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— Ex-Omaha cattleman Bill Foxley, who moved to the green hills of La Jolla years ago, made headlines in Denver last week when he abruptly closed the doors of his famed Museum of Western Art. Foxley's multimillion-dollar collection included works by artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Norman Rockwell. A spokesman for Foxley announced that the five-story, 22,000-square-foot historic Navarre Building, a former Victorian-era bordello that housed the museum across from the famed Brown Palace Hotel, was being put on the market with an asking price of $2.2 million. In a press release, Foxley claimed he was shuttering the museum due to a court decision against him that "awarded millions of dollars to a Denver socialite, forcing the sale of most of the museum's masterpieces in 1992. The decision was based on fraudulent circumstances involving a grossly inflated art appraisal by a Chicago man. The decision is now being contested." Foxley's statement was challenged by his ex-wife Sandra, who maintains her own multimillion-dollar La Jolla spread. "We do have a case in court, so I assume he's referring to me," she told the Rocky Mountain News. "But I do not think of myself as a socialite. I keep a very low profile. I think [William Foxley] is talking too much. I am sorry to hear that he's closing the museum. It was a very nice museum. I don't think it ever sustained itself from attendance."

Business as usual at the Ranch

Yet another white-collar crook has left tracks in Rancho Santa Fe. Raymond Gray, an ex-Seattle banker whose 1987 fraud conviction was sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court, never gave up his swindling ways, stealing millions of dollars since getting out of prison six years ago, federal prosecutors have alleged. As part of Gray's sentencing hearing last week on two fraud convictions upheld by the high court, the feds claimed that Gray tried to buy a $2.5 million house in Rancho Santa Fe using virtually worthless interests in Oklahoma oil wells as collateral. "When Gray first met with the home's owners in 1995, he arrived driving a red Jaguar convertible with the license plate 'OIL MAN' and provided fake geological appraisals saying the wells were extremely valuable," reported the Seattle Times. Ten years ago, Gray made news here when he was busted in Tijuana after jumping bail in Seattle.

Fakes, phonies, and politicians

Mayor Susan Golding is distancing herself from Don Sipple, that controversial political consultant exposed as an alleged wife-beater in this month's Mother Jones magazine. Sipple, a one-time wonder boy credited with packaging Pete Wilson's best TV spots, had been listed by Golding handler and ex-boyfriend George Gorton as one of Golding's key operatives in her upcoming bid for U.S. Senate. But the Mother Jones story caused Sipple to depart from a Republican congressional campaign in New York over the weekend, and fellow Wilson insider Dan Schnur, acting as spokesman for Sipple, now tells the Sacramento Bee that Sipple "had no other clients this year." ... A bogus Roman Catholic priest by the name of John William Irish is making news in Detroit. Seems the ersatz cleric showed up ten years ago at the crash scene of Northwest Airlines Flight 255, comforting victims and drumming up business for a lawyer friend. After it had paid more than $1000 to put Irish up at a local hotel, the airline discovered he had been ordained by the mail-order Ministry of Salvation Church in Chula Vista. The Detroit News reports Irish is believed to be still on the lam in Canada.

Hacking it up

Some apparently purloined documents from San Diego's Cubic Corporation were the hit of a hackers convention last weekend in New York. The target: the so-called Metrocard created by Cubic, that is the heart of New York's modern subway toll system. The hackers are trying to crack the code and penetrate the system, and they got a little help when an anonymous package postmarked San Diego arrived containing detailed schematics of the Metrocard layout. "The drawings had apparently been retrieved via a tried-and-true hacker technique: Dumpster diving," reports the New York Times.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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