July 27, 2010 -- printable html

Commentary

Southland Greyhound Park

Resuscitating a dying industry -- DNC provided a multi-million dollar infusion to Southland Greyhound Park (above) in Arkansas in 2005.  The company makes money from both parimutuel wagering and concession services.

On the Trail of Yosemite's Monopoly Concessionaire

cont. from Page 2

The canine fixation persists even today.  In 2005, DNC sank $40 million into a struggling Arkansas track known as Southland, installing a new entertainment center, electronic gaming equipment and a gift shop alongside DNC's food and beverage facilities. (10) And not that NPS cares, but amenable accommodations and working conditions for the dogs weren't part of the package. Since the 1966 Animal Welfare Act excluded the racing industry from its purview, handlers are  permitted to store greyhound dogs in small cages for much of the day (and night), without so much as a chew toy to pass the time.(11)

Moreover, according to the nonprofit group Last Chance for Animals, an estimated 30,000 pups are destroyed each year by breeders as they whittle down their prospects. Those dogs who do make the cut are trained to chase and sometimes kill rabbits and other small animals (an estimated 100,000 of these annually), typically with the live bait hanging by a rope over the race course.(12)

Max's Sports Bar in Glendale, AZMax's Sports Bar in Glendale, AZ -- One of several places in the state where racing fans can wager on 14 dog tracks nationwide. Parimutuel betting assures a steady flow of profit to DNC no matter which dogs win.   Photo:  DNC 

Thanks to educational campaigns, voter referendums and dwindling revenues for some operators, seven tracks closed in 2009. Still, DNC’s high-tech electronic betting system and race simulcasts allow it to navigate around this problem. A website called American Greyhound Dog Racing directs customers to locations around the country where they can place bets for all the up-and-running tracks in which DNC is affiliated.(13)  One track in Birmingham, Alabama boasts that it warehouses 1,000 dogs in 18 buildings. (14)

In Arizona, where Emprise once dominated the greyhound circuit, customers watch the hounds at entertainment centers built on the ashes of its defunct tracks. DNC also owns Max’s Sports Bar in Glendale, which is described on the racing website:

For the betting fan, Max's offers a newly designed Simulcast Wagering Center that closely resembles the high rolling style of ‘Vegas’ racebooks. The wagering center features 2 big screen TV's, twelve 27" TV's and 28 private betting carrels equipped with personal color TV monitors. Both thoroughbred and greyhound races are simulcast daily from around the country and available for wagering.” 

By creating an environment comfortably removed from the dogs themselves, DNC has artfully managed to dodge any responsiblity for the many abuse allegations associated with the sport.  

A Stick of Dynamite for Your Thoughts

It turns out, the battle at the OK Corral, which took place in 1881 at Tombstone, Arizona, was but a link in a chain of outlaw violence that shaped the fortunes of the 48th state. Getting a piece of the gambling action there must have seemed like a no-brainer to the Jacobs clan, and by the 1960's Emprise was operating a six-track monopoly with a local partner, Funk Greyhound Racing Circuit. Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles first began documenting the syndicate in1969, uncovering a scheme in which members of the Arizona Racing Commission kept other outfits out of the business in exchange for bribes paid by Emprise.  State Auditor General Ira Osman had already reported on the shenanigans to the state attorney general’s office. Yet no corrective action was taken until after Bolles testified before Claude Pepper’s House Select Committee on Crime in Washington two years later about what his inquiries had turned up.  Accorting to the SI article:

“Osman had discovered that two racing commissioners had business transactions with Emprise-Funk owned corporations during the time they were deciding on their license applications and an employee of the tax commission was found to be working for one of the Emprise-Funk tracks as a 'money-room manager'… Arizona House Majority Leader Burton Barr found that a prominent young lawyer who had served as his special assistant had used his position to influence passage of a revenue bill favorable to Emprise, and had received a ‘legal fee’ from Emprise.”

Don Bolles Reporter Don Bolles.  Photo:  Arizona Republic

Eventually, three commissioners were removed from their posts.  Emprise's Arizona operations also went into temporary state receivership following  its 1972 felony conviction. Fortunately, State Attorney General Bruce Babbitt came to the rescue, helping to smooth things over with the regulators, according to a 1994 article in the Wall Street Journal. “Over the years, the Jacobs family and its business arms have given thousands of dollars to Mr. Babbitt's campaigns,” John R. Emshwiller explained, adding in parentheses, “Mr. Babbitt has consistently said those contributions never influenced his treatment of the company and noted that he has, at times, been a critic of the company." (15)

Emprise would have an even bigger nightmare on its hands before long.  In 1976, liquor magnate and Arizona's richest citizen Kemper Marley was appointed to the racing commission.   Since his company had supplied Emprise/Funk with beverages for almost thirty years, the conflict of interest was obvious. But Governor Raul Castro, another recipient of Emprise campaign funds, appointed Marley anyway.  So Bolles published a couple news stories on the subject, and eight days after his appointment, Marley was out. (16)

Not long after this debacle, Bolles was contacted by a man claiming to have details on a land fraud scheme involving U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater.  Bolles drove to the Clarendon House in Phoenix on June 2, 1976 to meet with the informant, a part-time tow truck driver and greyhound breeder named John Harvey Adamson.  But Adamson never showed.  Bolles left the hotel and walked back to his car. That's when six sticks of dynamite detonated beneath its chassis.

Before losing consciousness, the reporter told  bystanders, "They finally got me - Emprise - the Mafia - John Adamson - Find him."   What happened next would spawn one of the most hashed-over whodunnits in American conspiracy journalism.

Lucky Babbitt’s Foot

Following the murder, an article in Time magazine eulogized Don Bolles, citing his decade-long pursuit of organized crime and corruption in Arizona. "Undaunted, Bolles also attacked Emprise Corp., a notorious sports enterprise controlled by Buffalo, N.Y. interests that had gained control of Arizona horse and dog racing tracks." (17) It wasn't the only story in a high-profile publication drawing attention to the state, either. Within a few months, two dozen investigative journalists descended on Phoenix to sleuth out all the grisly details - an effort which became known as "The Arizona Project".  Such was the publicity surrounding this episode that the state legislature ordered the divestment of the Emprise/Funk monopoly that same year.

Prosecuting the homicide was a more complicated undertaking. Although it was technically not under his jurisdiction, Attorney General Babbitt wrested control of the case from the Maricopa County district attorney. Adamson, the murderer, had been apprehended at a bar. He initially denied any involvement with help from his lawyer, Neal Roberts, who provided him with an alibi.  When that didn’t fly, Adamson resorted to Plan B.  Admitting he planted the dynamite, he secured a lighter sentence by implicating two other men he claimed had issued his marching orders.  

Site of the bombing of Don Bolles' car in 1976Don Bolles' white Datsun  -- The bomb beneath his car was detonated using a remote device.

Max Dunlap, a local developer and friend of Kemper Marley, was charged with masterminding the murder, apparently out of a pathological devotion to a man he regarded as a father figure.  Or so the state argued at trial. Adamson testified that Dunlap asked him to kill Bruce Babbitt as well.

Dunlap’s wife and friends found the charges absurd. Mrs. Dunlap claimed that Marley had never been like a father to her husband. The two men were just friends. (18) Neither did facts on the ground support the state’s theory of the case. Bolles’ wife told police that she and her husband were receiving death threats because of his inquiries into the Emprise/Funk race track business, not the articles about Marley.  Across town, Adamson’s wife told police officer Harry Hawkins that her husband worked for Emprise and could probably be found at the Apache Junction racetrack. (19)

Like the Warren Commission investigating the JFK assassination, the Arizona authorities mostly disregarded testimony from the key women in the case.  Adamson’s wife also later denied her "works for Emprise" statement. So Dunlap and a local plumber named James Robison (who Adamson claimed had built the bomb) were tried and convicted of murdering Don Bolles. 

Three years later, in 1980, Arizona’s supreme court threw out both verdicts. Adamson’s plea bargain was likewise tossed, after which he was tried and convicted of first degree murder. Significantly, Phoenix police officer Hawkins told Barbara Dunlap's private investigator that he was ordered by superiors to purge the Bolles case file of any damaging material about Emprise prior to the trial.  One file in particular had been compiled by the department's organized crime unit, to which Hawkins belonged. (It more than likely included all the material gathered by Bolles at the time of his death.)  In response, Dunlap and his wife sued the department, naming nine policemen alleged to have tampered with evidence. (20)

It was at about this time that Jeremy Jacobs gazed out his office window at the street signs below (Delaware and North), and decided that maybe it was time for another name change.

He needn’t have bothered. The civil suit was thrown out on a technicality. In 1992, Dunlap and Robison were retried for the Bolles murder. This time a witness came forward for the defense and identified Adamson’s attorney, Neal Roberts, as the person who set up the hit. It was never clear who ordered and paid to have the deed done, however, since Roberts repeatedly stated in his testimony that he couldn't recall events 15 years in the past. One detail he did remember clearly was that on on the day of the murder, he was at the airport dropping off a greyhound dog for shipment.(21) 

The defense claim about Roberts ordering the hit didn't prevail. Dunlap was convicted a second time and sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2009. Tried separately, Robison was acquitted, but then charged and convicted of plotting to have Adamson killed before the trial. He served five years.  Adamson himself left prison in 1996 and went into federal witness protection, courtesy of an even sweeter deal he negotiated than when the case was first tried.

Making an Offer Almost Everyone Can Refuse

The timing of the Dunlap retrial suggests other motives may have been in play than Arizona state officials extracting revenge for an embarrassing civil lawsuit. In 1991, while state prosecutors were preparing their case, back in Washington Secretary of Interior Manuel Lujan was laying the groundwork for a change of concessionaires at Yosemite. A Japanese firm had just acquired Yosemite Park Curry Company by way of its purchase of entertainment giant MCA, which counted YPCC among its holding.  Normally, the concessionaire would have benefitted from a preferential renewal clause placed in the last contract that was signed in 1942.

Continued on Page 4


Notes:


10.   New games make Southland park more competitive.”  Memphis Business Journal 5/4/07. http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2007/05/07/editorial1.html   | Return

11.  
"Greyhound racing: Typical life of a racing greyhound dog”.  By Lorie Huston, Pet Health Examiner..  Examiner.com 5/28/10.  | Return http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-7468-Providence-Pet-Health-Examiner~y2009m5d28-Greyhound-racing-Typical-life-of-a-racing-greyhound-dog

12.  
“Greyhound Racing”. Last Chance for Animals website.  Retrieved 6/24/10. http://www.lcanimal.org/cmpgn/cmpgn_011.htm   | Return 

13. “American Greyhound Dog Racing”.  DNC website. http://www.phoenixgreyhoundpark.com/about/  Retrieved 6/22/10.   | Return

14. “The Birmingham Race Course”   http://www.birminghamracecourse.com/index-1.html  Retrieved 6/22/10.   | Return

15.  
"Sins of the Father? Concession King's Son Fights Mob Stigma As He Builds Empire; Delaware North's Businesses Appear Gangster-Free, But Regulators Wonder; Hosting You at Yosemite." By John R. Emshwiller.  Wall Street Journal 11/17/94. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=28207120&Fmt=3&clientId=72551&RQT=309&VName=PQD | Return

16.  
For years, conspiracy theorists have had a field day with Kemper Marley, mostly because his first lieutenant was Jim Hensley, Senator John McCain's father-in-law.  When Marley's United Liquor company was shut down in 1948 and 52 employees prosecuted for violating liquor laws, Hensley allegedly took the wrap for his boss and served his prison time.  (Both Marley and Hensley were prosecuted for similar charges in 1953, but an attorney by the name of William Rendquist successfully defended both.)  As a reward for his loyalty, Marley bequeathed Hensley a Budweiser distributorship. More importantly, Marley was allegedly tied to mobster Meyer Lansky, the Bronfman family of Montreal (which owns Seagrams) and Emprise in a criminal underworld that included narcotics trafficking and international geopolitical intrigue. For a taste of the conspiracy theory, see the 8/18/08 post at the Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/19/91954/3445 and the book Dope, Inc.  For more on the Bronfman family, check out the History Channel program Rumrunners and Prohibition.  | Return

17.   "Crime: They Finally Got Me.”  Time Magazine
6/28/76. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,911808,00.html  | Return

18.   "Dunlap supporters maintain innocence after 2 convictions."  By Megan Irwin.  Arizona Republic 5/28/06. http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special01/0528bolles-dunlap.html   | Return

19.  
 Lake Headley, a private investigator hired by Barbara Dunlap, examined the
police investigation and cover-up in his 1990 book, Loud and Clear.   Several excerpts are posten online. The two listed here recount his conversations with Harry Hawkins and the existence of the so-called File 851 concerning Emprise:  
http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg15489.html  http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg17189.html.    | Return

20.  
"What does Neal Roberts Know?”  By Tom Fitzpatrick.  Phoenix Newtimes 12/8/93. http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1993-12-08/news/what-does-neal-roberts-know/    “Cops Skate on Bolles Murder Case.”  By Paul Rubin Phoenix Newtimes 2/22/89  http://assets.phoenixnewtimes.com/1989-02-22/news/cops-skate-on-bolles-murder-case/    | Return

21.   
"What does Neal Roberts Know?”  See #20.  | Return

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