Thursday, February 19, 2004

A Letter to Mark Lane 

The Riverfront Times
The weekly newspaper of St. Louis
contributing writer C.D. Stelzer

April 9, 1997

Mark Lane, esq.
105 2nd St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

Dear Mr. Lane:

As discussed in our telephone conversat ion this morning, I am sending you a copy of my story on the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations.

In brief, the article focuses on the HSCA theory that a St. Louis-based conspiracy existed to assassinate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among the reasons given to doubt the HSCA findings are these:

* Congressional investigator Conrad “Pete” Baetz had previously served in the Army Security Agency, an intelligence organization devoted to electronic surveillance, which included spying on civil rights organizations.

* The HSCA employed a former FBI informant, Oliver Patterson, who later admitted engaging in illegal activities.

* The HSCA testimony of Judge Murry Randall, a former criminal defense attorney for Morris Shenker’s law firm. Randall wrote to the chairman of the committee expressing fear for his life.

* The murder of Sam E White, a suspect in the 1978 St. Louis Art Museum burglaries and a criminal associate of Russell Byers, a HSCA witness.

* After his 1967 prison escap e, James Earl Ray traveled directly to St. Louis and met with a known contract killer, Joe Burnett, according to James Earl Ray’s brother, John Ray. James Earl Ray then went to East St. Louis and stayed at an illegal gambling den operated by Frank “Buster” Wortman, a representative of the Chicago mafia.


C.D. Stelzer

Touring Abbie's Last Hideout 

Changing Channels
Another Fight Over the Future of the St. Lawrence Seaway Looms

by C.D. Stelzer

As the excursion boat traverses the Gananoque narrows, a pre-recorded voice launches into the history of the area, while sightseers lean against the ship's rails and gaze in awe at the unfolding scenery. The voyage zigzags past island after island: Spits of land with granite outcropping and larger islands lined with summer cottages; cabins cloaked by spruce and castles rising from the shore. Vistas of green and blue drift by, merging earth, sky and water.

Tourists have been drawn to the beauty of the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River for a long time. Beginning in the mid-19th Century, American tycoons built palatial resort homes throughout the 50-mile-long archipelago. The Astors and the Pullmans were followed by 20th Century entertainers and artists. Singer Kate Smith rested her pipes here. Crooner Arthur Godfrey came to escape the rigors of his network TV show. Irving Berlin composed Always at his island retreat.

Because the St. Lawrence acts as the boundary between the United States and Canada, island lore is also steeped in tales of assorted rumrunners, rebels and rouges. In the period following the War of 1812, pirates preyed on the British fleet. According to legend, a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination was murdered on Maple Island in 1865. During Prohibition, bootleggers used the islands as a haven for smuggling operations.

On board the excursion boat, the recorded raconteur recounts all these stories and more. One name conspicuously absent from the list, however, is the late Abbie Hoffman, who hid out on Wellesley Island from 1976 to 1980. Assuming the identity of environmentalist Barry Freed, the fugitive, anti-war activist organized opposition to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to open the St. Lawrence Seaway to wintertime navigation with the use of Coast Guard icecutters. If carried out, the project could have destroyed wildlife habitat and caused irrevocable damage to the fragile river ecology. Once reviled by the powers that be, the 1960s anti-establishment icon won accolades as Freed from President Jimmy Carter, New York Gov. Hugh Carey and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. More importantly, Save the River, Hoffman's grassroots campaign, succeeded in stopping the plan.

More than a quarter century after Hoffman's efforts, the Corps is now studying a larger scale project that Save the River and other environmental group believe could have even more catastrophic consequences.

In May, The U.S. Department of Transportation and its Canadian counterpart approved the second phase of a 30-month, $20 million study to determine the future of the 43-year-old St. Lawrence Seaway and the entire Great Lakes transportation system.

The ongoing analysis, which received $1.5 million in funding from Congress this year, is considering enlarging 15 locks and deepening shipping channels to allow 1,000-foot ocean-going container vessels to travel more than 2,300 miles inland, from the Atlantic Ocean as far west as Duluth, Minn. The cost of completing the renovation over the next two decades is estimated at $10 billion.

Influential shipping and business interests in the U.S. and Canada argue such improvements will spur economic growth to the region. The 730-foot-long lakers that currently transport iron ore, grain and other products via the seaway comprise only 13 percent of world's commercial fleet, according to industry sources. Advocates of the project says expanding the size of the locks and deepening the St. Lawrence Seaway's channels from 26 to 35 feet will increase trade opportunities to keep pace with 21st-Century demands. They point to the 70-year-old Welland Canal between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as an example of the seaway's obsolescence. Inland ports of the Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland would all serve to gain from modernization.

Opponents counter that projected economic growth in the upper Midwest is taking precedence over environmental concerns in the Corps decisions. Memories of the 1977 tanker crash that spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the St. Lawrence near Wellesley Island have not been forgotten. Environmentalists say that dredging will only stir up contaminants and lead to further pollution. Underwater surges by larger ships would probably have a similar negative effects. Moreover, parts of the Thousand Islands will have to be blasted away to accommodate the wider channels. Further changes to the river could also lead to other problems, including the possible introduction on non-native species. In addition, dredging would most likely alter water levels in the Great Lakes, disrupting aquatic habitat and changing the lake temperatures. More than anything else, critics worry that the overall impact of such a project on the Great Lakes ecosystem -- the largest reservoir of fresh water on the planet -- is not being adequately addressed.

For its part, the Corps has assured environmentalists that their questions will be factored into its final evaluation. In its preliminary review the agency even acknowledged one of the risks already voiced by foes of the plan. "Currently low water levels in the Upper Great Lakes are also a critical factor, both in terms of environmental implications and in terms of the potential effects of wider locks and deeper channels," according to a report issued by the Corps earlier this year. In short, the proposed engineering feat could make floating a boat in the Great Lakes more difficult instead of easier.

The Thousand Islands have captured the imaginations of travel writers since Charles Dickens steamed by them on his way from Kingston, Ontario to Montreal in 1842. How long they remain a source of inspiration remains to be seen. Next spring, the pleasure boaters and anglers will take to waters again. Tourists will board the excursion boats at the river port of Gananoque, Ontario, as they have since early in the last century. They will lean against the ship's rails once more and marvel at the splendor of the passing islands. The recorded recitation will be broadcast over the vessel's loudspeakers as it is each year. Perhaps by then the tale of "Barry Freed" will be added to the mix.

Fish Story 

Up the River Without a Salmon
Hearst Lodge Ain’t What it Used to Be
By C.D. Stelzer

In the shadows of a late summer’s afternoon, the rocky trail struggles to follow the stream past a series of rapids and pools, cutting a narrow swath through the deepening woods. Wintergreen, laurel and cranberry hem the path. Dappled sunlight punches holes in the forest canopy, highlighting assorted ferns and lichens. Black spruce cling to the cliffs above the rushing waters of the Big Salmon River.

The beauty of this New Brunswick setting overwhelms the senses. But nature is treacherous, too. Tangled roots of the ubiquitous spruce can snare a hiker’s boot with one false step. Ken Bennett had to help evacuate a woman who fell and broke her leg on the trail last year.
Rescue work is part of his job. Like his father before him, the stoic north woodsman, is the caretaker at Hearst Lodge, which is now a part of the Fundy Trail Parkway.

Before the nine-mile scenic drive opened several years ago, the Pejebscot Paper Co. owned much of the remote coastal land along the Bay of Fundy near the hamlet of St. Martins. After World War II, the Hearst newspaper chain acquired the company and its vast property holdings to help supply its unceasing demand for newsprint. The parkway ends near the mouth of the Big Salmon River, where logs once were sluiced to a sawmill.

As its name denotes, the river once teemed with wild Atlantic salmon. In 1968, local laborers built a rustic fishing lodge for Hearst corporate executives a couple miles upstream from the site of the now-defunct sawmill. For the next 20 years, Bennett’s late father acted as a fishing guide for visitors to the lodge, including celebrities such as actor Donald Sutherland, a Saint John native. Later, employees of J.D. Irving Ltd., another paper and pulp manufacturer, leased the cabin.

In those halcyon days, anglers could practically walk across pools of fish, recalls the younger Bennett. Even a novice almost always caught his limit. Those times are gone. This year, Bennett says less than a dozen salmon swam upstream from the ocean to spawn. Unfortunately, the Big Salmon River is not unique in this respect. The tragic, spiraling decline in salmon populations continues to be repeated each year in the streams of New Brunswick and Maine, where the fish is listed as an endangered species.

For more than three decades, the governments of Canada and the United States have spent millions of dollars to reverse the trend, but efforts to stem the tide have thus far failed. Reasons for the Atlantic salmon’s plunge toward extinction remain uncertain. There are, however, many suspected causes – all of them related to human activities.
Environmentalists and government officials not long ago hailed the latest threat as a solution. To curb overfishing in the ocean by commercial fishermen, guardians of the dwindling species supported the growth of salmon farms.

But now cage-raised fish are spawning more grief for their wild cousins. The crowded fish pens favored by the aquaculture industry can breed viral diseases and parasites, including sea lice, which potentially can spread to free-swimming salmons. Moreover, when the European strains used in fish farming escape their confines, they interbreed with their feral counterparts, creating a hybrid less adapted to survival. Arguments over whether the salmon in Maine’s waters are a genetically distinct species on the brink of extinction have led to vicious squabbles, with the corporate fish farms and the state of Maine opposing sanctions leveled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The debate is a class-book example of how politics, business and science, working at a glacial pace, serve to confound rather than clarify an issue. While interested parties on all sides of the debate cast aspersions on one another, the numbers of wild Atlantic salmon are dropping to next to nothing on both sides of Passmaquoddy Bay. It doesn’t matter whether the Canadian and American fish are genetically distinct. What matters most is an entire species is on the verge of extinction.

Meanwhile, other longstanding problems effecting wild salmon along the North American coast persist. Sea temperatures continue to rise. Dams continue to thwart the ability of salmon to migrate upstream to reproduce. Industrial pollution continues to wreak havoc on their immune systems. Clearcutting timber in upland forests continues to destroy habitat by choking spawning grounds with deadly sediments.

The spoiling of the Big Salmon River is sadly ironic. By the time the workers hauled the stones out of the river to build Hearst Lodge, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst had been dead for well over a decade. The successors to his newspaper empire commissioned the building of a modest, pine cabin. The backwoods retreat was the polar opposite of San Simeon, the California mansion of the founder of the newspaper chain. Instead, the rich and famous came here simply to fish for the once plentiful salmon. Nature itself was spectacle enough. But felling the forests around the fishing stream for tomorrow’s newspaper contributed to the eventual decline of the salmon.

Bennett carries on his father’s work. Nowadays, though, he tends to act more as a museum curator and less a fishing guide. In the dining room of the pine-paneled lodge, Bennett keeps a loose-leaf binder with a history of the place in a bureau drawer; a history which tells the stories of the people who lived and worked and visited here, when the salmon swam free. Bennett, a man of view words, never heard of Orson Welles’ movie Citizen Kane, inspired by William Randolph Hearst’s life. Still he wonders how the worldly ambitions of men inevitably work against them to the detriment of all.

Today's Word Puzzle 

courtesy of Danny Casolaro's notes

Margaret Weinsaik (?) (lines to) Bank of Nova Scotia? Caymans?

Hans Nyks (202) 244-7052
(line to)


Honeywell passed info on to Iraq


Michael. Bob Frye
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bob Frye
late in the game
Nichols got in touch with Bob Nichols (arrows to)
patent applied
fuel air device
going through some
Veronica, Ferguson
Sacramento, CA
Bob Nichols

Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Mn.

Nir alive and living in Geneva
scheduled to testify in Irangate

talked with Bush at King David Hotel in 1986
Craig Fuller was chief of staff in (unreadable) Auns?

Cross Border Leasing: What's that Smell 

Tax Me If You Can," a Frontline investigation, delved into the stinky business of off-shore tax shelters on PBS last night. In one case, Wakovia Bank leased the sewer system of the city of Bochum Germany and then sold it back to create an artificial loss so its clients could evade paying income tax.

Correction: Death on a Gravel Road, 1993 

Carl Wesley Thomas, the casino executive who had knowledge of Frank Fertitta Jr.'s participation in the Mafia skimming at Las Vegas casinos in the late 1970s, died in a one-car crash near Burns, Ore. on Nov. 4, 1993. Thomas had recently returned from a tr ip to Las Vegas, where he discussed his pending testimony before the Missouri Gaming Commission with Station's executives. Thomas expected to be questioned by the Gaming Board about Fertitta's alleged organized crime assosications.

Media Mayhem incorrectly reported on Feb. 14 that Thomas had died closer to the time that attorney Michael Lazaroff had testified before the Gaming Commission in August 2000.

The Harney, Ore. Sheriff's Department report shows Thomas died at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4, 1993, after his car ran off a gravel road near Burns, Ore. The report describes the crash as a "single-vehicle roll over." The crash took place on a straight stretch of Plush Road. The vehicle appeared to have veered off the 18-foot-wide road to the left, came back on the road, spun around twice, rolled over, and came to rest partially on the graded, right shoulder, facing the opposite direction.

At the time of his death, Thomas was driving a 1992 Chevrolet Suburban. Because he wa sn't wearing a seat belt Thomas was ejected from the vehicle and apparently crushed when it rolled over. Approximately a half ounce of cocaine was found in Thomas' jacket pocket, according to the report.

Did You Hear the One About Floyd Warmann and the Rabbi? 

It's not a joke.

Buried deep inside a whistleblower lawsuit, which was unsealed in Chicago yesterday, are details of St. Louis businessman Floyd C. Warmann's questionable financial affairs with Illinois political powerbrokers over the last decade.

The revelations follow the St. Louis County Council's unanimous vote earlier this month to appoint Warmann, 70, to a seat on the St. Louis County Police Board. The Council's decision came despite reports in the press of Warmann's bad credit history.

The case unsealed by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Patrick McGann alleges that Argosy Gaming Co.'s $2.5 million loan to Warmann in 1993 failed to abide by generally accepted accounting principals, which require that a lender secure sufficient collateral. John C. Foley of Interim Holdings in Omaha, a creditor of Warmann's, filed the case. Foley is charging Argosy and its accountant firm, Erst & Young, with fraud.

Argosy provided the funds to keep Warmann's creditors at bay, including Boatmen's and Magna banks, while the gaming company tried to establish a casino on the St. Louis riverfront on which Warmann held the lease.

Around the same time, Warmann also bailed out on a $450,000-plus loan from First Exchange Bank, a Cape Girardeau based bank. Foley eventually acquired that bad debt from the Resolution Trust Corporation, after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation did not recoup the money following First Exchange's collapse in the early 1990s. Don and Patricia Chilton, the principal officers in First Exchange, were found dead, as a result of an apparent murder-suicide, in Palm Springs, Calif. in early 1993. Their deaths corresponded with the issuance of bank fraud charges against them by the federal district court in St. Louis.

Warmann and Stephen C. Bradford had borrowed the money from First Exchange for a nursing home venture in North St. Louis County. Banker John P. Dailey of the Community Bank of Greater Peoria signed off on the loan even though he was not formally or legally connected to the Northshore Convalescent Care project. An informal link did exist between Warmann's Northshore venture and the Peoria banker, however. Raymond Becker -- Dailey's father-in-law and the founder of Community Bank -- received the contract to build the nursing home. Moreover, Dailey, another of Warmann's many creditors, acted as a go-between in the negotiations of Argosy and St. Louis Concessions, the Warmann-controlled company that held the cherished riverfront lease. Ultimately, Dailey was convicted of bank fraud and money laundering in an unrelated case. After folding, the Peoria bank was acquired by the Belleville, Ill. branch of Magna Bank. As cited, Magna, too, was among Warmann's creditors.

Rabbi Morris Esformes of Chicago was another investor in the Northshore venture, who later bought out Warmann's interest. Esformes, a multi-millionaire, operates nursing homes in Illinois, Missouri and Florida. Esformes' name also shows up attached to other deals that ran through the now-defunct Community Bank of Greater Peoria.

In one 1985 case, for example, unreported letters of credit cumulatively valued at more than $1.3 million were issued by Dailey and the Peoria bank on behalf of New Frontier, a Springfield, Ill. management and development company owned by Illinois Republican powerbroker William Cellini -- now CEO of Argosy. In court testimony, Dailey claimed that New Frontier's unrecorded letters of credit actually went to Esformes for a Housing and Urban Development backed project. Later, Dailey's Peoria bank issued another "unbooked," letter of credit to Warmann and Esformes' Northshore nursing home venture in St. Louis.

In 2001, the state of Missouri revoked Esformes' license to operate a University City nursing home, after three women died of heat exhaustion. Following the negligent action, the license was reissued to Missouri Gov. Bob Holden's brother. A few months later, Holden appointed Stephen C. Bradford, Warmann's partner in the Northshore deal, to an influential seat on the Missouri Conservation Commission. Bradford owns Pyramid Group of Cape Girardeau, a health care provider.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Whistleblower Lawsuit in Cook County Alleges Argosy Cooked the Books on "Loan" to Warmann 

Argosy Gaming Co. made millions of dollars in payments in the 1990s to St. Louis businessman Floyd C. Warmann in the guise of a loan, according to a complaint filed by a whistleblower in Cook County Circuit Court, Media Mayhem has learned.

The suit alleges fraud by Argosy and its accounting firm Erst & Young. It was unsealed today by Judge Patrick McGann.

The allegations contained in the legal action come as Argosy, which owns and operates the Alton Belle the Emerald Empress casinos, is seeking another license from the Illinois Gaming Commission. The license, if issued, would permit the Alton-based company to partner with Harrah's in a new casino in Rosemont, Ill.

In a related development, earlier this month, the St. Louis County Council unanimously approved the Warmann's appointment to the St. Louis County Police Board despite longstanding questions about his personal finances.

At issue in the latest case is a complaint filed under the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act by John C. Foley of Interim Holdings of Omaha, Neb. In the lawsuit, Foley, a creditor of Warmann's, claims that Argosy's $2.5 million loan to Warmann in 1993 failed to abide by generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) that require a lender to secure collateral equivalent to the value of the loan.

Under Illinois law, Argosy, as a publicly held and state-licensed company, must maintain records in accord with GAAP, says Foley. "If the loan was honestly guaranteed by Warmann, where is the documentation that proves Warmann had the ability to repay a $2.5 million loan?" he asks.

In 1992, Warmann's finances collapsed. He owed Magna and Boatmen's Bank of St. Louis more than $2.5 million each. A finance statement provided to Magna Bank by Warmann in June 1992 shows negative cash flow exceeding more than $3 million. In addition, Warmann defaulted on another loan worth more than $450,000 to First Exchange Bank. After First Exchange folded, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) tried unsuccessfully to get Warmann to settle his debt. Court records at that time indicate that Warmann's only asset was a 1970 Ford van. Ultimately, the federal Resolution Trust Corporation sold the debt in 1993. Interim Holdings, Foley's company, acquired the debt years ago and has been attempting to force Warmann to pay up ever since.

Despite Warmann's dire straits, Argosy entered into an agreement in which Warmann would hold a 51 percent interest in a casino that Argosy wanted to open on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. Warmann's stake was based on the fact that he held the city-issued lease on the proposed casino site. In return for its 49 percent interest in the future casino, Argosy assumed more than $5 million in debts held by St. Louis Concessions, the Warmann company that held the riverfront lease.

But Foley's court brief maintains that St. Louis Concessions never received any of the funds. Instead, the money was sent directly to Boatmen's Bank to pay down debts incurred by Warmann, including outstanding personal debts and loans to Warmann Oil.

"On July 23, 1993, $2.5 million was wire transferred from an Argosy account with the Bank of Alton to Boatmen's Bank. The wire transfer instruction directed Boatmen's Bank to apply $1.5 million to the Warmann Oil Co. loan and $1 million to `the Warmann loan account,' which was Floyd Warmann's personal bank debt," according to the complaint.

Foley's complaint argues, among other things, that accepted accounting procedures preclude tying a loan to the future value of a loan applicant's assets. In other words, it should have been unacceptable for Argosy's accountant, Erst & Young, to approve lending Warmann more than $5 million on the "future" worth of the riverfront lease site, which was based on the speculation that the casino deal would be approved by the city and the Missouri Gaming Commission. It wasn't.

Moreover, Foley raises questions concerning the aftermath of the Argosy's arrangement with Warmann. If Argosy's payment's were a legitimate loan, asks Foley, why has there been no attempt by the gaming company to get its money back. Instead, Argosy wrote off money that it fronted to Warmann as a development cost.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

New Link to the Times Beach Chronicle 

Media Mayhem now has a link to The Times Beach Chronicle, a compilation of more than 40 stories I wrote for the Riverfront Timesduring the EPA Superfund Cleanup in Eastern Missouri between 1993 and 1998.

One of my favorites was on how Morris Cranmer, an Arkansas animal veterinarian, gave false test results on dioxin toxicity to St. Louis County and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here's what else I learned about Cranmer's background:

"... The ATSDR's (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) generosity towards Cranmer has continued despite the fact that the scientist is a convicted federal felon. In 1988, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Arkansas found Cranmer guilty on two counts of providing false information to a lender. The case involved bilking the Farmers Home Administration out of nearly $10 million. The scientist secured a loan from the federal agency ostensibly to build a laboratory. He instead used some of the funds for other personal real estate ventures. Judge Henry Wood sentenced Cranmer to serve six months of community service at the ADOH under former surgeon general Jocelyn Elder, who then headed the state agency. After serving his sentence, Cranmer began working as a private consultant for the state, and in that capacity was given the contract to do the blood study at the Vertac incinerator site. Earlier in his career, Cranmer came under federal investigation before leaving his job at the National Center for Toxicological Research, a source in the U.S. Attorney's office in Little Rock told the Riverfront Times last week. Nevertheless, since his conviction on the fraudulent loan charges, Cranmer has been paid more than $139,000 by the ATSDR to conduct the Vertac dioxin exposure study, according to a report in the July 8 edition of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. ...."

Jimmy and Tony in Kansas City -- December 1963 

Vestiges of the Pendergast Machine and the Ghost of Pretty Boy Floyd

Jimmy Michaels and Tony Giordano, then-top leaders of St. Louis organized crime, took the train to Kansas City in mid December 1963. After arriving at Union Station, they caught a cab and checked into the posh Muehlbach Hotel. The hotel reservations had been made in the name of "Mrs. Frank Wortman." Frank "Buster" Wortman was the head of St. Louis' Eastside rackets at the time.

The gangster's presence in Kansas City did not go undetected. Police tailed the two to Uncle Tom's Barbeque, a restaurant operated by Thomas "Highway" Simone, a former lieutenant of the murdered Charles Binaggio, a Kansas City gang leader and political figure.

At the restaurant, Michaels and Giordano met with Kansas city crime figure Max Jaben, who earlier that month pleaded no contest to an income tax evasion charge.

The press speculated that the meeting was arranged to talk about custodial care of Jaben's rackets while he was incarcerated. The meeting also came in the wake of the murder of Joseph F. Tigerman, Kansas City Democratic leader, who was shot dead at his used car lot on Nov. 1, 1963. Tigerman, a former aide to the late Tom Pendergast, had testified before the federal grand jury that had ultimately indicted Jaben. The Pendergast machine controlled Kansas City politics until his incarceration for income tax evasion in 1939.

St. Louis P ost-Dispatch reporter Theodore C. Link reported on Dec. 14, 1963 that "Giardano (sic) and his associates, (John) Vitale and the late Anthony "Tony" Lopiparo, were long connected with the Kansas City faction of (Charles) Binaggio. Vitale had one of his first brushes with the law in Kansas City in the 1940s when he was involved in the narcotic traffic."

Binaggio had taken over full control of the rackets after the fall of the Pendergast machine. He was murdered on April 6, 1950, along with his bodyguard Charles Gargotta. Binaggio's reign would be followed by the Civella family, which orchestrated the skim operations at various Las Vegas casinos in the late 1970s.

Rudolph H. Hartmann, a Treasury agent, was responsible for putting together the case against Pendergast, which lead to his conviction on income taxe evasion. Hartmann subsequently submitted a report to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. detailing various facets of the Pendergast machine, including the gambling rackets in the northside Italian neighborhood originally controlled by John Lanzia. Lanzia was succeeded by Charles Carrollo, and eventually Binaggio.

"Each week the collectors for Carrollo would visit the gambling establishments and receive protection tributes, Hartmann reported. "In exchange for this tribute the gamblers could operate without molestation from the police, the police department being under the control of Lanzia and Carrollo, who were often referred to as the real chiefs of police of Kansas City.

After La nzia was killed in gangland shooting in July 1934, Carrollo took sole control. Besides illegal gambling Lanzia and Carrollo also dabbled in robberies, bootlegging and murder, according to the Hartmann report.

The murders included a botched plan to spring a partner of Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd from federal custody in 1932, as he switched trains. The incident became known as the Union Station Massacre. Four law enforcement officers, including an FBI agent, were gunned down along with the prisoner who Floyd and his Kansas City allies were trying to free.

Domminck Binaggio was one of those named in a 1935 grand jury as helping Pretty Boy Floyd escape from Kansas City after the Union Station Massacre. Later, Charles Binaggio became a close assoicate of Giordano, the St. Louis Mafia leader. Binaggio was murdered in 1950.

The Countess of Maplewood 

St. Louis Police County Commissioner Floyd C. Warmann's longtime companion and business associate "Julia Rolves von Wellen," changed her name from Dorothy Ann Pyron on Oct. 22 1982, according to a Commonwealth Land Title header from St. Louis County dated Aug. 8, 1997. The case number is listed as 480946. Remember, you got it first from Media Mayhem, and it didn't cost you plug nickel.

Attention print media snoozers: Wake up or you may find yourself scooped by TV news coverage of this issue.

Today's Word Puzzle 

I'm going to give Casolaro a break today. The following cryptic message appears in the margin of a Xerox copy of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story by Theordore C. Link dated Feb. 16, 1971. Link's story is the last in a three-part series on the byz antine finances of the late Morris Shenker, who died in 1988, with the IRS still in hot pursuit. Here are my margin notes, which are probably at least a decade old/

IPC (Independent Petroleum Corp.)
Charter Oil
Shenker Robert Vesco Billie Carter
C.J. Rich (bookie) Nixon Jimmy
Amco (Insurance) CIA American National
(Insurance, Galveston) Off-shore scam
Continental Connector
James Nangle
Mary Carter Paint
Resorts International

Charter Oil

Editor's Note 

Congratulations! If you spelled mayhem right you're at the new improved location of Media Mayhem. My editorial advisors recommended that it would be in my "professional" interest to spell mayhem right in the URL for this blog, which has entailed reloading the entire site and switching the spellings around. Don't ask me to explain it any clearer than that because I can't figure it out myself. Just disregard the previous message if you're browser indicates that you're at www.mediamayhem.blogspot.com. That's mayhem with an A. Got it?›

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Reasonover Case: Judge Goldman Protesth Too Much 

Well, judge, Hartmann honored your wishes. He didn't publish your screed. I'm not nearly as righteous, however. See, when Hartmann abandoned the RFT in 2001, the scavengers raided his office. Editor Safir Ahmed took his big fancy desk, while I ripped off a few of the crusading publisher's files.

By the way, judge, the woman you condemned was eventually found not guilty and was released from prison, after a 1999 story by RFT reporter Melinda Roth helped clear her. You're lucky Hartmann sold out to the conglomerate in Phoenix or you might have wound up in jail yourself.

Circuit Court of St. Louis County
Clayton, Mo. 63105
in chambers
Steven H. Goldman, Judge

Aug. 6, 1990

Mr. Ray Hartmann
The Riverfront Times
1221 Locust Street
St. Louis, Mo. 63103

Dear Mr. Hartmann,
This letter is not for pub lication! I find it hard to believe that you or anyone spent much time reviewing your article "Trial and Error?". The highlighted evidence is largely inaccurate and misleading. Also your story completely laeaves out significant evidence of Ellen Reasonove r's guilt. Two eyewitnesses corroborated her confession. The details of her story to police officers were proven false. Juros found her guilty in two cases based upon the real evidence. Your story makes a sham of fair judicial procedures. It is a disservi ce to the brave witnesses, relatives of the victim, and to the fine police officers of the Major Case Squad who investigated these cases.


Steve Goldman

Publisher to Publisher: Dear Ray, ... Cordially, Charles L. Klotzer 

The St. Louis Journalism Review

Oct. 24, 1990

Mr. Ray Hartmann
The Riverfront Times
1221 Locust
St. Louis, Mo. 63103

Dear Ray:

Having been misquoted from time to time, I gave the St. Louis Magazine just 2 paragraphs which they cut in half. Anyway, here is what I told them:

Irrespective of whether one agrees or not with all of Ray hartamnn's editorials and opinions, not only the media but the St. Louis region is richer for their airing. The same must be said for the RFT as a whole. It is a solid contribution to the marketplace of ideas.

St. Louis is a conservative community eager to overlook what discomforts it, particularly economic and social injusticees. As long as Ray stays true to fighting for a more equiable society, I can easily for give him for his occasional exaggerations and diversions.

By their editing (which was their right), they nevertheless modified my statement.


Charles L. Klotzer


Dear Ray, ... Sincerely, Jake McCarthy 

Former Post-Dispatch columnist Jake McCarthy humbly applies for a part-time job with the Riverfront Times in the letter that follows. And in response, publisher Ray Hartmann rewarded him with a weekly column. McCarthy, a former publicist for Teamster vice-president Harold Gibbons before he joined the Post, embodied the populist soul of the RFT during the 1990s.

1221 Daniels St.
Arcata, CA 95521
Mar. 7, 1991

Mr. Ray Hartmann
1221 Locust St. Suite 900
St. Louis, Mo. 63103

Dear Ray,
John M cGuire at the P-D lately sent me a clip of your recent piece on the Great Gilleo Yardsign War, because he knows Margaret and I are old soulfolk fro the ancient past. He only sent me a tear sheet so I wasn't able to enjoy the whole paper, but I can see clearly that the RFT has lost none of its zap, a term from the ancient past.

Maybe you would be so kind as to have someone send me a complete copy of any one of recent issues so I can begin to reorient myself on my old home town.

On my few visits to St. Louis over the past (nearly) nine years, I've been told that the RFT has lost none of its fervor and life, a rather astounding achievement in our present day, if you don't mind my saying so.

It adds to my nostalgia to recall the earliest days of the RFT, and the changes that have taken place in ST. Louis press world since then, and my congratulations are overdue for what you have accomplished. Bold. Salad. (Sorry, that's "Salud" not "Salad.")

It is time for me, like the Old Elephant, to return, and I a m plan ning to sell my biz this summer and head back to "retirement" by September or so. I won't be looking for a job, but I will be looking for some free-lance writing to do, and Judy Newmark has given me a "go" for the P-D, and the thought occur s that m aybe yo u'd be open to some things for the RFT, too.

I'm not in any hurry about this, but if you think we might cook something up, it would hlep me to plan what I'm going to do with all that extra time. I'll be 65 in June, but that's no big dea l. They e ven trot ted Walter Cronkite back out for the latest war!

If I can't find anybody to write for, I always enjoyed working the door at Culpeppers. And it would be nice to catch up with you over drink when I get back.


Jake McCarthy

Inside Job: Pizzo on the Company's Paymaster 

The Scoop on Skimming the Scum
Steve Pizzo, co-author of Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings & Loans, telephone interview 1-26-95

“(Guillermo Hernandez Cartaya) has got more lives than a cat. I can give you a name of Mike Patriarcha, he’s in San Francisco, he works for Wells Fargo now. 415/396-2952. He was the assistant to the Comptroller of the Currency, when they first uncovered this guy.

Besides being a bank crook, at least, Cartaya had, in the past, significant ties to the intelligence community, and did some kind of work that stretches back, the to the Bay of invasion. He garnered an awful lot of good will at the highest level of the intelligence community, which has kept him out of trouble, kept him out of jai l, anyway, while he’s been off defrauding banks.

Another guy you’ll want to talk to is Pete Brewton. He’s been going to law school. He’s not in the newspaper business anymore. He just finished law school and passed the bar in Texas.

But he did a to n of research on this guy and could give you a lot of leads. Pete’s a good friend of mine. I like Pete. Between you and me, I didn’t care for his book. I thought he took some pretty wide swings at some folks, who didn’t deserve it, actually. He kind of sl u ffed a lot of stuff in, but he knows a lot about this guy, most of which is correct.

My memory now is a little bit hazy. But if I remember correctly, I did a piece for Mother Jones magazine some time ago about the Bush boys, sons of George Bush. And t he re was a partner of Jeb Bush’s in Florida by the name of (Camilo) Padreda. ... Padreda and this guy (Cartaya) had taken down an S and L very, very early on in the S and L crisis. And prosecution had begun and then all of the sudden the plug got yanked on it. Both of them ended up walking. ...

Jefferson Saving and Loan that was the one that Padreda ...

There’s woman that knows a whole lot about this whole thing, her name is Liz Ferguson, Texas. The way we even ran into Pete, Mary (Fricker) didn’t e ven know Pete, when we we’re working on our book. But we ran into him because we had been following the same basic trail, which we decided not to develop much, although we do mention it in the book, and that is the intelligence community’s use of S and Ls to launder money for covert operations.

713/667-7732. Her real name, don’t ask why she uses the term Liz Ferguson, her real name is Rebecca Sims. Rebecca is a storehouse of information about banking and intelligence operations that occurred during thi s period of time, most of which is correct. She worked for one of these S and Ls and since has been working for a group of attorneys in Texas that are suing, oh, what’s the name of the bank now, it’s associated with BCCI?

Anyway, Cartaya is right in t he middle of this stuff and the difficulty you have doing stories about this guy or guys like him is separating their own theivery from the authorized money laundering operations they were conducting for the agency. I left no question in our mind that the re was a great deal of money laundering going on at S and Ls for covert operations. Shell corporations were being set up, money was being funneled, money was being borrowed and then not repaid, which raises a whole other set of questions that Congress see med reluctant to take a look at, when we asked them to, though they did send us a letter saying that they confirmed, the House Intelligence Committee confirmed, that many of the people we named and that Pete named were, indeed, associated with the CIA and ma ny names of the institutions we gave to them were institutions at which the CIA had “standard banking practices. To use the terms “standard” and CIA together raises a whole other set of questions (laughs).

Anyhow, your biggest problem, as I said, i s se parating Cartaya outright theivery from whatever authorized or unauthorized CIA activity was going on. There was plenty of it. In Inside Job, in the back, we list all of the institutions suspected of laundering money for the agency, mostly Contra op erati ons.

You’ve got a real live wire in this guy. I’m surprised to hear his name again. I really thought he had dodged the bullet.

Cash Flow: From St. Louis to the "Banks" of the Rio Grande 

A phoner with Art Leiser, retired savings and loan examiner for the state of Texas, January 1995 Leiser discovered drug money being laundered through Jeffeson Savings & Loan in McAllen, Texas in the early 1980s and sent to a St. Louis bank for further washing.

“There have been criminal referrals filed on all these things and they’re still under consideration.

I’ve been retired six years and can’t seem to get away from any of this stuff. I just can’t get away from it. At any rate, when I first started, when I retired I was a very naive person. I thought, well, a criminal referral is filed in 60 days, there’ll be some action taken, and we’ll get it out of the way. That was the absolute height of naivete, because some of these cases I’ve been working on, they’ve been working on seven years, six years, four years.

That’s the case here. I don’t know where it is. I’m not privy to the U.S. Attorney’s offices, or what they’re schedules are, or the FBI. I work with them, and they call me when I’m ready to go and they subpoena me, and that’s the way it works for me. It’s the only way I can do it, because I’m not going to do it unless I’m protected in a legal way. I’m not an informer or anything like that. I’m a professional that gathered this information as a state regulator. That’s the way that it is understood. If it was based on an informer’s status, they could just go to hell, because I’m not that.

At any rate that Jefferson/McAllen deal (Jefferson Savings and Loan in McAllen, Texas) I think I told you a few years ago, when we talked. I can tell you that much, during the course of examinations, we couldn’t help but notice there was a substantial sum of money that was deposited in a St. Louis bank.

I don’t know whether it was Mercantile bank or who it was. I can’t remember that. I don’t know specifically, what bank it was, but I know it stuck with me that it was a St. Louis bank. The reason that it stuck is it was kind of ironic for a savings and loan down in McAllen, Texas, which is right across the border from Mexico, to be putting money in bank in St. Louis, Mo. That was, of course, part of our training, too, to be alert to that. Because we were getting a lot of funny stuff, not just at Jefferson but at other border institutions that were indicative of money laundering operations.

But, as far as to go any further, I can’t help you with it. I know you are trying diligently to present a story and I respect that, I really do. I did help Pete (Brewton, former Houston Post reporter) with a lot of things on that book that he wrote (George Bush, the Mafia and the CIA) because he was pretty well on to things and I knew it. Pete became a friend. Still is a friend to this day. He’s in Houston now. He went to the University of Texas here and he’s back in Houston and I think he may be thinking about another book.
Who was the owner of Jefferson Savings and Loan at the time of your investigation?

Guillermo (Hernandez) Cartaya. He bought it from Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s family.

What year did you do the audit?

It must have been in the early 80s, 2,3,4. I can’t really remember.

But there are criminal investigations? ...

I think there are. I believe there are. I don’t have any certainty of where they are in the stream of priority items for the prosecutor.

Is there anybody other than Mr. Brewton, who you know, who would be willing to talk to me?

That’s the tough part. The only one I could refer you to would be a person at the Office of Thrift Supervision, which used to be the Federal Home Loan Bank Board back in the days when this occurred. †he Federal Home Loan Bank Board out of Dallas was the federal regulator. They were very heavily involved. We worked with them, of course. They were looking out for the insurance of accounts. That’s not true anymore. Now they have created an office, federal regulatory arm, called the Office of Thrift Supervision, OTS. The only person I know, who was with the Federal Home Loan Bank, who was a career person, is now with OTS in Dallas and I think they would be very reluctant to speak to a newspaper reporter about any of this. I don’t think they could..

Today's Word Puzzle 

courtesy of Danny Casolaro's notes

Dr. Nichols
Mrs. Berl Barber had been there one time before
Dr. Johnson
Michael R.
Paul M
(Moraska's main concern expenditures)
Marshall & Moriarty

Wayne Reeder (tied to above)
Peter introduced (Z?)
Wayne asked a
Reeder specific airplane

investment in the game (?)
Poker, Casino cigarette business

Majia (?)
money -- somebody back East (underlined) made an --
Wayne Reeder made
50-50 of the profits
50% to Indians
50% to management

(management percentage tied to) Wayne -- Nichols
Nicolodean (?) incorporation
Florida -- where and when

folder 1, page 9

Dan Guthrie
U.S. attorney from Texas
Strategic Software M? Corp., Cambridge, MA.

Promis System
north of London

The Order -- the Ultimate Evil
Maury Terry

Players are involved in this

He tried to get out of it
one of these people was a bodyguard for Larry Flynt
Roy Raslin (?) murders -- Cotton Club movie
narcotics dealer
He had a big mansion in NYC

$600 million from overseas
2nd one
cabal named

Pol Pot
Body bags
Richard Lee Armitge
Prevailing Winds Research
Santa Rosa, CA

folder 1, page 10
square face
and cobalt blue eyes
Northrup's covert ...

22 refineries -- Schaffer -- Swiss Banks leader or lender (?)

Bingo! Station Casino Pays Out $38 Million 

Station Casino Inc. agreed to pay $38 million to settle a civil suit brought against it by a competitor that alleged the gaming company improperly influenced the Missouri Gaming Commission to gain its Kansas City license in 1997, the Kansas City Sta r reported Feb. 11.

At issue was Station's ex parte communications with Robert Wolfson, then-executive diretor of the Gaming Commission. The illegal, behind-the-scences wheeling and dealing with the top gaming regulator was carried out by St. Louis attorney Michael Lazaroff, Station's lobbyist.

The suit was filed by Fitzgerald's Sugar Creek Inc., one of the other bidders for the license. The bulk of the settlement will go to Fitzgerald's. The city of Sugar Creek, Mo. will receive $2.7 million.

Th e Gaming Commission granted the license even though Station's founder Frank J. Fertitta Jr. was known to be an associate of organized crime. The company already had a license to operate in St. Charles, Mo. Lazaroff was convicted of mail fraud, and receiv ed a light sentence. Station got off with a $1 million fine. The state forced Station out of the state, but allowed the company to sell its two Missouri casinos to Ameristar for $488 million.

Clothes Make the Man 

An informant's dilemma: polyester or leather?

In telephone conversation recorded in the summer of 1978, Oliver Patterson, the House Select Committee on Assassinations informant, confers with congressional investigator Conrad "Pete" Baetz about a meeting with New York Times reporter Anthony Marro. The original purpose of the meeting was to plant a story in the Times suggesting Mark Lane, James Earl Ray's attorney, was a homosexual. At one point during the discussion, Patterson asks Baetz how he should dress for the interview: “ Should I wear my mafia outfit or my sports coat?”

Will the Real Carl Drake Please Step Forward 

Each time Oliver Patterson, the HSCA's informant, called congressional investigator Conrad "Pete" Baetz collect, he identified himself as "Carl." Carl Drake is the alias that Patterson used while employed as an informant by the HSCA. James Earl Ray also used the same alias. And when David Patterson, the son of the late Oliver Patterson, first contacted me, he sent emails identifying himself as Carl Drake. Patterson's father had been an informant for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

The real Carl Drake was an armed robber who served time in the Missouri Pennitentiary with James Earl Ray. While in prison, Drake profited from drug dealing, according to John Ray, James Earl Ray’s brother, who says he acted as a courier in the smuggling operations.


Oliver Patterson's Congressional Record 

Confirmation of Oliver Patterson's work as an informant for the House Select Committee on Assassinatons would have been very difficult if not for two things. First, Oliver Stone's film JFK helped force the federal government to release Kennedy assassination records. Some of the those records included the HSCA records on the Kennedy assassination. But records pertaining to the HSCA's investigation of the Martin Luther King murder remain sealed until 2028. Fortunately, in Patterson's case, a crack in the secrecy exists. The Naional Records and Archives Administration (NARA), which is in charge of the Kennedy assasination archives, ruled that the administrative papers of the HSCA would be opened. This included the administration of not only the Kennedy investigation but the King inquiry, too. Patterson filed formal complaints with the committee, claiming that he hadn't been paid back the expense he incurred while spying on Jerry Ray. The expense including airfares, cabfare, hotel and long distance. Patterson kept thorough records documenting his travels to Florida, George, New York and Washington, D.C. His expense records included 53 long distance phone calls he made in his capacity as a snitch for the HSCA. Here's how I uncovered the undercover agent's work:

To: Steve Tilly, the National Archives
fax number: 301/713-6915
From: C.D. Stelzer, contributing writer for the Riverfront Times (St. Louis)
fax/phone: 313/781-1270
date: 01/21/97
re: HSCA files pertaining to MLK investigation of St. Louis-based conspiracy

a total of 7 pages including the cover letter

Mr. Tilly:

Please forward me the following documents from the JFK Collection, which were made public as a part of the JFK Assassinations Records Collection Act of 1992.
I am also asking, as a journalist, that copying costs be waived because it is in the public interest for this material to be made available. If deferred payment is not applicable please copy up To $20.00 worth of the materials requested. The citations at the top of the list are of greater priority.
If you have any questions or problems in filling this request please contact me ... . To confirm my affiliation with the newspaper, you may wish to speak my editor, Safir Ahmed. He may be reached at 314/615-6666.
If for any reason this request cannot be filled in a timely manner, please contact me. I have attempted to limit the request to materials that are directly related to the subjects I am investigating in order to spare time and expense. ...

I look forward to your response. Thank you very much.
C.D. Stelzer


RECORD NUMBER : 180-10068-10287


DATE : 00/00/00
PAGES : 15
COMMENTS : Box #:1.


RECORD NUMBER : 180-10068-10288


DATE : 01/00/80

COMMENTS : Letter Attached. Box #:1.


RECORD NUMBER : 180-10094-10467


DATE : 09/08/78
COMMENTS : Box 207.


RECORD NUMBER : 180-10126-10184


DATE : 08/15/77
COMMENTS : Investigations of Baetz, Conrad E., Daly, Martin. Box

HSCA Investigator Pete Baetz's Military Record 

The House Select Committee on Assassination had a rule that none of its investigators should have intelligence backgrounds of any kind because that would give the appearance that the congressional investigation had been subverted. But the committee di dn't enforce its own rule when it came to Conrad "Pete" Baetz, who headed the HSCA's Martin Luther King Jr. investigation in 1978.

Baetz was a deputy sheriff for the Madison County, Ill. Sheriff's Department in 1978. But during his military service a de cade earlier, he had been assigned to a military intelligence unit known to have conducted illegal wiretaps against civil rights activists and anti-Vietnam War protestors.

Here's Baetz's military record, which was provided to me on March 13, 1997 by the U.S Army Reserve Personnel Center, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis County, Mo.:

Service information on Conrad E. Baetz
Discharged 9-25-72
Rank Specialist 6, E-6
Date of birth: 11-4-46

Service history

1 Oct. 66 Basic Traing, Co. F, 2nd Battalion, 3 Brigade, U.S. Army Training Center, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

1 Feb. 67 Legal Clerk U.S. Army Security Agency Training Center and School, Fort Devens, Mass.

25 May 68 Headquarters Company, 8th Radio Research Field Station at Phu Bai, Vietnam

19 June 69 Le gal Clerk, Headquarters, U.S. Army Security Agency, Arglington, Va.

26 June 70 Transferred to U.S. Army Reserve Control Group, St. Louis

25 Sep 72 Discharged


National Defense Service Medal/ Vietnam Service Medal/ Rdpublic of Vietnam Campaign Medal/ Bronze Star Medal/ Good Conduct Medal/ Commendation Medal

Doctoring the Evidence: The FBI Surgically Cuts Patterson's Account 

Before becoming an informant for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Oliver Patterson acted a FBI informant. Patterson's FBI work in the early 1970s consisted of spying on Jerry Ray, the brother of James Earl Ray. This is the same role he performed fof the HSCA in 1978. The following portion of a telephone conversation between Patterson and MLK assassination researcher Harold Weisberg has the informant asserting that his account of a discussion he had with Jerry had been altered by the FBI to make it appear that Jerry Ray was confirming that his brother had assassinated the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Oliver Patterson-Harold Weisberg phone conversation

Patterson: Hi, Harold, how are you?
Weisberg: Okay
Patterson: Do you have a minute?
Weisberg: Sure.
Patterson: Here’s what I’ve written up so far. ...

On page three of a FBI report I wrote dated May 16, 1971, I quote Jerry Ray as saying `my brother pulled the trigger. ...’ The report was originally written differently with other quotes exactly contradicting that one statement. After the report was reviewed by FBI special agent Stanley Jacobson, the page was retyped at his directive deleting all the contradictions to that one remark. That statement out of context distorts the meaning completely out of proportion and gives a totally, completely different intent to what was originally written.”

The Soft Baggage Type: A House Investigator Caught with His Pants Down 

Oliver Patterson tape transcipt, dubbed April 6, 1998 at the Richmond Heights apartment of Patterson’s son, David. David moved to the New Orleans area the next day, taking 46 tapes with him. His late father was an informant for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Patterson was mainly charged with spying on HSCA witness Jerry Ray, the brother of James Earl Ray. At one point, the congressional investigator, for whom he worked, encouraged Patterson to smear Ray's lawyer Mark Lane by falsely accusing him of being a homosexual. Patterson decided to bale out on that idea and turned the tables by informing Lane of the plot. Lane then turned the event into a media circus by going to the press. The story, by a young Jo Mannies, made the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . The photograph that accompanied the story shows Lane, Patterson and Susan Wadsworth at a press conference in St. Louis, revealing the plot to snare Lane. Wadsworth is identified in the photograph by Karen Elshout as being a "friend of Patterson's."

The man behind the attempted defamation of Lane was Patterson's congressional handler, Conrad "Pete" Baetz, the HSCA's lead investigator into the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Baetz had received a leave of absence from the Madison County, Ill. Sheriff's Department to work as a congressional investigator.

The voice of the girl in this recorded phone conversation is likely Wadsworth's. Patterson not only taped his phone calls, he was also videotaped amateur porn flicks. Wadsworth may have been a minor at the time.

Baetz, the investigator, is credited with coming up with the lame theory that James Earl Ray received a contract offer to kill King through two St. Louis businessmen, John Kaufmann and John Sutherland, both of whom were conveniently dead by 1978. The HSCA accepted the theory. The following phone conversation took place in the summer of 1978.

Obviously, Baetz's tryst compromised the HSCA inquiry into MLK's murder. Did Patte rson blackmail Baetz?

young girl’s voice: Hello.

Patterson: Hello.

girl : Ollie?

Patterson. Yeah.

girl: I’m sorry. Listening to some tapes. ...

Patterson: So can you even hear.

girl: Sometimes you need to take time to walk. I need a little tim e. Her mother was in the hospital today, too.

Patterson: How are getting along?

girl: Okay.

Patterson: Fine. Are You?

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: Well, what’s new?

girl: Not much.

Patterson: Did you see the things in the papers about me.

girl: No, ugh, ugh.

Patterson: Just on TV?

girl: No, I, just the picture of you. They showed it real fast on television. Then I heard the ... (laughs)

Patterson: Ugh-oh. What’d you think?

girl: I thought you were ... (laughs). I mean you sounded good to me.

Patterson: Do you remember the guy who I told you was my insurance man.

girl: Oh, Oliver that’s another thing. I can’t get involved in nothing like that anymore.

Patterson: I know. Just listen to me. Do you remember? Do you remember the guy? Remember?

girl: Ah, what?

Patterson: Remember, you came out and he came into the bedroom. Remember?

girl: Yeah. Yeah.

Patterson: And he said he was my insurance man.

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: And he had a mustache and glasses.

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: What’d he say his name was? I don’t remember.

girl: I don’t remember, either.

Patterson: The one who didn’t last very long in the screw, right? (laughs) Remember?

girl: Oh, You mean that guy from, ah, I’m trying to not think about him. Who are you talking about? That red-headed guy?

Patterson: Kind of blondish. I don’t know what color his hair is, sandy. No, no, no the guy who said he was my insurance man.

girl: Did he have dark hair and was real tall?

Patterson: I don’t know. Did he?

girl: Yeah. He work ed for All-State Insurance.

Patterson: Okay, All-State Insurance. He wore glasses and a mustache.

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: Yeah.

girl: What was it?

Patterson: How long did it take you to screw him, remember?

girl: He was the soft, flabby type.

Patte rson: What? What?

girl: He was the soft baggage type.

Patterson: Do you know who he was?

girl: I like tough beards (laughs).

Patterson: Do you know what kind of car he had?

girl: No.

Patterson: that black little Torino?

girl: Who was it?

Patterso n: Do you know who?

girl: No.

Patterson: The guy from the Select Committee.

girl: What committee?

Patterson: Pete Baetz was his name. Do you remember? You don’t remember his name because he was never introduced as Pete Baetz.

girl: Who was it?

Pat terson: His real name is Pete Baetz.

girl: Pete Baetz?

Patterson: Didn’t you hear his name on the TV?

girl: No, ugh-ugh. What did he do?

Patterson: What did he do? He’s the guy from the government.

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: Can you believe that? Where did you go?

girl: Who me?

Patterson: Yeah.

girl: Oh I went to, oh, I’m taking real long walks.

Patterson: Isn’t that funny, though. I just wanted to tell you that.

girl: Yeah.

Patterson: So what else, anyway? You’ve been taking real long walks?

girl: Yeah, I just, I don’t want to be real crazy again. I can’t handle being real crazy, you know. I’ve had three major thoughts in my life. ...

[end of conversation. I may have fast-forwarded the tape.]

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Over the Transom and Into the Thicket: Argosy Courts Irwin Through Ribaudo  

The Art and the Sin of Deal Making

Verbatim internal Argosy memo from William Cellini to Tom Long, May 31, 1994. Note that Argosy was hoping that former Missouri House Speaker Tony Ribaudo, a crony of Floyd Warmann's, would influence then- Missouri Gaming Commission Executive Director Tom Irwin.

SUBJECT: St. Louis Meeting with John Daily

Tom: This is a follow-up to my brief mention of John Daily's driving to Springfield to meet and report on St. Louis, their (Warman, Tony Riba udo & Daily's) present position, their concern overour position, and recommendation of proceeding post-haste for fear of losing their lease in August.

First, they did not disagree with our position of no-action, if the City insisted all fiancial and in fra-structure requirements remain the same; however, they say the City will not make such requiremtns until full-fledged casino gaming is approved. They say the City will "freeze" most all requirements.

Second, they say Tony Ribaudo (who they say is very close to Gaming Executive Tom Irwin) has been very supportive of Argosy's license in Riverside (Kansas City) and -- although previously not friendly with Speaker Griffin -- combined efforts on corrective legislation in order to get as mu ch Gaming as possible approved without further referendums. Of course, they want us to move forward, and get a barge or something in place before on August expiration date fro not having used the slot.

I'll take your lead at the Dinner meeting Wednesday night. I'll drive to your office by 5:00 p.m. (or shortly after) so we can meet thme at the Raquet Club on Kings Highway.



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