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Developer of La Costa dies

Resort's reputation as former hangout for hoodlums perseveres

Irving "Irv" Roston, who in the early 1960s headed up development and construction of the La Costa Resort and Spa, died March 13. After heading up the development, Roston remained as a partner and director of development of La Costa until 1987, and continued to live in Carlsbad.

Roston got into La Costa through Las Vegas clients who were the major financiers. They included Moe Dalitz, a former bootlegger cited as a dangerous hoodlum by the 1950s Kefauver Committee; and Las Vegas's Allard Roen, Irwin Molasky, and Merv Adelson. They used money from the notorious, mobbed-up Teamsters Central States, Southeast, and Southwest Areas pension fund — Jimmy Hoffa's ATM machine. (Hoffa disappeared before ATMs were ubiquitous.)

The interim loans were made by San Diego's U.S. National Bank, controlled by C. Arnholt Smith, whom an adoring San Diego Union journalist called "Mr. San Diego of the Century." Smith was later convicted of finance-related crimes and spent a short time in custody.

In 1975, Penthouse magazine ran thoroughly researched article stating that La Costa was a hangout for hoodlums. A heavily publicized, ten-year lawsuit ensued. The jury exonerated the magazine, agreeing with everything that had been written. But the suit had dragged on so long that each side made insincere apologies to the other and the matter was dropped. Recently, one of the authors of the magazine article, a noted investigative reporter, has resuscitated the matter.

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Irving "Irv" Roston, who in the early 1960s headed up development and construction of the La Costa Resort and Spa, died March 13. After heading up the development, Roston remained as a partner and director of development of La Costa until 1987, and continued to live in Carlsbad.

Roston got into La Costa through Las Vegas clients who were the major financiers. They included Moe Dalitz, a former bootlegger cited as a dangerous hoodlum by the 1950s Kefauver Committee; and Las Vegas's Allard Roen, Irwin Molasky, and Merv Adelson. They used money from the notorious, mobbed-up Teamsters Central States, Southeast, and Southwest Areas pension fund — Jimmy Hoffa's ATM machine. (Hoffa disappeared before ATMs were ubiquitous.)

The interim loans were made by San Diego's U.S. National Bank, controlled by C. Arnholt Smith, whom an adoring San Diego Union journalist called "Mr. San Diego of the Century." Smith was later convicted of finance-related crimes and spent a short time in custody.

In 1975, Penthouse magazine ran thoroughly researched article stating that La Costa was a hangout for hoodlums. A heavily publicized, ten-year lawsuit ensued. The jury exonerated the magazine, agreeing with everything that had been written. But the suit had dragged on so long that each side made insincere apologies to the other and the matter was dropped. Recently, one of the authors of the magazine article, a noted investigative reporter, has resuscitated the matter.

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Comments
8

Adelson and Molasky (along with Lee Rich) later created the hugely successful Hollywood company, Lorimar Productions.

March 19, 2015

dwbat: And as Matt Potter has been reporting for the Reader, Molasky's company has been getting huge construction contracts from the FBI. Best, Don Bauder

March 19, 2015

So the moral(?) of the story is that crime DOES pay, if only for the 1%.

March 19, 2015

The moral is that there really was no crime. All the investors make money. The Teamsters Central States Pension Fund made money off the investment which benefited the participants of the plan. The only problem there was that real estate investment by pension funds were illegal. La Costa was successful by any measure and all investments were profitable. Although built near the West Coast the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan did not participate in the project.

March 20, 2015

No crime? Banker/convicted crook C. Arnholt Smith got his well-deserved trip to the slammer. And Hoffa, tied in with the mob, got murdered by the wise guys.

March 20, 2015

You mean C. Arnholt Smith aka Mr. San Diego? (of course you do) As for Hoffa the problem there was that he was trying to take the Teamsters back from the mob.

March 20, 2015

In those times as today, the people controlling the pension plan money invested in "schemes," usually pet projects. Some schemes made money and others lost money. Using the pension money for real estate, art and other speculation violated the "prudent man rule" which is the foundation of all pension plan investment guidelines.

March 20, 2015

That is correct but in the case of the La Costa investment it was good just not legal.

March 20, 2015

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