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Taped Talk Reveals Some Tarnish on Minkow's Image

February 21, 1988|RONALD L. SOBLE

The stack of documents filed with a congressional committee by Los Angeles police deals another blow to the carefully cultivated image of Barry Minkow, founder of the ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning company.

Minkow, 21, promoted himself as an all-American figure--the handsome, muscular "Rocky of rug cleaning" who eschewed liquor and drugs. He insisted on drug tests for his employees and donated tens of thousands of dollars to anti-drug programs. He also hired a public relations firm to bring attention to his charity.

But in a telephone conversation taped Oct. 23 by police officers investigating ZZZZ Best, Minkow admitted using cocaine himself.

The other party in the conversation was Daniel B. Krowpman, a former member of the company's board of directors, who allowed detectives to tape the call. An excerpt:

Krowpman: What if they (police) ask us if we ever did cocaine. Should I say no?

Minkow: We did it one time.

Krowpman: I did it twice with you. Once at your house and once at Las Vegas.

Minkow: Oh yeah, wasn't that fun?

In addition, according to the detectives' reports, a ZZZZ Best executive "revealed that Minkow hosted a New Year's Eve party in either 1985 or 1986 at his Woodland Hills residence (at which) virtually everyone was ingesting cocaine."

Krowpman was indicted with Minkow and nine others last month on fraud and conspiracy charges.

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