Walter Mencken 2:02 p.m., June 25
Mobster's associate Molasky fuels DeMaio's dreams
The FBI, Obama's U.S. Attorney, media, government informants, drug war, the mob, and cold cash all have mentions in "Day of the Locust"-style San Diego recall spectacle
When it comes to the mob, media, and law enforcement, San Diego has long been a town of dirty little secrets.
Throughout the city's history, the three have often been linked in a murky alliance of cops, bad guys, informants, reporters, and what passes for big business in America's long-marginalized sunny border capital.
Unkind critics put the finger on the late Helen Copley and her husband Jim for turning their Union and Tribune newspapers into convenient CIA and FBI fronts and stooges for Richard Nixon and Pete Wilson.
Others note the city's proximity to Tijuana, long a dumping ground, sexual playground, and laundry for an alcohol and drug-addled Hollywood, the American mob, and its friends.
As Mike Davis, the noted author and student of California’s dark side, observed in a piece he wrote for Mother Jones after the Gray Davis recall in 2003, the whole place has a Day of the Locust tinge.
It's biggest fallen star, wrote Davis, is ex-San Diego mayor, radio talk show host, and U-T San Diego video personality Roger Hedgecock:
For almost two decades, his major rage has been the Brown Peril, the supposed "Mexican invasion" of California. He was a key instigator of anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in 1994 as well as local semi-vigilante protests against border-crossers.
On the eve of the recall, he continually warned his listeners that the Mexican threat was now of apocalyptic proportions, given Gray Davis's signing of a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses.
In several weeks of listening to Roger's screeds, punctuated by hallelujahs and amen's from the choir on their cellular phones, the only issue that came remotely close to the same decibel level as illegal immigrants (and "the so-called Chicano community") was a hike in the registration tax on cars.
The mainstream media has done a poor job of documenting the organization of the recall at the grassroots level where AM voices like Roger's, or his counterpart Eric Hogue's in Sacramento, rouse thousands of mini-Terminators.
As a result, there has been an overly respectful legitimation of economic populism in the recall dynamic and only a faint registration of the central role of traditional racist demagoguery and the revival of the Brown Peril rhetoric that made Pete Wilson the most hated figure in the state's Latino neighborhoods.
Federal law enforcement has also played a major role in the city's national reputation for corruption, both low and high.
Border Patrol agents have been convicted of such crimes as concealing a fugitive and ex-Border Patrol union chief T.J. Bonner has been indicted for, among other charges, billing the union for expenses allegedly racked up while visiting a mistress near Chicago.
In the midst of last year’s heated mayoral campaign between Democrat Bob Filner and his Republican opponent Carl DeMaio, Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, the county's chief enforcer of the federal anti-pot policies opposed by Filner, contributed personal cash to DeMaio and dissed Filner in the DeMaio-backing U-T San Diego.
“Our apologies that Filner had to be admonished about his uncivil ‘debate-style’ remarks," Duffy reportedly wrote in an email to the campaign of Filner's GOP rival, Carl DeMaio, following the event at her Reform Jewish synagogue, Temple Emanu-El.
For their part, U.S. law enforcement troops are known to despise the embattled mayor; particularly loathsome to them are his views on the liberalization of marijuana and border laws.
Filner's April appearance with a priest at a brief ceremonial opening of the long-shut border gate with Mexico, though officially sanctioned by the Obama Administration and Border Patrol public affairs, infuriated federal rank-and-file; according to some reports, U.S. agents are now zealously scrutinizing virtually everything about the mayor's lifestyle and politics, though warrants have yet to be unsealed.
And then there's the matter of the FBI's close and lasting relationship with Irwin Molasky, the long-time friend and associate of the late, murderous Las Vegas mob kingpin Moe Dalitz.
Michael Newton recounts an example of how Dalitz did business in his 2009 Dalitz biography, Mr. Mob. In September 1947, four men carrying submachine guns held up the Mounds Club casino outside of Cleveland, fleeing with between $250,000 and $500,000 in cash and jewelry.
Another heist followed at the Continental Club. Cops took no action, but, according to Newton, “Moe Dalitz used his influence to learn the bandits’ names.
"A trial of sorts was held, sentence was passed, and manhunters hit the ground running. By March 1948, it is said, every one of the robbers was tracked down and killed.”
As reported here in June 2011, Molasky, Dalitz, and two partners built the mobbed-up La Costa Resort, financed by the Mafia-riddled Teamsters union in the 1960s.
Now in his eighties, the Nevadan has been a major contributor to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and other U.S. politicos, and has received a series of lucrative federal contracts, including one to build and lease back San Diego's new FBI headquarters.
Then-FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter, Molasky and his lobbyist Paul Robinson, who also works for U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester, personally pushed the project and its subsequent expansions and alterations through the city.
When the lavish $223 million office complex got hung up in a lawsuit filed by a neighboring property owner, Molasky again turned to city hall for relief, and got a sympathetic hearing from the office of then-city councilman and Filner mayoral foe Carl DeMaio.
(The matter was settled out of court when the plaintiff accepted a mega-million-dollar cash settlement from Molasky to allow the project to proceed, sources say.)
Molasky, who is known for not forgetting his political friends, has long been a loyal financial backer of DeMaio and his causes, including his Proposition B so-called pension reform effort, as reported here last year.
Backed by lame duck mayor Jerry Sanders and big contributions from the local business and real estate establishment--as well as by Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and former GOP Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, also both running for mayor--the measure is opposed by labor unions and Bob Filner, the Democratic congressman and mayoral candidate.
According to a May 14th filing with the city clerk, Irwin Molasky and his Molasky Group of companies gave $5,000 to the "Comprehensive Pension Reform for San Diego" committee on April 17.
Molasky's latest contribution to the DeMaio cause came this June, when he gave $500 to the ex-councilman's bid to unseat Democratic first-term House incumbent Scott Peters, according to DeMaio's most recent disclosure filing.
More like this:
- $6 million glass home for sale — June 4, 2014
- Las Vegas developer linked to late mobster puts yet more campaign cash into San Diego GOP — Oct. 2, 2012
- Storied Mobster's Associate Gives Big to Prop B and DeMaio Campaigns — May 30, 2012
- Molasky's San Diego FBI Building Breaks Ground — Oct. 27, 2011
- DeMaio Filing: $541,990 Includes $2000 from Molasky Family — Aug. 1, 2011