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Hubbard's Ties Are Questioned : Horse racing: Race track owner has had associations with Emprise, a company linked with organized crime in the early 1970s.

January 17, 1991|JOHN CHERWA | TIMES ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR

According to a confidential report submitted to the Birmingham (Ala.) Racing Commission in 1988, the company was in need of cash in the 1930s and Louis Jacobs "borrowed it from organized crime figure Moe Dalitz . . . and in the 1950s, Louis Jacobs helped Dalitz acquire the Stardust Casino and Hotel."

In the 1950s, according to James (Jimmy Doyle) Plumeri, a New York labor racketeer who was murdered in 1971, Louis Jacobs financially backed boxers controlled by Plumeri and Frankie Carbo, a New York organized crime figure.

Max Jacobs, the son of Louis Jacobs, admitted that in 1956 his father loaned $256,000 to Anthony Zerilli and Giacoma (Jack) Tocco, which they used to get control of Hazel Park Race Track. The McClellan Committe identified the pair as members of the Detroit Mafia in 1960.

Sports Illustrated, which did a story in 1972 on Jeremy Jacobs called "The Godfather of Sports" detailed a transaction in 1962 in which "Gerardo (Jerry Catena, the successor to Vito Genovese in the New York Mafia), arranged for Louie (Jacobs) to fund an attempt by Joe (the Wop) Cataldo--a New York gangster . . . --to gain control of Finger Lakes track.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday January 19, 1991 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 13 Column 1 Sports Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Hollywood Park--A story in Thursday's editions incorrectly reported that Delaware Management Company is a subsidiary of Delaware North. In court records, Clifford Kaeser, vice president of Delaware North, said it was a subsidiary but he says now he was mistaken.

Finger Lakes track is the only thoroughbred facility currently owned by Delaware North.

In 1966, Robert Leacy, a former vice president of Emprise, testified that he had "personally delivered $10,000 in cash as a campaign contributor to former Louisiana Governor Earl Long." Leacy said the payments were made "to ensure that Emprise would be able to operate in Louisiana without problems."

The company was passed from Louis to Jeremy and his brother Max in 1968.

The New Mexico loan involving Hubbard was revealed in 1970 but on March 4, 1970, Arizona representative Sam Steiger read into the Congressional record the names of underworld figures he believed had business dealings with Emprise.

Among those named were Sam Tucker of River Downs Raceway, a member of the "Purple Gang,"; Moe Dalitz, who was identified by the Kefauver Committe as being involved in organized crime; Raymond Patriarca, leader of the New England Mafia and Zerilli, Tocco and Dominic (Fats) Corrado, all officers of Hazel Park.

Steiger later changed his mind in 1977 and asked President Jimmy Carter to issue a pardon for Emprise.

The most damaging blow came on April 26, 1972, when Emprise and six people including Zerilli, Michael Polizzi and Peter Bellanca, all identified as members of the Detroit Mafia, were convicted in Los Angeles of criminally conspiring to obtain secret ownership of the Frontier Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

"The 20-year-old thing is on the public record and no one has ever made any effort to hide it," Gifford of Delaware North said. "It happened, but it happened a long time ago. And it's perceived as something useful to someone who's trying to discredit another party and I can't imagine it would work."

In 1974, the Daytona Beach (Fla.) Jai Alai fronton, still owned by Delaware North, burned to the ground and a $4-million insurance payment was paid out. The report to the Birmingham Racing Commission said that in 1980, Gary Bowdach, a federal prosecution witness, said the fire was ordered by Salvatore Cufari, a reputed crime boss in Springfield, Mass.

The Florida director of pari-mutuel wagering suspended the three licenses held by Emprise in 1974. However, in 1981, after an out-of-court settlement, the licenses were reinstated.

Officials of Delaware North contend that the company has made only one mistake--the 1972 conviction--in 75 years.

In 1984, the company was told it was unlikely to be approved for a license in Iowa and the company subsequently withdrew its application. Vermont denied the company a license in 1984 but granted the permit in 1988. West Virginia approved a license to run Wheeling Downs in 1988. In fact, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau has given the company a clean bill of health.

Perhaps the most famous mention of Emprise came in 1976, when Don Bolles, an investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic, died 11 days after his car was bombed.

Bolles final words were: "They finally got me. The Mafia. Emprise. John Adamson." Adamson, a local greyhound breeder, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, a sentence that was overturned in 1988. No charges were ever brought against Emprise or any of its employees. The case remains under investigation 14 years later.

KANSAS--THE NEW FRONTIER

A bitter struggle was on the horizon for control of Kansas' untapped race track business. On one side was Sunflower Racing Inc., headed by Hubbard and Richard Boushka and on the other was David Schoenstadt, a Kansas City anesthesiologist and former owner of the Kansas City Comets soccer team.

And in the backgound was Delaware North.

Both Boushka and Schoenstadt admitted to hearing from Delaware North. Schoenstadt said he was interested, but Boushka took another tact.

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