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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.)

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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.)

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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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