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Thank Dave (Stutz) for disorganizing local crime

Worked on task force that took down Mr. San Diego, C. Arnholt Smith

Andre David (Dave) Stutz, who was instrumental in bringing down banker/conglomerateur C. Arnholt Smith (once named "Mr. San Diego of the century" by a San Diego Union reporter), died last month.

C. Arnholt Smith was Nixon's first big contributor back in 1946 and was alone with him on election night in 1968.

In 1966, a Los Angeles–based organized-crime task force began investigating police corruption in San Diego, particularly the close relationships between bookies and cops. John Alessio, a Mexico-based racetrack entrepreneur who was one of San Diego's most powerful figures (downtown Rotary had named him "Mr. San Diego"), had relationships with Las Vegas and Smith.

Stutz, then an investigator with the Internal Revenue Service, concluded that money was being laundered through Yellow Cab, part of Smith's vest-pocket conglomerate. The investigation then burgeoned.

Johnny Alessio

Smith was a buddy of Richard Nixon. When Nixon was elected in 1968, the investigation stalled, but eventually, both Smith and Alessio spent time in custody and the Smith-Alessio stranglehold on San Diego ended.

Stutz had very important additional information on the corruption, but Nixon's staffers wouldn't let him testify. Still, what Stutz did bring out was sufficient to clean up much of San Diego's corruption.

Stutz was married to former councilmember Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz, who died in 2014.

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Andre David (Dave) Stutz, who was instrumental in bringing down banker/conglomerateur C. Arnholt Smith (once named "Mr. San Diego of the century" by a San Diego Union reporter), died last month.

C. Arnholt Smith was Nixon's first big contributor back in 1946 and was alone with him on election night in 1968.

In 1966, a Los Angeles–based organized-crime task force began investigating police corruption in San Diego, particularly the close relationships between bookies and cops. John Alessio, a Mexico-based racetrack entrepreneur who was one of San Diego's most powerful figures (downtown Rotary had named him "Mr. San Diego"), had relationships with Las Vegas and Smith.

Stutz, then an investigator with the Internal Revenue Service, concluded that money was being laundered through Yellow Cab, part of Smith's vest-pocket conglomerate. The investigation then burgeoned.

Johnny Alessio

Smith was a buddy of Richard Nixon. When Nixon was elected in 1968, the investigation stalled, but eventually, both Smith and Alessio spent time in custody and the Smith-Alessio stranglehold on San Diego ended.

Stutz had very important additional information on the corruption, but Nixon's staffers wouldn't let him testify. Still, what Stutz did bring out was sufficient to clean up much of San Diego's corruption.

Stutz was married to former councilmember Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz, who died in 2014.

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Comments
12

Bob Hudson: There is no question that Smith did not seem to understand that when you are a major shareholder of an institution, it is not yours. There are minority shareholders. The feds seized U.S. National Bank because Smith blatantly broke banking rules. A bank was only supposed to have x percent of its loans tied up in investments related to one person. Smith shattered that banking rule. The bank's loans were overwhelmingly to Smith or companies related to Smith.

I was the one who wrote the story that ended up with a headline about Crocker buying USNB. I had only recently joined the Union, and was personally humiliated. The story had been edited down to almost nothing by Brute Krulak. Actually, there was a lot of good information in the original I wrote, but it went into the wastepaper basket -- or Krulak thought it had.

In those days, I would write a story or column and leave a copy of it on my desk so the A.P. reporter could pick it up. The changes that Krulak made never affected that copy on my desk. So the A.P. reporter picked up the original story and the information Krulak had thought he eliminated went out on A.P. The Tribune had it on its story the next morning. As I recall, the Tribune story won some kind of Copley prize.

About a month before the bank was seized, I had written a column saying that the bank would be taken over by the government. Krulak erupted. He told me he had talked with his friend "Arnie" -- C. Arnholt Smith, who controlled the bank. Smith apparently said, "I will have that son of a bitch's job." From what I understand, he almost did. The day after I wrote the column predicting that the bank would be taken over, a story appeared under my byline, and with my picture, saying how wonderful a bank U.S. National was. I never saw that column before it ran. To this day I have no idea who wrote it. Best, Don Bauder

May 16, 2016

Bauder, it seems you would have a cause of action against the newspaper.

May 16, 2016

Flapper: Cause of action? I had just left Business Week. It had appointed me to report on organized crime in business, but then it had quietly reneged after my first effort (a really good story) and wouldn't even print things that were a matter of public record. So I was thoroughly disgusted with media ethics. I had brought the family to California for the same salary I was making with Business Week, hoping the standards would be higher. I was in no position to go to court. Best, Don Bauder

May 16, 2016

Don:

I still remember who pointed out the headline for me (he's now a financial editor at Bloomberg News).

I was a 23-tear-old cub reporter working out of the courthouse pressroom (next to Bill Ott and Mike Conan) during Smith's state trial. My head about exploded trying to keep up with the often tedious financial talk in those proceedings. I was always happy when I woke up the next morning, opened the Union and saw that Bill Ott's account of the trial agreed with mine.

It's hard to imagine our current DA taking on financial cases on the scale of what we saw back then. Can you imagine them actually doing an in-depth investigation of a local company operating on the scale that Smith did in his day?

RIP Dave Stutz.

May 16, 2016

Bob_Hudson. Yes, Dave Stutz stood up to the people running San Diego (Smith, John Alessio, and Jim Copley.) The current DA would never do such a case today. I don't believe the federal government would, either. Stutz was with the IRS and the Organized Crime Task Force during much of the period when Smith was brought down. However, it was DA Ed Miller and his staff that finally brought Smith down. Steve Davis, who is retired from the DA's office, but still does some work there, was heavy on the DA's case. Stutz wound up working for Miller in the DA's case against Smith and his cronies.Best, Don Bauder

May 16, 2016

Don — As you have so often pointed out, we now have too few speaking out about what the Ultra Wealthy (todays label) are doing to the rest of us. Our system of checks and balances has failed us in CA as our elected Leaders continue to look the other way while the rich and powerful have their way!

My favorite investigation* that should have blown the cover off the SCE and the CPUC coverup at San Onofre that has seemed to have stalled least AG Harris get implicated has now started to gather ever more news attention, even in our very reserved SoCal media that is still most respectful of our giant Utilities.

  • SanOnofreGate The new hashtag that will keep up to date on the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion $ SCE-CPUC ripoff.

May 17, 2016

CaptD: The LA Times is barely covering the Edison scandal. This is a disgrace. I suspect the Times gets a lot of advertising from Edison, and that is the reason. Best, Don Bauder

May 17, 2016

We are all naive. Maybe I'll go to Denmark where there's comparatively little rottenness.

May 17, 2016

Flapper: Polls show that people who live in Denmark are among the happiest on earth. But this is centuries beyond the date when Shakespeare found the rotten fish there. Best, Don Bauder

May 18, 2016

Maybe so, but they still EAT them!

May 19, 2016

Mark Polinsky: Isn't shameful that Smith, John Alessio and Jim Copley ran San Diego then? Best, Don Bauder

May 19, 2016
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March 11, 2020

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