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Allen Glick and the killing of Tamara Rand

Infamous Las Vegas Mafia skim figure dead at 79 in La Jolla

Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal with Frank Sinatra. Rosenthal, a handicapper, bookie, and sports fixer, was billed as Glick’s entertainment director, assistant, and food-and-beverage manager.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal with Frank Sinatra. Rosenthal, a handicapper, bookie, and sports fixer, was billed as Glick’s entertainment director, assistant, and food-and-beverage manager.

Allen Glick, a key figure in San Diego's bloodiest and arguably most famous Mafia hit, has died, his passing marked by a paid Union-Tribune obituary making no reference to its subject's colorful and deadly past with the mob in Las Vegas.

"As Chairman and President of Argent Corporation, Allen owned and operated the Stardust Hotel and Casino, Fremont Hotel and Casino, and Marina Casino," says the August 5 notice of Glick's death from cancer at age 79.

Joe Pesci as character in Casino based on Tony Spilotro

"Argent Corporation was one of the largest owners of casino and hotel properties in Nevada in the mid-seventies, bringing the first race and sports book operation to the 'Strip,'" the obit notes.

But, as best chronicled by Nicholas Pileggi in his 1995 classic mob history, Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, Glick was a front man for the Midwest Mafia's takeover of a big chunk of the Vegas strip, starting with a $62.75 million loan from the Central States Teamster pension fund.

"Vietnam taught me that life was short," Glick, who won a Bronze Star before his 1969 discharge, said in an interview for Pileggi's book.

Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, a hit man suspected of at least 25 killings, provided the muscle for the operation. Spilotro ended up two-timing with Rosenthal’s wife Geri, an ex-call girl.

"I wanted to live in San Diego instead of Pittsburgh, where I was raised. A friend of my sister's got me a job doing some legal work for American Housing, the largest multifamily builder in San Diego, and Kathy and the kids and I drove out there. That started my education in real estate."

Pileggi recounts that Glick cemented his Mafia-tainted deal for the Vegas hotels on August 25, 1974. Glick played dumb when Frank Balistrieri, boss of the Milwaukee Mafia with big sway over Teamsters chief Jackie Presser, ordered the hiring of Frank Rosenthal, a Chicago oddsmaker and mob associate.

"If you don't like him, you can call me up, and I'll straighten him out," Glick said Balistrieri told him. Thus began the looting of Glick's newly minted Las Vegas enterprise in what became the skim of the century, in which the Mafia swept as much as $15 million from the vaults of the casinos while management looked the other way.

"If you interfere with any of the casino operations or try to undermine anything I want to do here," Glick quoted Rosenthal as telling him in October 1974, "I represent to you that you will never leave this corporation alive."

A year later, a San Diego murder began the scheme's unraveling.

"If you try to undermine anything I want to do here," Glick (right in photo) quoted Rosenthal (left) as telling him in October 1974, "You will never leave this corporation alive."

"On November 9, 1975, a wealthy fifty-five-year-old woman named Tamara Rand was shot five times in the head and killed in the kitchen of her house in the Mission Hills section of San Diego. It was a professional hit," noted Pileggi.

"The killers used a .22-caliber with a silencer; there was no sign of forced entry, and nothing was missing. The body was found by Rand's husband when he got home from work."

"Glick found out that Tamara Rand had been murdered when he got off the Argent jet in Las Vegas and was greeted by reporters and TV cameramen asking his reaction to the murder," Pileggi's account continues.

"After expressing shock, he jumped into an Argent limousine and fled the scene. The next day the Argent public relations department issued a statement saying that while Glick had known Rand and had fond memories of her as a friend, he had no other comment."

But reporters had discovered that Rand was suing Glick, alleging she was entitled to a five percent stake in Argent for earlier lending him $500,000.

"A couple of months before her murder, Rand had escalated her civil actions against Glick by filing criminal fraud charges against him," recounted Pileggi.

"And she had won an important and dangerous victory in court: she and her attorneys were given access to corporate documents pertaining to the Teamsters pension fund loan.

"A week after the murder, the San Diego Union reprinted a letter Rand had written seven months before she was killed, detailing her relationship with Glick. It accused Glick of living like royalty, of flying friends to football games in the company plane, of surrounding himself with a 'parade of toys.'"

Glick always denied having anything to do with the Rand killing, and the murder remains unsolved. Casino, Martin Scorsese's movie version of Pileggi's book, in which a Glick-like character is called "Mr. Green," suggests the deed was done by Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, a Chicago hitman and friend of Rosenthal.

Frank Bompensiero, a San Diego hitman shot to death on February 10, 1977, at a phone booth near his Lamont Street apartment, has been fingered by some as the driver of the getaway car.

Writes Pileggi: "According to the FBI, Tamara Rand was murdered to protect the skim; her murder was ordered by Frank Balistrieri."

And as for how Glick spent the rest of his life after testifying against the mob in 1985, his paid U-T obituary relates, "Allen owned several casinos in Costa Rica, was the innovator and developer of the Philippine Dream, a floating entertainment center located in Cebu, Mactan, Philippines. He was responsible for the expansion of the successful lottery operation in Caracas, Venezuela by introducing VLT machines."

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Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal with Frank Sinatra. Rosenthal, a handicapper, bookie, and sports fixer, was billed as Glick’s entertainment director, assistant, and food-and-beverage manager.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal with Frank Sinatra. Rosenthal, a handicapper, bookie, and sports fixer, was billed as Glick’s entertainment director, assistant, and food-and-beverage manager.

Allen Glick, a key figure in San Diego's bloodiest and arguably most famous Mafia hit, has died, his passing marked by a paid Union-Tribune obituary making no reference to its subject's colorful and deadly past with the mob in Las Vegas.

"As Chairman and President of Argent Corporation, Allen owned and operated the Stardust Hotel and Casino, Fremont Hotel and Casino, and Marina Casino," says the August 5 notice of Glick's death from cancer at age 79.

Joe Pesci as character in Casino based on Tony Spilotro

"Argent Corporation was one of the largest owners of casino and hotel properties in Nevada in the mid-seventies, bringing the first race and sports book operation to the 'Strip,'" the obit notes.

But, as best chronicled by Nicholas Pileggi in his 1995 classic mob history, Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, Glick was a front man for the Midwest Mafia's takeover of a big chunk of the Vegas strip, starting with a $62.75 million loan from the Central States Teamster pension fund.

"Vietnam taught me that life was short," Glick, who won a Bronze Star before his 1969 discharge, said in an interview for Pileggi's book.

Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, a hit man suspected of at least 25 killings, provided the muscle for the operation. Spilotro ended up two-timing with Rosenthal’s wife Geri, an ex-call girl.

"I wanted to live in San Diego instead of Pittsburgh, where I was raised. A friend of my sister's got me a job doing some legal work for American Housing, the largest multifamily builder in San Diego, and Kathy and the kids and I drove out there. That started my education in real estate."

Pileggi recounts that Glick cemented his Mafia-tainted deal for the Vegas hotels on August 25, 1974. Glick played dumb when Frank Balistrieri, boss of the Milwaukee Mafia with big sway over Teamsters chief Jackie Presser, ordered the hiring of Frank Rosenthal, a Chicago oddsmaker and mob associate.

"If you don't like him, you can call me up, and I'll straighten him out," Glick said Balistrieri told him. Thus began the looting of Glick's newly minted Las Vegas enterprise in what became the skim of the century, in which the Mafia swept as much as $15 million from the vaults of the casinos while management looked the other way.

"If you interfere with any of the casino operations or try to undermine anything I want to do here," Glick quoted Rosenthal as telling him in October 1974, "I represent to you that you will never leave this corporation alive."

A year later, a San Diego murder began the scheme's unraveling.

"If you try to undermine anything I want to do here," Glick (right in photo) quoted Rosenthal (left) as telling him in October 1974, "You will never leave this corporation alive."

"On November 9, 1975, a wealthy fifty-five-year-old woman named Tamara Rand was shot five times in the head and killed in the kitchen of her house in the Mission Hills section of San Diego. It was a professional hit," noted Pileggi.

"The killers used a .22-caliber with a silencer; there was no sign of forced entry, and nothing was missing. The body was found by Rand's husband when he got home from work."

"Glick found out that Tamara Rand had been murdered when he got off the Argent jet in Las Vegas and was greeted by reporters and TV cameramen asking his reaction to the murder," Pileggi's account continues.

"After expressing shock, he jumped into an Argent limousine and fled the scene. The next day the Argent public relations department issued a statement saying that while Glick had known Rand and had fond memories of her as a friend, he had no other comment."

But reporters had discovered that Rand was suing Glick, alleging she was entitled to a five percent stake in Argent for earlier lending him $500,000.

"A couple of months before her murder, Rand had escalated her civil actions against Glick by filing criminal fraud charges against him," recounted Pileggi.

"And she had won an important and dangerous victory in court: she and her attorneys were given access to corporate documents pertaining to the Teamsters pension fund loan.

"A week after the murder, the San Diego Union reprinted a letter Rand had written seven months before she was killed, detailing her relationship with Glick. It accused Glick of living like royalty, of flying friends to football games in the company plane, of surrounding himself with a 'parade of toys.'"

Glick always denied having anything to do with the Rand killing, and the murder remains unsolved. Casino, Martin Scorsese's movie version of Pileggi's book, in which a Glick-like character is called "Mr. Green," suggests the deed was done by Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, a Chicago hitman and friend of Rosenthal.

Frank Bompensiero, a San Diego hitman shot to death on February 10, 1977, at a phone booth near his Lamont Street apartment, has been fingered by some as the driver of the getaway car.

Writes Pileggi: "According to the FBI, Tamara Rand was murdered to protect the skim; her murder was ordered by Frank Balistrieri."

And as for how Glick spent the rest of his life after testifying against the mob in 1985, his paid U-T obituary relates, "Allen owned several casinos in Costa Rica, was the innovator and developer of the Philippine Dream, a floating entertainment center located in Cebu, Mactan, Philippines. He was responsible for the expansion of the successful lottery operation in Caracas, Venezuela by introducing VLT machines."

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1

Whataguy.. A cleaned-up paid obituary, eh? He was on or led the board of Scripps Hospitals too, I think. He has a lot to atone for, so I hope he leaves the JCC a lot of money.

Aug. 6, 2021

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