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Desi Arnaz


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in a different thread, it was noted that Desi Arnaz was a fervent anti-Castroite who contributed to the ransom organized by RFK to organize the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners.

There is another interesting connection between Arnaz and some of the suspects in the JFK case.

Arnaz attended St Patricks High School in Palm Beach. One of his classmates and friends was Sonny Capone, the son of--well, you can guess his father's name. Whatever else may be said about the mafia, they tended to be good Catholics.

Arnaz received a call from his high school buddy the same day it hit the press that Arnaz had purchased the rights to a book by Oscar Fraley called "The Untouchables". As you all know, the book detailed Elliot Ness' fight against Al Capone, the leader of the Chicago mafia, called "the Outfit". "Why you?" Sonny asked Arnaz.

Capone's widow filed a multimillion dollar libel suit against Arnaz but lost. In New York, there were demonstrations outside the ABC studios and longshoremen refused to unload Ligget & Meyers cigarettes until the firm withdrew as a sponsor of the show, which debuted in the fall of 1959.

According to published reports, Capone's widow asked Sam Giancana for help. Giancana contacted his friend Frank Sinatra who paid a post-midnight visit to Arnaz in Indian Wells, California. The conversation became so heated it almost came to fisticuffs but Sinatra made no progress with Arnaz.

Unsatisfied, Giancana ordered a "hit" on Arnaz. According to the book "The Last Mafioso" by Jimmy Fratiano, Rosselli told Fratiano that he had contacted Bomp (a San Diego hitman named Frank Bompensiero) to place a contrract on Arnaz. Fratiano records Rosselli's complaints about the show:

"Millions of people see this show every f***ing week. It's even popular in Italy. And what they see is a bunch of Italian lunatics running around with machine guns, talking out of the corner of their mouths, slopping up spaghetti like a bunch of f***ing pigs. They make Capone and Nitti look like blood-thirsty maniacs. The guys that write that s**t don't know the first thing about the way things were in those days. Elliot Ness, my ass. The tax boys got Al, not Ness. And what did he ever have to do with Frank Nitti?"

The Bomp, however, knew that Giancana was mercurial and that his "tantrum" against Arnaz might cool. According to some sources, however, it was Capone's widow who intervened and vetoed the hit.

According to Fratiano, "Desi Arnaz never knew how close he came to getting clipped."

Re the San Diego hitman "the Bomp", does anyone know why he may have played a role in the aftermath of the JFK assassination, a role that may have sealed his fate?

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Re the San Diego hitman "the Bomp", does anyone know why he may have played a role in the aftermath of the JFK assassination, a role that may have sealed his fate? (Tim Gratz)

Tim,

I have no idea if he played a role in the aftermath of the JFK assassination but in 1967, Bompensiero turned FBI informant. He also spent a lot of time bad mouthing Roselli which may have been a contributing factor to his demise.

Frank Bompensiero was shot to death by Tommy Ricciardi.

FWIW.

James

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James, if I recall right he was murdered in 1977 but before he was murdered he had reported a conversation he had heard in Cicero, IL wherein a Mafioso (whose name escapes me now) was talking about how the Trafficante men had goofed the Rosselli hit by not ensuring that the barrell in which Rosselli was "buried" sunk to the bottom of the sea.

So the Bomp had information that could have tied Santo to the death of Rosselli.

Whether the Rosselli hit was related to the JFK assassination remains a matter of speculation but if it was the information the Bomp had offered would then link Trafficante to the JFK assassination.

And of course we are all aware of his statements to Aleman and Ragano re JFK.

Good work on the Bomp, James. There is of course information available re his other criminal activities but it's not really relevant to us.

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The virulent reaction of the Mob to the "Untouchables" series is interesting. I recall reading an article years ago about some Mafiosi saying how much they enjoyed the movie "The Godfather," their main criticism of it being that Don Corleone was not a flashy enough dresser.

I guess times and attitudes change.

Ron

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I'll try to look it up but if I recall correctly the mob actually helped "The Godfather" movie get made!  It's another interesting tale.  Why the difference in attitudes is certainly puzzling, as you suggest, Ron.

Hi Tim.

I remember reading a story that kennedy was supposed to have spend a weekend at sinatra's guest house, but because of his connections with the mob Kennedy aired on the side of causion, an ended up spending the weekend at Bing Crosby's instead.

I beleive that Sinatra was pretty pi**sed about that.

QUOTE:

The most compelling [pieces of] evidence are the memos written by J.Edgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy and Lawrence O'Donnell on Feb. 27, 1962, expressing his concern about Kennedy's relationship with Campbell, whom he described as the friend of "a prominent Chicago underwold firgure." That was followed by a March 22, 1962 lunch between Kennedy and Hoover to discuss the affair. Hoover brought along a copy of his memo. The last Kennedy-Campbell phone call was a few hours after the lunch with Hoover. The next day, Kennedy also cut off ties to Frank Sinatra, Giancana's friend who had introduced him to Exner and who was planning to put up the president in Palm Springs, CA that very week, thereby causing a rift with the Mob and Sinatra the ramifications of which would be debated for years. (See Richard Gid Powers, Secrecy and Power, The Life of J. Edgar Hoover, p. 360, and Curtis Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, The Man and the Secrets, p. 488-489.)

Edited by Robin Unger
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I'll try to look it up but if I recall correctly the mob actually helped "The Godfather" movie get made!  It's another interesting tale.  Why the difference in attitudes is certainly puzzling, as you suggest, Ron.

MGM wouldn't let Coppola use Al Pacino. Producer Robert Evans made a call to union lawyer Sidney Korshak. Korshak called Kirk Kerkorian and told him that if he didn't release Pacino from his contract, the teamsters would walk out on the construction of the MGM Grand Hotel and it would never be completed. Pacino was released from his contract.

A few years before this, while writing the Grim Reapers, Ed Reid informed the FBI of Marcello's purported threats against the Kennedys, after having learned of his comments about killing the head of the dog. The FBI refused to investigate, however, citing his source as unreliable. The lawyer who came forward to convince the L.A. FBI that the comments were spurious and unworthy of investigation: Sidney Korshak. Beyond his cozy relationship Evans, Korshak apparently had a strange hold over Lew Wasserman and MCA as well. Wasserman's top client when he was an agent was of course Ronald Reagan. Reagan's top candidate for Secretary of Labor: Jackie Presser, President of the Teamsters, the most mobbed-up of unions. The ultimate irony: Presser was secretly (EVEN SECRET TO REAGAN) an FBI informant who helped orchestrate the downfall of a number of mobsters, thus helping to free the teamsters from mob control. He was terminally ill at the time and wanted to leave something behnd besides corpses and a legacy of corruption.

Korshak originally came to L.A. to help out with the Rosselli blackmail case in the forties. He stayed and became one of the city's leading socialites, mingling with the Chandlers and Steins et al. And this despite the fact he was the Chicago mob's main man on the West Coast, with Frattiano doing the dirty work on the floor below. Korshak's connections and hidden involvement in the JFK case have always intrigued me. If anyone knows of any books on him let me know.

Most of what I know of him came from Dark Victory, The Last Mogul, and The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Korshak originally came to L.A. to help out with the Rosselli blackmail case in the forties. He stayed and became one of the city's leading socialites, mingling with the Chandlers and Steins et al. And this despite the fact he was the Chicago mob's main man on the West Coast, with Frattiano doing the dirty work on the floor below. Korshak's connections and hidden involvement in the JFK case have always intrigued me. If anyone knows of any books on him let me know.

Most of what I know of him came from Dark Victory, The Last Mogul, and The Kid Stays in the Picture. (Pat Speer)

Hi Pat,

I agree that Korshak's connections are intriguing.

You may be interested to know that Gus Russo has a publication due out soon titled, 'The Fixer', which is a study regarding Sidney Korshak.

In addition, there is a film about to go into production titled, 'The Man Who Kept Secrets' which is also about Korshak. The director of this film is William Friedkin who directed 'The French Connection' and 'The Exorcist'.

Sidney Korshak below.

James

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Hi Pat,

I agree that Korshak's connections are intriguing.

You may be interested to know that Gus Russo has a publication due out soon titled, 'The Fixer', which is a study regarding Sidney Korshak.

In addition, there is a film about to go into production titled, 'The Man Who Kept Secrets' which is also about Korshak. The director of this film is William Friedkin who directed 'The French Connection' and 'The Exorcist'.

Sidney Korshak below.

James

Thanks for the info. I hope the Russo book is a little less biased than his book on the Kennedys.

I just looked and saw that the Friedkin film is being written by James Ellroy, of L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid fame. Sounds awesome. I'm excited. The irony is that there was more truth in Ellroy's fiction than in Russo's non-fiction.

Another interesting tidbit about Korshak is that when Howard Hughes' personal papers were stolen, including info on his dealings with the CIA and the Glomar Explorer, the thieves tried to sell the papers back to the Hughes people. The man they chose as broker, someone powerful enough to stand up to the CIA and the Hughes operation: Sidney Korshak. (Korshak refused.)

I know who stole the papers by the way and if William Friedkin will buy my script I'll tell.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Pat has the story about Korshak and the making of "The Godfather" correct, I believe.

Korshak is an interesting character. He received his law degree, I believe, from the UW-Madison (but don't hold it against the school, please!)

Re Robin's post, most of us are familiar with that story. If you get a chance, buy the DVD "The Rat Pack". It is very well done and emphasizes the relationship between Joe Kennedy and Sinatra and JFK and Sinatra. It seems historically accurate and the acting is very good, IMO.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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  • 11 years later...

I've just now found out from a trustworthy, level-headed friend that back in the day there used to be Alpha 66 meetings in my hometown of La Jolla, California.  He said that he was invited to attend one, and did, but that he didn't know what they were talking about because only Spanish was spoken.  

(I don't know if this ties in somehow with with a car from La Jolla's being spotted at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City on 11/23/63.  According to the CIA, the car was registered in the name of an "Andres V. Cortes" of La Jolla.)

And let's not forget that Clint Murchison Jr's Hotel Del Charro was in La Jolla.  (It was razed a few years ago.)

Anyone ever heard of an anti-Castro Cuban in southern California by the name of Pablo Rodriguez?

--  Tommy :sun

FWIW, my Dad (R.I.P.) was an eye doctor in La Jolla, and one of his patients was Desi Arnaz. 

Edited by Thomas Graves
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Some of the early books on the RFK hit, I think RFK Must Die is one of them, link Sirhan to Cuban anti-Kennedy sentiment through a job Sirhan had on Desi Arnaz's horse ranch.  I read this several years ago, and would have to re-do the legwork to provide more info.  But the mention was made, if anyone cares to go that route.

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Organization Name: CUBAN INTERNAL FRONT
Leader:   Andres Chaves
Address:   Hialeah, FL
Prominent members:
Robaina, Oran
Perez, Mario
Heredia, Jose Luis
Llanes, Jorge
Vera, Feliz
Tuya, Jose
Fernandez, Jorge "El Muro"
Ramos Noel
Pulido, Pedro
Fernandez, Wilfredo
Claro, Ernesto
Monzon, Efrain
Medina, Juan
*Rodriguez, Pablo

Synopsis:

Chavez lead a group of approximately ten anti-Castro exiles in the Miami area.  Group objectives included infiltration and acts of sabotage within the island of Cuba.  The group was associated to Comandos MRD, the P.P.H.C., Comandos Ignacio Agramonte and a lose group of individuals who were led by exile Ernesto Claro.  Following internal disputes, Chavez became the victim of a grenade attack and was later assassinated.  Chavez' homicide remains pending.

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10 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Some of the early books on the RFK hit, I think RFK Must Die is one of them, link Sirhan to Cuban anti-Kennedy sentiment through a job Sirhan had on Desi Arnaz's horse ranch.  I read this several years ago, and would have to re-do the legwork to provide more info.  But the mention was made, if anyone cares to go that route.

David,

That's very interesting.

Thanks.

-- Tommy :sun

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