Sunday, February 25, 2018

Goodfellas: The Dark Tower and Beyond Part II

Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the Orange One's rather lengthy association with organized crime and even more sinister institutions. This series grew out of a prior blog I had published several months ago that detailed the curious saga of Resorts International, a gaming company that found itself at the center of a host of intrigues over the years.

Resorts had close ties to at least two American presidents --Trump and another controversial Republican, Richard M. Nixon --in addition to a rogue's gallery that included frequent patrons such as Howard Hughes and fugitive financier Robert Vesco; LSD baron William Mellon Hitchcock, who held stock in the company; and the inevitable Syndicate figures. It also owned a controlling interest in one of the earliest private intelligence companies. It was known as Intertel and it employed a host of "former" US intelligence personnel.

Intertel found itself at the center of scandal in the early 1970s, when it played a key role in what was either a rescue or an abduction of Howard Hughes from one of his Las Vegas casinos in 1970. Regardless, Hughes would be closely "guarded" Intertel agents for the rest of his life. During this time frame few were allowed even a glimpse of the reclusive billionaire until an unrecognizable corpse purporting to be Hughes turned up in 1976.

Intertel was still a part of Resorts in the late 1970s when the gaming interest began pushing for the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City. It would ultimately open up the first casino there and would begin construction on what became the Taj Mahal. It was at this juncture Trump became involved with the entity, buying a controlling interest in the company around 1986 and becoming its CEO. Eventually Trump was bought out by Merv Griffin, but he retained control of the Taj and became a key figure in the checkered history of Resorts.

But Resorts was hardly the first time Trump had operated in the ratified world of spooks and organized crime. As was noted in the first installment of this series, Trump had already established ample ties to the Five Families in addition to the Philadelphia crime family and even the emerging Russian Mafia by the mid-1980s.

Among these organized crime ties is one particular individual who leads into a whole other netherworld involving a shadowy private security company with its own ample ties to organized crime and intelligence agencies.

Mafia and Fort Bragg Intrigues

When I last left off I was detailing the exploits of Edward "Biff" Halloran, a reputed member of the Genovese crime family. Halloran, who owned multiple business including a hotel and racetrack, had established a near monopoly on the New York City concrete industry by the 1980s. It was in this capacity that he became involved with Trump, having provided the concrete to Trump's first building project, the Hyatt, in addition to his flagship building, Trump Tower (which, as noted in part one, was a longtime hot bed of money laundering for various criminal organizations). 

Prior to hooking up with Trump, Halloran had taken on a most interesting business partner during the early 1970s: Bradley Bryant.

Bryant was a product of Lexington, Kentucky, where he grew up in an upper middle glass family. His grandfather was in fact a former mayor of Lexington. He would later attend the exclusive Sewanee Military Academy where he gained many contacts in Lexington high society. He graduated in 1962 and a year later attempted to qualify for the Naval Academy at Annapolis, but was rejected. He later joined the Marines for a time before ending up in Philadelphia at the end of the 1960s, where he worked a corporate job.

In 1970, Halloran tapped Bryant to run the Armstrong Corporation, an industrial waste service Halloran ran out of Philadelphia. Bryant's tenure at Armstrong was most productive and he learned much from Halloran. In 1975 he started his own company and while successful, he soon became board with "legitimate" business. Shortly thereafter he began selling small quantities of drugs Lexington Police officer Andrew "Drew" Thornton had stolen from the department and suspects he shook down. Thornton had attended Sewanee with Bryant and the two had remained close friends ever since.

Thornton came from the same type of upper middle class background as Bryant, rubbing shoulders with Kentucky's gentry as youth while not actually be a part of them. He had joined the Lexington Police in 1968 and soon ended up on the city's first narcotics strike force. Many believed this move was to fill the void left by the derailment of a promising military career. In 1963 Thornton had joined the US Army and had insisted on becoming a paratrooper.

This led to Thornton being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be aware of the significance of this move, but for those unaware: In addition to the 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg is home to most of the nation's elite Special Operations Forces. Both the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the Army Special Forces (more commonly known as Green Berets) are headquarted there.

In more recent years Fort Bragg has also been at the heart of controversy surrounding potential right wing indoctrination there. As was noted before here, during the '90s several troops with Nazi leanings were convicted of murdering an African American couple in the nearby area. Also present at Fort Bragg during this time was Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist who would go on to shoot up a Sikh temple in 2012.

Curiously, one of Trump's key national security advisers, General Keith Kellogg was also present at Fort Bragg during this time, commanding Thornton's old unit, the 82nd Airborne. Thornton left the Army in 1965 due to an injury he suffered during the US invasion of the Dominican Republic during that same year. Kellogg reportedly didn't join the Army until '67, but a lot of his service record appears to have been recently scrubbed online. He graduated from high school in 1961, a year before Thornton, and appears to have decided on a military career due to his involvement with JROTC while in high school, but what he did between '61 and '67 and when his airborne training at Fort Bragg was undertaken is a mystery. While it is highly unlikely, there is a chance Thornton and Kellogg encountered one another during this time.

General Keith Kellogg
It is also interesting to note that right wing extremists were not the only products of Fort Bragg during the 1990s. During the early part of that decade, many of the founding members of the notorious Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas were also trained at Fort Bragg. The Zetas of course went on to become possibly the most notorious and certainly sophisticated drug cartel operating in Mexico for close to two decades now. By all accounts they've played a key role in destablizing the country, which is especially significant in light of the early involvement of the Fort Bragg-based Green Berets in what is commonly referred to as Operation Gladio (noted before here).

But almost two decades before the Zetas, another Fort Bragg alumni had already established a highly sophisticated drug-and-arms trafficking network domestically. And on that note, let us return to the matter at hand.

The Company  

Based on the success of the small scale dealings, Bryant and Thornton soon expanded their operations and the end results would be one of the most complex drug and arms trafficking organizations of the era.
"By the late seventies, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)... in Las Vegas had focused on Caesars Palace is the headquarters of a multimillion-dollar, international drug-smuggling organization the called itself 'The Company.' Whether a renegade offshoot of the CIA, which was commonly called 'the company' in intelligence circles, or not, it was a highly sophisticated, impenetrable enterprise. The DEA was force, with some embarrassment, to admit that 'The Company' surpassed the federal government's crime-fighting abilities. Codenaming the Caesars Palace drug trafficking and money-laundering probe Operation Jaeger, the DEA admitted in a highly confidential internal memorandums to Washington superiors that 'the magnitude, scope, and complexity of the operations' exceeded its field capabilities. At the heart of the Las Vegas investigation was a Texas highroller named Jamiel 'Jimmy' Chagra, an American drug kingpin tied to the Patriarca crime family in New England and the Chicago Syndicate."
(The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 326)
Las Vegas' Caesars Palace, which we shall return too
Chagra is a most interesting figure whom shall be addressed in just a moment, but for now let us continue with the layout of "the Company." By the mid-1970s Bryant and Thornton already had wide-reaching ambitions as well as the means to pull them off.
"Bradley and Drew had formed Executive Protection Ltd. in 1975 – a corporation owned and operated by Bradley Bryant and Drew Thornton to which they would refer in private conversations as 'the Company.' But it wasn't until 1977 that the two men felt capable of putting 'the Company' into full-scale action. They recruited operatives, drawing from a pool of former police officers and drug agents from various state, local and federal agencies.
" 'The Company' could serve two purposes for them: to provide cover for drug-smuggling ventures and to serve as a legitimate private security service. Bradley had met dozens of people, through Chandler in Vegas and through Halloran in Philadelphia, who had the need and wherewithal to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for sophisticated bodyguard protection. Through their allies in the law enforcement and SOF world, they had plenty of contract employees to perform both security and drug trafficking services.
"Meanwhile the security company provided a perfect cover for acquiring weapons, assimilating a private army of enforcers and obtaining airplanes ostensibly needed to shuttle clients into foreign countries, from which Bradley and Drew could then import marijuana back to the United States...
"They had spent several years amassing the tools of their trade: AR-15s, Uzis, AK-47s, Ingrams, Walther PPKs, cartons of ammo, electronic surveillance equipment, nightscopes, explosives, night-vision goggles. Now it was time to put them to use.
 "Bradley claimed that his cousin, Larry Bryant, would help them add to their cache of arms, using his top-secret Defense Department security clearance to embezzle scopes and radar equipment from the highly restricted Navy weapons-testing center at China Lake in California's Mojave Desert.
"Forging a subsidiary partnership with his police colleague, Bill Canan, Drew bought a remote farm on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, where they would train their employees in guerrilla war tactics and hide their growing stash of weapons.
"Bradley and Drew also had a ready-make client base to buy their product. They had access to Kentucky's big-money horse crowd, the Philadelphia Main Line group, and the Vegas gamblers. Their blue-blood connections proved even stronger than they had anticipated, as they found Lexington society to be a huge market for illicit drugs. In fact, it was a larger market than they could supply.
"Both men considered Kentucky their strong and secret asset. Kentucky was a haven of remote landing strips, nonexistent law enforcement, crooked politicians, lax airports, and rivers leading to the Gulf of Mexico."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pgs. 64-65)
an Ingram Mac-10, which plays a curious role in our story

There's a lot to take in here. Many of these allegations will be examined in depth over the course of this blog, but for now I would like emphasize Biff Halloran's role in all of this. He clearly played a key role in setting up "the Company" with wealthy clientele during the early going in the Philadelphia area. This would have been shortly before Halloran began supplying concrete to Trump, but construction on the Grand Hyatt New York was well underway by the time "the Company" was at its peak of influence.

By the late 1980s Trump would develop quite an obsession with private security, accumulating what has been described as a private army at times. During the Company's peak years Trump likely didn't have the means for such services, but his path does seem to have frequently intersected with the Company's, as we shall see.

Before moving on, its worth emphasizing again the scale of Biff Halloran's reach. Not only did he help set up an extremely elaborate drugs-and-arm trafficking outfit in his early years, but he also played a key role in the rise of a future president. This is quite a feat for a mere member of the Genovesse crime family. Couple this with his shadowy disappearance in 1996, and one is left with quite a mystery.

About the Help

But back to the Company. Let's start by considering the personnel that Bryant and Thornton recruited. In addition to numerous former law enforcement officers, they also drew from the ranks of what the great Sally Denton referred to as the "Soldier of Fortune crowd."
"During the mid-1970s, Bradley and Drew had become deeply involved with what is known as the SOF crowd – a group of freelance military advisers and mercenaries whose unofficial leader is Robert Brown, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine. How that association developed is not clear. Since both Bradley and Drew had been gung ho military types who fancied themselves as paramilitary experts, the SOF crowd was a natural melting pot. At the annual Las Vegas convention of soldiers of fortune, Bradley and Drew came into contact with a number of Vietnam veterans who were looking for action. 
"It was time, Bradley convinced Drew in 1977, to use those contacts for profit. Under the auspices of a private security firm, hiring independent contractors through the classified advertisements in Soldier of Fortune, they would find a retinue of pilots who weren't afraid of the risks and danger – pilots who enjoyed the challenge of flying below radar in the middle of the night and into remote jungle landing strips of foreign countries to pick up a load."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pgs. 63-64)
Robert K. Brown
The use of Robert K. Brown's Soldier of Fortune magazine to recruit pilots and mercs by Bryant and Thornton is most interesting. Brown himself has a long and storied history in covert operations and his magazine seems to have assisted the US intelligence community in this capacity for decades.

Prior to becoming a publisher, however, Brown was a soldier. He first entered the US Army in 1954 and served until '57. He then returned in '64 and participated in Vietnam. At some point he was trained in intelligence as well. Warren Hinckle and William Turner in their classic Deadly Secrets note "... Brown was a graduate of the counterintelligence school Fort Holabird, Maryland..." (pg. 180).

This is most interesting. Fort Holabird was specifically known for training the Army Counterintelligence Corp (CIC), which participated heavily in the Army's branch of Project ARTICHOKE. As was noted before here, ARTICHOKE experiments were conducted at Holabird during the mid-1950s as well. Unfortunately, I have been unable to determine when Brown went through Holabird.

By the time Brown was dispatched to Vietnam, he had become a Green Beret. As was noted above, Army Special Forces are based out of Fort Bragg and it is thus highly likely Brown went through airborne training at Fort Bragg at some point as part of his Green Beret training.

During Vietnam Green Berets were used extensively in the CIA's highly controversial Phoenix Program, which in some accounts is alleged to have killed up to 30,000 "insurgents." In Douglas Valentine's classic The Phoenix Program, Valentine indicates Brown was a participant in Phoenix and that he later started the "Phoenix Associates" in 1974 for veterans of the program.

During his time out of the service in the late 1950s and early 1960s Brown assisted in the efforts to overthrow Castro by training Cubans and enlisting American mercenaries in such efforts. Unsurprisingly, Brown has also been linked to the Kennedy assassination as well.
"... according to an FBI reports prepared in the wake of the JFK assassination, Brown 'advised that he had been active in Cuban matters for several years and during the spring of 1963, in connection with anti-Castro activity, he was in contact with the National States Rights Party in Los Angeles, California. In connection with this, he contacted Dr. Stanley L. Drennan (of North Hollywood, a Party activist). Brown stated that once while a guest at Dr. Drennan's home, Drennan stated in general conversation that he could not do it, but what the organization needed was a group of young men to get rid of Kennedy, the Cabinet and all members of Americans for Democratic Action and maybe 10,000 other people. Brown stated that he considered the remark as being "crackpot"; however, as tDrennan continued the conversation, he gained the impression that Drennan may have been propositioning him on this matter.' "
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 76n)
Brown stayed active in various intrigues after Vietnam as well. By the mid-1970s he was using Soldier of Fortune to recruit mercs to fight in various southern African nations such as Rhodesia. By the 1980s his efforts had gained near official sanction. In The Phoenix Program, Douglas Valentine notes that "... the person initially chosen by North to resupply the contras was former SOG commander John Singlaub, who in doing so worked with Soldier of Fortune publisher Robert Brown..." (pg. 428).

General John Singlaub
As was noted before here, General John Singlaub was a longtime darling of the far right in addition to a decades-spanning career in the blackest of black ops. Singlaub was a part of the infamous "China cowboys" clique of former OSS men that would continue to promote a far right agenda for decades in the US intelligence community. Another member was infamous arms dealer Mitchell WerBell III, another frequent collaborator of Brown's.

WerBell is a figure briefly addressed in the initial "Goodfellas" post dealing with Resorts International. During the mid-1970s WerBell partnered with rogue financier Robert Vesco, a frequent guest of Resorts' Paradise Island casino. At one point Vesco even considered purchasing said casino.

WerBell is worth dwelling on for a moment as there are many similarities between WerBell's operation and the Company's. For years WerBell aided the CIA and various corporate clients (WerBell famously plotted a coup in Haiti at the behalf of CBS during the 1960s that the network planned to film while it was in progress) in supplying various regimes with weapons in addition to assisting in the occasional coup. WerBell was also implicated in trafficking drugs at times, but not nearly to the extent of the Company.

Like the Company, WerBell operated through various corporations such as Defense Services Inc (which provided arms and military training to various regimes) and the Military Armament Corporation (which manufactured the coveted Ingram Mac-10 and Mac-11 in addition to the silencers WerBell personally designed for the weapons). In total WerBell operated up to eight companies at one point, providing his operations with a degree legitimacy via reputable corporate and state clients.

Of course, WerBell had many less the reputable clients as well. There are longstanding rumors that some such clients received special training at compound WerBell owned in Georgia.
"... The Farm --sixty acres of rolling beauty-in-the-boondocks, located near Atlanta in Powder Springs. It might be thought that a lack of imagination gave The Farm its name, but that isn't so. One says 'The Farm' in much the same way that Bela Lugosi might say 'The La-bor-a-tory'; the name's emptiness is meant to hint at clandestine activities incapable of bearing the weight of sunlight. And, more specifically, it's meant to hint at (and even be confused with) the CIA training facility at Camp Peary, Virginia, also called The Farm.
"And like its government counterpart to the north, WerBell's Farm was not known for its contributions to agriculture or animal husbandry. It was instead devoted to perfecting the tools and techniques of sniping, counterinsurgency, and the coup d'etat. Weapons, men, and tactics of war were all tested on the elaborate shooting range that substituted for a garden."
(Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 29)
a little small arms training at The Farm
As was noted above, the Company had their own curious compound, which shall be addressed further in a moment.

While I've found no evidence of a direct connection between WerBell and the Company, it is highly probable that one existed. Beyond the similarities between both operations, both recruited heavily from Soldier of Fortune, run by WerBell's good friend and frequent collaborator, Robert K. Brown. As was noted above, Ingrams were one of the firearms the Company dealt in and WerBell was one of the largest distributors on Ingrams in the 1970s. What's more, he was not very discerning about whom he sold them too, so long as they were suitably anti-Communist (which the Company surely was).

Finally, Bradley Bryant relocated to Savannah, Georgia in the late 1970s on Company business. Most of WerBell's operations were also based out of Georgia, specifically Atlanta and the surrounding area. As such, it seems highly likely that the two operations were aware of one another. This researcher suspects that WerBell's operations may even have provided a kind of inspiration to Bryant and Thornton. But moving along.

The Drugs and Other Contraband

As was noted above, the first large scale drug suppliers the Company hooked up with were the Chagra brothers, Lee and Jimmy. Hailing from Texas, the Chagra brothers first gained notoriety while working as attorneys. They specialized in defending drug dealers and eventually the temptation to participate in that particular trade became too great. By the time the Chagras hooked up with the Company, they were considered to be among the largest suppliers of illicit drugs in the nation.
"The meeting of Bradley Bryant and Jimmy Chagra was a fortuitous combination of like-minded souls. Though the organization of Bradley and Drew had met with success, they couldn't have dreamed up a better association. In 1978 the Chagras were considered by the DEA to be the kingpins in the country's largest heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and firearms distribution system. Not only did the Chagras have their own cocaine and marijuana suppliers in Columbia, a source for Lebanese heroin, and connections to Middle Eastern terrorists, but their organized-crime connections in the United States were said to be at the highest levels of the traditional La Cosa Nostra."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pg. 73)
Jimmy Chagra
The partnership between the Company and the Chagra brothers was said to have grown out of Bradley Bryant's mob contacts in Las Vegas and Philadelphia (i.e. Biff Halloran). Frequently the Company and the Chagras conducted business at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which both parties used to launder money through. 

It was not long after the partnership was cemented that the Chagras began their fall from grace. It began with Lee Chagra being assassinated in December of 1978, likely on the orders of the Patriarca crime family

Then, in 1979, Jimmy Chagra was charged by federal authorities with drug trafficking. Chagra responded by ordering the assassination of the judge he faced in court, "Maximum" John Wood. The assassin? Charles Harrelson, an associate of the Dixie Mafia who also happened to be the father of actor Woody Harrelson. When authorities went to arrest Charles Harrelson for the murder of Wood, there was a brief standoff. During these tense moments, while Harrelson was high on cocaine, he confessed to both the assassination of Judge John Wood... and President John F. Kennedy. This has fueled speculation for years that Harrelson was one of the infamous "Three Tramps" on the Grassy Knoll. But I digress.

Around this same time Bradley Bryant would also start experiencing legal woes. Both Bryant and Jimmy Chagra ended up using the same attorney --the Las Vegas-based Oscar Goodman, who became legendary for his defense of organized crime figures while practicing law. Eventually both he and his wife would serve as mayor of Las Vegas. It was during Oscar's time as mayor that Donald Trump opened his first hotel in Vegas. Goodman would assist Trump in developing the site. But moving along.

Oscar Goodman (right) with Trump at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Trump's Vegas hotel
After Chagra's downfall and Bradley Bryant's subsequent arrest, Drew Thornton established another supplier: the Medellin Cartel. His contact with the Colombians was a most curious fellow as well. His name was Bertram Gordon, nominally a jet setting international businessman. In reality, Gordon was a key figure in the international drug market of the 1980s.
"The DEA believed that Gordon provided aircraft for the entire Medellin Cartel – the Colombian cocaine import and distribution network responsible for 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States and Canada. Gordon, according to the DEA, worked directly for Carlos Lehder – the convicted Colombian billionaire whose cocaine empire was part of his political vision to destabilize America. 
"The reason the DEA knew so much about Bert Gordon was because Gordon worked for them..."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton. pgs. 349-350)
Yes, Bert Gordon, who was linked to Drew Thornton's mysterious death in 1984, was also a DEA informant in addition to being a close associate of Hitler-worshiping Carlos Lehder. Lehder's longstanding obsession with Nazism has been chronicled before here

Before wrapping up this section, its also interesting to note another curious piece of smuggling the Company engaged during the late 1970s: namely, the theft of classified weapons from the highly classified Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake facility. As was noted above, this feat was greatly aided by the assistance of Bradley Bryant's cousin, Larry Bryant, a Department of Defense civilian employee with Top Secret clearance. Here are a few more details about Larry and China Lake thefts.
"... Larry Bryant, about whether he had obtained the military equipment he had promised Bradley. Stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Larry Bryant possessed a national security clearance to work on classified radar systems, and had offered to provide Bradley with sophisticated electronic deception equipment from the government's top-secret China Lake.
"Bradley was especially anxious to receive several Starlight nightvision scopes and IFF Radar, called the 'Green Box.' The Green Box, nicknamed 'friend or foe,' is a classified devised that U.S. military aircraft used for communicating with other military installations and friendly countries. Such an instrument would allow Bradley's drug-smuggling aircraft to enter and leave numerous Central and South American countries, his planes sending a signal that they were friendly, without resorting to radio communication."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pgs. 83-84)

After the legal troubles began for the Bryants in 1980, Larry Bryant told authorities an interesting story while being questioned about how classified military hardware from China Lake had ended up in Bradley's possession.
"He claimed that several nightsscopes had been retrieved from China Lake to be traded to Libya for a Soviet radar system the Libyans had purchased from the Russians. The U.S. government wanted to examine the Russian system, according to Larry Bryant's scenario, in order to duplicate it. All of the China Lake employees implicated in the disappearance of the items were top-secret specialists in long-range, surface-to-air radar systems, as was Larry Bryant.
"Larry Bryant contended that the covert operation was going to save the US government millions of dollars in research and development costs. 'We're good guys; we work for Uncle Sam,' said one of the employees later indicted for pilfering the equipment."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pg. 127)
Specifically, the Bryants and other implicated China Lake employees claimed that the thefts were sanctioned by the CIA. By the time of the Bryants' arrest, Bradley and Drew Thornton had been claiming their operations were sanctioned by the CIA for several years. More than a few of the federal employees tasked with investigating the Company had come to similar conclusions.

Keep the allegations concerning Libya in mind dear reader, as we shall return to this point in the next installment. For now, there is one final aspect of the Company's operation I would like to address before wrapping up.


Finally, we come to the mysterious compound the Company operated in rural Kentucky. It was operated by a corporation Bryant and Thornton founded called Triad and soon drew the attention of both local residents and federal agents for the strange happenings there. Some dealt with more concrete concerns, such as indications the compound was being used to stockpile arms and engage in paramilitary training.
"Other federal agencies had also been enticed by rumors of arms-stockpiling and mercenary training at Triad. U.S. Customs agents in New York, who were monitoring the activities of Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, briefly entertained the possibility that Triad was a subsidiary of Khashoggi's Triad American Corporation. The fact that Khashoggi was frequenting Lexington added fuel to the speculation.
"...The FBI in Lexington had received reports that foreign 'dark-skinned' soldiers of unknown nationality – possibly Libyan or Nicaraguan – were being trained at Triad in guerrilla warfare techniques. Some of the report suggested the Triad was CIA-sponsored... ATF had conducted an investigation into activities at Triad that had concluded that those attending the 'camp' were 'survivalists who on occasion dress in military fatigues and play war games – i.e., shoot each other with plastic bullets containing red blood-like dye, parachute from airplanes, firearms training, etc.' Triad evidently offered training in self-defense, advanced first aid, radiation detection, and the perfection of individual survival skills. ATF investigators found that trainees rappelled off the back cliffs of the farm down to the Kentucky river bed, while avoiding automatic fire. But ATF found 'no information indicating any connection between above-described activity and foreign/domestic terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and other activity possibly in violation of neutrality laws.' "
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pgs. 114-115)
Right. A few "survivalist" types were able to come up with the cash to keep such an elaborate operation profitable. And a threat later made to state police who had infiltrated the compound --that the Company would shoot down any more surveillance flights the state police sent over the compound --was just in jest.

Before moving on to other allegations surrounding the compound, it is interesting to note its connection the infamous arms trafficker Adnan Khashoggi. For years Khashoggi was a key CIA asset who may have also been plugged into Le Cercle, an international fascist network (noted before here) of some notoriety.

Khashoggi was also a friend and some time rival of the Orange One. They frequently encountered one another in New York social circles during the 1980s and Trump reportedly designed his apartment living room in Trump Tower to be larger than the one Khashoggi had in his Olympic Tower apartment. Trump eventually bought Khashoggi's "megayacht," the Nabila and renamed it the Trump Princess, But moving along.

Probably the strangest aspect of the Triad compound are the allegations encountered by state cop Ralph Ross, for years the lead investigator of Drew Thornton in Kentucky, of occult activity at the compound.
"Coincidentally, Ralph had suddenly been receiving complaints about suspicious activity on Triad. Neighbors had reported to state police that a cult of devil worshipers frequented the property, and that the constant firing automatic weapons could be heard..."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pg. 114)
This takes us into some truly muddy waters. As I'm sure fans of the late, great David McGowan are well aware, there have been allegations for decades of paramilitary training compounds spread out across the nation with an occult flavor that "trained" various serial killers.

These allegations probably originate with infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who in the 1980s claimed to a member of a cult he called the Hand of Death. As was noted before here, Lucas alleged that this cult trained out of a paramilitary compound located in the Florida Everglades. While nominally this claim seems ridiculous, it is important to remember that anti-Castro Cubans were being trained in paramilitary camps in the Everglades up until at least the early 1960s. What's more, this training was largely being overseen by the same mercenaries who would later gravitate to Robert K. Brown's Soldier of Fortune crowd. Brown himself was quite active in assisting the anti-Castro Cubans during the early 1960s as well.

Carlos Lehder, the Hitler-worshiping Medellin Cartel associate who would end up supplying Thornton, also had an interesting connection to this anti-Castro Cuban crowd as well. During the height of his influence, he set up shop on Norman's Cay in the Bahamas, which was used as a base for Lehder's operations as well as resupplies for cocaine being shipped from Columbia to North America. As was noted before here, before Lehder took possession of the island, it was used by anti-Castro Cubans and American mercenaries to stage raids on Cuba. Robert Vesco, the fugitive financier who collaborated with WerBell in the 1970s and frequented visited Resorts' Paradise Island casino during that decade, was also a regular guest of Lehder's at Norman's Cay during the 1980s. But back to the matter at hand.

As was noted before here, Henry' claim was further bolstered by the discovery of Adolfo Constanzo's ranch near Matamoros, Mexico (which is directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas) in 1989. Constanzo was a Cuban-American occultist who became a major figure in the Mexican drug trade during the 1980s. Constanzo and his followers were believed to have performed human sacrifices at this ranch in addition to storing large amounts of contraband there. Prior to the discovery of the ranch, Lucas had alleged the Hand of Death kept a ranch near Matamoros for such purposes. It is also interesting to note that Constanzo was almost surely an affiliate of the Gulf Cartel, which the above-mentioned Los Zetas originally belonged to as enforcers before breaking away (noted before here).

All of this leads me to believe there is merit to these allegations of paramilitary compounds. Certainly both the Company and Mitchell WerBell maintained such places during the 1970s and were reported to have trained some curious figures there. Henry Lee Lucas' alleged Florida Everglades site has precedence with the sites used by anti-Castro Cubans in the early 1960s, a network that both Robert K. Brown and Mitch WerBell were deeply involved with.And of course there's the possibility that Constanzo, who was born in Miami during the early 1960s, was raised in such circles.

While this might seem like a strange digression, I would further expand of this serial killer cult theme in the next installment. Also up for consideration Bryant and Thornton's contacts in Lexington's upper crust as well as further ties Trump has to the Company. And finally, I may even get around to considering the implications of it all. Stay tuned dear reader.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Goodfellas: The Dark Tower and Beyond Part I

A few months ago I published a piece that examined, in part, President Donald J. Trump's brief control over Resorts International. Resorts was a curious creature that served as kind of bridge-way between both the Overworld and the Underworld. In addition to Trump, it also had close ties to another controversial Republican President: Richard M. Nixon. Nixon's longtime benefactor, Howard Hughes, also played a role in the Resorts saga during the 1970s.

At the same times Nixon was basking in the luxuries Resorts' Bahama casino (while Hughes was potentially being held prisoner there), the gambling interest also employed the bother of a close Lansky associate and counted among its shareholders William Mellon Hitchcock, a Mellon family heir who at one point was the financier for the largest LSD ring in the world (noted before here).

And then there was Intertel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Resorts. Intertel was a private intelligence agency staffed heavily with former FBI men and other assorted US intelligence veterans. It is most famous (or notorious, depending upon one's point of view) for spiriting Howard Hughes out of his Las Vegas penthouse in 1971 and keeping the reclusive billionaire under lock and key for the rest of his official life, nominally under the guise of providing Hughes with "security." It probably goes without saying, but Intertel is widely believed to have been an arm of the US intelligence community.

Intertel was still a part of Resorts in 1986 when Trump procured a controlling interest in the corporation. He would act as the company's CEO until 1988, when ownership passed to Merv Griffin after Trump played a key role in completing construction on Resorts most ambitions casino, the Taj Mahal, which he ended up the owner as part of his deal with Griffin. In addition to the spooks, it would seem that the Mafioso were still part of Resorts at this time as well. Hell, even Griffin had his own ties to the Gambino family, according to New York Times journalist Wayne Barrett in Trump: The Deals and the Downfall.

This certainly put the Orange One in some interesting company. Curiously, not long after I finished this blog a report emerged that Steven Bannon, Trump's disgraced former chief strategist, had compiled a dossier while working for Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries that addressed Trump's ties to organized crime. Bannon eventually switched his allegiance to Trump, hence the report has never seen the light of day. Still, what little has been reported about it is quite tantalizing. CNN notes:
"A conservative watchdog group led by Bannon tried to discredit Trump in the early stages of the 2016 Republican presidential primary by shopping a document alleging that Trump had ties to mobsters, according to conservative sources and a copy of the document reviewed by CNN.
"The anti-Trump opposition research was the work of author Peter Schweizer for the Government Accountability Institute, which he cofounded with Bannon in 2012. It described years of alleged business connections between Trump companies and organized crime figures, allegations that have circulated among Trump detractors for years...
"The GAI is backed by the Mercer family, one of the largest benefactors for Trump's campaign. Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, is listed as the group's chairwoman on its website. But in 2015, when the document was produced, the Mercers were backing the campaign of one of Trump's rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Bannon had not yet joined the Trump campaign.
"In early 2016, at the height of the Republican primary fight, Cruz cited possible mob ties as one reason for Trump to release his taxes. Cruz and his campaign cited published news accounts at the time as the basis for making the charge."
Steven Bannon
Among other things, the existence of this dossier is yet further proof of how inept the "Resistance" truly is, for Trump's ties to organized crime are in fact legion and researchers have spent decades investigating them. But even more curious is the fact that Trump's organized crime ties lead to an organization with even more deep links than Resorts International.

"Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night"

But before getting to that, it is worth noting the extent to which Trump's activities in Atlantic City were mob-related. This was already briefly touched upon with his ties to Resorts, but his very first Atlantic City casino makes these links even more blatant. For starters, Trump opted initially to lease, rather than buy, the land on which he built Trump Plaza Casino from some rather dubious sources. One of these was a company known as SSG Inc., which featured some rather curious figures, most notably Philly scrap metal dealer Kenny Shapiro. Shapiro, it turns out, was very close to the Scarfo crime family.
"... SSG, the real power was its managing agent, the cigar-chopping Shapiro, who would later be identified in law enforcement reports as 'the mob's main dealmaker' in Atlantic City in the eighties. It was Shapiro who controlled the secret interest in Cleveland Wrecking. His two-story office building just off the Boardwalk became a checkpoint for visiting racketeers who passed through town. Shapiro was busily funneling Philly mob money into dozens of Atlantic City real estate deals, and the broker on thirty of his transactions in and around Atlantic City was none other than the son of mob chieftain Nicky Scarfo."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 207)
Kenny Shapiro
Shapiro was also reportedly the key conduit between Scarfo and disgraced Atlantic City major Michael J. Matthews, who was recalled and imprisoned over extortion charges. Matthews, at Shapiro's urging, played a key role in paving the way for Trump's gambling ventures in Atlantic City. One of Trump's earliest brushes with he FBI (which the Bureau now seems to have conveniently forgotten about) stemmed from his dealings with Shapiro and Matthews. During Matthews' trail, Shapiro reportedly dropped Trump's name during a closed session.
"Whatever Shapiro told the grand jury, it apparently involved the Trumps. Shortly after Shapiro's appearance, the FBI confronted Robert Trump in a restaurant in grilled him about Trump attempts to contribute to Matthews through New York subcontractors or Shapiro. The agents regarded his blanket denials as misleading. The agents returned for other sessions, including one at Trump Tower, with Robert, Donald, and John Barry, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney who married Maryanne Trump and became one of Donald's prime attorneys in New Jersey. Barry attributed Robert's initial evasiveness to surprise. The various discussions with Shapiro and Sullivan about contributions to the mayoral candidates were confirmed at these meetings, but specific comments attributed to the Trump brothers drew muted denials mixed with memory lapses. There was little question but that the Trumps had contemplated donations to Matthews and had even sought a legal opinion from Nick Ribis about going forward with them."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 233)
Shapiro was hardly Trump's only tie to the Scarfo. There was also the son of Philip "the Chicken Man" Testa, whose death via nail bomb sparked the bloody Philadelphia Mafia War of the 1980s. In the midst of said war the Chicken Man's son made a very lucrative deal with the Orange One.
"Trump was simultaneously moving, fueled in part by Harrah's money, to acquire the nearer block for the Plaza's primary garage. One reason he did not even consider leasing the site was that a key corner parcel of it was owned by two men who, experience had taught him, could never meet a DGE standard – Salvy Testa and Frank Narducci, Jr., the sons of two Philadelphia mob bosses who had been murdered in the blood wars that had broken out in 1980. Narducci and Testa – who headed Nikki Scarfo's hit-man squad called the Young Executioners – had paid a scant $195,000 in the summer of 1977 for Le Bistro, a rundown, one-story, brick nightclub directly across Pacific Avenue from Donald's Plaza location. Predictably, they could never obtain a liquor license to run a club there; but they were only speculating anyway. Donald paid $1.1 million in late 1982 for the site, having the title transferred first from Testa and Narducci to Paddy McGahn's secretary and then to a Trump entity. The $220 per square foot that Trump paid for the Testa property was the second most expensive purchase he made on the block, even though it was one of the first parcels he bought. He paid twice as much for it as comparable parcels. While the routing of the purchase through McGahn's secretary may have been designed to put some distance between Donald and the acquisition, Trump would later boast in an affidavit in a court case with Harrah's that he had personally assembled the parcels for the garage, describing his involvement in the assemblage as the 'unique contribution' and 'critical skill' he brought to the joint venture with Harrah's."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pgs. 230-231)
Ruthless hitman and son of the Chicken Man Salvatore Testa
The construction of Trump Plaza was also littered with mob affiliates as well.
"The Shapiro, Testa, and Gerace mob cloud that hung over these Plaza issues extended to its construction phase as well. Three Plaza subcontractors had disturbing affiliations with the Scarfo crime family – including one, Robert T. Winzinger, who was eventually indicted and was said to have been visited by Scarfo himself on the Plaza site. The president of Trump's concrete contractor, Joseph Feriozzi, was accused by the State Commission of Investigation of evading questions under oath about why he awarded this unbounded work to two shadowy and inexperience firms."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 232)
There were some other organized crime ties to the Plaza's construction that shall be addressed in just a moment. But before getting to that, let us consider one final figure who happened to own a portion of the land Trump ultimately built the Plaza on.
"Aside from five private home spotted around the block, the bulk of the site was owned by three major groups of speculators, tied together by a maze of complicated contracts and leases redrawn every time one more of the various owners tried without success to build a casino there. Longo had his hooks into two of the three groups, and the one he didn't represent was the sites most recent would-be developer, Plaza Hotel Management Group, which was led by two New York dealmakers with unusual credentials – Columbia and Yale law professor Robert Lifton and former national Democratic treasurer Howard Weingrow.
"Lifton and Weingrow had driven down to the resort town hunting properties in 1978, pulled into a parking lot that occupied part of the block, and asked who owned it. 'Howard Hughes,' replied the attendant. And he wasn't far from wrong. Roberts Maheu, the former top aide to legendary billionaire who once owned half of Vegas, had indeed formed an entity that had a goodly chunk of the site. He was just one of the site's mysterious emissaries from Nevada. Also involved was flashy Grady Sanders, who was said to be accompanied on excursions to Atlantic City by union heavies from the desert strip. Prodded by the parking attendant's tip, Weingrow went to a pay phone on the Boardwalk and called Maheu in Vegas, urging him to fly out to Atlantic City the next day. Eventually the Weingrow group struck a deal to build a casino with the Maheu and Sanders entities. But a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the two Maheu companies after they allegedly made false and misleading statements in an attempt to push up the value of their stock. So Lifton, Weingrow, and another partner they brought into the venture took over control of the project, with the Maheu and Sanders groups assigned a secondary role."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pgs. 205-206)
Robert Maheu
Trump was then in effect leasing the property for Trump Plaza indirectly from one of the shadiest private detectives of all time. The name Robert Maheu should immediately set off red flags for regular readers of this blog and conspiracy buffs in general.

Maheu, a former FBI agent, had an especially close relationship with the mob for decades. In point of fact, Maheu is whom the CIA originally tapped to work as a middle man in their efforts to get the Mafia to assassinate Castro. This was hardly the beginning of Maheu's relationship with the CIA, however. As was noted before here, Maheu had longstanding ties to the CIA's notorious Office of Security (OS), the department that oversaw the infamous Project ARTICHOKE. It would appear that Maheu was used by the OS as far back as the early 1950s to run various "honey traps" (such as this) for the Agency prior to the PI taking over security for Howard Hughes. Curiously, it was Maheu's security forces Intertel bypassed in their rescue/abduction of Howard Hughes, as was noted before here.

Needless to say, by the time Maheu hooked up with Trump in Atlantic City he was no stranger to organized crime, spy games and eccentric billionaires. It is thus most interesting that he was there at the onset of Trump's Atlantic City empire. But moving along.

The Tower

Trump's close ties to organized crime predated his entry into Atlantic City, however. In point of fact, Trump's signature building --Manhattan's Trump Tower, which has long resided at the heart of his business empire --has been something of a mecca for organized crime for decades. As with his casinos in Atlantic City, the construction of Trump Tower was littered with mob associates. This is especially true of the concrete companies the Orange One contracted with. One individual in particular was believed to be quite prominent in one of the Five Families.  
"Using concrete, however, put Donald at the mercy of a legion of concrete racketeers, none more powerful than union boss John Cody. The balding, bulky, sixty-year-old Cody had weathered eight arrests, including one for attempted rape, and three convictions. Before Trump Tower was finished, he would be indicted in an eight count federal racketeering case, charged with taking $160,000 in kickbacks. His mob associations were so strong that the FBI claimed the Carlo Gambino, the most powerful mobster in America, came to his son's $51,000 wedding in Long Island in 1973. His bodyguard, indicted on a murder rap and bailed out by Cody's investment banker son, was later shot to death.
"Cody was president of the leading building trades union in New York, Teamsters Local 282. His members drove the barrel-shaped cement mixer trucks that would feed the Trump Tower job its daily requirement of concrete. The severe access problems of the site – located at one of the busiest intersections in the world and reachable only from the narrow 56th Street side – made the job utterly dependent on Cody's cooperation. Concrete can harden if it isn't used quickly, and Cody's trucks had to make their deliveries at precise intervals throughout the day. A slowdown – anything from delaying the pours to a full-pledge work stoppage – would have caused costly overruns or possibly even shut the job down.
"In the summer of 1980, FBI agents investigating Cody served Donald with a subpoena demanding that he appear for questioning at the Brooklyn office of the Organized Crime Strike Force. The Strike Force, which had been investigating Cody since he took over the union in 1970, had received information from a source close to Cody that the union leader had strong-armed Trump and won a commitment from him for an apartment in Trump Tower in exchange for labor peace during its construction. The investigators knew this was typical of Cody's modus operandi. His indictment would include a count alleging that he'd shaken down one developer for a rent-free, $1000- a-month apartment at Northshore Towers, a luxury Queens complex were a Cody mistress, Marilyn Taggart, lived comfortably. Scheduled to testify for the government at Cody's 1982 trial, Taggart disappeared shortly before it began. 
"Just as he had in the 1979 probe of the Penn Central acquisitions, Trump appeared at the interview without an attorney and willingly answered questions. He emphatically denied having promised Cody an apartment. Because all the investigators had was a loose allegation, apparently from real estate broker who'd paid kickbacks to Cody, and since the building was so far from completion that any deal could not have been consummated, the investigators were forced to abandon the Trump trail."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pgs. 185-186)
John Cody
Cody and Trump's other connections to the murky netherworld of the Philly-New York-New Jersey concrete racket is most significant and a point we shall return to in a moment, so do keep Cody in mind.

But before moving on, let us focus on the real significance of Trump Tower: namely, its use as a conduit of money laundering for various crime syndicates and individuals. It is likely in this capacity that Trump first forged ties with factions of the Russian Mafia. Consider one particular Trump Tower tenant:
"David Bogatin, a high-level member of a Russian émigré crime family, bought five tower apartments in 1984 for $6 million. Donald personally attended the Bogatin closing, meeting Bogatin and his lawyer. Working with Colombo capo Michael Franzese, Bogatin was part of a ring of oil entrepreneurs convicted in a record-setting gas tax evasion scam. After he pled guilty in 1987, agreeing to pay $5 million in back taxes, Bogatin fled to Vienna before he was sentenced and remains a fugitive today. The state seized Bogatin's tower apartments, and state prosecutors concluded that he purchased them 'to launder money, to shelter hide and assets' and use them on weekends and 'for parties.' "
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 194)
It would appear that Bogatin was in fact quite a high ranking member in the Russian Mafia. The New Republic noted:
"... A Senate investigation into organized crime later revealed that Bogatin was a leading figure in the Russian mob in New York. His family ties, in fact, led straight to the top: His brother ran a $150 million stock scam with none other than Semion Mogilevich, whom the FBI considers the 'boss of bosses' of the Russian mafia. At the time, Mogilevich—feared even by his fellow gangsters as 'the most powerful mobster in the world'—was expanding his multibillion-dollar international criminal syndicate into America."
alleged "boss of bosses" Semion Mogilevich
Bogatin was not the only associate of the notorious Semion Mogilevich to take up residence in Trump Tower either. The New Republic goes on to note that in the early 1990s another associate was a tenant there --one Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov, an alleged enforcer for Mogilevich.

Ivankov reportedly arrived in the United States in 1992 and quickly set up an elaborate protection racket bolstered by Russian Special Forces veterans Ivankov personally recruited. During his time in New York, before his 1995 arrest, he was a frequent guest at Trump's Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City (which, as was noted before here, was acquired from the notorious Resorts International) and kept a luxury condo at Trump Tower. He was ultimately deported in 2004 and assassinated in 2009 in Moscow.

As recently as 2013 it would appear the Russian mob was running rackets out of Trump Tower. The New Republic notes:
"In April 2013, a little more than two years before Trump rode the escalator to the ground floor of Trump Tower to kick off his presidential campaign, police burst into Unit 63A of the high-rise and rounded up 29 suspects in two gambling rings. The operation, which prosecutors called 'the world’s largest sports book,' was run out of condos in Trump Tower—including the entire fifty-first floor of the building. In addition, unit 63A—a condo directly below one owned by Trump—served as the headquarters for a 'sophisticated money-laundering scheme' that moved an estimated $100 million out of the former Soviet Union, through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investments in the United States. The entire operation, prosecutors say, was working under the protection of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whom the FBI identified as a top Russian vor closely allied with Semion Mogilevich. In a single two-month stretch, according to the federal indictment, the money launderers paid Tokhtakhounov $10 million.
"Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted a decade earlier for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics, was the only suspect to elude arrest. For the next seven months, the Russian crime boss fell off the radar of Interpol, which had issued a red alert. Then, in November 2013, he suddenly appeared live on international television—sitting in the audience at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Tokhtakhounov was in the VIP section, just a few seats away from the pageant owner, Donald Trump." 
Trump Tower
In fairness, the Russians were not the first crime syndicate to run a gambling racket out of Trump Tower. It would appear that the American Mafia had beaten them to the punch several decades earlier.
".... Robert Hopkins, a Lucchese crime family associate who was arrested in his Trump Tower suite of apartments for ordering a mob murder of a gambling competitor. While the murder count was dismissed, Hopkins was convicted of running one of the city's biggest illegal gambling operations – taking in half a million week and running numbers out of as many as a hundred locations. State investigators maintained a tap on his Trump Tower phone for months, concluding that he 'controlled the enterprise' from the tower apartments."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 195)
As with Bogatin, Trump personally attended Hopkins' closing. Reportedly a briefcase containing some $200,000 was also present but could not be accounted for in the aftermath.

The importance of Trump Tower in Trump's business empire can not be overstated. For many years it has been the headquarters of the Trump Organization while Trump and his family have kept residencies there since it was opened. When Trump kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign, it was announced at Trump Towers. After winning said election, Trump Tower was used as a base of operations for the incoming Trump White House. Trump accused then-President Obama of wiretapping his transition team there. Trump Tower is also where son-in-law Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. reportedly met with Russian envoys.

Thus while the Tower's legacy is assured due to the political intrigues there, the seemingly decades-spanning money laundering operations there are probably far closer to its true legacy.

The Biff

The principal villain in the first two Back to the Future movies is a high school bully known as Biff Tannen. In the second film, a dystonian future is shown in which Biff has become a powerful gaming mogul who has turned his home town into a crime-ridden cesspool. Reportedly this version of Biff is based upon Trump and the Atlantic City of the 1980s. It is thus rather surreal that one of the most dubious rogues Trump allied himself with in the 1980s was nicknamed "Biff" by his associates in the 1980s.

Edward "Biff" Halloran was a close associate of the above-mentioned union boss John Cody and a reputed member of the Genovese crime family. He was convicted of racketeering in 1987 and spent four years in prison before obtaining his release 1991 after pleading guilty to lesser charges. In 1998, at the age of 57, he disappeared and has never been heard from since. Naturally, his family claimed it had nothing to do with his organized crime links and that his disappearance was most likely the result of some type of car accident he had one the way home from Florida. Of course, if organized crime was involved, his family likely had good reason to keep quiet:
"Biff Halloran had extensive oil and real estate holdings, including a racetrack in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was looking for someone to run his industrial cleaning service. Individuals familiar with Halloran's operation said later that Halloran needed to hide his ownership in the company, called the Armstrong Corporation, because of conflicts of interest in the awarding of government contracts to construction firms owned by Halloran's family..."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pg. 60)
As we shall see, Halloran's construction companies were closely linked to the mob, which would provided ample incentive for the families member who ran them to keep quiet. On that note, let us turn our attention to Biff's concrete monopoly and his ties to Trump:
"... Biff Halloran, who'd supplied the concrete to the Hyatt, was also given the Trump Tower contract. Cody's drivers worked for Halloran's company, and the two were so closely links that Halloran had reciprocated with complementary services for Cody in a Manhattan hotel he owned. Halloran had in fact been questioned by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn about his hotel suite and other payoffs to Cody shortly before they spoke with Donald in 1980. Halloran was another one-time Cohn client who, according to the government, 'obtained his monopoly over the supply of readi-mix concrete through the direct intervention' of the mob, and was convicted in the federal racketeering case with Nick Auletta. While Halloran did, during the construction of Trump Tower, buyout the only other Manhattan-based concrete suppliers and establish a virtual monopoly, he had at least one wholly independent competitor at the time he was awarded the Trump job."
(Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth, Wayne Barrett, pg. 190)
While often overlooked, Biff Halloran was an extremely well connected figure in organized crime circles during this era. His connection to Trump especially significant in light of other, more reputable individuals Trump was courting in the early 1980s. In the next installment we shall consider the murky netherworld Halloran inhabited and the implications it has for other Trump associates.

Be warned, it is quite a journey down the rabbit hole, one that will amongst a Nazi-tinged right wing paramilitary outfit, the long alleged Son of Sam cult and the dirty dealings of Trump's chief political mentor. Stay tuned dear reader.