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Fugitive Cult Leader Alamo Sells Chic Jackets on the Run

September 03, 1989|HECTOR TOBAR | Times Staff Writer

Bill Chandler, the mayor's spokesman, said Alamo came to the mayor's office as part of a public photo session with a jacket in which he wanted Bradley to pose. "I guess Alamo is known for his sequined jackets," Chandler said, adding that the mayor knew of Alamo "simply because of the sequined jackets."

Unaware of Pursuit

In response to a reporter's question, Chandler said Bradley and he were unaware that Alamo was wanted by the FBI and that the mayor could not remember when the picture was taken. Alamo said it was taken "a few months ago."

Those who have followed Alamo's career say the impromptu visit to City Hall was not unusual. Alamo, they say, craves attention and publicity. The same desire for fame prompted him decades ago to change his name from Bernie Lazar Hoffman in the hopes of embarking on a career as a singer of romantic tunes. Alamo has been quoted as saying that he idolized Dean Martin at the time and that "Alamo" (pronounced ah-LAH-mo) sounded more Italian than Hoffman.

"This is what he revels in," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Billy D. Webb. "If he's picked up somewhere, then we'll extradite him. Until that happens, he will continue to play his game. It's somewhat childish, but everyone has something they get their kicks from."

Even if Alamo can continue to evade the law, there are those in the fashion industry who predict that the mania for high-priced Tony Alamo jackets will soon fade.

"This heavy treatment on denim can't take him much further," said Marshall Kline, a buyer at the California Apparel Mart in Los Angeles. "Now it's hot. But you're looking at merchandise that's extremely expensive. Even in Beverly Hills, very few people will compulsively spend that kind of money."

Times staff writer Lynn O'Shaughnessy contributed to this story.

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