Saturday, March 06, 2004
Remember, HSCA investigator Conrad "Pete" Baetz employed a former FBI informant (Oliver Patterson) to spy for him during the course of the congressional inquiry into King's assassination. Baetz later told me he knew nothing about Russell Byer's suspected involvement in the art museum burglary case. His denial came despite the fact that Baetz had developed Byers as the HSCA's primary witness, a source who claimed to have knowldedge of the plot to murder King.
Baetz also said he had never heard of Sam White, another suspect in the art museum burglary. Baetz denied knowing about the murder of White even though his body was found in Madison County -- which is where Baetz worked as a deputy sheriff.
Below are a few choice documents courtesy of the FBI. Keep in mind that the FBI also investigated the St. Louis Art Museum burglary for some reason despite the fact that it was not overtly a federal case.
DIRECTOR, FBI (183-1276)
SAC, ST. LOUIS (183-117)
[two lines redacted]
Re SL letter to Bureau dated 2/22/78
[three or four lines redacted]
As a result of contacts with St. Louis Police Department, it was determined that [redacted] had had the statues stolen but a source had revealed this and subsequent pressure had caused [redacted] to return statues in exchange for immunity from proscecution.
Further investigation shows that two Negro males [redacted] and [redacted] had assisted in the thefts along with other persons.
[redacted] and [redacted] have made statements to the FBI as a result of being introduced to the FBI by the St. Louis Police Department. [redacted] and [redacted] were associated with SAM B. WHITE who in turn had been hired by [redacted]
[redacted] and [redacted] stated that WHITE and [redacted] had hired them to beat up [redacted] in May, 1977.
On 6/16/78, it was determined that SAM WHITE had been murdered, his body being found in Madison County, Illinois.
St. Louis will interview associates in an effort to determine the murderers and the reason for the murder.
Other investigation will be done to verify [redacted] and redacted information.
2 St. Louis
ADMINISTRATIVE: Delay in submission of this communication is due to stenographic delinquency in St. Louis in St. Louis Division of which the Bureau is aware.
[The FBI bureaucracy is apparently like any other office, the blame is always shifted down to the secretary.]
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Missouri
1114 Market Street
St. Louis, Mo. 63101
July 26, 1978
Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
1520 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Re: United States v. [redacted]
FBI File #SL 183-117
The FBI investigation into this matter has been hampered by the subjects' involvement with others in the Art Museum case. Cognizant of the deal made between the Circuit Attorney's Office and the other subjects and of certain investigatory police work, our chances of successful prosecution are dim. Coupling these problems with the stature of the two main witnesses (assuming they testify) and the problems of proving an interstate nexus for a RICO or Hobbs Act charge, it is the opinion of this office that this case is legally and factually insufficient for prosecution.
Very truly yours,
Robert D. Kingsland
United States Attorney
By Ronald E. Jenkins
Assistant United States Attorney
On August 18, 1978, Michael Sullivan, Assistant Circuit Attorney, St. Louis City, was advised of the U.S. Attorney's declination and stated that his office is not going to issue warrants for [redacted] regarding activities at Finer Metals Company. He stated that the witnesses, [redacted] are currently being prosecuted and that their records are such that they would make unsatisfactory witnesses
On July 19, 1978, [redacted] Detective, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Edwardsville, Illinois, made available a report dated June 11, 1978, report number CP-78-142. The report shows the recovery of a body that had been located in Madison County, Illinois. The body was identified as SAM ERNEST WHITE. The body had received gunshot wounds and had subsequently been set on fire presumably by the use of a flammable liquid. The identification of the body was made through several fingerprints that remained on the corpse.
[redacted] has an extensive arrest record and convictions for burglary and car theft. His description is as follows:
Date of Birth [redacted]
Place of Birth Missouri
Weight 150 pounds
Height 5' 8''
Social Security # [redacted]
[redacted has been convicted and sentenced to [redacted] for burglary and stealing in relation to the theft [redacted] as well as several other thefts.
Phil (Linsalata) -- Ben Menashi
Ted Stevens plane 223- 8222
Lavi houe[unreadable] A. Motley
from in Brazl, his father began Brazilian Petroleum Industry
Ambassador to Brazil
Alas kan resident
quite a temper
Pete Harick (?) key
According to Charlie (Hayes)
worked for Customs and was found out (arrow)
Bear Cat Post Bill "Pierre" (Dirty)
Call Harry re Mena
Herb Quindes LaRouche
re Carmen Brothers
(father and so n)
Max Huegal business partner
Economist with NSC 83
Norman Bailey spring of 84
In 84-85 -- Project Democracy
EIR western gold
Executive order 1233 -- 1981
put CIA under aegis
Howard & Tucker
Inform ation Prospector -- 36 CIA agents 73
Wendy Shull (202) 232-4503
Beans, rice and M16s
Rico + Rebecca Sims
Lindsey Madison -- July 86 by 15 August
Jack Terrell case on Rene Carbot
Diguere picture of him Pennsylvania
Saudi Prince stayed or strangled (?) at Key Bridge Marriot
retired Col.? re
in Laos Shackley
lady researchers 89 founded the Association of former intelligence
officials McMichael does the newsletter
B spring of 88
Joe Kelso erly 88 (can) cited in Jan.
San Jose Tico Times Williams (aka) tapes on DEA/ embassy knowledge
* Robert Owen plot Kelso claims
Dec. 87 -- indi vidual --"mistrial" went to Memphis to Tulsa where he's from continued through Arkansas
fight between federal prosecutor -- state police
Rich Mountain Aviation -- Mena / Wheaton -- late Jan. 88
Rich Mountain Aviation
B arry Seale
Delbert Hahn -- Baton Rouge FBI
Agent -- Customs agent arrested Seale
former CID Doug Strahan (504) 682-5635
Title 3 affadavits -- screenplay
all the 18
Jacobson control officer moved Seale to Mena
Rich Mountain Aviation
served a subpoena -- March 88 -- Gene Wheaton
"collect evidence --memos I don't do"
Tom Green -- counsel for Secord, Chi-Chi, Hakim, Tom Clines
appt. at 1:30 at Key Bridge Marriott
WSJ investigative firm. pillow talk
Carlos -- Chinchilla ? Tom Green(e)
Joe Kelso (lines to)
Colorado business Rupp
Chandler, Kelso move into Rupp's office o vice versa
Joe Kelso May 88
Bureau of Prisons
Oregon is important
(line from Kelso's name to) Rupp gets requests from Iraq. Customs was ru nning a sting operation (line from here to Bureau of Prisons)
Within a matter of a few months, Byers became the House Select Committee on Assasinations star witness. Congressional investigator Conrad "Pete" Baetz, who was on leave from the Madison County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department at the time, came up with a theory that Byers had been offered a contract by two St. Louis businessmen to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966-67. This information was allegedly provided to the FBI by one of Byers' partner's in crime, Richard O'Hara, who was working as a FBI informant. The FBI allegedly misfiled the information and didn't find it again un til the HSCA requested all King-related files from FBI field offices in 1977.
I interviewed Baetz for the first time in the early 1990s, when he was still a deputy for the Madison County Sheriff's Department. At that time, he told me that he didn't reca l l Byers, his key witness, being a suspect in the art museum burglary case. The arm museum heist were front page news in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for months that year.
Even more questionable was Baetz's response when I asked him about the m ur der of Sam White, another art museum burglary suspect. Baetz told me he had never heard of White.
Several years later, I was contacted by David Patterson, the son of HSCA informant Oliver Patterson. Baetz had been Patterson's handler, instructing him on how to spy on James Earl Ray's brother, Jerry Ray, prior to his testimony before the HSCA. The younger Patterson had tapes of telephone conversations that his late father had recorded with Baetz. I listened to some of the tapes. In one conversation, B aet z tell him to call him back at the Madison County Sheriff's Department. This means even though Baetz was working as a congressional investiagator in the spring and summer of 1978 he was still checking in at the Madison County Sheriff Department's head quar ters in Edwardsville, Ill.
Baetz's claim that he knew nothing about Byers' being a suspect in a high-profile burglary case and that he was unaware of a gruesome murder within his own juridiction defies credulity.
In 1998, shortly before the death of James Earl Ray, Gerald Posner, a popular author, published a book on the assasination that concludes that Ray acted alone in the King assasination. Posner was laued by New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis for his fine investigative wo rk. In truth, the book is riddled with factual inaccuracies. I debated Posner briefly by telephone on two different radio shows: NPR's Talk of the Nation and the Charles Jaco talk show on KMOX radio in St. Louis. In both cases, the hosts of the shows cut me off and sided with Posner's errant thesis. Posner was on a book tour at the time. So I went on an emailing campaign, sending an excerpt of my earlier work on MLK to newspaper reporters across the country. The excerpt alludes to Baetz, Byers, Patterson and White. Thanks to Blogger I no longer need to rely on sending multiple emails, or uploading documents to a web site, which is a slow process. Here's the excerpt:
In his book, Killing the Dream, Mr. Gerald Posner accepted the House Select Committee o n As sassinations conclusions without question. Mr. Posner also excluded relevant HSCA testimony that casts doubt on the veracity of the sole witness who claimed he was offered $50,000 to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King. Mr. Anthony Lewis, the august col umnis t for The New York Times has errored in accepting Mr. Posner's opinions.
Th e below excerpt is part of a story that won a third-place award for investigative reporting from the Missouri Press Association last year. C.D. Stelzer is a member of Inve stigat ive Reporters & Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists.
Reason able Doubt
published in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis) April 2, 1997
... April 4 marks the 29th anniversary of the crime. In the only official
investigation of the ca se, the House Select Committee on Assassinations
(HSCA)found that a conspiracy existed to kill King. But the congressional
panel chose not to exonerate Ray. Instead, the HSCA concluded that Ray may have carried out the murder to collect a bounty from a pa ir of S t. Louis racists, who represented a secret Southern society."
There are reasons to doubt the committee's findings, however.
In 1978, the late St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Murry Lee Randall sent a
letter to Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio), the chairman of the House Select
Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). His plea to the congressman was unusual for a jurist -- perhaps desperate. ...
Russell G. Byers, a former legal client of Randall's, claimed to have
received a contract offer to kill King in late 1966 or early 1967, according to information furnished by a FBI informant in 1974. The local FBI office overlooked the allegation until Byers was arrested as a suspect in one of two highly-publicized St. Louis Art Museum burglaries in early 1978. The bureau then turned the information over to the HSCA. Byers told the committee he declined t o accept the $50,000 contract to murder the civil rights leader offered by convicted drug dealer John R. Kauffmann and patent lawyer John H. Sutherland, the head of a local wh ite rights group. By the time HSCA hearings took place, both of the men implicat ed by Byers were already dead. ...
Once sworn in as a witness, ... Randall candidly answered questions, often against the advise of his own counsel. Although his te stimony w as used to corroborate that of Byers, many of the judge's statements contradict c onclusions later reached by the HSCA. In short, Randall found Byers' story incredible, and placed no credence in the St. Louis connection formulated by congression al investigators. Yet the HSCA's assumption that a St. Louis based conspiracy existed is pre dicated entirely on the testimony of Byers, a convicted felon. ...
In a sense, the 1978 congressional inquiry exposed its own machinations more than any racist conspiracy that may have been active here a decade earlier. Indeed, individuals with ties to o rganized crime, the FBI and even military intelligence were all involved in shaping the HSCA theory that a racist plot to kill King supposedly originated in St. Louis. ...
This much is a matter of record: police arrested Byers in connection with
one of t he 1978 burglaries of the St. Louis Art Museum in which several
valuable statuettes were stolen. All of the stolen art was ultimately
recovered, and police drop ped charges against Byers, but not before two
other suspects in the case were murdered, and a third refused to testify
Sam E. White, one of the suspects in the Art Museum heists, was last seen
alive leaving the FBI office in St. Louis on June 6, 1978. Five days later,
a farmer found his body in rural Madison County, Ill. ... Although severely burned, the corpse was identified from fingerprints lifted from three unscorched fingers. ...
A burnt body, shredded evidence and a plea of ignorance by a congr essional
investigator. It may all add up to nothing more than coincidence, but
Randal l thought otherwise. In his letter the the HSCA chairman, the judge
stated: "I believe that this man's murder (White's) was arranged by the
person to whom he and Mr. Bye rs had sold the statues stolen from the museum, and Mr. Byers is now fearful that this publicity is classing him an informant and the same fate will occur to him. ..."
Randall told the HSCA that Byers had concocted the story about the contract on King as a means of fingering a presumed FBI informant by the name of Richard O'Hara.
"I beli eve those remarks by Mr. Byers were fabricated and purposely planted with Mr. O'Hara for the purpose of trying learn whether Mr. O'Hara was a FBI informant, since the o nly person the FBI could possibly check with was Mr. Byers himself," wrote Randall. "The FBI apparently recognized (this) and did not interview Mr. Byers, as to do so would have endangered the life of its informant. ..."
Oliver Patterson, wh o had spied o n Jerry Ray in the early 1970s for the FBI, had by this time become a secret operative for the HSCA. That spring, while Jerry Ray testified before Congress, he rifled through the hotel room they shared in the capital. The search yielded hair samples and a hand-drawn map of the prison, where James Earl Ray was incarcerated. Patterson then called Conrad “Pete” Baetz, the HSCA investigator who was handling him.
"We knew that it was going to create a mess," says Baetz of Patterson's
rummaging. "We had no authority to do it." Baetz claims that the informant
had acted without his prior approval. Once informed of Patterson's
extracurricular activity, the committee ordered Baetz to keep him on a
closer leash. ...
But it appears Patterson exceeded those bounds. His undercover work ended in August 1978, after James Earl Ray's lawyer learned about i t. In a press conference held here, Mark Lane, the attorney, convinced Patterson to divulge details of his spy status, which he had been informed of by a female friend of Patterson's. The woman -- who was engaged in making pornographic videos for Patterso n -- told Lane that the HSCA informant planned to plant a story with The New York Times branding the attorney a homosexual. After being confronted by La ne, however, P atterson instead publicly confessed that his HSCA duties included theft, making false sta tements to Congress and wire-tapping.
The admission of wire-tapping by Patterson is particularly interesting given Baetz's prior military service rec ord obtained by the RFT. While in the Army from 1966 to 1970, the HSCA investigator pulled duty as a "leg al clerk" for the Army Security Agency (ASA), a top- secret military intelligence organization dedicated to electronic surveillance.
The ASA is know n to have parti cipated in illegal domestic spying in the 1960 and 1970s. ASA agents were possibly responsi ble for tapping King's phone in Memphis, according to Orders to Kill, a book by James Earl Ray's current attorney William F. Pepper. More certain yet is the fact t hat the ASA participated in Operation Garden Plot, a secret eavesdropping campaign carried o ut against civil rights and anti-war activists. ...
In essence, the congressional committee that looked into King's death had an investigator -- Baetz -- who had previously worked for a military agency known to have engaged in illegal domestic spying, an d had employed a man -- Patterson -- who admitted to breaking the law while working for the committee.
That's a pretty harsh statement." -- Jerry Ray, quoting HSCA investigator Pete Ba etz from a story that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
So much for objective journalism from the mainstream media.
Jerry Ray, the younger brother of James Earl Ray, was subpoened to testify before the House Select Committee on A ssas si n atio ns in 1978. The committee was then investigating the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King a decade earlier. HSCA invest igator Conrad "Pete" Bazetz, on leave from the Madison County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department, employed a former FBI informa nt, Oliver Patterson, to spy on Jerry Ray.
After I wrote a story about the MLK assassination for the Riverfront Times, Patte r son's son, David, contacted me. He had tapes on some of his father's telephone conversations. We arranged to mee t tw ice. I listened to some of the tapes in the David Patterson's car, while parked outside Kaldi's coffehouse on DeMun Avenue in Clayton, Missouri on one occasion. A year later, I contacted David Patterson and dubbed portions of other tapes before he m ov ed to New Orleans.
One of the phone conversations that Oliver Patterson recorded was with a young woman who admitted having sexual intercourse with Baetz, the congressional investigator. If true, Baetz's alleged actions may have compromised a highl y sens itive investigation into the murder of the most important civil rights leader in the history of the United States. Jerry Ray, who is not k nown for his credibility, had told me about Baetz's behavior in an earlier interview. The tape that David Patters on shar ed with me confirmed much of Jerry Ray's account. Because this information is of historic importance and I am publishing it verbatim withou t deletions of names. At the very least, the young woman who was involved in the tryst was being taken advantage of by both Oliver and Patterson. And just as disconcerting is the possible role of Jerry Ray's attorney, Mark Lane in the affair.
In the 1990s, James Earl Ray's last attorney, William Pepper, garnered publicity for his client through HBO tel ecast mock t rial. Pepper considered calling the woman interviewed on this tape as a witness but didn't. The fact that she didn't appear may have m ore to do with the Memphis-based conspiracy theory that Pepper chose to pursue.
During this period of rene wed in terest in the case preceding James Earl Ray's death, Baetz continued to be highly critical of his veracity and that of his former attorney, Lane. As revealed in the press account in 1978, Baetz had asked Patterson to accuse Lane of being a homosexu al. Whe n I reported that Baetz had served in Army Intelligence during the Vietnam era, which violated the congressional guidelines for investigators, he wrote a scathing letter to one of my editors criticizing the accuracy of my reporting.
One other person who should be credited with helping to expose Baetz's extra-legal activity is veteran St. Louis broadcast journalist John Auble.
If I wanted to be glib about this, I guess I could conclude that if congressional investigators want to get laid they should d o it with someone other than their informant's under-age girlfriend. It doesn't give me any great pride to reveal this information. Maybe this what happens to a reporter when he's been out of work for three years. I don't know. This much is certain: reporting on sex scandals hasn't exactly been my forte. This is perhaps the first time, however, that the story behind the story has been told.
Jerry Ray telephone interview: 01-15-097
If you got time I’d like to explain the whole story on Pete B aetz.
This is not my word, you can check most of this with (broadcast journalist) John Auble.
I’ll explain Oliver Patterson. He died a few years ago. He wasn’t that old when he died. I’ll explain the whole story to you. Oliver Patters n and Pet e Baetz and that.
In 1970, I was down in Savannah, Ga. And at the time I could get no couldn’t get no job in St. Louis. You know, and this guy, he’s a racist att orney J.B. Stoner. He represented my brother (James Earl) for a few months until m y brothe r got a nother attorney, you know. Because he can’t have contr oversial attorneys handling his case, you know, cause it makes him look like, you know, they say `bird s of a feather flock together.
So he only represented him for a short time u ntil he got another lawyer. So, anyway, Stoner called me up and asked me if I’d come down, because he knew from James that I couldn’t get no job or nothin’, figured I’d get in t rouble up here, if I couldn’t work, and on account of the FBI and that, and so I flew do wn to Sa vannah. And I worked there for a while and Stoner was running for governor, against Jimmy Carter and them.
And so, anyway, the FBI hired this guy named Oliv er Patt erson. He lived in Florissant, Mo. 12350, I think, Old Florissant over there or something in Florissant.
So, anyway, he came down. The FBI sent him down in style. He came down and joined up with Stoner’s party and he hung around me a lot. And he used to question me a lot. And I didn’t pay much a ttention to him. He’d aske d me this and that. I just thought he was a rich kid. So he hung there for a while. So then, I think it was in 1972, I went to St. Louis. He had me to come out his house. He a lways ge t in touch with me. So I went out to his hous e. And later on h e was takin’ me to my sister’s house, I wound up in the hospital. And ah, and ah, so ah, he waited there. And so when I got out of the hospital he took me home, he claimed some car run us down in the middle of the street and they worked m e over. At the t ime I didn’t pay it much attention, you know. So I just forgot about it. I got out of the hospital. They beat me with chains or something like that. Anyway, I forgot about it. Went to work in Chicago.
Then in 1977, when James escaped fro m Brushy Mounta in pri son, I hadn’t seen this guy or heard from him in all this time. Well, I think it was in 1978, when I got my first subpoena to go to Washington to go the House Assassinations Com mittee, O liver Patterson called down there, I was down in Marietta, Ga. then. He called do wn there. He knew where I was all of those times. See I’m not of sufficient mind. He said, `Jerry, I just got a subpoena to go to Washington and testify. I said, th at’s stran ge I did too. He said, `Well, I’ll drive by and pick you up. Like I s aid he liv ed in Florissant then. So he drove down to Marietta and picked me a nd took me to Washington. And while I was testifying, he was going through all of my belongings a nd all of t his. When I came back after testifying, he said, `We ll, they d ec ided they’re not going to call me.
So he drove me back to Marietta. So a few mon ths later was going to go up to Chicago and go to work until, until I had to go to a live heari ng. See that was a secret (hearing). See, they had two hearing s, a live a nd a secret, and that was a secret one.
He told me, why don’t you stay over at my house, you know. Stay over as long as you want to. A week or two weeks, you know. So I went over to his hous e and stayed over at his house. Well, unknowingl y t o me, see, Conrad “Pete” Baetz would come by every morning. They had the whole house taped. And Conrad “Pete” Baetz would come by every morning picking up tapes.
How was he representing himself?
He was supposed to be working for the assassi nat ions commi ttee then.
But they had the house bugged?
Yeah, they had the whole house bugged. And so, anyway, Mark Lane had come down and met Patterson before, and he met this girl. See, they ha d the young girl there about 16-years-old, Sue Wadsworth.
She was s taying at Patterson’s house?
Yeah, ugh-huh. She was a young girl. She was staying at the house. So every morning he’d come by (Lane or Baetz?)So every morning, T his girl was r eally impressed by Mark Lane. One day she went out and ca lled Mark L ane on a pay phone. Mark Lane give us his address, you know, after we met him. So she called Mark Lane up and told Mark Lane. She said Oliver Patterson is an FBI informant and he’s tapin g everything that Jerry says and its turned over to Conra d Baetz, p icking up in the morning and returning to the assassination committee.
So a phone ring there and Patterson answered the phone and he handed it to me, and it’s Mark Lane. And Mark Lane told me, `get out of that house today, he said, call m e up, go to a pay phone and call me up.’ So I went to a pay phone and called Mark Lane up out i n California. He told me the whole story. He said, `Sue Wadsworth called me up and said t hat whole house is bugged, and that Patterson is an i nformant, been s py ing on you for years, and turned everything over to the FBI and now he’s turning it over to th e assassinations committee. He said, `get out of that house today and move some place ot her. So I made s ome excuse up with Patterson and I moved in with my sister, you know.
So then I called Mark Lane back up. He said, `Me and Dick Gregory, we’re going to come to St. Louis. And we’re going to confront Patterson. He said we got the inform ation and we’re g oing to confront him. So in the meantime, I don’t kn ow tha t a ll that house is tapped. So they found out, I guess that that girl who put the finger on Patterson. So the FBI and House assassinations committee, they contacted Patterson. And said, what we’re going to do is we’re going to send a reporter f rom the New York Times down and this reporter, you tell this reporter that Mark Lane is a homosexual and all that BS, you know.
So when Mark Lane and Dick Gregory came down and confront ed Patterson, Patt erson told them what was going on. He said the F BI and the assassinations committee knows that you found out that I was an informant and they’re going to send down this reporter from the New York Times and weren’t none of them supposed to tell them.
So Mark Lane contacted John Auble. John Auble at the time was working with KSD and he filled John Auble in on everything that was going on. John Auble went out to the Mariott, the Mariott out by the airport, and John Auble get in a mot el room there. And s o when this knock comes on the door, instead of Patterson opening up the door, Mark Lane opened up the door. And he said my name is Mark Lane, and this New York Times reporter started running and Auble is filming the whole thing on tape. And Mark Lane gr abbed him when he gets by the elevator, and he says, `Why don’t the New York Times ever want to write the truth?’
So that night or the next night, I forgot exactly, but either that day or the next day, Patterson went on Auble’s show on Channel 5 and tol d whole story, plus what he had. Not only that, when he’d make out an FBI report, he’d Xerox `em. He had all these Xerox copies of FBI things he made out on me. And if I said one thing, and it didn’t sound right, the FBI would tell him to take this out an d put this in, you know.
And what I was goin’ to tell you ab out Conrad Baetz, too. And I’m positive Auble’s got all this, too. Conrad “Pete” Baetz, he used to go over to Oliver Patterson’s house all the time and they would watch those porno movies, you know. And that young girl (end of tape). ... [Ray alleges that Baetz had sex with Wadsworth].
The tape just ran out. You said that Sue Wadsworth, who was 16 at the time, was living at Oliver Patterson’s house in Florrissant. What was the relations hip, if any?
She just didn’t get a long with her parents, and she moved in with Patterson, see. And, ah, she was a mixed up little girl. She’s the on e that tipped Mark Lane off about (Patterson) being an informant. I got her phone number now. I have n’t talked to her. Th e last time I talked to her was in 92 or 93. That’s when they was filming that HBO movie, you know, that James was found not guilty on. She was going to testify on it, but she didn’t, you know, because there was nothing that she could testify to, see. But she was going to testify on it. If you hol d on a minute, I’ll get her last phone number. [leaves phone to retrieve phone number] ...
I forget to turn the tape player back on immediately, when Ray returns to the phone. There is a ga p of perhaps five mi nutes. When the re cording resum es Ray is spea king about Jack Gawron, a criminal associate and snitch who James Earl Ray also had a relationship with.
He put `em together, and it look like he was trying to get us both, see. He didn’t like this guy Gol denstein. I don’t know why he did n’t like him. He’s up there testifying against him. I told him that’s dirty, anyway. I don’t know if Gold enstein was guilty or not anyway, if he’s guilty he should testify. He testified against John, so that’s why I ment ion that, you know.
[Jerry Ray mentions Gawron in a letter to FBI agent Pete, who he alleges was harrassing him in 1971 and trying to intim idate witnesses into testifying that Jerry Ray was involved in bank robberies]
He [Gawron] was l ike that Charlie Stevens in Memphi s. That guy who was passed out on t he floor drunk, but he identified James.
Right, right, I recall that. You know, I really appreciate you calling me up. As I was just talking to you n ow, I flipped the tape over and I just re alized that the las t part of our co nversation I didn’t g et down . So I need to go back , if I can recall what we were just speaking about. Mak e sure, you were talking about the hearing in February.
It comes up February 20 in front o f Judge Brown in circuit court [of Shelby County, Tenn.]
It still h as to do with the rifle, right?
He’s got a lot more evidence, plus that about Rauol and different things. That’s going to be one of the main things, too, is that that rifle, they refused to let the attorneys t est fire it. Cause he’s (William Pepper) going to have three experts. They’re going to tell if that bullet came from the gun that killed King. Like I mentioned before that same judge ordered that gun bein’ tested about a year-and-a-half-ago and John Periotti (sp?), t he U.S. attorney general, p rosecutor [I think Periotti is only Shelby County prosecuting attorney, not U.S. attorney ] he run to the higher court and filed a motion to, ah, to ah, to ah reverse that judge’s d ecision and they did, so th ey wo uldn’t let that gun be tested and Judge Brown said he didn’t know what they were trying to cover up. He said, if that was the gun that killed King, you’d think they’d want it tested.
So he’s going to have three more experts d own there. That’ll te stify that it can be told if that bullet came fr om that gun or not was the one that killed King. That’s the gun that James admitted buying. He admitted buying the gun. And the guy picked it up the night before at the New Rebel Motel.
But if that gun t hat h e bought is proved not to be the one that ki lled King then they would have to just turn him loose because they know damn well that the only eye witness identified somebody else coming out of t he bathroom. Of course, Pepper t hinks the bullet was fi red fr om downstai rs. But if it was as the FBI claime d, the bullet was fired from the bathroom, Raye Stevens, the common-law wife of Charlie Stevens, Charlie Stevens is passed out in the room, and she sees the person coming out o f the bathroom face-to-f ace. She said it wa sn’t him.
Didn’t they put her in a mental institution?
A strange (thing) that Mark Lane finally got out, what happened was, the story, and you can check this out to be true, it no more than happened, t he FBI run up, you know, they thought the bullet came from up there. The FBI run up there and she had her door open. And Charlie Stevens was likely passed out in the bed. So they asked her whether she seen anybody come out of there, when they were in the bathroom checking it out. And she said sh e seen right after the shot a person c ome out of the bathroom and looked her in the face. She had her door open. And they asked her to describe the guy. And she described the guy, sandy-colored hair, I can’t remember the whole descr iption, completely op posite of James: color hair, height, co mplexion.
So they didn’t do anything to her until they arrested James in Lo ndon England. When they arrested James in London, England, they took her and placed her in the Bolivar State Mental Instituti on (?), cha nged her name. Then they offered Charlie Stevens so much money as a witness. So they showed Charlie Stevens, who is passed out in the bed. A he said, `yeah, that’s the guy (James Ear l Ray) who came out of the bath room. So that’s w hat they us ed to get J ames over on. Of course, it never went to cou rt, Cause, if he’d ever got a trial, they couldn’t have used him, you know. Cause this all came out, this is not me saying it, this public record, a cab drive r by the nam e of McGraw wa s called earl ier that d ay to pick him up, they call him wino Charlie, to get some liquor and he wouldn’t haul him, see, cause he was too drunk, see, he couldn’t get him down the steps or nothing. And the wo man, she don’t dri nk, one that they took to th e mental inst itution. We ll, Mark Lane found out about it through investigators and that and he went and got her out and she lived with him in Memphis until he moved to New York. I met her several times. Ther e wasn’t nothing wrong with her. She wasn’t m entally ill o r nothing. S he told the press that the only reason I went into t he mental institution was because I wouldn’t lie for the FBI and identif y somebody that they wanted me to identify. She said the pe rson that ca me out of that bathroom wasn’t James Earl Ray.
Ok, w hat’s this whole St. Louis theory. What’s your opinion of all these different people that were brought into this: Spica, Byers ...?
I think what they did, they want to prove a fam ily conspi racy. At the time that King go t killed, I didn’t come to S t. Louis and buy into the Grapevine until James got caug ht in London, England. I was working in Chicago. I was working at Sport sman’s Country Club. I had worked there for three years. W hen Jam es got caught in London, E ngland then I quit my job and mov ed to St. Louis and bought into the Grapevine. And we both r un the Grapevine. They was trying to show a family conspiracy, and put me in it and John in it, and then have these two guys Byers, a nd Sutherland and Spica mayb e, too, I don’t know. [Byers act ually implicated John Sutherland and John Kauffman]
I didn’t know none of those guys. I never had seen any of them in my life. And I’m almost positive. I can’t be positive of anything. I’m al most positive that none of thos e guys ever came i n the Grapev ine, if they did at the most it was two times, if they came in at all, because I would have remembered them if they came in more than that. But once in a great while a stranger would come in a stranger, you know, would get one or two drinks a nd go on. B ut that maybe would be once every two or three months. The same old people every day.
So they supposedly found this information in an FBI file that had been misplaced in St. Louis and did n’t come up until the congressi onal investigation sta rted.
It just seems like they kind of maybe planted this, this infor mation ...
They might have. I don’t know. Like I said, first th ey start off that James (killed) King because he’s a racist, you know, he didn’t lik e blac ks -- that was his whole th ing. Then they jumped to that Alton bank robbery. That’s to give him enough money to travel around and kill King. Then when that racist thing, they couldn’t find one thing about him bei ng a racist.
A person ain’t goi ng to e scape from no pr ison, work around and do all of those small-time robberies. And ah, and ah, you’d have to be a hell of a smart criminal to do them all of those times. Cause all the travelin’ he done, they figur ed out how many thousands of dollars it cost him to that, yo u know. To hunt down one man, for King. For what? King never done nothing to him. He didn’t do anything to me. When that fell through, then they went to the bank robbery, see. If he had robbed a bank, I forget how much they said he’d take, $25,000, $30,00 0. That would have been enough money to finance it. Then he’d need a motive. If t he racist thing fell through, there wouldn’t be no motive. Last they came up with these two guys and offered hi m $40,000 to $50,000 to kill King. Then they c laimed he never did col lect it, though. He did the crime and he couldn’t collect it. Then where th e hell did all that money come from that he’d already spent, if he couldn’t collect it. They just jump aroun d.
They got on A&E, you ever watc h A&E. You get that up there. On A&E they did a thing here a few months ago. They reruns a couple of times. It’s about like that old Conrad talked about. They claimed that me and James. That the conspiracy came out of t he Grapevine tavern. That me and Jam es went down to Birmingham and bough t the gun. That I was Rauol. We planned it together. That he shot King, you know.
Pepper going to file a suit against them, you know. He’s called them up and notified them. He sa id that even if we don’t win, we have to stop that kind of stuff, you know. They had some kind of a narrator on there. He’s a law, I’m trying to think of his name now, from Arizona. Some guy name of Clark. He’s a law professor. He’s narrating it. He’s tel ling about me and James buying a gun. I don’t know who and the hel l wrote his script. But I’m working six nights a week up at the Sportsman’s Country Club in Chicago. They got records of it. And how in the hell do I g et off to do all of that traveling a nd robbing banks and all that kind of stuff with one night off a we ek. I worked there three years and never missed a night.
You mentioned that you don’t have any criminal record since the 1950s. What were you convicted of?
From the time I wa s 14 until the time I was 20, hell, I was convicted o f every damn t hing: burglary and armed robbery and everything. After that, all that money I got out of all that damn stuff, I could have made in a month working, see. And so after that, I was a kid, a nd after I got o ut, I was smart enou gh. No more of that damn stuff f or m e. I got records. I just retired here in 92, and I went to work for HBO. And I worked in the last place for seven years. And I worked for three years up there when King got killed. And three years before at the other place. So I worked m y whole life eve r since that happened.
Is your brother out of the hospital?
He’s back in the prison, spacial (or special) needs. That’s where he’ll be at. He was over there before he went in the hospital. He’s got his own cell and his own TV se t. They jus t s end people over there who are not in real good health. He was at River Bend. They’re right next door to each other. They’re within walking distance. One is like a prison hospita l and one is like a prison, see.
How often do you visit hi m?
I se e him Saturday and Sunday. I won’t go back over, he calls me every day. He just called me a couple of hours ago. I won’t go back over Saturday unless he w ants me to come over on a week night and see him. On a week night you can visit him 6:3 0 to 7:30 ev ery night. On weekends, from 1:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. Like I say, this past week I visited two hours Saturday and two hours Sun day. Then I told him unless something changes, I won’t b ack to see him until next Saturday.
Does your brother John still live in St. Louis?
The last I heard. I haven’t heard f rom him in a while.
What about your other family members. Yo ur sister Caro l is she in the St. Louis area?
Ye ah, the last I heard. She’s in the St. Loui s area.
I’m trying to think of anything else I might want to ask. If I have any furthe r questions, you know, can I call you back?
Yeah, give me a call. You w rite a story, though, do a lot of checkin g with John Auble. Because Aubl e, it’s dif ferent then taking the word from me, because, you know, he could say he’s promoting his brothe r’s case. But Auble will tell it like it is and so will that Sue Wadswort h, you know. That’s independent people tha t will tell you the facts. Plus, A uble got a lot that on tape, you know.
Let me go back and try to find the newspaper clips about that incident with Oliver Patterson and then I’ll probably call up Baetz an d question him about this.
Hey, you w ant to shake Baetz up, when you ca ll h im an d talk to him tell him you’ve talked to Sue Wadsworth even if you haven’t. (Say) I just talked to Sue and she gave me a lot of information about those porno movies t hat Patterson used to (laughs)... He’ll prob ably hang up on you then.
I just feel li ke the Post-Dispatch he’s recently has ran a couple stories in which they interviewed him ...
Yeah, the guy called me up when James went in the hospital, wh en he first had that coma. He called up. I didn’t get the message for two days on acco unt o f I was at the hospital. I stayed over at the hospital, see. Then I got ahold of him back and said that he wrote a story and that he’d send me a copy. But he didn’t, though. I guess he forgot. He’d to ld me about Baetz. And I told him I wish the hell I wo uld have got a hold of you before you run that story, I’d have filled you in on old Conrad. I said Conrad, it’s a wonder that he runs his mouth the way that he d oes because he knows that the news peopl e go t about those porno movies and that young gi rl o ver there and making those movie and him molesting her. I said they could put him in jail, if he wasn’t working for the FBI. I said too bad, you didn’t call me.
Here’s what he said. And this is just since James Earl went in the hospital. It’s Dec. 2 7 ar ticle. It’s by Pat Gauen. He’s an Eastside reporter for them. He (Baetz) says, “I think James Earl Ray is finally getting what’s coming to him . He should have gotten the death penalty. Baetz said Thursd ay at his home in Glen Carbon, six weeks after his retirement from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. ....” That’s a pretty harsh statement ....
What got him and the committee too was when Mark Lane and Dick Gregory confronted Patterson, he brok e down and told them. And he told all about Baetz a nd he told all about the committee and he told all about all the stuff that was going on. When he went up there, he was going through all of my belongings, when I was up there. And he was instructed by t he assassinations committee to do all that, you know. And about Baetz.
But what made Baetz madder than anything, more so, cause he’s legal to work as an FBI informer or for the committee. But when Patters on spilled t he beans about them having porno mo vi es and him having an affair with that young girl, see, he had sex with that young Sue Wadsworth. That’s why I gave you her number, see if you can get ahol d of her. She’ll fill you in a lot about Pete Ba etz.
Was Patterson, was he working as an inf orm ant for the committee or the FBI?
Well, he started with the FBI. See, what the FBI did, when this committee was formed Richard Sprague was the head o f the committee and they forced him out because he wanted the FBI files, he wanted all the file s. H e didn’t go with the family conspiracy, he want ed to investigate the whole thing. And they forced him out because the committee was kind of crooked. And the y just wanted to focus on the Ray family and G. Robert Blakey, who took over after they forc ed Spr ague out, he said he didn’t want no FBI fi les, and, see, he just went after the Ray family. He tried to prove a Ray family conspiracy. He overlooked everythi ng else. That’s when they set up on m e and so the FBI inform ants, the ones that was work ing with the FBI moved over to the House assassina ti on s committee. And so they hired FBI informants to keep on working. So that’s how they got Oliver Patterson because he had been informing on me sin ce 1970 off and on. So the F BI turned that over to t he House a ssassinations committee so they hired him t o st art back on me. And Conrad, I’m not positive about that, I couldn’t make a statement about how he got involved. I read what he told you how h e got involved. He knew some stuf f over in Madison or something l ike that, you know. That may be true, I don’t k now. I ain’t going to say one way or the other about something I don’t know.
The only thing I do know is what he did do after he got inv olved. It’s been so long ago, you kn ow, I don’t like to say things that aren’t true, I mean say things that are uncertain. But it seems like after that sex stuff came out with that young girl that Baetz wife either divorced him or they separated or some thing. Because that came out him havi ng affairs on th ose porno mo vies. She found out about all that you kno w. His w ife did. So I don’t know. There was something that came out back then that she divorced him or separated or something. But I can’t reme mber for sure just exactly what it was.
Were the porno movies being distributed?
No, I think they we re just watching for their own enjoyment based on Patterson. Now I’d been around Patterson for a while. I stayed over there, s ee. Now he would never show me nothing like that because I don’t go in for that kind of stuff, you know, I call that stuff s ick stuff. So he never did show me anything like that. The first thing I knew about it was when Sue Wadsworth brought it all out an d Patterson admitted all that, see that’s all on record.
If I ca lled up Sue Wadsworth, do you think that she would ta lk to me about this?
She’s an honest person. She felt sorry for James and me, too, the way the FBI was. She spilled the beans to Mark Lane about Patterson. Just tell her you won’t publish her nam e because embarrassed about that kind of stuff. She’s a g rown woman now. See, this happened back in 1978.
Right, it wouldn’t be necessary to use her name.
Just tell her I just want the information. Say her name and everything will be protected. Because I think she’s married now, I’m not sure. Any thing else, giv e me a call.
I will. Thanks for calling. Bye.
Friday, March 05, 2004
His brother Alan worked for the National Security Agency, before returning to St. Louis to help set up the St. Louis Police Department's computer system in the 1960s.
Their younger brother Lou Hamilton is a local political consultant. Lou was among the local partnership, FutureSouth, which unsuccessfully competed for a license to operate a casino in Lemay with Ameristar in the late 1990s. Their efforts were unsuccessful.
Following the Michael Lazaroff scandal, Ameristar purchased the St. Charles, Mo. casino from Station and was licensed by the state. I don't know if Ameristar has any local partners in that venture.
In 2000, I wrote a cover story for the Riverfront Times, which helped kill the Lemay casino, at least temporarily. I know all the local partners must admire me for that. I really do consider myself a stand up guy, I'm just not standing with you guys.
Below is 1995 list of those fine, civic-minded citizens. The list may have narrowed by 2000, but I didn't want to exclude anybody.
When the PR woman for Ameristar understood that my story was going to be critical of the casino plan (the Sisters of Notre Dame Convent is 500 feet from the proposed site). She asked, "Are you sure you want to do this, C.D.?"
It sounded like a threat.
Yeah, I was sure. I was absolutely certain. I would do it again in New York minute -- if I ever got the chance. But I probably won't. I'd like to ask these investors one simple question each: Do you ever get tired of being greedy?
Besides Lou Hamilton, here are the investors in the earlier FutureSouth partnership: Dennis P Long, former A-B exec; Rick Barry, lawyer and former candidate for Democratic nomination for St. Louis County prosecutor in 1990; Frank Bommarito, board chairman, Bommarito Automotive Group; John E. Braunch, president Interstate Cleaning Corp., Teddy Busch, president, Busch Glass Inc.; Dean Climer, executive, Kadean Construction; William J. Cocos, vice president, William G. Cocos Co. Inc; William G. Cocos Jr., presi den t, Wi l lam G. Cocos Co. Inc., Norman C. Dilig, certified public account; Charles E. Emmenegger, president Bull Moose Tube Co.; John P. Ferrara, president Pasta House Co. Joseph A. Fresta, co-owner, Pasta House Co.; Charles E. Gitto Jr., Charlie Gitto's restaurant; Richard Greer, chief executive officer, Richard Greer Trucking; Louis Hamilton, president Hamilton & Co., Inc.; James R. Herd, executive vice president, Middleton Investments; Ronald J. Johnson, president Riverside Electric Co.; Charles M. Knight, president Knight Equipment Co.; Gilbert Kopolow, owner, Gilbert Kopolow & Associates; Patrick D. Long, president, Worldwide Services; Dennis P. Long, D.P. Long & Associates Inc.; Laverne Lorenzini, the wife of a packaging executive; Paul A. Novelly, president, Apex Oil Co. Inc.; Richard J. Piatchek, president, Peiker/Piachek Associates; John G. Rallo, vice president, Daniel Henry Co.; Michael J. Rallo, president, CMR Construction Inc.; Charles N. Rallo, chairman CMR Construction; Nicholas G. Rallo, project manager, CMR Construction Inc.; W. Michael Ross, president, Capital Bank & Trust; Terry Scholtes, president, Rock Products Inc.; Glen Slay, vice president, Slay Industries; J. Kim Tucci, co-owner, Pasta House Co.; Bill Wilkerson, morning show host KMOX Radio..
For the Hamiltons, intelligence work seems to be somewhat of a family affair. William Hamilton's older brother Alan, also a Notre Dame graduate, worked for the NSA for two years in the early 1960s, according to a 1970 St. Louis Globe-Democrat story. Unlike William, Alan Hamilton remained in St. Louisan. But the two siblings still share a longstanding interest in computerized law enforcement.
After leaving the NSA, Alan Hamilton was employed as the manager of systems development for the St. Louis police department beginning in 1964. In 1967, he served as the secretary to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. During the 1970s, he became the general manager of the Regional Justice Information System (RJIS), the St. Louis area's crime computer, which is connected to the FBI's National Crime Information Computer in Washington.
In his role as manager, Alan Hamilton promoted the idea of buying his brother's software to the RJIS board of directors in 1974. A newspaper account from that time said that the software had been developed by the U.S. attorneys office in Washington, D.C.
Another Globe-Democrat story says that Promis was first developed for Washington, D.C. by Hamilton and his longtime associate Charles P. Work, an attorney. Work, the former president of the Washington, D.C. bar association, still represents Inslaw today. His co-counsel is Eliot Richardson, former U.S. attorney general during the last days of the Nixon administration.
In 1975, when Work addressed a conference of judges in St. Louis, he criticized inefficient courtroom docketing procedures, which in retrospect seems like an indirect sales pitch for Promis. At the time, Work was the deputy administrator for the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), a Department of Justice outfit that issued grants to local law enforcement authorities.
In its early years as a non-profit corporation, Inslaw or the Institute of Law and Social Research depended on grants from LEAA. For instance, in just one grant issued to Inslaw in 1979, the year before the program folded, LEAA doled out $383,540. The DOJ issued the grant so Inslaw could study a structured plea bargaining program.
Congress began cutting the LEAA largesse even before the Reagan administration took power. The program ended officially in April 1982. Among those lobbying for an end to program was Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, (D-St. Louis). Gephardt is now one of Inslaw's strongest defenders. But in the early 80s, the budget cuts required the Hamiltons to privatize their company, which led quickly to their decade-long impasse with the DOJ.
Douglas Valentine, an author of a book on the Phoenix program, contends that some LEAA grants may have been used for more than the obviously recognized purpose of supporting local police departments. Valentine asserts that the LEAA funding replaced the abolished International Police Academy (IPA), a United States Agency for International Development agency that trained foreign police officials in torture and assassination techniques.
Although the Hamiltons now allege that sources have told them that the government is monitoring domestic activities of regular citizens with their software, there is enough evidence to suspect this kind of computerized tracking has developed unimpeded over the last 20 years.
The implications of this kind of surveillance are alarming. A case in point is RJIS, the St. Louis crime computer, which 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.
Interestingly, Casolaro's notes refer obliquely to 1980 being the most dangerous year since World War II.
CPTS's parent, the ASC, was first formed and funded by 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.
First National's request seems unusual only in the very public manner in which RIJS refused it. According to Hamilton, Casolaro claimed BCCI was one of more than a score of banks laundering money for the CIA. In February 1991, Casolaro also revealed to Hamilton that the World Bank was using his software. Hamilton didn't believe the allegation, but he recently changed his mind after reviewing his notes of a conversation with a World Bank official. Hamilton was told the World Bank used Promis for "international message trafficking." From this Hamilton has deduced that the CIA is using his computer program "to easily monitor the movement of money."
Besides the American Security Council Bauman had other interesting liaisons. He headed a civilian support group for the National Guard and Army reserve that was created by the Defense Department in 1972. More importantly, as a community leader, Bauman helped organize and raise funds for an international conference of police officials that convened in St. Louis in 1980. The meeting brought together more than 6,000 law enforcement authorities from 35 nations. In addition to being serenaded by Pat Boone and taking a trip to the zoo, the cops entertained themselves with workshops on a variety of subjects, including computer systems and communications.
Communications, of course, is Bauman's area of expertise. Although the Globe-Democrat may have died before its publisher, the obituary the newspaper prepared in advance of Bauman's demise still exists. In the obit, Bauman is reported to be a member of the Knights of Malta, a secretive Catholic order dating back to the Middle Ages. The fraternal society, which is involved in charitable hospital work, is also thought to be a conduit between the CIA and the Vatican. The late CIA chief William Casey belonged to the order as did John McCone, who headed the agency at the time of Pres. John F. Kennedy's assassination. Other members include Alexander Haig, one of Nixon's Watergate era damage control experts and conservative columnist and former spook William Buckley.
Given these conditions, the idea of a star chamber scenario becomes more plausible. Casolaro may very well have become inextricably trapped in this netherworld where the lines between law enforcement and private industrial security intersect.
One tenuous link to this covert subculture surfaced in the 1977 House Assassination Committee hearings. Congressional investigators found that the late John Sutherland, a St. Louis patent lawyer who represented Monsanto, made a $50,000 contract offer on the life of Martin Luther King. Sutherland belonged to the Southern States Industrial Council, a racist right wing organization then headquartered in Nashville.
Author Phillip H. Melanson speculates that some logistics for the King assassination could have been facilitated through the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU), a private organization that links the intelligence squads of major metropolitan police forces in the U.S. and Canada.
The prospect of local police involvement in domestic espionage operations became more clear recently when an investigation in San Francisco found two cops were selling information to the Jewish Anti Defamation League. The police officers were members of their department's intelligence unit and had compiled thousands of files on activists of every political stripe. One of the informants that the spy network depended upon was a St. Louisan with the codename of "Ironsides."
Perhaps more closely related to the Casolaro case is the evidence of the historic invasions of privacy perpetrated by the Wackenhut Corp., a security firm filled with former government intelligence operatives. By 1966, Wackenhut offered its corporate clients background information of more than 4 million suspected dissidents.
After its surveillance activities fell under congressional scrutiny in 1975, Wackenhut donated its extensive files to the Church League of America, an anti-communist organization in Wheaton, Ill. that has worked closely with the intelligence units of city police departments.
Excerpted from Who Killed Marting Luther King: The True Story by the Alleged Assassin by James Earl Ray, 1992, National Press Books:
"...'Forget the camera. How about giving me a call once in while?' Raoul said. 'He re's another number in New Orleas. Get rid of that other one. If I need to send you anything, I'll address it to you at general delivery, same as in Birmingham. ...'"
"... Crossing the border (at Tijuana) required preparation. I searched the Mustang for anything that might hang me up at customs. Lodged between the right front bucket seat and the gearbox I found a pack of cigarettes in a plastic case, into which someone had tucked a business card. The name of the business had been inked out, but I could discern the letters `LEAA' (Law Enforcement Assistance Administration). At the bottom appeared a two-word phrase, perhaps the name of a city, like 'New Orleans,' that alos had been inked out. Below and to the right of 'LEAA' more type had been scrib ble out. On the other side, though, in what appeared to be the same ink, someone scrawled:
1180 Northwest River Drive
Miami, Florida ..."
"...(I)n 1969, I'd had Jerry get hold of Lawrence "Larry" (sic)Callahan, the steamfitters union president (Local 562 in St. Louis) I'd met in 1956-57 while in Leavenworth. I wanted (sic) Callahan to use his connections to check into the phone numbers Raoul had given me prior to the King murder. Jerry had taken my list of numbers from Baton Rouge an d New Orleans to the union man and asked (sic) Callahan for this favor.
"(sic)Callahan took the lists. Three weeks later he called Jerry. (sic)Callahan was being careful. He had Jerry meet him in his car, where he handed over aslip of paper bearing the n ame `Z.T. Osborn' and a telephone number. He said Osborn wouldn't meet with Jerry personally for fear of government surveillance, but he would arrange to provide Jerry with information on the Louisiana telephone numbers. (sic) Callahan told Jerry to use t he name `Larry' when calling Osborn.
"Jerry did so, and got this message: `The male resident listed under the Baton Rouge phone number is a parish law enforcement officer named Herman A. Thompson. Thompson is under the influence of an offical of the Tea msters Union named Edward Grady Parton, who is engaged in questionable activities, including connections with organized crime.
"Jerry also had given (sic)Callahan a partial phone number somewhere in New Orleans, about which the report wasn't as conclusiv e. (sic)Callahan's connection had run down two possibilities with the same last four digits: "Laventhal Marine Supply" at 866-3757 and "Town & Country Motel at 833-3757. The motel was run by Carlos Marcello, characterized in the press as a leading Southern mobster. Osborn, by the way, died on Feb. 1, 1970, allegedly by his own hand. ..."
What about the parking garages at the Busch Stadium downtown? Who has the contract for them now under the DeWitt & Co. ownership of the St. Louis baseball Cardinal? Has any reporter at the Post-Disptach, which owns a stake in the team, investigated the parking issue lately?
I bet not.
founder -- Louie Jacobs
location -- Buffalo, NY, Main St.
“In St. Louis, a $12 million guarantee at ($400,000 a year) was made by Sportserrvice to help the city secure financing for Busch Memorial Stadium. the money is so vital that city authorities are worried about the whole stadium financial structure should Emprise be forced out of the picture. Another $1.2 million was invested by Emprise in concession booths and equipment. Quid pro quo: Sportservice got a 30-year concession contract. ...
Within the body of the conglomerate (Emprise) were, by company account, 162 different corporations. (Estimates by those who have had reason to track Emprise’s growth though the maze of its subsidiaries say the total may be four times that big.) Today (1972), THERE ARE MORE THAN 70,000 EMPRISE EMPLOYEES WORKING IN 39 STATES, CANADA, ENGLAND AND PUERTO RICO.
U.S. Rep. Sam Steiger attacked Emprise in the Congressional Record on March 4, 1970.
Organized crime figures associated with Emprise include: Sam Tucker of River Downs Raceway in Ohio, a member of the Purple Gang; Moe Dalitz of Cleveland, identified by the Kefauver Committee years ago as a leading hoodlum; Raymond Patriarca, head of the New England mafia; the late Big Bill Lias of Wheeling downs racetrack and Shenandoah Downs in West Virginia. ...
Steiger cited Emprise’s 12 percent interest in Hazel Park , outside Detroit, as a flagrant example of its dealings with the Mafia. He pointed out that the board of directors at hazel Park included Anthony J. Zerilli, president; Giacomo (Jack) Tocco,, executive vice-president; and until July 25, 1969, Dominic P (Fats) Corrado. The three Zerilli, Tocco and Corrado -- had been identified by the McClellan Committee as members of the Detroit Mafia, he said. ..
Two of Louie Jacob’s sons, Max and Jeremy, took over the company after their father’s death
According to James (Jimmie Doyle) Plumeri, a New York shylock and labor racketeer who was murdered last year (1971) Louie Jacobs furnished financial backing for boxers controlled by Plumeri and the notorious Frankie Carbo during the 1950s.
Jacobs’ use of Plumeri’s labor clout, along with that of another mobster Johnny Dio, to head off strikes at sports sites. Plumeri once told of how back in Prohibition days Louie Jacobs financed the purchase of rum-running boats that brought booze from Canada to Buffalo. In another episode, Louie financed the purchase by Russell Bufalino, a notorious mobster in the Pittsburgh area in 1959. ...
Patriarcha provided the entree to Jacobs for Bufalino. In 1962 Geraldo (Jerry) Catena, the successor to Vito Genovese in the New York Mafia, arranged for Louie to fund an attempt by Joe (the Wop) Cataldo -- a New York gangster currently in prison -- to gain control of the Finger Lakes track.
As for Zerilli and Tocco, said Max Jacobs, indeed there had been a loan, a big one -- $256,000 -- in 1956, .... Sportservice had become the concessionaire at Hazel Park in 1949. ... Zerilli is the son of a Mafia don and married to a daughter of Joseph Profaci, the Brooklyn Mafia boss whose organization was taken over by Joseph Colombo.
Hearings were heard before the House Select Crime Committee in
The Jacobs brothers’ first big-league concession contract was with the Detroit Tigers in 1927. ... Sportservice moved into it Main Street offices in Buffalo in 1948.
Louie Jacobs died in 1968.
“Cincinnati turned out to be an Elysian sports field for the Jacobs. Louie Jacobs was in on the building of Cincinnati Gardens. when the Gardens ran into financial trouble, he invested more money and emerged as a 40 percent stockholder. .... The ownership of the Cincinnati Royals by the Jacobs may well force the NBA into an investigation that it has seemed singularly loath to pursue. ...
It is generally believed in Louisiana that any operation at Jefferson Downs needed at least the tacit approval of gangland boss Carlos Marcello, ...
In 1954, Sportservice moved into Jefferson Downs, then called Magnolia Park, and in 1958, when the track was in bankruptcy, Sportservice felt it had interests there well worth protecting. [Emprise attorney Robert Lacey bribed the La. gov. among others (Gov. Earl Long). ...
In early attacks on Emprise, congressman Steiger made references to another crime figure in the old man’s past, a convicted swindler named Irwin S. (Big Sam) Wiedrick.
Wiedrick and Sportservice were linked in a venture at Cahokia Downs , a racetrack in East St. Louis, Ill. the track was promoted by Big Sam, but he was forced to relinquish his shares in it when his past came to light. From the beginning, Louie Jacobs had the new track’s concessions. When track management needed money for improvements in 1962 and 63, there was Louie listening -- and tendering a loan of $200,000, which with accrued interest now totals more than $300,000. Emprise was also granted a 30 year extension on its concession contract, which runs to the year 2004. A condition of the extension agreement is that each year after 1974 Emprise will write off $10,000 of the outstanding debt.
Illinois records show that Emprise owns shares in the founding Land Trust that has title to the property on which the track is located. And Emprise owns more than 15,000 shares of common stock in Cahokia Downs, Inc.
PALM BEACH (FL) POST, 1987 BY CAROLYN SUSMAN AND MIKE GRIM
Employees of Delaware North, which had its beginnings in 1915 as a small concession stand in a burlesque theater in Buffalo, now .... do over $1 billion in annual sales, the privately held conglomerate is 98th on the Forbes Inc. list of 400 corporations.
(Jeremy) Jacobs owns the Boston Bruins hockey team. And Delaware North is the largest operator of hose and dog racing tracks in the country. In Florida, it recently purchased the dog track in Daytona Beach, where it also operates a jai-alai fronton. The company also owns a dog track in Orlando and the jai alai fronton in Melbourne.
Delaware North insists that its internal controls are tighter now than 20 years ago to insure that the company has tighter controls now than 20 years ago. To ensure that, the company has hired as its security director a retired FBI agent who previously headed New York investigations into organized crime.
As a result of the conviction, challenges were made in six of the nine states, including Florida, where the corporation held pari-mutuel licenses and in eight of 28 states where it held liquor licenses, the company said. It lost no pari mutuel license and only a liquor license in Oregon.
Investigations by law enforcement and the news media in Arizona could establish no tie between Emprise and Bolles murder.
Delaware North Executive Vice President James V. Stanton, a former three term Ohio congressman.
Denied contract in Mass. in 1987 because of past organized crime ties: “alleging without support that certain Mafia figures were within Jacobs’ `circle of allies and connections.’”
Jacobs demanded a retraction, which was not offered. He followed up with a $5 million lawsuit against the executive director, claiming the letter was designed to injure Delaware North’s bid to renovate the Boston Garden, which it owns.
The company operates the largest dog track in the world in West Memphis, Ark., a dog track in Phoenix where a $20 million renovation is nearly complete and a track in Yuma, Ariz. ...
In denying a license to a subsidiary to operate a dog track in St. Albans,the three Vermont commissioners said doubt had been cast on Jacob’ “character or fitness to participate in racing the state. Four years earlier, however, the New Hampshire attorney general found no evidence to disqualify Delaware North from buying a dog track there.
The Vermont commissioners said their decision was based on evidence that Jacobs had mad a deal with an Arizona congressman in 1976.
The deal was that jacobs agreed that defamation lawsuits would not be pressed if the congressman, who had been a critic, would write a letter supporting a pardon for Emprise 1972 federal conviction. ...
Jacobs is a very private kind of person, said Ross Kenzie,chairman of Goldome Federal Savings Bank in Buffalo.
Two companies of Delaware North now operate in Palm Beach County. Picnic in the Park, a food concession at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, 20 miles west of West Palm Beach, where JaCOBS IS A MEMBER AND HAS OWNED TWO CONDOMINIUMS FOR SEVEN YEARS. The other is APCOA Parking, which operates parking concessions at both the airport and the county’s administrative complex.
Ohio: It has the concession at Cincinnati Reds Riverfront stadium. In Dec. 1981, it bought the Cleveland-based APCOA parking lot operator for an estimated $25 million.The parking lot operation accounts for the company’s presence in Europe.
Michigan: It has the concession at Tiger Stadium. In 1983, it agreed to leave the state for two years, selling the subsidiaries at three Detroit area racetracks and Tiger stadium to settle a dispute involving the federal court conviction of Emprise. A spokesman for the state attorney general said that the company had broken its ties to the underworld.
S.C. Airport Concessions, Inc., the latest acquisition by Delaware North, joins the food service operations which Jacobs describes as the “crown jew” of the conglomerate. The newest acquisition cost more than $130 million in cash, forming the second largest airport concessions company in the nation.
Yuma Don, Don Devereux phone interview, 4-18-97
re: Emprise, Don Bolles murder
Devereux says he helped investigate the case in conjunct ion with the IRE task force in 1976 following the car bombing that took Bolles’ life.
“I worked with him before he was killed, and I think contrary to the theory of the Arizona attorney general’s office (Bruce Babbit’s office), I think that, in fact, some people associated with Emprise were involved in his murder.
Emprise in 1976 owned a half a dozen dog tracks in Arizona in partnership with something called Funk’s Greyhound Racing Circuit. I think some people involved in the local partnership wit h Funk’s were the main movers in the Bolles’ homicide. I think there were some folks at Emprise that were knowledgable about that, even looked the other way when it went down, certainly pulled some strings to protect their ass, when it happened. But I think the Emprise partner locally was the major force in the murder. I'd be willing to bet that some incarnation of Delaware North advertises in New Times.
Do they still control the tracks?
No. Emprise bought them out toward the end of 1979, when it looked like their names might come up in the investigation. Emprise ultimately sold two of its six tracks to new owners, and consolidated its owns ownership position in the other four. So in a way they came out of that stronger than they were. Th ey ended up with 100 percent of four tracks instead of 50 percent of six. So they ended up ultimately with proabably a stronger position.
They’re still here. The Funks are no longer here, but Emprise is still here under its new name.
Is that Delawa re North?
Delaware North and the tracks are actually operated by a subsidiary. I could be mistaken I think its called American Greyhound Racing.
I mention the current Detroit indictment.
They were convicted in Las Vegas back in the early 70s as a corporation for helping to mask some mob ownership position of a casino, and I believe it was Detroit guys that were involved.
And one of the guys was from St. Louis, Anthony Giordano. He had the subcontract for the cigarette machines in the stadium here ....
I heard and it’s just in the for what it’s worth department, I couldn’t prove it in court, I have heard from mob sources that the mob position in Delaware North is at least as strong as it used to be in the old Emprise.
The old patte rn seemed to be, when Lou Jacobs was running Emprise years ago, theat they bascially, wherever they were, whether it was the Boston Bruin’s Garden, whereever they were, they gave the local mob families a piece of the action as kind of a piece of the act as the price of doing business. It was generally done with skim money, because they obviously couldn’t give stock to the mob guy. So they would do skim operations and the mob would get a piece of the action through skim.
That seemed to be a pattern nationwide. That’s what Don Bolles was investigating when he was killed and had been for a long time. Emprise was almost Bolles’ white whale. He was obsessed by them, and was really working very hard to try and find some way to bag them. But I would assume that the same thing is happening today. Despite all their protestions, I doubt it, but I couldn’t prove it in court.
I discuss the Detroit indictments.
I have lingering concerns. One guy is still in prison for the Bolles’ homicide, who I belie ve was framed. It perturbs at least some of us out here that that kind of miscarriage of justice can continue. And there may be very little we can do about it at this point. They’re very powerful people.
They certainly knew how to wheel and deal in Ariz ona when they had to protect their ass and they did a very good job.
Yeah, he wrote a letter, which was kind of a double cross on Sam’s part. He wrote a letter once asking a pardon for them or something. But he didn’t really mean it. He was involved in some litigation and it was the price of getting out from under it.
At the same time that he wrote the letter, he also made phone calls, basically, telling people, `don’t pay attention to my letter.’
Is he still alive?
Yeah, he has a talk radio show in Phoenix. A real crumudgeon, curious mixture of things. He’s kind of a Libertarian, very right of center, but certainly a pretty straight shooter. I think Sam was an honest guy. He got crosswise with Emprise and got bruised pre tty good as a consequence. He got involved in litigation with them.
84 Vermont refusal
If I was a racing commission anywhere, I would have a hard time signing off on them. They are basically the same people. What they did basically after they w ere convicted of a corporate felony, and Lou Jacobs would have been convicted personally, but he died. The reason that they got a corporate conviction was that Lou was deceased. What they did basically after that was they changed their name. They went thr ough supposedly a series of corporate transfers ending up with Delaware North Cos. Ltd. The Oregon AG’s office is the only one I’m aware of that seemed to be successful in penetrating the corporate shield sufficiently to determine that the old corporation was essentially the new corporation. It would be like me being convicted of a felony and changing my name to Tom Jones and saying, hey, I’ve got a clean slate.
That’s essentially what they did and got away with it. There is no way in the world that th e only guy involved in making decisions like helping Detroit mob guys hide financial interests in casinos was Lou Jacobs. He didn’t do this all by himself in that corporation.
It’s a big corporation, it’s a group of people, got a board of directors, sto ckholders. They tried to take the position that the only bad guy was Lou, nobody else knew nothing about it. Kind of a Neurenberg Trial approach to the whole thing. We hung the the 12 dirty Nazis and everybody else knew nothing about the death camps. That’s essentially bullshit.
But Jeremy is an extremely skilled fellow. Watch your ass about anything you say in print. Make sure you can back it up. I’m not telling you not to do it, I’m just saying these are very litiguous people and make sure you can sub stantiate anything you have to say.
They’re not bashful about coming after you even in situations sometimes where they know they can’t win. But they got the bucks to punish you just by making you fight them. They’re very very nasty people.
They’ve hir ed some ex-FBI guys, who are basically hired guns, who are very effective in putting on the Rotarian lunch front that they’re not, that these FBI guys are there to make sure that this is a pristine, clean operation, and these guys are just basically bough t and paid for. So they are not nice people as far as I’m concerned.
I think out here they probably had at least in the old guard (even though it was their local partners who did the murder out here) I’m pretty sure that they were aware it was happenin g. And then were very successful in helping to cover everybody’s ass after the fact because it would have cost them their racing licenses and all kinds of stuff if it would have come out.
They operate their parking lot concessions out h ere as separate enitities from the tracks. That’s a fairly standard procedure. And they also use their parking lot concessions for flea market, park and swap, kinds of things. That’s one of their operations. And they contract some of this stuff out. I don’t know how they operate in St. Louis. But at various times here some of these have been under contract arrangements with external corporations.
But they cut the business up into all kinds of pieces, and parking lots is one of the pieces that operates as a business.
Describe local situation with Cardinal sales and pending state bill. ...
They have the concessions here, also. They have the concessions for the Phoenix Suns in our coloseium. And they also have some bowling alleys. They have a v ariety of sports kinds of interests in the state. The concessions at sports facilities is one of their biggies. Sportservice has been very successful at that kind of stuff, and not always legitimately. There were some questions here on some bids. They weren’t always the best bidder, but they were certainly the most successful in manipulating the appropriate board into making the decision..
In 1976, St. Louis County Supervisor Gene McNary proposed a metropolitan tax district be set up to build a sports complex. That proposal was killed in committee d u ring the early pat of the state legislative session.
A year later, there was yet another possibility floated -- Bi-State Development Agency would purchase and maintain the Arena and its grounds until a downtown sports arena could be completed. The bus a gency would use the Arena for bus storage.
Joe Simpkins, a local philantropist was rumored to be interested in purchasing the Arena. [Simpkins had his Wellston Ford dealership and residence in Ladue firebombed in the 1950s in a mob-related feud.]
Then in July 1977, Ralston Purina purchased the Blues but not the Arena. The ownership of the Arena went from the mortgage holder Cousins Corp. of Atlanta to a partnership that included Joe Simpkins, Ferrell Kahn, King Carter and the Sportsservice Corp. of Buffalo, New York.
Ralston executive Hal Dean called the deal "indescribably complex."
Then on Sept. 30, 1977, Ralston Purina also purchased the Arena.
They immediately renamed the Arena the Checkerdome. After the purchase, Ralston leased the Arena back to at least one part of the partnership that owned it. The lease was granted to Dome Associates Inc., a subsidiary of Sportssystems Inc. of Buffalo, New York and Foods Services Management Inc. of St. Louis. H. King Carter was connected to Food Servic es Managem ent Inc. and Sportsservice, which was owned by Emprise.
"I want to emphasize," said Dean, "that we (Ralston) purchased the building, then leased it to Ray Rozanki and King Carter and their associates. They pay us on the lease," he said with a gr in, "and we pay them rent every time our hockey team plays. It's as simple and as complex as that."
If you help George W. Bush be elected, again, I'm going into exile.
uemployed journalist since 2001
James Licavoli, aka, Jack White, went on to run the Cleveland f a mily in 1970 s, home turf of Teamster official Jackie Presser. Dalitz and company headed to Vegas in the early 1950s and set up shop, opening the Desert Inn.
Peter Licavoli moved West, at the behest of Dalitz, and reigned over Arizona organized crim e f rom Grace Ranch outside of Tuscon. During much of this time, Licavoli shared power in Arizona with exiled New York family boss Joe "Bananas" Bonanno.
I became interested in Peter Licavoli not only because he was originally from St. Louis, but becau s e Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) investigated his activities in Arizona following the car- bombing death of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles in 1977. Here are some of my notes on the Arizona don:
Peter Licavoli (1903-1984)
Lic av oli developed a crimin al record in the St. Louis area as a teen, including a robbery conviction in the early 1920s. After serving his sentence, he was implicated in the robbery of the Edison Hotel.
Peter Licavoli Sr. was implicated in the 1930 death of a radio broa dcaste r in Detroit. Gerald E. (Jerry) Buckley worked for radio station WMBC as a political commentator. He openly opposed organized crime’s involvement in narcotics trafficking.
Licavoli had a girlfriend, Marjorie Mansell, who also worked as an entertainer at the same station. Police found a bank book in her apartment that showed an average daily deposit of $2,000.
The book was issued to Egbert M. Hofmann, a political worker for then Mayor Charles Bowles.
Buckley was shot in t he lobby of the LaSalle Hotel on July 23, 1930, while attending a “recall party.” Witnesses observed three assailants fired their pistols at Buckley’s back.
According to the Post-Dispatch, Peter Licavoli Sr. served a prison sentence for tax evasion. Th e two-and-a-half to five year sentence was imposed in 1958 for a tax evasion case dating back to 1950. He was described in the article as a former St. Louis rum-runner.
Peter Licavoli was indicted for the 1929 robbery of the Edison Hotel in St. Louis. He was arrested shortly after the crime at a residence at 4657 Delmar. His address was listed as 1628 Carr St. He is described as a “huckster.”
Licavoli was arrested in Detroit in 1933 for the murder of St. Louis gunman Milford Jones, who was killed at a fashionable nightclub in June 1932.
Ten years prior to his Detroit arrest, Licavoli was sentenced from 10 years to life in prison for staging a fake holdup of a messenger. The messenger, Gus Bova, who worked for the Tri-City Grocercy Co. in Granite Ci ty (Ill.), confessed that he had participated himself in the crime, allowing Licavoli to take $1,500 that he was carrying. Licavoli was said to be a member of a St. Louis crime group called the “Green Onion Gang,” comprised of Italians.
Licavoli was susp ect ed in a 1930 murder that was part of a Detroit gang war that killed 11 people in 12 days.
In 1924, Licavoli was found guilty of larceny in St.Louis. He was alleged to have stolen a watch. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Licavoli was kno wn as “Bl ack Pete,” a nd also “Horseface.”
According to the AP on Aug 22, 1930, Licavoli was convicted of murder in Detroit for killing Henry Tupancy on July 14. The article says Detroit police detectives acknowledged that Licavoli was known to be a p art o f the underworld in St. Louis for 10 years.
He was sentenced when 18 years old (in 1922) for the Tri-State robbery of March 1921. After serving seven years in Menard State Prison in Chester, Ill., he was rearrested on release for his alleged par ticipa tion in the Grand Avenue Bank of St. Louis, which later became Grand National, on Oct. 10, 1921. That robbery netted more than $100,000. He was released in that case for lack of evidence, however.
AP, Aug 1, 1930
Licavoli with Joseph Bommarito, 2 5, anot her S t.Louis g angster, were arrested in Detroit on July 17, after several hoodlums in that city were slain in a gang affair.”
Special to the Globe-Democrat, July 18, 1930
“Joseph Bommarito, 25, had a police record of 64 arrests and no convictio ns until he wa s picked up here (Detroit) in 1926 for carrying a revolver loaded with “dum-dum” bullets, and was later sentenced to two years in the Penitentiary on the gun-toting charge.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Frank Fertitta Jr. discussing the slot machine skim in 1979 with Don Shepard, casino manager at the Tropicana. With the slots, the skimmers rigged the scales so when they weighed the coins they weighed as much as a third lighter. The extra money was set aside and later changed into paper currency and then delivered to Civella in Kansas City, where it was divided up with the other Midwest Mafia families.
Fertitta is the guy whose name is never mentioneed in the RFT story by Bruce Rushton in November 2000. He is the founder of Station Casinos. But he couldn't put his name on the license in Missouri because of wiretap evidence like the transcript below. Fertitta recently had dinner with the governor of Nevada at the grand opening of his son's newest casino in Las Vegas.
FBI wiretap of the Bingo Palace Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 7, 1979
Frank Fertitta Jr.
Generally inaudible conversation between Fertitta and Carl Thomas after telephone number 739-2222 is dialed from the Bingo Palace.
FEMALE OPERATOR: Tropicana
FERTITTA: Don Shepard, please (casino manager)
FERTITTA: Hello Shep.
SHEPARD: What are you doing?
FERTITTA: I'm sitt ing here having a glass of wine with Mr. Thomas.
SHEPARD: Oh, good.
FERTITTA: He's telling me how smart he is and, I'm sitting here listening to him like an idiot.
SHEPARD: If you need anybody to tell you how dumb yo u are come on ove, I'm pretty good at that.
SHEPARD: Ah, this, listen this conversation isn't being recorded is it?
FERTITTA: I, I really couldn't tell ya.
SHEPARD: Yeah. Ask, ask, a ask Carl if anybody's going to go boogie-ing tonight. I'm ready to boogie, do a little YMCA number.
FERTITTA: You're ready.
SHEPARD: Oh, yeah, shit, yeah.
FERTITTA: Jesus Christ, I don't believe this.
SHEPARD: I'm just sitting here, my legs are twitching. I can hardly wait to dance.
FERTITTA: We, we were justing talking about going out of town or something.
SHEPARD: Oh, yeah, well actually I should go of town to dance.
INTERRUPTION OF RECORDING
SHEPARD: Did you see me?
FERTITTA: No, I didn't see you?
SHEPARD: A quarter of it whatever.
FERTITTA: Right, so if these coins cost us say 20,000, we got 150,000 on, you know, we're, we're going to have like 130,000 in excess cash.
FERTITTA: You know.
SHEPARD: Yeah. We don't have that problem over here.
FERTITTA: Well, yeah, you ... well I don't mean excess cash, but I mean more cash than they have so I, don't, I don't think its funny here.
SHEPARD: We've got ... I've got about like 80,000 stock piled.
SHEPARD: You know or something, we, we haven't felt any crunch or anyting I was just curious if you're, you know.
FERTITTA: Well we had 50,000 see, but I didn't want to make the change over here until we got them all cause 50,000 wouldn't, you know, we couldn't make the change with 50, so, ah, we need like 150.
SHEPARD: When are you going to switch to your tokens?
FERTITTA: As soon as I get them all.
FERTITTA: I'LL Switch in fact I think we're suppposed to have them all. Oh, Jimmy gave me a date today, but I've forgot what it was. Ah, now maybe next week or something, then I'll probably just go ahead and switch over.
SHEPARD: Okay, well listen I'll talk to you.