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MCA AND THE MOB

Verbatim from 'Virtual Government' by Alex Constantine pp.52-54 Mafia dons found lifelong friends in Hollywood.

Bugsy Siegel pooled gambling investments with Billy Wilkerson, publisher of Hollywood Reporter. And in 1952, at MCA, Actors' Guild president Ronald Reagan - a movie idol recruited by MOCKINGBIRD's Crusade for Freedom to raise funds for the resettlement of East European Nazi Quislings in the U.S. - signed a secret waiver of the conflict-of-interest rule with the mob-controlled studio, in effect granting it a labor monopoly on early television programming. In exchange, executive of MCA made Reagan a part owner of the company. The political bonds were tight. MCA Chairman Lew Wasserman was Reagan's agent in Hollywood and the studio's board of directors has been represented by politicians from both parties.

In 1987, historian C. Vann Woodward, writing in the New York Times, reported that Reagan "fed the names of suspect people in his organization to the FBI secretly and regularly enough to be assigned 'an informer's code number, T-10.' His FBI file indicates intense collaboration with producers to 'purge' the industry of subversives."

The Mafia's hold on Hollywood periodically burst into headlines with politically-embarrassing results. In December of 1988, the president of MCA's Home Video Division, Eugene Giaquinto, was accused by the FBI of funneling corporate payoffs to Ed "The Conductor" Sciandra, believed to be Giaquainto's uncle and the alleged underboss of Pennsylvania's Buffalino crime family.

FBI agents reported in sworn affidavits, based on wiretaps of the company's executive offices, that the money was laundered by North Star Graphics in Clifton, New Jersey, a company that held a $12-15 million a year contract to package MCA video

cassettes. The FBI investigation centered on Giaquinto, Martin Bacow, a Hollywood labor consultant, and retired Los Angeles Police Detective John St. John, formerly an icon of the LAPDs organized crime intelligence section. A second connection to the LAPD was Giaquinto's attorney, Richard Crane, former chief of the department's Organized Crime Strike Force. Today, Crane is full or part owner of five gambling casinos in Nevada and Colorado.

The wiretaps led the FBI to a self-described CIA asset, Robert Booth Nichols, a suspect in the murder of journalist and musician Danny Casolaro, found slashed to death with a broken beer bottle in the bathtub of a West Virginia Sheraton hotel in 1991. Nichols, under oath, has described himself as an eccentric entrepreneur and intelligence genius. In March, 1993, in a civil suit waged against the L.A. Police Department, Nichols charged the cops with interfering in a huge overseas arms sale. From the witness stand he waved correspondence on White House stationery and photographs of himself in the company of foreign political and military dignitaries. He informed the jury that he had operated for nearly 20 years in the service of the CIA. The FBI affidavit alleges that during a July 15, 1987 stakeout on Sunset Strip, agents saw Giaquinto, then under investigation, hand a box to Robert Booth Nichols. The affidavit also mentioned that "Nichols may have been associated with the Gambino LCN (La Cosa Nostra) family in New York City.

The Justice Department inquiry set out to determine whether Giaquinto, Nichols and others were "buying or selling stocks by the use of manipulative or deceptive practices." In 1988, after Giaquinto resigned from the board of Meridian International Logistics, Inc., a firm controlled by Nichols, he took a sudden "leave of absence" from MCA, never to return.

The name Robert Booth Nichols, reported the Los Angeles Times on March 21, 1993, also "surfaced in a House Judiciary Committee report on possible malfeasance in the Justice Department during the Reagan era. The report also linked Nichols to an aborted business venture at the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio which, he declared on the witness stand, dealt with the manufacture of machine guns to sell to the Nicaraguan Contras." To underscore his clients' credibility,

Nichols' lawyer introduced in court a flood of paper indicating that he had worked on numerous ventures with prominent individuals. They included Robert Maheu, Howard Hughes' former right-hand man; Michael McManus, an aide to President Reagan; Clint Murchison, then the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and George Pender, an executive with a worldwide engineering company.

Nichols testified about discussions he had with a White House aide on the rebuilding of Lebanon while he was affiliated with Meridian's predecessor, Santa Monica-based First Intercontinental Development Corp., (a firm that) supposedly specialized in secret foreign construction projects for the U.S. government. Nichols also testified that he had no visible income for more than 15 years except for the living expenses he claimed he was receiving from unnamed CIA keepers. In 1988, the Justice Department assigned a seasoned criminal investigator to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. A year later he charged Hollywood spell-weaver Joseph Isgro, a record promoter and the executive producer of Hoffa, with fraud, among other charges. The trial got underway with the usual courtroom disputes and appeals, then stopped dead. There were no further developments in the case because, without a word of explanation to the press, a prosecutor in the case was quietly suspended in the Summer of 1995 and made the target of a criminal investigation himself. Isgro's attorney, Donald Re, an organized crime specialist, filed for dismissal, protesting that his client had a right to a speedy trial. The government countered that the delays were caused by the prosecutor's suspension.

His office was sealed by dictate of the court.

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