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For The Record  

FTR #801 The Sportin’ Life

Bobby Riggs' Milieu

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Side 1  Side 2

This description contains information not in the original program.

Introduction: With much of the human race foaming at the mouth over the World Cup competition currently underway in Brazil, we pause to note the profound connections between the world of sport, international fascism and organized crime.

The demonstrative links between soccer’s populist fan base and fascist gangs and hooligans is well documented. It was on display in Brazil. In addition to the overt Nazi salutes given by Croatian fans in the stands, a German neo-Nazi supporter ran onto the field during that country’s match with Ghana.

Brazil will also be hosting the summer Olympics. (CORRECTION: The Sumer Olympics will be held in 2016, not later this year, as stated in the program. The Summer and Winter Olympics are no longer held in the same year.) A recent Nation article notes the significant degree of overlap between the corrupt forces manipulating soccer (what most of the world calls football) and the extraordinarily corrupt world of the Olympics.

Highlighting the profoundly corrupt world of big-time sport, the supposedly “amateur” Olympics are managed by the International Olympic Committee, which has maintained long-standing dominance by fascists and, as the Nation magazine article notes, “ideal candidates for a perp walk.”

The International Olympic Committee

Central to the discussion is Thomas Bach, long associated with the Adidas firm. (Adidas and Puma were founded by the Dassler brothers, with roots in the Third Reich. Later estranged, their CV’s also overlap the SS. It is altogether probable that they constitute an element of the remarkable and deadly Bormann capital network. Bach was also a former lobbyist for Siemens, inextricably linked with German intelligence and the Bormann group.)

Elevated, in part, by his association with the consummately corrupt Al-Sabah ruling family of Kuwait, Bach also rose in the IOC ranks because of his close relationship with Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former sports minister for fascist dictator Francisco Franco and a longtime loyalist to the Spanish fascist cause.

Samaranch chose roughly half of the current membership of the IOC!

The members of the committee undergo a bizarre initiation ceremony, the occult-tinged nature of which would constitute familiar turf to the considerable number of princes and princesses on the IOC.

The IOC membership overlaps apparently institutionalized corruption embedded in FIFA (soccer) and much of the rest of global professional sport, networking in this capacity with numerous powerful corporate entities.

In the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, eleven Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists, aided by German Nazis. The German government had a tip-off three weeks in advance about the event, but took no action. Later the German government maintained close contact with the Palestinian forces that conducted the killing.

Next, we turn to the world of American football. We have discussed gambling, organized crime and the NFL in FTR #304. One of the people discussed at length was former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr. Barred by Major League Baseball from owning the Chicago White Sox (who perhaps feared a repetition of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal), DeBartolo was forced to give up ownership of the 49ers after conviction on a gambling charge.

He is now a partner with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. The Montana real estate deal, in which he partnered with DeBartolo, apparently led to the FBI investigating the group.

Although everyone involved claims that there was nothing suspicious, a San Jose Mercury News article observes that Kurt Wittek was convicted of bank fraud in a Savings and Loan scam in North Carolina.

The program concludes with a look at the “Battle of the Sexes” in tennis. With the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination having passed, two of the organized crime figures who may well have been involved in that assassination have come back into public view in the context of an alleged fixing of the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Santos Trafficante and Carlos Marcello, both discussed in The Guns of November, Part I, are two of the mobsters alleged in a recent ESPN story to have been prime movers behind the fixing of the King/Riggs match.

Alleged to have run up big debts to the mob, Riggs was apparently an associate of the organized crime milieu. His alleged fixing of the match was done to pay off his gambling debts as well, of course, as making money for the mob.

At the time, the King/Riggs match was a media sensation. Was it, in fact, yet another example of the corruption that infects every aspect of American existence?

Program Highlights Include: FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s nephew Philippe Blatter’s involvement with a company that appears to have been scalping World Cup tickets; Univision kingpin Jerry Perenchio’s role in setting up the Riggs/King match; review of the role of German intelligence agent Hans Langemann as security chief for the 1972 Olympics; review of Langemann’s role covering up the Munich 1980 Oktoberfest bombing; review of the CIA recruitment of Ali Hassan Salameh, mastermind of the 1972 Olympics massacre; neo-Nazis’ role in the 1972 Olympics massacre; review of the apparent roles of Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante in the assassination of JFK.

 

Croatian football fans at a recent match

1. In FTR #766, we discussed a member of Croatia’s national soccer (football) team and his leading of a crowd in a popular Ustachi cheer–the Croatian equivalent of “Sieg Heil.” The world of soccer and its overlap with populist fascism is well documented. Many soccer teams have a strong, explicit fascist element in their fan base.

In the World Cup under way in Brazil, that fascist fan element has been in evidence. A neo-Nazi supporter of the German team ran on the field during that country’s match with Ghana. Some German fans showed up in blackface for that match.

Of note here is the Brazilian/FIFA authorities’ singular inability to prevent this type of demonstration.

“Nazi Sympathizer Invades Pitch During Ghana-Germany Game” by Graham Watson; Yahoo News; 6/21/2014.

 FIFA’s plea to eliminate racism at this year’s World Cup continues to fall on deaf ears.

Despite a vehement campaign from the organization and pleas and public service announcements from teams and players, it has been one of the overriding themes of the 2014 World Cup.

The anti-discrimination Fare network, which made reports to FIFA about the matter on Thursday, noted that there were several neo-Nazi signs at matches involving Russia and Croatia.

And on Saturday, it took center stage again when a Nazi sympathizer rushed the field during the Ghana-Germany game. No security attempted to stop him as he took his shirt off to reveal a pro-Nazi message. He had to be ushered off the field by Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari.

Several German fans also showed up to the game with their faces painted black.

It sure seems like FIFA and stadium security personnel could do a much better job of finding these people and escorting them out of the stadium. After all, a campaign to eliminate racism isn’t much of a campaign if you don’t do something to actually help stop it from happening.

2a. Highlighting the profoundly corrupt world of big-time sport, the supposedly “amateur” Olympics are managed by the International Olympic Committee, which has maintained long-standing dominance by fascists and, as a Nation magazine article notes, “ideal candidates for a perp walk.”

Central to the discussion is Thomas Bach of the Adidas firm. (Adidas and Puma were founded by the Dassler brothers, with roots in the Third Reich. Later estranged, their CV’s also overlap the SS. It is altogether probable that they constitute an element of the remarkable and deadly Bormann capital network.)

Elevated, in part, by his association with the consummately corrupt Al-Sabah ruling family of Kuwait, Bach also rose in the IOC ranks because of his close relationship with Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former sports minister for fascist dictator Francisco Franco and a longtime loyalist to the Spanish fascist cause.

Samaranch chose roughly half of the current membership of the IOC!

The members of the committee undergo a bizarre initiation ceremony, the occult-tinged nature of which would constitute familiar turf to the considerable number of princes and princesses on the IOC.

The IOC membership overlaps apparently institutionalized corruption embedded in FIFA (soccer) and much of the rest of global professional sport, networking in this capacity with numerous powerful corporate entities.

“Meet the IOC, Ideal Candidates for a Perp Walk” by Andrew Jennings; The Nation; 2.10/2014.

Remember that publicity shot from the Usual Suspects with Kevin Spacey in the lineup? The photo above is an update, snapped late last year in the boardroom of the International Olympic Committee, in a marble palace on the banks of Lake Geneva. This lineup has thirteen men, most past middle age, in business suits and ties, and two women—the big cheeses expecting the best seats in Sochi. Dead center is the new IOC president, Germany’s Thomas Bach. We’ll come back to him, but for now, know that Bach, 60, was a protégé of Horst Dassler, the German businessman who bribed more sports officials than most of us ever heard of. Dassler’s family owned Adidas and a marketing company that laid out $100 million in kickbacks to acquire TV and marketing rights to the soccer World Cup, the world track and field championships—and the Olympics.

At Bach’s right shoulder is the Swiss boss of world soccer, Sepp Blatter. For decades, Blatter didn’t notice hefty bribes being trousered by his colleagues in return for giving World Cup contracts to Dassler companies. Accused of handling a $1 million bribe intended for Joao Havelange, former president of FIFA (the international soccer federation) and doyen of the IOC, Blatter hired investigators who reported that there was a misunderstanding and that he was no more than “clumsy.”

Havelange resigned in disgrace from the IOC in December 2011. Blatter survived—despite losing eight of FIFA’s twenty-three executive committee members to scandals in the past three years. An FBI-organized crime squad, now digging into FIFA’s embedded corruption, has a cooperating witness in Miami and probably another in New York. Blatter, scheduled to be played by Tim Roth on the big screen later this year, might not make it to Sochi.

At Bach’s other shoulder is Lamine Diack from Senegal, president of the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) and also on the Dassler gift list. I disclosed these bribes for the BBC program Panorama in 2010, and a year later the IOC rebuked Diack. But the Lords of Lausanne forgive and forget, so he’s back at the heart of Olympic idealism.

Looming over the diminutive Blatter, smiling broadly, dark curls tumbling around his shoulders, is Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, kingmaker for Thomas Bach. Fahad is the 50-year-old stripling of the group, a past chair of OPEC, a Kuwaiti royal and by far the richest. Committee members seemed unconcerned by a 2008 US embassy cable, disclosed by WikiLeaks, saying he was “widely perceived as being corrupt.”

Next in line and another attentive supporter of the sheik is Patrick Hickey, 68, who has risen from an unremarkable background in north Dublin, his reputation guarded by a sharp-tongued lawyer. In private correspondence in 1991 with one of the bribe payers on the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics bidding committee, Hickey revealed that some IOC members were selling their votes for $100,000 to rival wannabe Olympic hosts from Nagano. At the time, he was gunning for membership in the IOC, but said nothing to its officials. It has done him no harm that he never snitched.

Hickey gets cozy with people many of us wouldn’t invite home to meet our loved ones. Seeking a wealthy patron in Europe to pay for a regional Olympics to mirror the Pan-American Games and not finding any takers among reputable leaders, Hickey turned to the president of the national Olympic committee of Belarus, whose day job is being Europe’s last dictator. Ignoring Belarus’s unenviable doping record, Hickey presented the thuggish Alexander Lukashenko with a plaque commending his “Outstanding Contribution to the Olympic Movement.” But Lukashenko is broke, so Hickey pursued the oil-rich president of the Azerbaijan Olympic Committee, another head of state. A noted kleptomaniac and jailer of reporters, Ilham Aliyev has reportedly offered millions to fund the event in 2015.

A step away—listen up, NHL people!—is a former dentist, René Fasel, now the Swiss boss of international hockey and one of the biggest cheeses in Sochi. Three years ago, the IOC’s Ethics Commission reprimanded Fasel for a curious deal involving the payment of 1.9 million Swiss francs ($2 million) by a Swiss marketing company to a former school pal for “advice” on acquiring winter sport contracts. Fasel vigorously denied palming a slice but admitted “a case of poor judgment.” The CEO of that marketing company, which obtains massive contracts from FIFA, is Sepp Blatter’s nephew Philippe Blatter. The company uses the offices once occupied by the Dassler company.

Thomas Bach, who won a fencing team gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, spent a couple of years working for Dassler’s quaintly named “international relations” team. Days before the vote that elevated Bach to Olympic leadership last September, German TV station WDR aired allegations that Bach was involved in—or at least aware of—cheating in the years when he competed (apparently, if fencers held a wet glove to their electric scoring jacket, their opponents’ strikes didn’t register). Bach refused to comment, but his spokesman denies everything.

On elevation to the Olympic presidency, Bach resigned his chairmanship of Ghorfa, a German-Arab business group that emphasizes its boycott of parts made in Israel to ensure its lucrative exports to the Arab world. An Amnesty International official has criticized Ghorfa’s considerable involvement in arms sales to the region, saying it is “not interested in promoting fundamental human rights.”

After the photo lineup at IOC HQ, Bach sped to the UN and talked up the Olympic Truce, an IOC fantasy that claims its sports extravaganza spreads world peace. Global warriors, take note that combat is forbidden off-piste during February. If this delusion ever came to pass, it would depress Olympic “partners” like General Electric, whose engines power death-dealing F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters.

President Bach is at ease with the likes of GE. From the early 1980s, before joining the IOC, he lobbied for the end of amateurism, the starting point for the privatization of the Games. He became a favorite of former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, once sports minister in Franco’s Spain and a thirty-seven-year loyal fascist. I attempted to ask Samaranch why his right arm was more muscular than his left. That got me a seven-year ban from IOC press conferences.

Half of the current 107 IOC members—eight of them princes or princesses—were chosen by Samaranch. His final appointment was his son, Juan Antonio Jr. New members are initiated in a bizarre ceremony, halfway between the style of the mob and the Masons, overseen by the chief of protocol, who used to be Pal Schmitt. He stood down as Hungary’s president in 2012 after being accused of plagiarism and stripped of his doctorate. The IOC removed him as chief of protocol, but he remains a member. The ceremony involves the chief of protocol holding a huge Olympic flag. He swings it down to waist level and the initiate, grasping a corner, swears he (or she) will respect “the decisions of the IOC, which I consider as not subject to appeal on my part.”

Off-camera are other Olympic Committee members: France’s Guy Drut, convicted of fraud but amnestied by former French President Jacques Chirac; Lee Kun-hee, the Korean boss of Samsung, who was convicted of evading $39 million in taxes—but Samsung is an Olympic sponsor and so Lee was forgiven. Then there’s Russian member Shamil Tarpischev, once Yeltsin’s tennis coach. He has problems traveling to the United States: for the past two US Games, in Atlanta and Salt Lake City, his visas were delayed, and then his travel was restricted to the area of the event. In Russia, Tarpischev has been accused of mafia associations—which he denies. It has not helped that he has been photographed with Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, the Russian mobster accused by the US government of fixing the ice dance medal at Salt Lake City. And Princess Nora of Liechtenstein’s secretive family bank has long been the choice of tax felons and money launderers.

2b. An article not included in the original broadcast notes FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s nephew Philippe Blatter’s involvement with a company that appears to have been scalping World Cup tickets.

 “FIFA Partner, Wanted in World Cup Ticket Scam, Is On the Run” by Ben Tavener; Mashable; 7/10/2014.

FIFA partner Ray Whelan gave police in Rio de Janeiro the slip Thursday, just moments before officers were set to re-arrest him on charges of illegally selling World Cup tickets, local media reported.

Whelan, 64, is CEO of Switzerland-headquartered Match Hospitality, FIFA’s exclusive provider of hospitality packages for the World Cup. He is now officially considered a fugitive. . . .

2c. The specific involvement of Philippe Blatter with Match Hospitality is detailed below:

FIFA Hospitality’s Provider Arrested over World Cup Ticket Scalping”; MercoPress; 7/8/2014.

. . . . Match Hospitality provides deluxe packages to high-end football customers and was allocated 445,500 of the 3 million purchasable tickets for the 2014 World Cup, according to FIFA. One of its shareholder companies is owned by Philippe Blatter, the nephew of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

FIFA has vowed to clamp down on corruption in soccer, and in 2012 hired a U.S. prosecutor to investigate allegations including that Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup was “improperly influenced.” . . . .

3. Der Spiegel gives us another jolting revelation concerning the 1972 Olympics Massacre in Munich. German authorities had been warned almost a month in advance of Palestinian intentions to create an incident at the Olympics.

Despite a warning from the foreign ministry, the Munich security officials took no significant action, this despite the fact that the Black September group appears to have been methodologically amateurish.

The security officials at the games permitted Palestinian terrorists to walk right past the building where the Israeli athletes were quartered.

In the past, we’ve examined several considerations that weigh heavily on this issue;

  • Security at the games was under the supervision of a BND officer names Hans Langemann. (BND is the German foreign intelligence service, descended from the Gehlen spy outfit.)
  • Langemann allegedly conspired with Hans Kollmar (head of the BKA–the German Federal Police) to stage terrorist incidents to be blamed on the left.
  • Langemann, while working for the German domestic intelligence service, provided an alibi for Karl Heinz Hoffman, head of the neo-Nazi terror group that perpetrated the 1980 Oktoberfest bombing in Munich.
  • The German authorities tried to blame the Oktoberfest bombing on the left, despite evidence that the crime was part of a series of attacks perpetrated by the postwar fascist international.
  • The Black September terrorists who executed the Olympics massacre were aided by German neo-Nazis.
  • German neo-Nazi terrorists appear to have received assistance from the very domestic intelligence service that is supposed to keep them in check.
  • Documents indicating complicity by the domestic intelligence service in Nazi terror were destroyed the day before being turned over to a prosecutor.
  • The leader of the Olympics terror squad (Ali Hassan  Salameh) was the son of one of the Grand Mufti’s top aides.
  • At the time of his assassination by the Mossad, Salameh was working for the CIA.

“Germany Had a Tip-Off Three Weeks Ahead of Munich Massacre, Der Spiegel Claims” by Raphael Ahren; Times of Israel; 7/22/2012.

Germany had a tip-off from a Palestinian informant in Beirut three weeks before the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre that Palestinians were planning an “incident” at the Games, a German news magazine charged Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry in Bonn took the tip-off sufficiently seriously to pass it on to the secret service in Munich and urge that “all possible security measures” be taken.

But the Munich authorities failed to act on the tip, which was passed on to Bonn by the German Embassy in Beirut, and have never acknowledged it in the ensuing 40 years, Der Spiegel said in a front-page story to be published Monday but made available online in German on Sunday.

The failure to act upon that tip-off at the time, and the subsequent failure to acknowledge that it had even been received, Der Spiegel added, is only part of a 40-year cover-up by the German authorities of the mishandling of the 1972 terror attack, in which 11 members of the Israeli team were massacred by Palestinian Black September terrorists.

“The federal government [in Bonn] and the local government of the state of Bavaria committed grave errors in their handling of the attack on Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games in Munich, and have kept the true extent of the failure true under wraps until today,” Der Spiegel asserted.

For the first 20 years after the massacre in Munich, the German authorities refused to release any information about the attack; nor did they accept any responsibility for the tragic results. . . . .

. . . . On Sunday, Der Spiegel said it obtained hitherto secret reports by authorities, embassy cables and minutes of cabinet meetings that demonstrate just how amateurish the German officials were ahead of the September 5 attack, which also claimed the life of one German policeman.

According to Bonn’s official documentation of the event, the Palestinian Black September terror group carried out its deadly mission with “precision.” But the German authorities knew the Black September was a badly prepared group that barely managed to find hotel rooms in Munich, Der Spiegel stated.

As far back as August 14, 1972, three weeks before the massacre, the German Embassy in Beirut reported to Bonn that an informant had talked about Palestinian plans for “an incident” during the Olympics, according to the report. Four days later, the Foreign Ministry in Bonn told the secret service’s Munich branch about this and advised authorities to “take all possible security measures.”

Needless to say, the necessary security measures were never taken. The report revealed, for instance, that the terrorists were strolling by the apartments of the Israeli athletes without anybody stopping them from doing so.

All these facts are missing from the official documentation of the German government.

The official documentation also conceals the fact that the Munich prosecution investigated the city’s police chiefs for suspected negligent homicide, the magazine reported.

“Mutual accusations should be avoided, as well as self-criticism,” a Foreign Ministry official told a special cabinet session just two days after the deadly attack. “From that moment on, this apparently became the motto of the governments in Bonn and Munich,” the magazine wrote.

4a. We have discussed gambling, organized crime and the NFL in FTR #304. One of the people discussed at length was former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr. Barred by Major League Baseball from owning the Chicago White Sox (who perhaps feared a repetition of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal), DeBartolo was forced to give up ownership of the 49ers after conviction on a gambling charge.

He is now partner with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana.

What is not mentioned is the background of Kurt Wittek, their partner.

“49ers Legends Montana, Eddie DeBartolo Plan Luxury Hotel, Entertainment Venue Across from Santa Clara Stadium Site” by Mike Swift; San Jose Mercury News; 12/12/2010.

Former 49ers great Joe Montana and ex-owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. are two of the most storied names in franchise history. Now they’re maneuvering to participate in the 49ers’ most ambitious real estate venture ever: the $937 million stadium the team hopes to build in Santa Clara for the 2015 season.

Montana, DeBartolo and a third business partner, Connecticut developer Kurt Wittek, want to build a luxury hotel, sports bar and entertainment complex on two parcels of city-owned land adjacent to the site of the planned 68,500-seat stadium. The Hall of Fame quarterback and his partners capped a series of meetings with Santa Clara officials with a written request last week for an 18-month exclusive negotiating agreement to complete a deal. . . . .

4b. The Montana real estate deal, in which he partnered with DeBartolo, apparently led to the FBI investigating the group.

Although everyone involved claims that there was nothing suspicious, a San Jose Mercury News article observes that Kurt Wittek was convicted of bank fraud in a Savings and Loan scam in North Carolina.

Interestingly, this story does NOT mention that Eddie DeBartolo was involved. The San Francisco Chronicle article above–which DOES mention DeBartolo’s involvement, does NOT mention Wittek’s criminal background.

“FBI Reportedly Eyed Joe Montana, then Dropped Probe” by Philip Matier and Andrew Ross; San Francisco Chronicle; 5/5/2014.

The FBI sting operation that snared state Sen. Leland Yee and Chinatown tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow was snooping around an even bigger Bay Area name – 49ers football legend Joe Montana – but came up empty, according to informed sources.

Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback who has dabbled in development deals since retiring from football after the 1994 season, was contacted by an undercover FBI operative about an unspecified business proposition during the Yee-Chow investigation, according to one source familiar with the case.

“Nobody has said he did anything wrong,” said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Fear that Montana’s name would bubble up as part of the FBI’s corruption probe is among the reasons U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer plans to issue a protective order barring prosecutors and defense attorneys involved in the corruption case from disclosing certain evidence to the public, including wiretaps and recordings, according to sources. . . . .

. . . . Montana’s business partner on the Santa Clara deal is Kurt Wittek, a developer who also teamed up with the former quarterback on plans to develop the transit village – 12 acres of housing and commercial space next to the South Hayward BART Station. . . .

. . . . Wittek was convicted of bank fraud by a federal jury in 1992 after he helped a business associate secure an illegal loan to buy a North Carolina savings and loan. He later got part of the case tossed on appeal, and his five-year prison sentence was reduced to probation.

5. With the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination having passed, two of the organized crime figures who may well have been involved in that assassination have come back into public view in the context of an alleged fixing of the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Santos Trafficante and Carlos Marcello, both discussed in The Guns of November, Part I, are two of the mobsters alleged in a recent ESPN story to have been prime movers behind the fixing of the King/Riggs match.

Alleged to have run up big debts to the mob, Riggs was apparently an associate of the organized crime milieu.

His alleged fixing of the match was done to pay off his gambling debts as well, of course, as making money for the mob.

We also note that Jerry Perenchio, longtime kingpin of the Univision Spanish language TV network arranged the match.

At the time, the King/Riggs match was a media sensation. Was it, in fact, yet another example of the corruption that infects every aspect of American existence?

“The Match Maker” by Don Van Natta, Jr.; espn.go.com; 8/25/2013.

When Hal Shaw heard the voices at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Fla., on a winter night some 40 years ago, he turned off the bench light over his work table and locked the bag room door. He feared burglars. Who else would be approaching the pro shop long after midnight? Then Shaw, who was there late rushing to repair members’ golf clubs for the next day’s tournament, heard the pro shop’s front door unlock and swing open.

Peering through a diamond-shaped window, Shaw, then a 39-year-old assistant golf pro, watched four sharply dressed men stroll into the pro shop. He says he instantly recognized three of them: Frank Ragano, a Palma Ceia member and mob attorney whose wife took golf lessons from Shaw, and two others he knew from newspaper photographs — Santo Trafficante Jr., the Florida mob boss whom Ragano represented, and Carlos Marcello, the head of the New Orleans mob. Trafficante and Marcello, now deceased, were among the most infamous mafia leaders in America; Marcello would later confide to an FBI informant that he had ordered the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A fourth man, whom Shaw says he didn’t recognize, joined them.

Shaw’s workroom was about 20 feet from the men, who sat at a circular table. Through the window to the darkened bag room door, he could see them, but they couldn’t see him. Shaw says he was “petrified” as he tried to remain completely still, worrying that the men would find him lurking there. Then Shaw heard something he’d keep secret for the next 40 years: Bobby Riggs owed the gangsters more than $100,000 from lost sports bets, and he had a plan to pay it back. . . .

. . . . Ragano explained that Riggs “had the first match already in the works … and the second match he knew would follow because of Billie Jean King’s popularity and everything that it would be kind of a slam dunk to get her to play him bragging about beating Margaret Court,” Shaw says Ragano told the men. Shaw also says he heard Ragano mention an unidentified mob man in Chicago who would help engineer the proposed fix.

“Mr. Ragano was emphatic,” Shaw recalls. “Riggs had assured him that the fix would be in — he would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank” against King, but Riggs pledged he’d “make it appear that it was on the up and up.”

At first, Trafficante and Marcello expressed skepticism, Shaw says. They wondered whether Riggs was in playing shape to defeat Court or King, but Ragano, now deceased, assured them Riggs was training. The men also wondered whether there would be enough interest in exhibition tennis matches to generate substantial betting action. In the early 1970s, as it does today, tennis attracted a tiny fraction of sports betting dollars. Ragano assured them that there was ample time for Riggs to get the media to promote the matches so enough people would be interested to place bets with the mobsters’ network of illegal bookmakers.

…Finally, Shaw says, the men asked about Riggs’ price for the fix. “Ragano says, ‘Well, he’s going to [get] peanuts compared to what we’re going to make out of this, so he has asked for his debt to be erased.'” Riggs “has also asked for a certain amount of money to be discussed later to be put in a bank account for him in England,” Ragano told the men, according to Shaw.

After nearly an hour, the four men stood up, shook hands and agreed they’d move forward with Riggs’ proposal, Shaw says.

Lamar Waldron, an author of several books about the mafia, says Shaw’s account of the meeting rings true. “In the early 1970s, proposed deals were usually brought to Trafficante and Marcello by other cities’ mob leaders, businessmen and lawyers for the mob,” says Waldron, whose book “Legacy of Secrecy” is being developed into a film by Leonardo DiCaprio with Robert De Niro slated to play Marcello. “They’d accept some, pass on others. I know Marcello and Trafficante also met during that period in the Tampa area.”

After the men left the pro shop, Shaw says he stayed hidden in the darkened room for a half hour until he was certain they were gone.

“Mobsters have been here for centuries,” Shaw says of Tampa, where he has lived his entire life. “There were gangland murders on top of one another. I was brought up with the fear factor. You don’t mess around with these people. You stay clear of them, and you don’t do anything that would make them angry.”

But as he approaches his 80th birthday this December, Shaw says he is motivated to tell his story. “There are certain things in my life that I have to talk about, have to get off my chest,” he says of the meeting, which he says occurred during the last week of 1972 or the first week in 1973. “It’s been 40 years, OK, and I’ve carried this with me for 40 years. … The fear is gone. … And I wanted to make sure, if possible, I could set the record straight — let the world know that this was not what it seemed to be.”

…A boxing promoter and television producer named Jerry Perenchio, who promoted the Ali-Frazier bout in 1971 as “The Fight,” organized “The Battle of the Sexes” between King and Riggs. He put up a $100,000 winner-take-all prize for the best-of-five sets match and arranged for it to be played in the Houston Astrodome in prime-time on national television.

During those weeks, Larry Riggs noticed some “unsavory characters” kept showing up at Powers’ house to meet privately with his father. “They weren’t golfers,” Larry Riggs says. “I called them shady characters with the kind of flashy suits on and the ties and whatever. They just didn’t fit in.”

After one of the visits, Larry Riggs confronted his father. “Who are those guys?”

“Friends of mine from Chicago.”

That’s when Larry Riggs says he recognized the men as associates of Jackie Cerone, the Chicago mob hit man with whom his father had played golf and cards back at the Tam O’Shanter Country Club outside of Chicago. “Very not upright citizens of our country,” Larry Riggs now says of the men visiting his father.

“What the hell are those guys doing?” Larry Riggs asked his father.

“They’re here to see me. We have a little business that we’re doing. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s OK.”

But Larry Riggs says he worried obsessively. And he says his father never identified the men or explained why they flew from Chicago to Los Angeles to meet with him several times before the King match. . . .

. . . . By early 1974 — only a few months after the loss to King — Riggs moved to Las Vegas and worked at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino as the resident tennis pro and casino greeter. Paid an annual salary of $100,000, he moved into a house on the hotel’s golf course.

The Tropicana was the casino where mobsters had skimmed packets of $100 bills from the counting room — the crime immortalized in the film, “Casino.” One of the men who benefited from the Tropicana skim was Riggs’ Chicago golfing buddy, Jackie Cerone. In 1986, Cerone and four other men, from the Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City mobs, were convicted of skimming a total of $2 million from the Tropicana during the mid-’70s. Larry Riggs says he is unsure who had arranged the job at the Tropicana for Bobby Riggs. . . . .

6. The program concludes with an excerpt from The Guns of November, Part I, detailing the apparent roles of Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante in the assassination of JFK.

Discussion

4 comments for “FTR #801 The Sportin’ Life”

  1. Pick up a copy of “Among the Thugs” by Bill Buford. Former editor of American literary journal “Granta” “infiltrates” Manchester United football supporters. British football has long been used as a recruiting tool by the fascist National Front.

    Posted by Eve Memory of the Third Kind | July 7, 2014, 1:23 am
  2. Today, on ESPN’s pre-coverage of the Argentina/Netherlands match-up, reporter Jeremy Schaap, in response to a question about how Argentina fans are present in large numbers in Brazil, opined that it was like Brazil had been invaded by a fifth column of Argentinians. I found that amusing, and wonder if Schaap was hinting at the Nazi rat lines to South America.

    Ricky Gervais certainly was, when yesterday, he tweeted after the Brazil loss that it would not be the first time that thousands of Germans would have to lay low in Brazil for a while. Together with Dave’s prior coverage of Russell Brand’s quip about Hugo Boss a while back, it seems like there is at least an awareness of increased fascist activity, and hence these prods from entertainers and reporters.

    Posted by Sampson | July 9, 2014, 9:19 am
  3. This reminds me of the difference between the Warren Commission testimony and the final report that was issued to the public. Except that we at least get to read the Warren testimony, with FIFA, you don’t even get that.

    http://deadspin.com/fifa-investigator-blasts-report-based-on-his-own-invest-1658279291

    As expected, the report based on FIFA’s probe has largely cleared Russia, Qatar, and all active FIFA officials of claims of corruption in the World Cup bidding process. But here’s one no one saw coming: the man who actually conducted the investigation says the report is “incomplete and erroneous,” and will appeal its findings.

    Michael J. Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney, spent 18 months looking into allegations that many of the nine bids seeking the 2018 and 2022 World Cups showered gifts and money on FIFA executives, interviewing more than 75 witnesses—and gathering information on many more who refused to cooperate.

    A few months ago Garcia produced a 430-page report, which FIFA’s top judge immediately declared would never be made public. That judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, instead put together his own 42-page summary of Garcia’s findings, which can be found below. It was Eckert’s summary that was released today. Garcia says that’s insufficient and flat-out wrong.

    “Today’s decision by the Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the Investigatory Chamber’s report,” said Garcia.

    (A source who has seen Garcia’s full report tells Sports Illustrated that it contains harsher criticism for Sepp Blatter and for FIFA executives than does Eckert’s summary.)

    So what we have, in essence, is one of FIFA’s two-headed ethics committee accusing the other of poor ethics. It sounds farcical, but its true. (The farce is strong here. Today’s report condemns nearly every losing World Cup bid more strongly than it does Qatar’s or Russia’s, if only because few Qatar administrators allowed themselves to be interviewed by Garcia, and Russia claimed it had thrown out all its records of the bidding process.)

    Garcia will appeal the decision to close the investigation into the World Cup bidding. It’ll go before FIFA’s appeals committee, and good luck with that being on the up-and-up:

    FIFA Investigator Blasts Report Based On His Own Investigation

    A few months ago Garcia produced a 430-page report, which FIFA’s top judge immediately declared would never be made public. That judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, instead put together his own 42-page summary of Garcia’s findings, which can be found below. It was Eckert’s summary that was released today. Garcia says that’s insufficient and flat-out wrong.

    “Today’s decision by the Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the Investigatory Chamber’s report,” said Garcia.

    (A source who has seen Garcia’s full report tells Sports Illustrated that it contains harsher criticism for Sepp Blatter and for FIFA executives than does Eckert’s summary.)

    So what we have, in essence, is one of FIFA’s two-headed ethics committee accusing the other of poor ethics. It sounds farcical, but its true. (The farce is strong here. Today’s report condemns nearly every losing World Cup bid more strongly than it does Qatar’s or Russia’s, if only because few Qatar administrators allowed themselves to be interviewed by Garcia, and Russia claimed it had thrown out all its records of the bidding process.)

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | November 13, 2014, 12:53 pm
  4. While soccer is the second most Underground Reich sport on the planet, Formula One racing is clearly Number One…

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/14/us-google-mosley-idUSKBN0KN1TH20150114

    Reuters) – Google Inc. sought on Wednesday to block a lawsuit filed against it by Max Mosley in the High Court in London over access through its search engine to images of the former motor racing chief taking part in a sex party.

    Google wants to avoid a legal obligation to monitor and limit the flow of data on the Internet. Mosley, who was present in court, argues the firm is breaching his fundamental right to privacy by allowing users to access the pictures.

    The images were first published in 2008 by Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World, which said they showed a Nazi-themed orgy — an incendiary story, as Mosley’s father Oswald Mosley was a British fascist politician in the 1930s.

    Max Mosley later won 60,000 pounds ($91,290) in damages from the newspaper after a court ruled the party had no Nazi theme and the story was not in the public interest. Mosley, 74, has remained in the public eye in Britain ever since, mainly as a campaigner for privacy rights and against media intrusion.

    He launched legal action against Google and its British subsidiary in July last year, seeking damages and asking the court to compel the search engine to prevent any user accessing the sex party images in future.

    Google’s lawyers say it has removed the images from search results in instances where Mosley has notified the firm of specific search terms being used, and has provided the detailed location of the images.

    However, the firm does not wish to go further and set up a filtering system that would prevent users from accessing the images, arguing that would amount to an obligation to monitor the Internet.

    At the first court hearing in the case, Google’s lawyers argued on Wednesday that Mosley’s lawsuit should be thrown out because the images had been so widely available for so long that he had no realistic expectation of privacy left.

    They also disputed Mosley’s position that Google should be considered a “publisher” of the images for legal purposes.

    The court hearing was scheduled to last two days. Judge John Mitting is then expected to rule within two to four weeks on whether the case should be thrown out or go to a full trial.

    Mosley has won similar lawsuits against Google in France and Germany.

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | January 15, 2015, 3:51 pm

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