor -- Hugh W. Maxey -- was a close friend of John Kauffmann. Kauffmann was arrested for anphetemine sales shortly before James Earl Ray escaped from prison. The head of the Missouri Department of Corrections was Fred Wilkinson, a former federal prison official with ties to the CIA. In 1962, Wilkinson exchanged a Soviet spy for U-2 pilot Gary Powers.

The Grapevine tavern at 1982 Arsenal St.: In 1968, the Grapevine tavern was operated by John Larry Ray, the brother of James Earl Ray. The tavern was near the campaign headquarters of the American Party and a meeting place for party workers who supported George Wallace's racist presidential candidacy. John Sutherland, the patent attorney who Byers named as the man who offered him the contract to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King, was a Wallace supporter.

O'Shea's Bar in Dogtown: Norm Journey the owner of O'Shea's wasacquitted of federal charges relating to a 1972 jewelry robberyof an antique store on Maryland Plaza. The owner of the antique store was John Juwer, a civilian St. Louis Police Department employee convicted of embezzlement in the early 1960s. A friend of Juwer's -- Richard O'Hara -- was arrested as a participant in the crime. O'Hara is named by the Assassinations Committee as the FBI informant who intially told authorities of Byers' claim of being offered a bounty on King's life.

Journey was said in news accounts to be an associate of steamfitter Tom Callanan, who had both legs blown off in a car bombing in the early 1970s. Ray served time in Leavenworth with his father, steamfitters boss Lawrence Callanan, and asked for assistance from the union strongman after being convicted of murdering King.

Before and during Journey's trial, his uncle Kelso Journey,a circuit judge from Clinton, Mo. interviewed witnesses and frequently consulted with Journey's attorney, Murry Randall.

One jury member in the Journey trial, Mortimer J. Reilly, had political connections to the steamfitter. He is alleged to have persuaded the panel's veridict, leading to Journey's acquittal.

State and federal investigations were conducted in the aftermath of the trial because of these irregularities. The judge who presided over the questionable trial -- William Webster -- would be named FBI chief a few years later at the the same time the Assassintion Committee was holding its public hearing on the King murder.

Wanna Bet? 

When I call up Sister Ruth at the Notre Dame convent down in Lemay, she's going to tell me that nine out of ten nuns oppose the idea of Pinnacle Entertainment putting a casino in next to their living quarters. The Sunday Post reported that the nuns suddenly approved of a casino plan, which the county has been floating unsuccessfully for years. My hunch is that the Post reporter relied exclusively on some bogus press release put out by Pinnacle or the word of some lying, casino PR hack The Sisters of Notre Dame probably weren't even called.

Meanwhile, the Post continues to ignore an important regulatory issue concerning Pinnacle's past practices. In 2001, the Indiana Gaming Commission fined the gambling company a couple mil for promoting prostitution at its casino in southern Indiana. This issue, of course, is now relevant to the circumstances in St. Louis. Last week, St. Louis city officials approved Pinnacle as the operator of a proposed new casino on the riverfront.

Here's another point that's being ignored by the Post: For the last 10 years, Pinnacle supposedly has held an option to buy part of the land it is now considering developing for a casino. Has anybody checked the property records? Does Pinnacle have any local partners onboard? Much of this may have been reported ten years ago, but the Post reporter doesn't look in the newspaper morgue to see what background already is available in-house on Pinnacle. What's Pinnacle's history?

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