Some commentators say that last week a "mob" of Murrieta protesters blocked immigrants seeking to enter the United States.
If you go back 40 to 50 years, Murrieta was known for a different kind of mob — the kind associated with shattered knee caps and dirty Teamsters Union money.
Murrieta Hot Springs is a resort that in 2002 was annexed to the City of Murrieta. The city was taking on the hot springs' dubious past, which was intimately tied to San Diego's tainted real estate transactions of yore.
The resort was owned by Irvin Kahn, the controversial developer who at one time may have controlled 25 percent of San Diego's developable land. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Kahn financed his developments with money from the notorious Teamsters' Central States, Southeast and Southwest Area Pension Fund. As a result, Kahn was under constant scrutiny of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, as well as investigative reporters. Kahn developed Rancho Peñasquitos, much of Clairemont, and parts of La Mesa, Chula Vista, and University City. He developed two hotels on Shelter Island and had 11 bowling alleys in the county.
And he owned Murrieta Hot Springs resort, which was once raided for illegal gambling on the premises. Teamsters' leader and ruffian Jimmy Hoffa was a guest of Murrieta Hot Springs shortly before his disappearance in 1975.
Kahn died suddenly in 1973, and ownership passed to his associate, St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker, a lawyer for Hoffa and a thoroughly mobbed-up Midwesterner. In 1977, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Shenker with fraudulently obtaining a $28.5 million loan for Murrieta from union pension funds. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter wrote that Shenker "was a financial genius of the calibre of [notorious mob financier Meyer] Lansky. It was Shenker who tapped the Teamsters Union's Central States Pension Fund to finance much of the mob's penetration of Las Vegas casinos."
Murrieta Hot Springs subsequently went into bankruptcy several times. At one point, San Diego ponzi schemer Gary Naiman, who wound up in prison, had control of the resort but couldn't keep it as his empire collapsed in scandal. It is now a religious retreat.