Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #703 Interview with Daniel Hopsicker: Catching Up with the “Herd Shot ‘Round the World”

Listen:
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Introduction: In this far-ranging discussion (conducted on Super Bowl Sunday), we examine the tangled webs of intrigue enveloping the airport at Venice, Florida. Rife with criminal elements, that small but significant airport was the point of infiltration for some of the 9/11 hijackers. The criminal milieu that controlled Huffman Aviation continues to hold sway over attempts at purging the illegality from that environment.

Furthermore, the conspiratorial milieu enveloping Venice has a deep political history of more than 50 years–a history inextricably linked with national security-related affairs and scandals linked to, among other things, the assassination of President Kennedy.

After rumination about the Super Bowl and links between elements of organized crime, the intelligence community and the National Football League, the discussion turns to Ponzi schemes, the fare of, among others, former Huffman Aviation owner Art Nadel. Reading a book about the Bernie Madoff scandal, Daniel noted that Frank DiPascali was described as a probable mafioso, and yet follow-up discussion was lacking in detail or, for that matter, any real investigation of the possibilities.

The program then reviews Art Nadel’s assumption of the ownership of Huffman Aviation, as well as the progression of ownership from Nadel to a new collection of malefactors, themselves connected to serious financial scandals.

It appears that the new owners of Huffman are hiding behind “straw men.” Kingpin Eugene Gorab is one of the players, along with the Sovereign Wealth fund of Kuwait. Gorab is also associated with Barry Sternlicht, at one time the largest owner of casinos in the country!

Gorab’s constellation of Volo companies encompasses one Thom Harrow, who played a major role at Prudential Securities at a time that that venerable firm’s securities division was involved in one of the biggest financial scandals to date. Harrow’s latest undertaking, a nonprofit allegedly created to provide healthcare and services for the elderly, is actually involved with the administration of prisons.

Turning to the subject of the JFK assassination, the broadcast details the role at the Venice Airport of General D.H. “Harry” Byrd, connected to major defense contractors and an individual whose behavior vis a vis the Kennedy assassination is interesting and–perhaps–suspicious.

Program Highlighs Include: General Byrd’s ownership of the Texas School Depository, from which Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly fired the shots that killed President Kennedy; Byrd’s stewardship of the Civil Air Patrol, through which Oswald, chief Garrison suspect David Ferrie and CIA officer Barry Seal met; Byrd’s curious absence from the country during the Kennedy assassination; Byrd’s LTV company and its receipt of no-bid defense contracts through Operation Big Safari; the relationship of the Venice Airport to Stephen L. Ruth, an intelligence officer whose activities overlap the covert operations against Cuba, the JFK assassination and the Iran-Contra scandal; discussion of links between the Venice Airport and the American Volunteer Group of General Claire Chenault.

1. After rumination about the Super Bowl and links between elements of organized crime, the intelligence community and the National Football League, the discussion turns to Ponzi schemes, the fare of, among others, former Huffman Aviation owner Art Nadel. Reading a book about the Bernie Madoff scandal, Daniel noted that Frank DiPascali was described as a probable mafioso, and yet follow-up discussion was lacking in detail or, for that matter, any real investigation of the possibilities.

2. Next, the program reviews Art Nadel’s assumption of the ownership of Huffman Aviation, as well as the progression of ownership to a new series of owners, themselves connected to financial scandals.

The chief lieutenant of the new owner of the former Huffman Aviation, who is often named President of the various financial entities of his boss, was at the heart of a Wall Street scandal that was—until the financial meltdown last year—the biggest and costliest scandal Wall Street had ever seen.

The name of the new owner, which a Venice City Attorney told the Venice City Council they had no right to know, is Eugene Gorab.

Gorab, who claimed to be worth more than 100 million dollars in an interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune last year, made his pile buying and selling hotels and casinos.

He worked for a hugely successful tycoon named Barry Sternlicht, who, while Gorab was working for him, owned more casinos than anyone on the planet.Gorab owns the majority stake in private equity fund Greenfield Partners in Norwalk Connecticut, just a few exits up the Merritt Parkway from Greenwich, where Fairfield Partners helped Bernie Madoff relieve investors of unwanted capital.

More interesting by far is that Gorab owns Clayton Holdings, a company whose failures in due-diligence played a direct role in the multibillion dollar collapse of the nation’s housing market.

Clayton Holdings is the nation’s largest due-diligence company: a firm which is hired by investment houses to make sure blocks of loans meet the seller’s own standards.

Despite the fact that the underlying home loans didn’t get within shouting distance of meeting those quality standards, Clayton Holdings paid off like a slot machine, signing off on the mortgage investments, the instrument of mass destruction which has succeeded in bombing the American economy back to the Stone Age.

Gorab, who didn’t own Clayton Holdings until recently, wasn’t responsible. He bought the company as Clayton’s former President received immunity from New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in return for testimony about underwriting “exceptions” his firm’s project managers gave its Wall Street accounts. . . .

“From Hedge Funds to Handcuffs” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 3/1/2010.

3. It appears that the new owners of Huffman are hiding behind “straw men.” Kingpin Eugene Gorab is one of the players, along with the Sovereign Wealth fund of Kuwait.

. . . The three lads who say they’re the owners of Huffman Aviation refuse to release the names of their just-created company’s investors. So how can we say we know Eugene Gorab owns Huffman Aviation?

Simple: Gorab, for starters, already owns Volo Aviation in Sarasota. He has, give or take, $100 million in aviation investments, which is $100 million more than the three lads claiming to be the owners. More importantly, the trio were all working for Gorab when they bought it.

And he didn’t fire them for competing with the company where they work.

Finally, we know Gorab owns Huffman because, even though there’s a new front man at Volo Aviation at the Sarasota Airport, he’s Gorab’s chief lieutenant, the President of Gorab’s Volo.

Eugene Gorab is adept at moving the pea around under the cup. We would have expected no less. . . .

Idem.

4. Gorab (and company) also were involved (through Volo Holdings) with one Thom Harrow, another individual with involvement in enormous financial shenanigans. Prudential Securites–with which he was principally involved–was the epicenter of a massive scandal

Thom Harrow, most recently listed as President of Volo Holdings, has been an officer of a myriad of Gorab’s shell companies, which change with bewildering regularity, which may well be the point. Example: the “ownership of Volo Sarasota just changed hands, again.

Harrow now operates at least four FBO’s (including the one in Sarasota) under the banner of APP, which stands for Airside Property Partners.

Airside Property Partners, in turn, is owned by Airside Investors, which owns the website airproperty.net.

Only God, and the state of Delaware, knows who owns Airside Investors. But if their names were to magically appear, we bet the name “Gorab” would be there.

Thom Harrow, it, turns out, has had an interesting, and some might say—hell we’ll say it—checkered career.

Remember the old TV commercials for The Rock? Prudential Securities? Their commercials all ended with this catchy phrase: “The most important thing we earn is your trust.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t true.

Harrow was a senior executive at Prudential Securities during the late 80’s and early 90’s, while executives and brokers at the company were busily engaged in what reporters— in those far more innocent times—called the largest fraud in US history.

Prudential brokers and executives defrauded investors of $8 billion.

No other Wall Street scandal to that time had come even close to touching the debacle at Prudential. Mike Milliken (junk-bonds, remember?) at Drexel Burnham, was a piker by comparison, settled for $650 million, a pittance by the $8 billion gold standard Prudential was setting.

According to NEWSWEEK:

“In this topsy-turvy world due diligence was a sham, brokers were hounded — even fired — for questioning the quality of deals, and no executive displayed much interest in knowing what was really going on.”

Does that sound familiar? Due diligence was a sham? And now Thom Harrow’s partner owns the company doing more due diligence than any other.

Kurt Eichenwald covered the story for TIME magazine, then wrote a book about the scandal called, appropriately enough, “Serpent on the Rock.”

According to a review of his book in the New York Times:

“Eichenwald presented an appalling indictment of managers who did dozens of deals with a convicted embezzler, spent millions of investors’ dollars on lavish trips to places like Cancun and Maui, and made cozy arrangements with developers to make themselves rich no matter how their clients fared.”

But wait…We get ahead of ourselves. In fairness, Thom Harrow himself wasn’t charged with a crime. He deserves the benefit of the doubt. He might have been one of the good guys who stuck around to clean up the mess. . . .

Idem.

5. Harrow is currently involved with a “nonprofit” that is ostensibly involved with providing education, healthcare and senior citizen services.

. . . Thom Harrow is, currently, the Treasurer of a Baton Rouge Louisiana-based non-profit charity called Provident Resources Group.

Provident’s literature shows them to be involved in providing resources (hence the name, we assume) in the following fields:

CitiState (sic), Education, Healthcare, Housing, and Senior Living. . . .

Idem.

6. Harrow’s company is actually involved with administering private prisons!

. . . When we realized what the company actually does, it came as something of a shock. When not “actively striving in pursuit of its charitable mission, they build and run private prisons.

Eleven Private Correctional Facilities, to be exact, in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia,, and Alaska.

That “lessening the burden” of government in this fashion was someone’s idea of a “charitable mission” came as a shock to the Wall Street Journal as well. The paper reported on Provident in a May 1, 2002 story under the headline:

“Charities Said To Be Playing Enron-Style Partnership Game.

“At the D. Ray James Prison in south Georgia, the inmates have been kept behind bars by all types of lawmen: sheriffs, chiefs of police and more than a few wardens. But never, until now, have they been kept in jail by a charity.”

What Provident offers the corrections world, in the most charitable way, of course, reported the Journal is “offering off-the-books financing for public and private prison operators.”

“Provident does this by creating special subsidiaries and partnerships that take advantage of controversial accounting rules and allow its clients to keep debt off of their balance sheets.”

Provident “isn’t a conventional charity. It is run by a group of lawyers, investment bankers and financial consultants. Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. and other Wall Street titans do its financial work.”

With that “impressive firepower, Provident is trying to carve a unique niche for itself in the corrections world, offering off-the-books financing for public and private prison operators.”

It has “helped the state of North Carolina and Cornell Cos., a for-profit prison company, buff their financial profiles.”

Provident “does this by creating special subsidiaries and partnerships that take advantage of controversial accounting rules and allow its clients to keep debt off of their balance sheets.” In exchange for its role, Provident “arranges to receive potentially lucrative fees, some of which it calls exempt from federal income tax.

In the last nine months Provident entities, with help from Lehman, have sold more than $420 million of debt to investors.” . . .

Idem.

7. Among the past denizens of Venice Airport was General D.H. “Harry” Byrd, commander of the Civil Air Patrol, which employed JFK assassination figures David Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald and Barry Seal. Byrd also owned the Texas School Book Depository, from which patsy Oswald supposedly fired the shots that killed Kennedy.

During the Kennedy assassination, Byrd was on Safari in Africa. Upon returning, his aerospace business benefitted from an enormous Air Force contracting program called Operation Big Safari.

Operations at the Venice Airport have involved individuals whose names figure prominently in the Kennedy Assassination, for example Texas oilman General D. H. (Harry) Byrd, owner of a defense contractor which in the late 50’s and early 60’s built and launched Regulus II cruise missiles from the beach directly in front of the Venice Airport in a program run out of at Eglin AFB in Florida’s panhandle.

“Vought’s Regulus II was a Mach 2 capable cruise missile optimized for launch from surfaced submarines and other Navy surface vessels, and later served as a high-speed target drone for other weapon development programs,” company literature stated.

Byrd’s Chance-Vought Aircraft, later re-named LTV, would become—almost immediately after the JFK assassination—a principal beneficiary of the massive military spending accompanying the growth of American military involvement in the Vietnam War.

General Byrd, of course, was the owner of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, where the Warren Commission alleged Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots which killed President John F. Kennedy.

Byrd also ran the Texas and Louisiana Civil Air Patrol, at the same time cadets Barry Seal and Lee Harvey Oswald were meeting Kennedy assassination conspirator Capt. David Ferrie at a two-week summer camp of the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol at Barksdale Air Force Base in July of 1955. . . .

On the day of the assassination Byrd was conveniently “away from his desk.”

He was out of the country on a two-month safari in central Africa. When he returned in January, his good friend Lyndon Johnson was the new President of the United States, his School Book Depository building had become famous in his absence, and a huge juicy defense contract was waiting on his desk, awarded to his company to build fighter planes, and to be paid from the 1965 Congressional budget… even though it had not yet been approved by Congress.

It sounds a lot like Al Capone, who was famously taking some sun down in Miami when the St Valentines Day Massacre shook Chicago. That is, of course, just conjecture. But here’s something that’s not:

We called on a source, now retired, who had worked in the American aerospace industry building satellites for the NSA for several decades.

He might have known General Harry Byrd, we figured. He had… in fact, he had worked for him at LTV.

And in between anecdotes that are colorful, but neither here nor there, he mentioned that, oh, bye the bye, did we know that

When Byrd’s defense aerospace firm LTV “went big” after the JFK assassination, he told us, it had become a big part of an overarching Air Force Operation…

For years afterward, he said, every self-respecting big-time Air Force defense program—everyone who was anyone, in other words—came under the overall rubric of an Air Force Operation whose declassified code-name, when he named it, give us pause.

It was called Operation Big Safari.

“The War for Control of the Venice Airport” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 9/8/2009.

8. The broadcast also discusses the deep history of the Venice Airport, involving both evidentiary tributaries running in the direction of General Claire Chenault’s Flying Tigers and an intelligence operative named Stephen L. Ruth. These subjects are covered at greater length and detail in FTR #708, recorded 4/4/2010. These and other subjects will be covered at greater length in that program and the written description for it.

Discussion

No comments for “FTR #703 Interview with Daniel Hopsicker: Catching Up with the “Herd Shot ‘Round the World””

Post a comment