Sunday, October 29, 2017

Goodfellas: The Hidden History of Resorts International



Resorts International was a most curious creature that remains strikingly relevant today despite having been largely consumed by larger corporations years ago. During its heyday, from the late 1960s up until the late 1980s, it was at the absolute center of American power, serving as a kind of bridge between Underworld and Overworld figures. It forged close ties with at least two American presidents while accepting money and other forms of assistance from various drug traffickers, financial swindlers and Mafiosi. And there were of course the inevitable various "former" intelligence officers that always seem to factor into these shady private enterprises that dabble in intelligence.

While little remembered now, Resorts International was a trailblazer in the gambling industry, having first brought casinos to both the Bahamas and Atlantic City. But it also trailblazed other paths even more nefarious than gambling. For instance, it played a crucial role in establishing the whole financial "offshoring" culture that now prevails across the world. Even less remembered is its innovations in another industry: private security. Resorts would found one of the first world wide private security firms that would appear time again in a host of intrigues. But more on that latter.

Resorts International was largely a family affair that grew out of a company called the Mary Carter Paint Company.
"Mary Carter (she never existed) was pretty much a family affair controlled by Jim Crosby, two of his brothers, and his in-laws. Based in Tampa, Florida, the firm included in its directorate James Crosby, John Crosby (a plastic surgeon in Mobile, Alabama), William Crosby (a Tampa realtor), and the Murphy brothers, Henry and Tom, who'd married the Crosby daughters. Henry owned a funeral home in Trenton, New Jersey, while Tom was board chairman of Capital Cities Communications, a successful broadcasting business founded by explorer Lowell Thomas. The explorer too was an early shareholder in Mary Carter Paint, as was Republican Thomas Dewey."
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 381) 
Lowell Thomas was also a journalist and broadcaster who rose to initial stardom for his promotion of British Imperialist T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. Thomas was apparently a neighbor of Dewey's in New York state, which may explain how both men became involved with Marty Carter.


Early Mary Carter sponsors: Lowell Thomas (top) and two-time Republican presidential nominee Thomas Dewey (bottom)
But why, ultimately, would such prominent figures become involved with an obscure paint company based in Tampa, Florida (and largely owned and run by a family hailing from New Jersey), in the first place? The answer may lay in another suspected early backer of the Mary Carter Paint Company. Acclaimed researchers Sally Denton and Roger Morris note: "... the Mary Carter Paint Company, which was widely considered to be a CIA front that laundered payments to the Cuban exile army in the early sixties..." (The Money and the Power, pg. 284).


Murky Beginnings

This is certainly quite plausible considering Mary Carter was then based out of Tampa, a hub for joint CIA-Syndicate efforts to assassinate Castro. As was noted before here, Tampa don Santo Trafficante, Jr. was one of the gangsters initially tapped by the CIA's notorious Office of Security to arrange for Castro's untimely demise. Trafficante, a close associate of Meyer Lansky (whom we shall return to again), had been deeply involved in Cuba's gambling operations prior to the revolution and would later become even more deeply immersed in the world heroin trade. As was noted before here, he was very close to the emerging Cuban Mafia, which provided ample recruits to the CIA during the early 1960s despite much suspicion that Trafficante was a double agent for Castro.

Santo Trafficante, Jr.
Certainly the Mary Carter Paint Company would have been well positioned to assist Trafficante in these endeavors in Tampa. And such a connection would also explain why the corporation, in the mid-1960s (as CIA Cuban operations were winding down), abruptly sold off its paint business and boldly delved into gambling. By the end of the decade it was managing one of the most profitable casinos in the world on the Bahama's Paradise Island.

What it amounts to is that by the late period James Crosby emerged as not only the CEO of Mary Carter/Resorts International, but as an extremely well connected figure within the GOP and beyond.
"... Crosby was himself uniquely situated in Republican circles: a sometime guest at the White House, he'd donated $100,000 to Nixon's 1968 campaign. He was also a friend of, and frequent host two, Bebe Rebozo (with whom he banked). Moreover, Crosby's private intelligence agency, Intertel, was even then working with White House aides and ITT executives to discredit Jack Anderson's revelations anent ITT and Chile. At the same time, Intertel was the de facto custodian of the demented billionaire Howard Hughes (his own $100,000 donation would later result in two volumes of Senate testimony in the Watergate affair). Indeed, the ties between Paradise Island and Richard Nixon's administration were of the sort that bind: Allan Butler, owner of the failing bank that was his namesake, claims the Nixon was a silent partner of Crosby's in his Bahamian ventures, sharing a healthy chunk of Paradise Island bridge revenues with yet another secret partner, Bebe Rebozo. And by by no means finally, James O. Golden, Resorts' vice-president and one of Intertel's founding spooks, had formerly served as Nixon's Secret Service shield, later taking charge of security for the Nixon forces at the GOP's 1968 convention in Miami Beach. That Paradise Island is a special place, and had a special place in the heart (or what passed for a heart) of the Nixon regime, is abundantly clear..."
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 180) 
James Crosby (right) and Richard Nixon (Left)
Clearly Crosby had established very close ties with the Nixon regime by this point, in addition to his infamous financial adviser Charles "Bebe" Rebozo. Rebozo was widely suspected of Mob ties for years, including links to the above-mentioned Santo Trafficante (noted before here).

Rebozo would hardly be the only with organized crime ties linked to Resorts, however. Not by a long shot.

Consider, for instance, Eddie Cellini, brother of famed Mafioso Dino. For a time Eddie operated as the casino manager for Resorts on Paradise Island. Reportedly both Eddie and Dino were close to Meyer Lansky, among other notorious Mafioso.
"... In pre-Castro Cuba, Nesline had been employed at the Havana Tropicana, where Lansky's man Dino Cellini was manager and where McWillie had also worked, before shifting jobs to work for Tourine at the Capri. When Ruby and McWillie went out to Cuba's Trescornia Prison in 1959, both Tourine and Cellini were there..."
(Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pg. 240)
Dino Cellini
The Ruby the great Peter Dale Scott mentions above is none other than Jack Ruby, the infamous Dallas nightclub owner who murdered alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Ruby has long been suspected of Syndicate ties and had worked the Cuba casino scene prior to the revolution. Afterwards he became deeply involved in the anti-Castro Cuban underground. An here's Eddie's brother Dino, a close Lansky associate, in the same Cuban prison for a time with Ruby.

Dino's ties to Washington D.C. Mafioso Joe Nesline is also of interest. As regular readers of this blog may remember, Nesline was the initial pimp of Heidi Rikan (noted before here), the D.C.-based madam they played such a crucial (and little remarked upon) role in the Watergate scandal.

Thus, Dino can be said to have lingered in the background of both the JFK assassination and Watergate, arguably the two most pivotal American deep state events of the twentieth century. Dino, with his close links to Meyer Lansky, was a major figure in the Underworld and the presence of his brother Eddie running the casino on Paradise Island indicates that Resorts International had strong Syndicate ties from the very beginning.

However Eddie did not last long in Paradise Island, having been kicked to the curb after 1972. With him appears to have gone a large chunk of Lansky's influence. These moves were likely political in nature and not geared towards cleaning up Paradise Island.
"... 'Lansky's established connections to the Democrats,' as scholar William Chambliss saw it, 'led Santo Trafficante, Jr. (and others such as Carlos Marcello of New Orleans) to forge political alliances with Republicans.' As a result, Lansky had been frozen out of the 'Teamsters-Republican coalition' and was 'engaged in major conflict with Bebe Rebozo and other Nixon associates for control of casinos and banks in Miami and the Bahamas.'
"As the furnace heat of a Las Vegas midsummer day still hung over the evening, Rebozo, the Florida entrepreneur and intimate friend of President Nixon, and Richard G. Danner, the Hughes empire's liaison with the Nixon White House, joined the Hughes and Resorts representatives for dinner and a Strip casino showroom. Before the floor show was over, the two factions 'reached a tentative agreement,' as Kohn recorded."
(The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 285)
Meyer Lansky
This agreement, reached in 1970, would have profound implications for billionaire Howard Hughes and his empire, as we shall see. But for the time being I'd like to continue to focus on Resorts' organized crimes links.


The Vesco Blues

While Lansky's influence over Resorts (at least during the Nixon years) was marginalized,  there were any number of other crooks chomping at the bit for a piece of Paradise Island. One of the most notorious was rogue financier Robert Vesco. There was a time (circa 2001) that Robert Vesco was considered possibly the greatest fugitive financier ever. While he's certainly faced some stiff competition in the twenty-first century, Vesco's record is still impressive. Slate notes:
"The undisputed king of the fugitive financiers. Vesco fled to Costa Rica in 1973 in order to avoid standing trial for the alleged theft of $224 million from the Swiss-based mutual fund, Investors Overseas Services (see Bernie Cornfeld, above). Shortly before Vesco left, he delivered $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. The money was stuffed in a suitcase and handed over to campaign treasurer Maurice Stans, who ended up paying a $5,000 fine for "non-willful violation" of campaign-finance law. Vesco was indicted in absentia. He was indicted yet again in 1989 on drug smuggling charges. From Costa Rica, Vesco hopscotched to the Bahamas, Antigua (where he tried unsuccessfully to buy a nearby island called Barbuda and establish it as a sovereign state), Nicaragua and, finally, Cuba, where he has lived for the past two decades and, since 1995, been domiciled in a Cuban jail. Vesco was convicted in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud Cuba's pharmaceutical industry. Also arrested by the Cubans was Vesco's partner and houseguest, Donald Nixon, nephew to the former president. Nixon was allowed to return to the U.S., but Vesco went to the slammer. He gets out in 2009, when he'll be 74. Vesco's Cuban wife Lidia was convicted on lesser charges and gets out in 2005."
Ah, but this is only part of it. During his heyday in the 1970s Vesco was a crucial figure among right wing circles, serving (not unlike Resorts International) as a bridge between Overworld and Underworld figures. As to the former, there was clearly the Nixon family but Vesco was also very close to Reagan's first National Security Advisor, Richard Allen.
"... Richard Allen (who had been Nixon's first choice for the Plumbers unit) is known to have represented Robert Vesco in Washington back in 1972, the year in which Vesco flew from a meeting with Lansky's representative Dino Cellini to Costa Rica, and initiated the contact which later led to the proposed deal to manufacture Ingram M-10s in Costa Rica, between Vasco and Parabellum, Alliegro, and WerBell. Allen is also said to have been one of the U.S. contacts of the Aginter Plan Usine lobbyists who were proposing an economic freezone for the Azores (and the U.S. Mafia) much like that which Vasco, at Allen's suggestion, was proposing for Costa Rica."
(The Great Heroin Coup, "Foreward", Peter Dale Scott, pg. 21) 
Richard V. Allen
When Vesco wasn't busy assisting Allen in setting up offshore tax havens for their special friends, he was deeply immersed in drug and arms trafficking and sponsoring neo-fascist terrorism. In many of these endeavors he was aided by "former" OSS man Mitchell WerBelI III, one of the most notorious of the so-called "China Cowboys" (noted before here). For years WerBell was suspected running guns for the CIA when not aiding various far right wing causes.
"In 1974 WerBell – according to a motion filed by his own lawyer when WerBell, his son and his company Defense Services, Inc. were charged with illicit weapons sales – was involved in a 'conspiracy among the CIA, Robert Vesco, and various corporations to finance clandestine guerrilla activities in Latin America.' Vesco wanted to purchase WerBell's stock of 2000 silenced M10 machine pistols. When WerBell failed to secure an export license, he devised a plan to smuggle the weapons to Vesco. The two later negotiated the construction of a factory in Costa Rica which would be licensed to fabricate the pistols...
"Although the M10 and M11 could be acquired legally only with the special permission of U.S. officials, large numbers of silenced M10s turned up in the hands of European fascist terrorists in 1976-77. When Pierluigi Concutelli, a leader of the Italian terrorist group Ordine Nuovo, was arrested in Rome in February 1977, police found in his apartment the silenced M10 which he had used to murder the Rome magistrate Vittorio Occorsio. Occorsio have been shot down on the streets of Rome in July 1976 after announcing he would expose the close collaboration between fascist terrorist groups and the Mafia.
"However, it was among Spanish terrorists in particular that WerBell's machine pistols appeared in quantity. Most notably, a sizable consignment of M10s, sent to Spain under license from U.S. authorities, had been purchased by the Spanish intelligence agency DGS, which is allegedly coordinated the actions of fascist terrorists. 
"The fugitive IOS billionaire Vesco employed a large contingent of Cuban exiles in his Costa Rica sanctuary. Moreover, his weapons negotiations coincided with the efforts of the fanatic anti-Castro Cuban leader Orlando Bosch to assemble Cuban exile groups into an army of terror, CORU, that would later carry out assassinations and other dirty work for several Latin American regimes. During Bosch's 1974-75 drive, a wave of murder struck Miami's Cuban exile haven. Most victims have been opposed to Bosch. With the obstacles to his plan removed, CORU was established in June 1976.
"While Vesco and WerBell were hatching their weapons deal Bosch's base of operation just happen to be Vesco's Kingdom of Costa Rica – and Mafia heroin boss Santo Trafficante, Jr. was also reportedly there between January 1974 and the summer of 1975...
"In 1973 some of the details began to surface in a series of scandals linking these individuals. DEA undercover agent Frank Peroff charged Vesco with financing extensive heroin smuggling. For his initiative Peroff was fired summarily and his life was threatened. Before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee could probe deeply the case was squelched through the intervention of the White House. The Oval Office had already helped Vesco – a friend of the Nixon family – in his run-in with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had sought his prosecution for the trail of swindle he had left in the world of international finance. Midway through the subcommittee investigation of the heroin charges, the DEA announced the disappearance of its Vesco file... 
"This was not the last heard of Robert Vesco in connection with drugs. In the summer of 1977 police uncovered the smuggling of large quantities of heroin and cocaine to Rhode Island. In one of the involved ships they discovered a ledger in which it was written: 'to Vesco/6 million/he picked up w. shrimper (Lansky)/"Curier" beat up.' "
(The Great Heroin Coup, Henrik Kruger, pgs. 182-184)
Mitchell WerBell III
That WarBell may have been supplying Italian fascists with his beloved M10 during this era is most interesting in light of another guest at Paradise Island during the early 1970s. As was noted before here, the infamous Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was reportedly a regular guest of Paradise Island during this time when he wasn't busy running the Bahamas-based Banco Ambrosiano Overseas.

As regular readers are no doubt aware, Marcinkus was the director of the Vatican bank that opened it up to extensive Syndicate influence, first via banker Michele Sindona and later Banco Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi. In addition to the Syndicate, Sindona and Calvi also had close ties to Propaganda Due (P2), the infamous Italian Masonic lodge dominated by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Opus Dei. As was noted before here, P2 also had extensive ties to neo-fascist Italian terrorists such as Ordine Nuovo --in other words, the same neo-fascist terrorists that appear to have been well-armed with WerBell's M10s during the same time frame.


This certainly raises some interesting possibilities with Marcinkus' presence at Paradise Island at the same time Vesco, another frequent Resorts guests, and WerBell, were scheming. But unfortunately there has been little investigation into these potential ties. As such, let us return to the life and times of Dick Nixon's most notorious banker.

As was noted above, Vesco was again charged with drug trafficking while living in Cuba in 1989. He was arrested in Cuba in 1995 and ultimately died in prison there in 2009 (allegedly). At the time of his arrest the Cuban government accused him of being an "agent of foreign special services."

Needless to say, Mr. Vesco lived quite an interesting life. And when he wasn't busy financial schemes or political lobbying or arms and drug trafficking, he reportedly liked to kick back and relax at Paradise Island. He even lived there for a time 1978, when the noose was allegedly beginning to tighten.

Vesco was so taken in fact with Resorts' casino that he had considered buying it at one point around 1972.
"A friend of Crosby's, Vesco proposed to buy virtually all of Resorts property in the Bahamas, using funds from IOS. The purchase price was $60,000,000, split in two improbable parts. The casino toll bridge were to be sold to Gulf Stream (Bahamas), Ltd., run by Gil Straub, one of Vesco's cronies and a fellow indictee. Twenty million dollars in cash and five million dollars in promissory notes would be the price – a bargain of the first order. More than 300,000 tourists cross the bridge each year, paying two dollars apiece (or $600,000) for the privilege, and the casino reports an annual profit of about five million dollars. Even if one discounts allegations of revenue being skimmed from both the bridge and the casino, Gulf Stream could have earned back its entire purchase price in less than five years! And if the reports of skimming are true, the deal would have been even more lucrative. How much more is uncertain. According to Resorts figures, the average tourist leaves a mere fifteen dollars on the casino's tables, little more than a sawbuck in excess of what it costs to visit the casino. That seems an awfully modest sum when one considers the affluence of Bahamian tourists on a spree and the troops of high rollers who arrive every week on subsidized gambling junkets."
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pgs. 228-229)
Robert Vesco
Even then Vesco's reputation was fast going down the toilet and the SEC quickly put the kibosh on any such buyout of Resorts. While the Nixon White House may still have been able to keep Vesco indicted on drug charges, it was unable to get the SEC to stand down. Resorts was unfazed. It had other curious backers ripe with dirty money at its beckon.


Mr. Billy

Easily the most bizarre was Richard Mellon Hitchcock, a member of the fabled Mellon dynasty (addressed before here). During the 1960s, Hitchcock (known to his friends as "Mr. Billy") popped up in a host of strange places.

I've already addressed Hitchcock at length before here, so I'm only going to provide a brief rundown of his notoriety in this present blog. He first made the scene in 1962 in the UK in the midst of Profumo affair that ultimately resulted in the downfall of Harold Macmillan's government in 1963. In '62 Hitchcock had had dinner with Dr. Stephen Ward, a key figure in the scandal, who reportedly made some rather provocative statements about the role he had played during the Cuban Missile Crisis he had played for the British and Soviet governments.

Hitchcock then reported these statements back to the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, his uncle David Bruce. But in addition to marrying into the Mellon family, Bruce had also been a key figure in the OSS during World War II. As such, there has long been speculation that Hitchcock's timely meeting with Ward was intelligence-related.

David Bruce
Then, in 1963, Hitchcock would open up his estate at Millbrook to Timothy Leary and his entourage. While Leary and his crew occupied the main estate, Hitchcock lived out of the guest house and cynically partook in the acid-fried hi jinks. He evicted Leary by '67, but was not finished with the acid scene by a long shot. It was around this time that he became the de facto banker for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the so-called "hippie mafia" that was at one point the largest supplier of LSD in the world. It was in the capacity that Hitchcock became involved with Resorts.
"In the spring of 1968 Hitchcock and acid chemist Nick Sand journeyed to the Bahamas, where they stayed at the spacious mansion of Sam Clapp, chairman of the local Fiduciary Trust Company. Clapp was a college chum of Hitchcock's and they have been doing business together for years. They arranged for Sand to open an account under a false name at Clapp's bank. Hitchcock and Sand also looked into the feasibility of setting up an offshore LSD laboratory on one of Bahamas secluded cays – which led some to wonder whether Mr. Billy was 'on a Dr. No Trip.' ...
"Hitchcock took full advantage of his unlimited borrowing privileges at Fiduciary. At Clapp's urging he poured over $5,000,000 into unregistered 'letter stocks' (the kind that aren't traded publicly but tend to show dramatic gains on paper) associated with the Mary Carter Paint Company, later known as Resorts International. It was the single largest chunk of money raised by Resorts, an organization suspected of having ties to organized crime. Resorts International proceeded to build a casino on an exclusive piece of Bahamian real estate called Paradise Island..." 
(Acid Dreams, Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, pgs. 244-245)
Even more curious is the fact that Mr. Billy's shares in Resorts ended up being managed by the infamous CIA bank known as the Castle Bank & Trust, a key sponsor of various efforts to topple the government of Cuba during this time frame.
"The bank was established by Paul Helliwell, a former OSS China hand with a background in drug-trade intelligence. After the war, Helliwell had run CIA front companies in Florida. Through his Bahamian bank, and a companion institution in Florida, millions of dollars were funneled for covert military operations staged off Andros Island in the Bahamas. Castle also facilitated tax evasion, and, in its trust-company capacity, voted the shares of certain nonresident owners of Resorts International, the top Lansky-era casino operation in Nassau. When one of their shareholder so strongly objected to the way Castle was voting his shares that he sued the bank, the scheme began to unravel.
"The shareholder was William Mellon Hitchcock, the New York stockbroker who had been using the Paravicini bank of Berne, Switzerland, to circumvent the New York Fed's margin requirements...
"After Hitchcock's lawsuit, the IRS made its move anticipating the biggest tax-evasion bust in American history. But the CIA successfully lobbied for the inquiry to be buried, and many IRS veterans quit in disgust. The Castle Bank shut down its Caymans and Bahamas operations in 1977, and moved to the more congenial environment of Panama..." 
(Hot Money, R.T. Naylor, pg. 315)
Mr. Billy on the right
Castle and Mr. Billy were ensnared in what was known as Operation Tradewinds, an IRS-sponsored investigation of offshoring that also turned up the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Resorts. The Brotherhood went down while Mr. Billy got a slap on the wrist, but both Castle and Resorts emerged unscathed. According to Jim Hougan in Spooks, Resorts at least was saved by Richard Nixon, who intervened to stop the investigation.

What it amount to is that a big part of Resorts early funding came from LSD financier William Mellon Hitchcock, who brought the infamous CIA-sponsored Castle Bank into the fold. This should leave little doubt that Resorts was founded at least in part as some type of CIA front, at first geared towards Cuban operations, but later (during the Resorts era) as something more nefarious.

And that brings to possibly the most curious aspects of Resorts, namely its ownership of its own vast private intelligence network.


Rent-a-spook: Intertel

It was known as Intertel, short for International Intelligence, Inc. Intertel was incorporated in 1970 as an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of Resorts International and hit the ground running. During its heyday, Intertel had an impressive roster and an international reach. It would turn up in host of intrigues throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Curiously, it had its origins with Robert Kennedy's "Get Hoffa" squad.
"... Intertel, known especially and remarkably for its composition of former organized crime strike force attorneys from Robert Kennedy's Justice Department... The IRS considered Intertel... 'an organized crime enterprise of some type aimed at the Bahamas,' as one account summed up the agency's view. Roberts Peloquin and William Hundley, Kennedy's top crime fighters, had joined the firm and recruited operatives from the CIA, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and other intelligence agencies. Staffed exclusively by what one author called 'Get Hoffa agents,' it was likened into a corporate CIA. 'With the murder of Robert Kennedy in 1968, the federal government's war on organized crime... was over,' wrote Hoffa biographer, Dan Moldea, '... and two its best warriors – Bill Hundley and Bob Peloquin – were dressed for war but had no one to fight.' "
(The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 284)
Robert Kennedy
In point of fact, the enigmatic Robert Peloquin always seemed to have some war or other to fight. Peloquin first got into the intelligence racket in during the Korean conflict when he joined the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). He was on active duty with the ONI from 1951 to 1955, and continued Office to serve in the reserves for over twenty-five years, finally retiring in 1981 with the rank of Commander. Interestingly, the ONI was one of the two US intelligence agencies (the other being the OSS) that initiated Operation Underworld, effectively a collaboration between the Syndicate and US intelligence during World War II. Meyer Lansky played a key role in establishing this arrangement, which many believe continues to this day. But back to Peloquin.

In 1956 he graduated from Georgetown University Law School (Georgetown has a rich history of grooming future spooks) and was appointed Deputy Chief at the National Security Agency (NSA) in the same year.

Already possessing quite an extensive intelligence background, Peloquin joined the Justice Department in 1957 and soon found himself knee deep in the battle against organized crime, or so the story goes. Peloquin was involved with Operation Tradewinds during the 1960s before retiring from Justice, with some believing that he was running interference on it for the Syndicate. Shortly after he had left the government he ended up working for the NFL and especially closely with the Washington Redskins. As was noted before here, DC capo Joe Nesline and future Watergate madam Heidi Rikan were deeply (har har) involved with the Redskins in the same time frame as was Dino Cellini, brother of future Resorts manager Eddie Cellini.

Unsurprisingly, it was Peloquin's gig with the Redskins that led to the murky netherworld of Resorts International and Intertel.

And murky it was indeed. Probably the most notorious caper of Intertel was also one of their first: the abduction of billionaire Howard Hughes from Las Vegas. For years many have equated this to a kind of palace coup.
"Only a few months later, on Thanksgiving Eve 1970, Intertel agents descended on Las Vegas for the stated purpose of ridding the Hughes empire of the hoodlum elements that had infiltrated the organization under Maheu's rain. With the same mysteriousness and secrecy cloaking Hughes arrival exactly four years earlier, he was now 'placed on a stretcher, carried out of the Desert Inn to a waiting van and driven to Nellis Air Force Base,' as Barlett and Steele described the event. A wasting wraith on a gurney, he was removed from Las Vegas by James Golden, a former Nixon Secret Service agent turned Intertel vice president, and whisked by private jet to Resorts International's Britannica Beach Hotel in the Bahamas.
"As some Intertel agents carried Hughes down the back stairs of the Desert Inn, others 'rushed cashier's cages and began stuffing money' and IOU markers into satchels. Kicking down doors of Mahue offices, they occupied all the Hughes casinos. In yet another ironic twist, Robert Kennedy's legendary organized crime team had suddenly taken charge of six major Las Vegas casinos, while governor Laxalt and his gaming officials scrambled to figure out what was going on."
(The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 285)
Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes's sudden departure from Las Vegas has been shrouded in mystery for years. Many of his close subordinates would never see the man alive again --indeed, there's much controversy as to whether anyone credible saw Hughes alive after November 1970. For the rest of his life Hughes only communicated to the rest of his empire via phone, if at all.

Hughes reportedly spent most of remaining years living at the Xanadu Beach Resort & Marina of the Bahamas. When he officially died on April 5, 1976, the body produced for Hughes barely weighed ninety pounds on a 6'4 frame. This, combined with the beard, long hair and nails, made the body unrecognizable. It had to be identified via fingerprints by the FBI.

the Xanadu
There has been much dispute as to whether Hughes had in fact died when he was reported to, or if the body was even actually his. It is beyond the scope of this present article to address these issues, but suffice to say, Resorts and Intertel were major winners from the shakeup in the Hughes empire and there has been much speculation that Intertel (and by default, Resorts) was in the driver's seat of good chunk's of Hughes empire. And this put a considerable amount of money at their disposal.

Intertel's other ventures include spying of muckraker Jack Anderson for ITT, investigating the Chicago Tylenol murders and the Bhopal disaster. Even more ominous, however, were its dealings with a shady Belgium-based private detective agency known as Agence de Recherche et d'Information (ARI). As was noted before here, ARI was linked to members of the neo-fascist terror organization known as the Westland New Post, a few of whom had also been implicated in drug trafficking and pedophile rings. Intertel reportedly hired ARI to do some work for them during the 1980s.

It probably goes without saying, but Intertel, along with the closely related Wackenhut, was a trailblazer in the private intelligence racket. Its legacy lives in the modern deep private that in many ways has surpassed the deep state itself. In its heyday, Intertel was a the absolute black heart of this network.


Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

At the end of the 1970s Resorts International set its sites on opening up another region to gambling, this one in the United States itself: Atlantic City. It was a rather ironic choice of locations to be sure, as in some accounts the Syndicate is alleged to have been founded in Atlantic City in 1929. And now it was poised to openly rule the city. Unsurprisingly,  Resorts was reportedly at the forefront of efforts to legalize gambling there.
"... Crosby's firm was the architect of the politically slick, million-dollar campaign which led New Jersey voters to change their minds on the subject. In 1974 a referendum to legalize state-operated gambling casinos had been roundly rebuffed by the local citizenry. Two years later, however, a new referendum, providing for privately owned casinos 'in Atlantic City only,' was in the works. And the man who brought it to the attention of Resorts, strangely enough, was David Probinsky (formally of the Bahamas and one of Pindling's disappointed supporters). Probinsky convinced Crosby that the new referendum would pass if Resorts got behind it. When Resorts did, acquiring huge (and moldering) Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel on the Boardwalk, as well as the fifty-six acre tract that had been cleared for 'urban renewal.' Resorts told its stockholders that 'the tract would be developed under an urban renewal plan with hotel, housing and other facilities.' It didn't say what those other facilities would be, but it wasn't hard to guess."
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pgs. 410-411)
Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City's first gambling establishment
The opening of Atlantic City for legalized gambling proved to be a boon for both Resorts International and one of the future owners. He was a rising New York real estate baron who went by the name of Donald J. Trump.

Once Trump dipped his toes into the troubled waters of the gambling industry he would rapidly emerge as one of the premier tycoons of the 1980s. It is not a stretch to say that Atlantic City made Trump a household name --quite literally via his first casino, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which he built on behalf of Holiday Inn. Trump bough them out in 1984 and there was no looking back from there.


What is of great interest to us here is Trump's third Atlantic City casino: the Taj Mahal. While now widely associated with Trump, thanks in no small part to it leading to his first bankruptcy, it was not in fact Trump who started the casino. That dubious distinction lies with Resorts International.

The company had begun construction on the Taj Mahal in 1983, but had run into persistent difficulties in finishing construction in the following years. Then, in April 1986, James Crosby died suddenly. This left Resorts in turmoil (allegedly) and Trump stepped in. Trump bought a controlling stake in the company in 1987 and was promptly named its chairman of the board.

Let that sink in for a moment: Donald J. Trump, the current President of the United States, was briefly the chairman of a corporation long suspected of being a CIA front, that had decades-spanning involvement with the Syndicate, numerous "rogue" financiers, various drug and arms traffickers and which owned a vast private intelligence network that had managed to abduct one of the wealthiest men in the world and effectively take over his gambling concessions. 

And less anyone think Resorts had cleaned up by the time Trump took over, consider that uber deep state player Robert Peloquin resigned from Intertel and joined Resorts' board in 1985, shortly before Trump became involved. He stayed on with Resorts until 1990, by which time he had become the chairman after Merv Griffin had beaten Trump in a bidding war for Resorts.

the enigmatic Robert Peloquin
As part of the arrangement made with Griffin, Trump ended up with the Taj Mahal, which his first wife Ivana ran for a time. At this point in time a curious pattern began to develop with Trump's business empire: projects were financed with massive amounts of debt, they went bankrupt and yet the owner did not seem to incur serious financial loses from these failures. This is a pattern not unfamiliar to Syndicate-backed businesses. And naturally there appears to have been an extensive, Mob-linked money laundering operation being run out of the Taj Mahal after Trump owned it outright.

It would certainly appear that Trump learned a thing or two from Resorts during his brief affiliation with them. This should also shatter any notion that Trump is some type of outsider --Resorts was as deep state, or more accurately, deep private, as it gets. Trump would not have ended up as the chairman with Peloquin on the board were he not in the club.

And finally, this should leave little doubt as to how pathetic the mainstream media's crusade against Trump really is. Only the gods know how much money has been pissed away on phantom Russian-connections when a few hours of Internet sleuthing will turn up connections between Trump and one of the most notorious criminal organizations of the 1970s and 1980s, which Trump served as the chairman of.

And with that I shall wrap things up for now. Until next time dear readers, stay tuned.



5 comments:

  1. Eddie Cellini is of more than passing interest, as I found out some years ago when I was looking into Adam Kidan, who was Jack Abramoff's deeply mob-connected associate in the SunCruz floating casino business. According to Daniel Hopsicker, Kidan had been the co-owner with Rosario Spadaro of a hotel-casino on St. Maarten. I found that Hopsicker had the name of the casino wrong -- it was actually the Maho Beach Resort & Casino -- but he seemed to have the facts right otherwise, so I started checking out Spadaro.

    That led me to some pages of "Masters of Paradise: Organized Crime and the Internal Revenue Service in The Bahamas" at Google Books, which stated, "It was a subsidiary operation of the well-known Concord hotel located at Kiamesha lake in New York's Catskill Mountains. In 1976, [Eddie] Cellini and Rosario Spadaro from Sicily, with many years experience in casino and resort development and management in Sicily, Nigeria, and Sint Maarten, bought out the Concord people. The original owners of the Concord and Resorts of the World were almost as deeply enmeshed in organized crime as Cellini himself. They had mob ties dating from the mid-1950s. ... It is probable that the Concord's ties to organized crime increased during the 1960s and 1970s as the Sint Maarten deal developed. ... Castle Bank and Resorts International had met prior to, and outside the beautiful byway of Sint Maarten. Certain individuals representative of the two groups had earlier operated together in The Bahamas."

    I dug out more on Eddie Cellini and Rosario Spadaro's long history of working together, but this is the gist of it -- that Jack Abramoff was only a few jumps removed from Cellini. And it ties in with Abramoff's own spooked-up background and his family's connections to Atlantic City and to a variety of other dubious figures (including Trump's original mentor, Roy Cohn, as I recall.) For this and other reasons, I'm fairly convinced that the Abramoff scandal wasn't really about ripping off Indian casinos for a few million here and there but about a much larger money-laundering operation with the casinos being used as fronts.

    And in checking my decade-old files just now, I found one other thing of interest. That was someone's blog entry from 2005 discussing the PR firms hired by the Bahamas when they were under pressure from the US concerning drug smuggling. The first of those was Gray & Co., the intensely spooked-up firm associated with Bill Casey's off-the-books operations in the 1980s (and also with Tongsun Park's blackmail operations.) But the second was Black, Manafort & Stone. Yeah, that Manafort and that Stone (who was formerly involved in Trump's own casino ventures as rivals to Abramoff.) And yes, indeed, Resorts Interational and Howard Hughes also come in just a few paragraphs further up -- but I need to read the whole thing, since I haven't looked at it in many years, and I don't know what surprises it may hold.

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  2. Just as you thought that man couldn't have more dirt on him...

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  3. Obviously, they're going for the Russian mafia connections because they can't possibly touch the New York mafia. They're too powerful.

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    1. The Russian mafia long ago overtook the New York mafia. They're hungrier and more ruthless. Semion Mogilevich is one name that seems to be at the center of everything -- including the Trump connections.

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  4. Now if you'd only look at the Clinton Cartel, the Podesta Pedophile ring, and the Obama/Holder gunrunning a more unbiased picture might come into focus.

    The Trump faction is the closest thing to the "Good Guys" as we are likely to get unfortunately.

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