Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Remembering the Harken Money

Spectators of world political events, like the denizens of Plato's cave, are often unaware of what was really happening in what is now being referred to as "the deep state," as their attention is always drawn to the shadows moving across the cave's wall.

The deep state has been defined by one writer as the "unelected power structures" within the official state. I once referred to such power figures as vassals, those men in a feudal system who receive blessings from the ruler in power in return for rendering homage, fealty, and usually military service or its equivalent to a lord or other superior. Unlike feudal times, however, today it seems to be the vassal who gives the ruler his power within a democratic, without which the vassal could not prevent the loss of his own personal wealth. 

In order to exist, the deep state must have secrecy. The vassals who manipulate their appointed rulers can only operate as long as their strings are hidden from sight.

With this lesson in mind, this blog shares with its reader an excellent research article written in 1991 by investigative journalist David Armstrong, who also wrote a shorter summary of some of the events mentioned, which appeared the same year in the Texas Observer.

Z Magazine/November 1991



By David Armstrong

Transcribed by Nuriya Janss

A map of the Persian Gulf emirate of Bahrain dominates the lobby of Harken Energy Corporation's modest Grand Prairie, Texas headquarters.  It is a potent image, a totem of sorts to the tiny island nation and the vast mineral wealth Harken hopes to extract from its shores.

Despite the emphasis Harken places in this oil-rich sheikdom, however, a more appropriate corporate symbol might well be a map of the earth. For Harken is truly a global enterprise. Its interests and influence extend worldwide. Its financial ties to some of the richest and most powerful men on the planet belie the image of a struggling small oil company.

Among the many noteworthy figures associated with Harken are:
  • George W. Bush, eldest son of the president; 
  • the billionaire Bass brothers* of Fort Worth, Texas, who will finance Harken's Bahrain expedition; 
  • a South African tobacco, liquor, and natural resources magnate; and 
  • a prominent attorney with ties to former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.  
In addition, Harken has numerous ties to institutions involved in gun running, drug smuggling, foreign currency manipulation, the alleged looting of foreign treasuries, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency-assisted destabilization of the Australian government.  (See "Oil in the Family," Texas Observer, July 1991.) 
Texas Observer archives
While there is no evidence of wrongdoing on Harken's part, it is clear the company has benefited from these relationships. More importantly, Harken and its associates have repeatedly profited from American intervention in foreign affairs.  And it is here that the company's true significance becomes apparent: For if nothing else, Harken offers a fascinating case study in how U.S. foreign policy is shaped by (and for) multinational corporate interests.


Harken began inauspiciously enough as a two-person venture headed by Phil Kendrick, Jr. and Harry L. Mulligan.  Kendrick and Mulligan (the Harry and Kendrick from whom the company derives its name) first met in the trenches of Wall Street while serving as account executives for the investment banking firm of White Weld & Co.  Kendrick had grown up in the oil field of Texas, where his father, Phil Sr., founded the Abilene-based Kendrick Oil Company in 1913.  After graduating from the University of Texas in 1950, young Kendrick joined the family business, and remained an active partner until selling the company during the oil bust of the mid-1960s.

Kendrick had oil in his blood, however, and always knew he'd return to the industry.  "I went to New York for the specific purpose of learning all I could [about finance] while the oil business was so dead and would be hopefully knowledgeable when the time was right for it to come back again," he told the Observer.  By 1973, he'd decided the time had come and called his friend Harry Mulligan to inform him of his decision.  "I told Mr. Mulligan I was going back in the oil business and he said, well, he was sick and tired of the brokerage business and could he go with me," Kendrick recalled.  "I said, 'If you want to, I'd be glad to have you.  I always need someone to help raise money.' "

Harken was incorporated in California July 18, 1973.  Its original offices were located in Pasadena, California and New Haven, Connecticut, where Kendrick and Mulligan had settled while working for White Weld & Co.  By the end of 1974, the company had relocated to Kendrick's native Abilene. Harken grew steadily, if slowly, over the next five years, adding employees and participating in the exploration of more than 300 wells, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.  it was not until 1979, however, that the company's first truly big break came along.


Phil Kendrick's quest for oil knew virtually no bounds. While Harken continued sinking holes in the Oil Patch, Kendrick kept one eye on other prospects.  "I had always been interested in Australia and always intended to get into the Australia play," Kendrick said.  "I'd read and studied the Australian situation for numerous years....It's a very large, unexplored country with a lot of area to find oil and gas."

Before Harken, or any other company, could explore Down Under, however, there was one major obstacle to be overcome--the Australian government.  In 1972, the citizens of Australia elected a progressive Labour Party government for the first time in 23 years.  Under the leadership of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the new government launched an ambitious program of reforms unlike any the country had ever seen. As Mother Jones reported in 1984, "In its first 100 days in office, the new
Labour government recognized the People's Republic of China; abolished racial criteria from immigration policy;... banned all-white South African sporting teams; conceded land to the
Aboriginals; promoted equal pay for women; added contraceptives to the list of federally subsidized drugs; outlawed the killing of endangered species; announced plans for a free national health service; posted a government reward for the best national anthem to replace 'God Save the Queen'; and withdrew all Australian forces from Vietnam."

While these policies raised hackles in Washington, DC, business leaders were livid over Australia's new energy program. Whitlam's minister for minerals and energy was Reginald Francis Xavier Connor, nicknamed "The Strangler" for the time he'd grabbed a nosy reporter in a headlock.  In his new post, Connor oversaw the management of Australia's bounteous natural resources: iron ore, bauxite, lead, coal, nickel, copper, manganese, silver, tin, uranium, and, of course, oil.  Connor's vision was of a self-sufficient Australia, richer and stronger than the United States, applying modern technology to the country's untapped resources.  More importantly, he advocated 100 percent Australian ownership of his nation's fuels and minerals, including oil and gas, a proposal that curried no favor in the boardrooms of multinational corporations.  "The Labour government," Kendrick said, "made it impossible for anyone other than Australians to explore for oil and gas.  And so all of the American companies pulled out and even the Australian companies dropped their leases.  They just made it impossible.  With the taxation and rules and regulations, etc., no one could possibly operate
under the political climate at that time."

As the Labour government's term in office wore on, investment from the United States, Europe, and Japan evaporated. While this was in part due to the worldwide recession of the period, Connor rightly assumed he was the target of an economic boycott. In 1975, faced with mounting inflation, unemployment, and popular discontent, Connor turned to his fellow cabinet ministers for the authority to raise the $4 billion he needed to regain control of Australia's economy and natural resources, or as he put it, "buy back the farm." Connor's plan was approved, and within weeks he
was introduced to a middle-aged Pakistani commodities dealer who claimed he could obtain the loans for Connor at extremely attractive rates. What Connor didn't know, but should have, was that the commodities trader, Tirath Khemlani, was a well-known hustler with a long history of shady associations.  As details of the loan arrangements and Khemlani's ties to international arms traffickers dribbled out, Connor was forced from office.

With the Labour government still reeling from the scandal, a coalition of conservative parties huddled with their lawyers to discuss plans for ridding themselves of Whitlam and his policies once and for all.  Upon close scrutiny of the Australian constitution, the conservatives reasoned that the governor general, a representative to the queen of England, could, at least in theory, dismiss and entire government with the stroke of a pen. All that was needed, they argued, was the appropriate crisis.
The "Loans Affair," as it became known, was made to order.

The office of governor general is a formal relic from Australia's colonial past.  The post was entirely nominal, appointed by the prime minister and traditionally filled by an elder statesman, whose primary responsibilities included attendance at the funerals of foreign dignitaries and state balls. But the governor general is also tasked with "advising" the queen to commission the leader of the ruling party as prime minister. The queen, of course, never declines.  But what, the conservatives wondered, would happen if the governing party were unable to pass its annual budget?  Could the governor general then declare them unable to rule and install the opposition party as a caretaker government in their place?  The conservatives believed he could, and set about putting their plan in motion.  Citing the Loans Affair as evidence of mismanagement, the conservatives blocked the Labour budget proposal.  Before the Labour government could act, Governor General Sir John Kerr canceled Whitlam's commission.  Thus for the first time in modern Australian history, a "queen's representative" had dismissed a constitutionally elected national government in what has become known as "the Constitutional Coup."  Although an election was held several weeks later, Whitlam's supporters were apparently not prepared to wage a constitutional revolution, as the conservatives were swept into office.


Labour's defeat was good news indeed for Phil Kendrick. "When the conservative government won the election," he said, "they then changed all the rules and regulations and laws and made it attractive to acquired acreage [for exploration].  If that hadn't happened, nobody ever could have gone back in there. That was crucial."

In this newly attractive business climate, Kendrick began looking for Australian investments. He eventually discovered a small Canadian firm known as Coral Reef Petroleum, Inc., which, through its subsidiary Earth Energy, Inc., owned the prospecting rights to approximately 35 million acres of Australian oil and gas lands. Kendrick jumped at the opportunity and Harken purchased the companies in exchange for stock, along with their Australian assets. By the time the deal was completed a year later, Harken, in conjunction with a consortium of companies headed by Esso Exploration and Production Australia, Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Corporation, controlled the exploration rights to nearly 50 million acres of prime oil and gas drilling territory in Queensland, Australia.

By 1983, there were 13 discoveries made on Harken's Australian properties.  Before production began and the money started rolling in, however, Kendrick and Mulligan sold their interest in Harken to a group of East Coast investors with virtually no experience in the oil business. 

Uncomfortable with the notion of a wildcat prospect half a world away, Harken's new owners sold the company's Australian holdings for the security of a sure thing. "As I recall," Kendrick said, "they sold our Australian subsidiary for $4 million cash. So that turned out to be profitable, but not nearly as profitable as it would have been if they'd kept the property. There's now a tremendous amount of production on those properties."

Harken and its investors, no doubt, believed they had simply capitalized on an attractive business venture. Whether they realized it or not, however, they had been the beneficiaries of an intelligence operation perpetrated against the Australian government....

When Harry Mulligan and Phil Kendrick sold their stake in Harken in 1983, they were bought out by a group of investors headed by New York attorney Alan G. Quasha. Quasha, a partner in the firm of Quasha Wessely & Schneider, shelled out $250,000 for 100,000 shares of the company. The remaining 10 investors, including Quasha's brother, Wayne, a member of their father's Philippines law firm, paid $775,000 for 310,000 shares. Kendrick, however, recalls being perplexed by the deal. "I never could understand why Alan Quasha wanted to buy an oil and gas company at a time when he knew nothing about oil and gas and especially at a time when everything was beginning to go downhill and fall apart," Kendrick said. It was not the last time Kendrick would be surprised....

Curious as Quasha's activities may have been, individuals whom he brought to Harken have also raised eyebrows. Quasha, who now sits on Harken's board, is also a director of North American Resources, Ltd. (NAR), a British Virgin Islands company and Harken's second-largest stockholder. According to Harken's proxy statement, NAR is a partnership between the Quasha family and the Richemont Group Limited, a publicly traded Swiss company controlled by South African billionaire Anthony E. "Anton" Rupert. Rupert, through his companies, Richemont and the South African-based Rembrandt Group, controls such well-known enterprises as Rothmans International, manufacturers of Dunhill cigarettes, luxury-jewelry retailer Cartier International, and MontBlanc pens.

NAR is also the parent company of Intercontinental Mining and Resources Limited (IMR), another major Harken stockholder. IMR "and its affiliates" also own large stakes in two Harken subsidiaries, according to Harken's proxy.

Quasha's most interesting affiliation, however, is not financial but familial. Quasha's father, William Howard Quasha, is a powerful Philippines attorney with some interesting associations of his own. The senior Quasha, the only U.S. attorney licensed to practice in the Philippines, has numerous ties to individuals involved in Australia's infamous Nugan Hand Bank, an institution utilized by CIA officers Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines of Iran-contra fame, along with their subordinate Edwin Wilson (who is currently imprisoned for selling plastic explosives to Libya), to fund a variety of covert operations, including the destabilization of Gough Whitlam's Labour government in 1975.

Australian government investigations during the late 1970s and early 1980s also revealed Nugan Hand's involvement in gun running, drug-money laundering, and close ties to the U.S. military and intelligence communities. The scandal-ridden bank collapsed in June 1980, six months after its co-founder, Frank Nugan, was found shot to death in his Mercedes Benz 90 miles outside of Sydney. Found on Nugan's body was the calling card of his attorney--former CIA director William Colby.

In April 1980, as Australian government investigators closed in on Nugan Hand, the co-administrators of the bank's Manila offices, U.S. Gen. LeRoy J. Manor and British subject Wilfred Gregory, turned to their lawyer, William Quasha, for advice. In addition to his duties with Nugan Hand, Manor was chief of staff for the U.S. Pacific Command and the U.S. government liaison with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Gregory was Nugan Hand's original representative in the Philippines and a personal friend of Marcos's brother-in-law, Ludwig Peter Rocka, whose family deposited $3.5 million in the bank. Gregory has stated that Manor's decision to flee to the Philippines to avoid imprisonment was inspired by a conversation with Quasha. Gregory says Quasha "arranged for Manor to leave the country," according to The Crimes of Patriots. "He told me to go too. He said, 'You could wind up in jail.' "

Manor, however, denies ever receiving legal counsel from Quasha. He says he knew Quasha only through their work with the Boy Scouts of America. "I didn't deal with him in that regard,
professionally," Manor told the Texas Observer. "I knew him in the Scouts and I knew him somewhat socially." Quasha, however, acknowledges counseling both Manor AND Gregory, but says that
attorney-client privilege prevents him from saying whether he told them they faced possible imprisonment, or whether he advised Manor to leave the Philippines. "[Gen. Manor] had a problem here and I handled his work," Quasha said. "I don't discuss clients' business."

What Quasha WILL discuss is that he had additional dealings with Gregory. "I did a little emigration work for [him]," Quasha said. "Now that may have been paid for by the firm [Nugan Hand], but I billed him."

William Quasha's ties to Nugan Hand do not end there, however. The bank's president, retired Adm. Earl "Bud" Yates, says he met Quasha on "maybe two occasions" during social functions in the Philippines. Although Yates cannot recall who introduced them, Quasha says it was Gen. Manor. Quasha also says he was introduced to Nugan Hand cofounder Frank Nugan. "I met him at a social affair as well," Quasha said. Asked whether Frank Nugan had been involved in his meeting with Yates, Quasha replied, "I'm not prepared to say."

Even more intriguingly, the Thailand offices of William Quasha's law firm, Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco, are in the same Bangkok building that Nugan Hand occupied. In fact, when the bank held a gathering of its newly expanded staff in January 1978, the chosen venue for the three-day affair was this same Dusit Thani Building. Quasha says he was unaware of the bank's presence in the building. "We have had an office in Bangkok since that building was erected," Quasha said. "That was 23 years ago and there are many, many tenants in that building. I never even knew that that company that you mentioned [Nugan Hand] had an office in that building."

Quasha insists that he never had any dealings with Nugan Hand directly. "I'm not at liberty to tell you why, but it would have represented a conflict of interest," he said. "I represent an insurance company that had a claim against them [Nugan Hand]. I'm not prepared to give details, but it would have precluded, in any event, my ever representing them." Asked why this conflict did not prevent him from counseling either Manor or Gregory, Quasha replied: "My counselling of Gen. Manor and Mr. Gregory were regarded as personal. I did not see this [as] a conflict of interest. Besides, I had started advising them before I learned about this conflict between our client and Nugan."

In a 1982 interview with the Wall Street Journal, William Quasha's client, Wilf Gregory, called Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos "the best thing that ever happened to the Philippines since it was discovered by the Spanish.... The Marcoses are bringing the simple things to people that you and I take for granted." Although not quite as blunt about it, Quasha has also expressed his admiration and support for Marcos.

At the height of the "People's Power" revolution that eventually toppled Marcos and his bloody regime in early 1986, Quasha and his American business associates in the Philippines were getting edgy. "What we worried about, and it has come to pass, were two things," Quasha said.  "Number one was the loss of American bases.  We knew that as long as Marcos was there the bases were safe.  And the second thing we worried about was the growth of communism in the Philippines."  Quasha feared that if presidential candidate Corazon Aquino took power, "we'd have trouble with the communists. It was the opinion of all responsible Americans in the American Chamber of Commerce," Quasha

When Marcos was openly accused of stealing the election, Quasha fired off a telegram to Republican Congressperson Dan Burton of Indiana, urging the United States not to intervene on Aquino's behalf. Calling the election "the least dishonest and least bloody" since the independence of the Philippines, Quasha warned Congress against prejudging the situation based on the "spate of distorted reports" in the media. Quasha also indicated that at least 40 U.S. business people in Manila, including the
Philippine head of Proctor & Gamble, shared his view. Burton later read the cable on the floor of the House, stating that in two days time, Quasha and his U.S. business associates would produce evidence of as many as 50 cases of alleged vote fraud perpetrated by the Aquino forces.

When new of Quasha's telegram reached the Philippines, it sparked a rash of angry denials.  The Philippines branch of the American Chamber of Commerce issued a public disavowal of Quasha
and his views. "The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, representing some 500 members, unequivocally disassociates the chamber from the statements of attorney William H. Quasha, as reported in the press, regarding the recent elections," the Chamber wrote in a public statement that appeared in the Manila press. "The AMCHAM board deplores the partisan approach taken by attorney Quasha, which is contrary to AMCHAM policy. The AMCHAM board has no knowledge of 40 chamber members supporting Quasha's views."

Quasha, however, insists that the chamber sanctioned the cable from the beginning. "I had signed the thing, but it was not anything to do with trying to influence public opinion in the Philippines," Quasha said. "It was sent at the request of the American Chamber of Commerce." According to Quasha, the chamber only backed away from the statements when the negative consequences of their pro-Marcos stand became apparent. "These guys got all excited because their names were in the paper," Quasha said. "The head of Proctor & Gamble had a hemorrhage because he thought that Cory [Aquino] would boycott his company."

"We had information that there was funny business on both sides of [the election]," Quasha said.  "They [Aquino's supporters] had agents out buying votes.... What we wanted was for America to keep her hands off this election, which she had no business involving herself in."

The controversy eventually became serious enough that it caught the attention of the U.S. government.  On the day the chamber's denouncement of Quasha appeared in the press, an unidentified U.S. embassy official contacted Washington, DC. In a now-declassified State Department memorandum, the unidentified embassy official stated, "The Quasha letter is a wildcard thrown out on the table by men whose lives and fortunes revolve on relationships with the Marcos government."

That view was substantiated a few days later when the debate spilled over into Congress.  During a session of the House Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, Rep. Burton reiterated Quasha's remarks.  That, according to Stanley Roth, staff director of the subcommittee, sparked a lively exchange between Burton and the subcommittee's chair, New York Democrat Stephen Solarz.
"He [Quasha] was one of the only pro-Marcos voices heard during the People's Power revolution," Roth said. "It got into a little flap at our hearing because we found out that this guy worked at
a law firm that included [the] Marcos [family]. So we pointed out that this guy wasn't exactly a neutral person."

In fact, listed as a member of Quasha's firm is one "Mariano P. Marcos (1937-1985)," exactly the same name as Ferdinand Marcos's father, a lawyer, who was stoned to death during World War II for collaborating with the Japanese. Quasha says the Mariano P. Marcos in his firm died in 1985 and "was no relation to President Marcos," although he lived on Mariano P. Marcos Street in metro Manila. Quasha calls this "very, very coincidental."

Although Quasha contends that he "was not benefited in any way during Marcos's time," he openly admits his admiration for the Philippine dictator. "In all, Marcos was never unkind to me personally," Quasha said. "Whenever I went to see him on behalf of a client...he was quite friendly.  And I liked his man-to-man approach.... We had respect for each other."

Even Quasha, however, grudgingly acknowledges Marcos's transgressions. "Now, of course, we see what a crook he was," Quasha said, "but it was not evident to the public eye [at the time].  Even after all this time, five years, they still have not proven it. But certainly there's a lot of evidence that he was robbing the country."


Further evidence of Marcos's malfeasance surfaced recently when a Philippine official announced that the former dictator's body could be allowed into the country for burial in exchange for $5 billion in gold allegedly stolen from the nation and hidden in a Swiss bank.  David Castro, chair of a presidential commission charged with recovering funds Marcos allegedly stole from the Filipino people, said the gold could be used as evidence of Marcos wrongdoing during his 20-year-old rule, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Castro said Marcos deposited the gold, 325 tons, at the Union Bank of Switzerland.  The bank denies the claim, according to the Times.

Union Bank is an institution with which Harken is well acquainted.  In 1987, Harken unveiled a $25-million stock offering through the securities firm of Stephens, Inc. of Little Rock, Arkansas. Stephens placed the stock with a Union Bank subsidiary in London.  In October 1988, Business Week reported that Union Bank held a 5.5 percent stake in Harken.  The bank later sold its Harken shares to a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessperson, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, who is now the company's third largest stockholder.

But Union Bank's name also turned up in Australia's Constitutional Coup in 1975. The Loans Affair that brought down the Whitlam government first erupted when a package of fake documents used to start the scandal was sent off with a cover letter on Union Bank letterhead. "By the time the opposition parliamentarians who received the package had turned its contents over to the press, the signature had been torn off the letter," according to The Crimes of Patriots. "Even though the documents were later exposed as bogus, their publication helped weaken and ultimately destroy the Whitlam government."

Union Bank's connection to Nugan Hand is not limited to the 1987 stock purchase. Bernie Houghton, a secretive Texan described in The Crimes of Patriots as "the mystery man of Nugan Hand [and] perhaps its most important figure," was well acquainted with a traveling Union Bank official. Houghton, who may actually have introduced Nugan Hand cofounder Frank Nugan to his future partner, Green Beret war hero and CIA operative Michael Jon Hand, introduced the Union Bank official to Nugan Hand representatives in Asia, according to The Crimes of Patriots.

Frank Nugan himself also had dealings with Union Bank. After Nugan was found shot to death in his car in January 1980, it was discovered that he had forged the signature of New South Wales attorney general Frank Walker on a letter to Union Bank, opening an account in Walker's name. At the time, Walker was directing criminal fraud proceedings against Nugan and his brother Ken (who was also charged with obstruction of justice and embezzlement) for their role in a stock scandal involving the
family fruit business. "The only reason for writing such a letter," according to The Crimes of Patriots, "would be to try to frame Walker, to embarrass or blackmail him. But Walker says he
never heard about it until the letter was found after Nugan's death."

Union Bank was also identified in congressional testimony as one of several institutions that deliberately skirted Panamanian guidelines aimed at curbing drug-money laundering.  In an effort
to reduce this illegal laundering activity, the Panamanian Bankers' Association in 1984 proposed a voluntary $5 million limit on the amount of U.S. currency that any one bank could return to Panama.  But in a deposition before the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations in 1988, Amjad Awan, the former manager of the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and deposed Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega's personal banker, stated Union Bank and other Swiss banks deliberately avoided compliance with the restrictions by chartering aircraft to fly currency out of the country.

Several key Harken figures also have ties to Union Bank. William Quasha's son, Alan, who sits on Harken's board, is also the chair of Frontier Oil and Refining Co. of Denver, Colorado, where Harken President Mikel Faulkner is a director.  Frontier is controlled by Anton Rupert, the Quasha family's partner in Harken.  When Rupert acquired Frontier in a leveraged buyout in 1988, he announced an $85 million "revolving credit facility" with Union Bank of Switzerland, replacing all of the refiner's
previous "working capital facilities," according to National Petroleum News.

Faulkner told the Texas Observer he was unaware of Union Bank's connections to Nugan Hand.  "No, I didn't know that," Faulkner said. Alan Quasha did not return repeated phone calls. Anton Rupert did not respond to the Observer's request for an interview.


When Harken's $25 million stock offering was placed with Union Bank in 1987, the transaction was handled by brothers David and Mike Edwards, account managers with Stephens, Inc. (David Edwards had made headlines in the late 1970s, when he blew the whistle on irregular foreign currency transactions at Citibank in New York.) After leaving Stephens and starting an investment
firm with his brother, David Edwards played a key role in landing the Bahrain deal for Harken.

In April 1989, Bahrain was looking for a company to explore its offshore acreage. They employed the services of Michael Ameen, the American-born son of Arab immigrants, who spent 22 years with the Arab American Oil Co. (Aramco), the world's largest petroleum outfit, and 13 years running Mobil Oil's Middle East operations.  Edwards, an old friend of Ameen's, put him in touch with Harken. After months of negotiations, Harken signed a production-sharing agreement with Bahrain in January 1990. The deal gives Harken the exclusive exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing rights to most of Bahrain's offshore oil and gas reserves.  The territories covered by the pact lie sandwiched between the world's largest oil field, off the shore of Saudi Arabia, and one of the biggest natural gas fields, off the shore of Qatar.  Bass Enterprises Production Co., the oil and gas exploration and development arm of the Fort Worth's billionaire Bass family, will finance Harken's Bahrain venture in exchange for a cut of the profits.

At the time the deal was announced, oil industry analysts marveled at how this virtually anonymous company had landed such a potentially valuable concession.  "This is an incredible deal, unbelievable for this small company," Charles Strain, a Houston energy analyst told Forbes magazine last September.  Forbes, however, failed to point out Harken's powerful political connections. Notably absent from the article was any reference to President Bush's eldest son, George W. Bush Jr., who sits on Harken's board of directors and is a $50,000-a-year "consultant" to the company's chief executive officer. Bush, who is the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball club and frequently mentioned as a future candidate for statewide office, also holds roughly $400,000 in Harken stock. 


George W. Bush Jr.'s involvement in Harken first came under scrutiny last October when Houston Post investigative reporter Pete Brewton discovered that the President's son had sold off much of his Harken stock just weeks before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Within days of the invasion, the value of Harken shares dropped dramatically, primarily due to fears that a war would jeopardize the company's agreement with Bahrain. Even armed with the knowledge of the Bush's transaction, however, Brewton could find no record of it on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The mystery of the missing documents was finally resolved on April 4, 1991, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Bush had failed to report the "insider" stock sale until March of this year, nearly eight months after the federal deadline for disclosing such transactions. According to the Journal, documents filed with the SEC indicate that on June 22, 1990, Bush sold 212,140 shares of his Harken stock for $4 per share. The sale represented 66 percent of Bush's holdings in the company and raised

Bush sold his Harken shares at near top market value. Just one week after Iraqi troops marched into Kuwait, for example, Harken traded for just $3.03 per share, down nearly 25 percent from the price Bush received for his shares seven weeks earlier.  Until recently, Harken had been trading for around $4 per share and had dropped as low a $1.12 during the past year. Over the past several weeks, Harken's stock has fluctuated wildly, hitting an all-time high of $8.75 on July 28, before settling back to a more realistic $6.63 the following day. Analysts attribute the sudden price surge to Harken's plans to begin drilling its first well in Bahrain in October.

Under SEC regulations, Bush should have reported the sale of his Harken holdings by July 10, 1990. According to the Journal, however, Bush did not disclose the transaction until the first week of March 1991. In the past, the SEC has mounted civil suits against flagrant violators of insider-trading rules, but such actions are uncommon. "The commission can take a variety of actions in cases in which SEC filing rules are not complied with," said Mary McCue, director of the SEC's Office of Public
Affairs. "I don't want to speculate on actions because each case is analyzed individually.... In fact, we neither confirm nor deny that investigations are underway."

President Bush did not return the Observer's phone calls. The White House press office said it had "nothing to share" on the matter.


On a visit to Australia in 1982, former CIA director and then vice president George Bush gave Labour Party leaders his personal assurance that the CIA was not involved in either the Nugan Hand Bank scandal or the destabilization of Gough Whitlam's government. But this was purely subterfuge, for the CIA clearly DID engage in operations designed to alter the course of Australia's domestic affairs, as it has so many times, in so many countries, to the benefit of so many multinationals--including Harken.

But this should come as no surprise, really, for U.S. foreign policy is driven by the interests of these multinationals. The fact that Harken and its high-powered associates, for example, profited from the CIA's activities in Australia, American support for Marcos in the Philippines, and George Bush's
recent war in the Middle East, is not exceptional. It is merely a crystalline example of the interrelation between U.S. corporate and political interests. For Harken, unfortunately, is not the
exception, but the rule.

Texas Observer intern Tracy Shuford provided research assistance for this story.

 * The Bass Brothers fortune dates back to Sid Williams Richardson, an oilman and rancher born in 1891. Mr. Richardson was a lifelong bachelor whose closest relative and sometime business partner was his only nephew, Perry Bass

When Mr. Richardson died in 1959, Perry Bass maintained a share of his companies, and each of Perry's four sons [Sid, Lee, Ed and Robert] inherited $2.8 million. In 1960, the sons combined their assets to form Bass Brothers Enterprises. 

Perry Richardson Bass's wife, Nancy, is also deceased. 

Another blog related to Quixotic Joust contains an article written by the same author, Linda Minor about the Sid Richardson's influence in Texas as well as national politics. See "Wealth--Vassal to Power."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Who is Robert Mercer ... Really?

We interrupt whatever trains of thought this blog has previously been following to report on what is actually happening today in the USA. Donald J. Trump became President of the United States on January 20, 2017 after a so-called election the previous November.

Renaissance Technologies, Inc.

Trump's chief donor, Robert Mercer, began funding him "hugely" after Mercer's original favorite, Ted Cruz, dropped out of the race in July without endorsing the nominee at the Republican convention. Since then, investigative journalists have attempted to learn who this mysterious billionaire really is.

Mercer, "had a short but notable career in computer science [as a] brilliant programmer, [who] had played a significant role in developing early language processing algorithms at IBM," before 1993, when he was hired by the venture capital firm created by his predecessors at Renaissance Technologies. At Renaissance, we are told by Open Secrets, Mercer then "rose through the fund’s ranks, and was appointed co-CEO when Simons retired from the position in 2009."

Thomas Turner Mercer in 1943
Robert Mercer's grandfather was Albert Alexander Mercer, born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, in 1884. He relocated to British Columbia with his brother, John William Mercer, before 1911, the year Albert met and married Anna Lavinia Rogers, whose American-born parents had settled in Victoria in 1908. After her mother died in 1928, the families began making their way back to the United States, where Anna's brother, Felix A. Rogers, had been working in the lumbering industry at Port Angeles, between Tacoma and Bellingham, Washington. 

Albert, who had been trained in pattern making and foundry work in England, left Victoria for Tacoma, Washington with his wife and children, including Robert's father, Thomas Turner Mercer, then nine years old, who had been born in British Columbia in 1920.

In 1942 Thomas married Virginia Mae Kidd, joined the Army Air Corps at Tacoma, and the following year filed a petition to become a U.S. citizen in Arizona where he was stationed (see inset document to the right and obituary).

After the war, Thomas and Virginia moved to California, where he obtained a bachelor's degree at San Jose State University near Santa Clara, some 30 miles south of Stanford University at Palo Alto. He worked as a bookkeeper for CB Hay Co., a bean threshing manufacturer during his studies at San Jose. 

The title of "health physicist" was listed with his name while he was at the University of Washington at Seattle in 1954, and the address he gave for the directory--4094 Union Bay Circle--takes us on google maps to the Douglas Research Conservatory, which today is within an isolated and fenced-off area of the campus, where the Society for Ecological Restoration meets. That building was named for Howard Douglas, a microbiologist studying the genetics of yeast, who curiously took sabbaticals in Paris in the mid-1950s with another professor, Herschel Roman. to study the effects of yeast. Yeast? As in the yeast that poisoned the village of Pont St. Esprit near Paris in 1951? Hank P. Albarelli Jr. wrote a book about that incident, and others, in which the Central Intelligence Agency has been incriminated:
The same scientists confirmed that following the Pont St. Esprit experiment, Fort Detrick’s Special Operations Division returned to New York City in 1956 to conduct experiments under Operations Big City and Mad Hatter. These were covert projects that involved the aerosol spraying of chemicals through the exhaust pipe of an automobile that was driven by CIA and Army scientists around New York City. Prior to this, in 1952 and 1953, smaller experiments were conducted within New York subway cars by George Hunter White, a Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent who secretly worked as a contractor for the CIA. On at least two occasions, White detonated specially devised aerosol devices filled with LSD. The CIA destroyed White’s written reports covering these experiments in 1973. [emphasis added]
The Mercers
I italicized the words in the above paragraph to emphasize the fact that Robert Mercer's father, Thomas Turner Mercer, was a graduate student in this department in the same years these "sabbaticals" occurred. Mercer had come to Seattle following his undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry at San Jose State. Once he received his bachelor's degree, Mercer moved to Seattle, where he had a position in this same department until 1955, where he became an expert in the field of aerosol physics!

What is going on here? We are talking about Dr. Thomas Turner Mercer, whose son, Robert (Renaissance Technologies) Mercer, billionaire, has been the largest donor of two different Republican candidates in the last election:
  • Ted Cruz, who told us "Climate change is not science. It's religion."
  • Donald Trump, now President, who as I write seeks to "slash one of the government's premier climate science agencies by 17 percent."
The Department of Energy has been funding studies on the environment for decades through grants to various universities listed in a 96-page document called "Transfer Abstracts of Fossil Fuel Related Health and Environmental Effects Research Projects (1979)" which includes the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Rochester where Mercer obtained his PhD and taught, as well as the Lovelace Foundation, where he worked at the time his son Robert was a National Merit Scholarship student at Sandia High School near Albuquerque. Yet these government-funded studies appear to be attempting to transfer the benefits gained into private industry rather than return them back to the taxpayers who paid for the research.

Report written by Dr. Thomas Mercer
Robert Mercer no doubt acquired an interest in this subject from Dr. T. T. Mercer, who spent his career studying aerosol physics as evidenced by the following:
  • "A study of some physical properties of an aerosol in relation to airborne decay products of radon" / by Thomas T. Mercer, published in Washington, D.C. by Office of Technical Services, Department of Commerce, 1957, completed: 11/8/56. An additional note states he was paid through a grant from "U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the University of Rochester, administered by the Department of Radiation Biology of the School of Medicine and Dentistry." A research study on the toxicity of radon when inhaled, it was part of his PhD dissertation.
  • "Charging and precipitation characteristics of sub-micron particles in the Rohmann electrostatic particle separator," completed: 11/8/56 / by Thomas T. Mercer. Published by the same source in 1957, this study is too complicated for me to even categorize.
  • "Atmospheric monitoring for alpha emitters using molecular Filter Membranes," by Thomas T. Mercer - 1/4/54 - involves a research study of uranium and plutonium.
  • Similar studies published by Mercer in 1972 and 1973
  • Thomas T. Mercer Joint Prize of the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine and the American Association for Aerosol Research, for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Aerosols and Inhalable Materials is an annual prize created in 1995. 
  • List of additional works by Thomas Mercer and others
Stephen K. Bannon

Robert Mercer invested $10 million in Breitbart, according to an anonymous source cited by Bloomberg, which also says Mercer put $11 million into Cruz's campaign. Bloomberg created an instructive chart showing the people and entities Mercer has been supporting, making him the man who has replaced Richard Mellon Scaife as the chief funder of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" machine.

Breitbart recently published a piece by James Delingpole, encouraging Trump to remain steadfast against anyone (the "Green Blob," he calls it) who claims climate change is manmade.

What this leads us to is the project Stephen Bannon worked on for a time in California and Arizona called the Biosphere II, sponsored by Edwin Perry Bass, which we will explore subsequently.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Land Investment in Florida Helped Develop Pan Am Airways

Bebe's Girl, Clare Gunn Rebozo Babcock Gentry

As we explored in Part 1 of Bebe the Bagman, Bebe Rebozo and Clare Margaret Gunn were classmates at Miami High School before Bebe graduated in 1930. They  sneaked off to Fort Lauderdale during Clare’s senior year and were secretly married July 31, 1931. Writing in a style characteristic of Kitty Kelley, Clay Drewry Blair, Jr., disclosed this intriguing tidbit of information in his feature article called “Bebe Rebozo’s Life Story,” which was serialized in newspapers in 1970 (posted previously at QJ).

Clay Blair, who dealt routinely with subjects like atomic submarine warfare or the life of Admiral Rickover, even wrote a biography of James Earl Ray published only a year before  astounding readers with Rebozo's secret romance. Blair claimed that Clare wanted the marriage kept secret because her parents lived in "comfortable circumstances, many notches up the social ladder from Bebe." That conclusion on Blair's part was erroneous in several respects.

Gunn Family Circumstances Far from 'Comfortable'

The fact is that John and Nellie (Ellen) Gunn actually divorced around 1929, making Clare's living situation quite unstable. The real estate and construction boom had all but disappeared in the wake of Miami's 1926 hurricane, making it difficult for her father to find enough work to support his family. The depression further deepened with the 1929 stock market crash. These events took a heavy toll on the Gunns. Clare's older brother Donald, who was a friend of Bebe's, disappears from public records after 1932. 

It did not take Nellie long to marry for a second time. Cornelius William Scully, an Irish Catholic from New Jersey, was a fireman who lived at 104 NE 56th Street, about a mile from the home in which Clare had lived with her parents (145 NW 61st), since moving to Miami from St. Louis in 1924. With Donald and Clare almost out of high school when their parents divorced, it is possible Clare married Bebe in 1931 in order to stay in the house next-door to their uncle Hugh Gunn without adult supervision. From available data we can surmise that the divorce, remarriage and consequent living arrangement was by no means a "comfortable" situation for Clare or her siblings at the time she agreed to undergo a secret marriage with Bebe. If nothing else, the marriage would, however, have given her (still legally a minor) the legal capacity to enter into a lease agreement.

After the divorce their father lived in a room at 161 NW 52nd Street, a house rented by the Henry Semple family. Semple drove a truck for Gunn & Goll, a construction firm owned by Clare's uncle William in partnership with a war veteran named Otto H. Goll from Toledo. In 1933 her father  also went to work as Gunn & Goll's "caretaker." There was no other obvious relationship between John Gunn and Semple; however, John remained at this address for many years. Far from "comfortable," this situation was must have been downright embarrassing for young Clare.

What is most intriguing about this company (Gunn & Goll) is that in the midst of economic recession, Otto Goll could afford to travel constantly, flying frequently to Cuba by seaplane. His flights which began in the 1930's continued into the next decade via Pan American Airways. Pan Am was, of course, the airline for which Bebe and Clare's husband, James Norman Gentry, were at one time employed. Bebe Rebozo's real link America's first international airline, which was so much in the news throughout the 1930's depression years, will take some time to explain.

Clare worked as a steno in 1934.
While Clare was secretly married to Bebe, her name showed up in Miami's 1933 city directory, indicating that she was employed at Progressive Investment Corporation, an entity with no listing in the directory. The following year's listing, however, indicates she lived with her mother and stepfather at Scully's house on 56th Street, while working as a stenographer. Her youngest brother, William P. Gunn, who may not have gotten along with his new stepfather, lived with their father in his rented room in the Semple home. By 1937, however, Clare had moved out on her own to 244 NW 52nd, where William P. joined her. This new living arrangement could not have lasted long, as Clare also married again in 1937, as we will explore subsequently.

Clare's Employment

Excerpt from The Scroll, 1942
Though we find nothing to indicate who the principals were in Progressive Investment Corporation, it is easy to discern that her next job in 1934 for a statistical research firm called Ballinger & Taylor involved John Kenneth Ballinger, associate editor at the Miami Herald, and Frank O. Taylor, Jr., an accountant. 

After Ballinger wrote, but was unable to get his book published, he teamed up with Taylor to write Florida bonds: a summary of the funded public debt of December 31, 1934. In 1936 he self-published his first book with the title  Miami Millions, only a year or two after Harvey O'Conner's Mellon's Millions hit bookstores. He may have thought the catchy title alone would have made his chronicle of unconnected tidbits of factual data, without the analysis which had made O'Conner's book worthwhile, a bestseller. The news item announcing his service in WWII in his alumni magazine (upper left) unfortunately mentioned the wrong book. Boom in Paradise had been published by T. H. Weigall in 1932, and can be read at the Everglades website.

According to his 1980 obituary, Ballinger went into the Army Air Corps as a captain in 1942, coming out as a colonel before getting a law degree. While Clare worked for Ballinger a decade earlier, he and his wife lived at 637 Minorca Avenue in Coral Gables, only a few doors down from

Where Was Bebe in 1934?

Bebe's parents and working siblings, during his high school years, lived in Miami at 183 NW 34th Terrace, a mile to the south from the Gunns. Although Bebe was said by the book, Bebe the Bagman, to have quit his Pan Am job in 1931, Miami directory indicates in 1934 that he was still employed as a steward at Pan American Airways, only a few months after the airline's owner, Juan Trippe, had made the cover of Time magazine. The Rebozos moved in 1934 to 836 NW 33rd Avenue, still less than two miles from any of the homes where Clare lived, but in a sightly more upscale neighborhood than hers.

According to Blair's unsourced Bebe the Bagman, Bebe had been among the first stewards hired by Pan Am but quit the job in 1931 to pump gas for a year, before he
Page from 1934 Miami directory
"took a job chauffeuring tourists around the Gold Coast. Living frugally and saving his money, restless and always looking for a better chance, in 1935 he invested his savings in 'Rebozo's Service Station and Auto Supplies,' specializing in the sale of retreaded tires."  
Blair apparently borrowed that unattributed detail from a cover article, "President Nixon's Best Friend," in the July 31, 1970 issue of Life Magazine under the byline of Colin Leinster, a Life writer/photographer who, in the late 1960s had been assigned both to Life's Hong Kong and Vietnam bureaus before his promotion to Assistant Editor in 1969. Leinster's  promotion came less than a year before his feature on Bebe hit the Luce-owned magazine (Henry R. Luce, Yale 1920, Skull and Bones).

Were Blair and Leinster  unwittingly working for the same boss who was intent on pumping disinformation about Bebe's past into the mainstream media? A similar chronology of Bebe's life was, intriguingly, inserted into Anthony Summers' Arrogance of Power. We leave you to make your own conclusions after reading the following research with a questioning mind.

QJ is disinclined to buy either the Blair or Leinster account simply because the 1934 directory listing (inset, upper right) indicates Bebe was still a steward in 1934. The goal of the disinformation attempt  was to minimize Bebe's role at Pan Am and maximize his connection to Smathers. Why? The Pan Am Airport looms large in QJ's view. Possibly a windmill; more likely a giant!

Clare Gunn a/k/a Mrs. E. Vose Babcock, 1937-39

Bebe graduated from Miami High in 1930 and Clare two years later, though she had been on schedule to finish in 1931. (Note: Both of them would have known George Smathers, 1931 MHS senior class president, who was named Outstanding Athlete of Dade County that year. Smathers was attending college and law school in Gainesville from 1932-38, some of those years with Phil Graham and Paul Helliwell, as QJ has previously noted.)

While she worked for Kenneth Ballinger, Clare met E. Vose Babcock, Jr., the son of a lumber tycoon from Pittsburgh, who owned a large ranch in Charlotte and Lee Counties in western Florida, just to the south of Tampa. Today it is a three-hour drive from Miami along Interstate 75--but in the 1930's would possibly have taken much of the day. How and where Clare and Vose met may forever remain a mystery, along with the reason for their divorce two years later. We can only speculate about whether Bebe Rebozo had a hand in introducing them, possibly through his work at the Pan American airport based on Dinner Key. (Note: Other historic photographs can be viewed at Miami History website.

Vose Babcock at left with his wealthy family
We do know that Vose Babcock, Jr. had dropped out of Princeton after his second year and allegedly shunned his father's lumber business in 1932 in favor of raising cattle in the Fort Myers Beach area. He married Clare Gunn in 1937, three years after her marriage to Bebe was annulled. Mr. and Mrs. Babcock (Clare's name was misspelled as Claire) were listed in Fort Myers city directories for several years, and, although directories may have been slow to update details, something else seems amiss.

A cowboy, marrying a stenographer may not have sat well within the family, if they were aware of his marriage, but it appears not to have been enough of a departure from family decorum to have threatened the scion's enormous trust fund, which appears to have remained intact, as we shall later see. The Babcocks were close associates of the same Mellon family who were the subject of the scathing rebuke of the Secretary of the Treasury during Prohibition and early depression years. 

The title of the book, Mellon's Millions, likely served as a model for Ballinger's own book title, Miami Millions.

As members of Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club, Union Club, Country Club, as well as the Oakmont Country Club, the Babcock sons were sent to prestigious Ivy League schoolswith Vose Jr. prepping at Choate before attending Princeton in the class of 1927, while the parents enjoyed the same social circle as the Mellon family in Pittsburgh. In fact,

You can also read Part 2 of Bebe the Bagman, originally posted with the above research.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Presidents Bush: Walker Genealogy Part V

Part I               Part II               Part III               Part IV     Read previous segments.

Polo and Power?

St. Louis began polo in 1892.
Referring back to Part IV, you will remember that G. H. (Bert) Walker returned from his studies in England and Scotland to enroll in law school at Washington University in St. Louis, around 1894. His eldest brother, Sidney, single until 1898, was working at the dry goods firm, while also playing polo at the newly organized St. Louis Polo Club.

Bert also took up polo and far surpassed his brother, Sidney, as shown in society clippings such as the one below. Marked in red are references to members of the Walker family: Bert (G. H.) Walker; his father, D.D., who attended the match in Chicago; brother Sidney, as well as Bert's later wife, Lulu Wear, her mother and married sister--in Chicago to applaud Bert, the star of the team.

It is interesting to note that E.C. Simmons also traveled from St. Louis to Chicago to attend the polo event. Simmons, owner of St. Louis' premier hardware stores, would send three sons to Yale, each of them tapped to Skull and Bones, and he would become the employer of Bert and Lulu Wear Walker's future son-in-law many years after this polo match. Simmons was already an ardent and admiring fan of Bert Walker in 1898 -- more than two decades before Prescott Bush moved to St. Louis to work for Simmons Hardware.

Another name of note is George C. Hitchcock, an attorney, whose family had lived across the street (Vandeventer Place) from D.D. Walker's family. His paternal uncle, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, graduated from William Huntington Russell's military school in New Haven in 1855, and then moved to St. Louis to work with his brother, George's father, Henry Hitchcock. Ethan left St. Louis in 1860 to join Olyphant & Co., a China trading company in which he became a partner in 1866, and from which he retired in 1872, soon returning to St. Louis. President McKinley appointed him the first U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 1897. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. Both Hitchcock brothers married daughters of Missouri pioneer, George Collier of St. Louis.

Through polo, Bert became interested in horses, and after his starring performance on the polo field in 1898, Bert agreed to chair St. Louis' Horse Shows for several years, beginning in 1899, assisted by his brother Sidney and brother-in-law, Joseph Walker Wear.

David Davis Walker had by that time invested a great amount of his personal funds educating his sons in Catholic institutions. Will had married a Catholic girl from a French background, even though the marriage wasn't entirely successful and eventually ended in divorce after Will's parents died. Maysie had married a Protestant, though he agreed to be interred beside her in a Catholic burial. Sidney announced his engagement to a Protestant, whose father was an eminent doctor, six months before Bert's own small wedding which took place at the home of his bride's mother, her father, James H. Wear having died in late 1893.

Lulu Wear photo
Although "Lulu" had three attendants, Bert had only his brother David at his side. Brother Ted was then in his last semester at Yale, set to graduate in the summer. Also at Yale at the time were three of Lulu's brothers--James H. (Jim) Wear, who had been captain of Yale's freshman football squad in 1897 (class of 1900); Joseph W. (Joe) Wear (class of 1900); and Arthur Y. Wear (class of 1902), who would later die in WWI. 

As for how Bert moved from running his own investment bank in St. Louis to working with or for Averell and Bunny Harriman, the authors of George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Anton Chaitkin and Webster Tarpley surmised as follows:
Prescott Bush weds Dotty Walker.
Bert Walker formally organized the W.A. Harriman & Co. private bank in November 1919. Walker became the bank’s president and chief executive; Averell Harriman was chairman and controlling co-owner with his brother Roland ( “Bunny” ), Prescott Bush’s close friend from Yale; and Percy Rockefeller was a director and a founding financial sponsor.

In the autumn of 1919, Prescott Bush made the acquaintance of Bert Walker’s daughter Dorothy. They were engaged the following year, and were married in August, 1921. [Columbia University Interview in the Oral History Research Project conducted by Columbia University in 1966, Eisenhower Administration, p. 7.] Among the ushers and grooms at the elaborate wedding were Ellery S. James, Knight Woolley and four other fellow Skull and Bonesmen from the Yale Class of 1917. [St. Louis Globe Democrat, Aug. 7, 1921. p. 16. This is the sequence of events, from Simmons to U.S. Rubber, which Prescott Bush gave in his Columbia University Interview; pp. 5-6. The interview was supposed to be kept confidential and was never published, but Columbia later sold microfilms of the transcript to certain libraries, including Arizona State University), pp. 7-8.] The Bush-Walker extended family has gathered each summer at the “Walker country home” in Kennebunkport, from this marriage of President Bush’s parents down to the present day.

When Prescott married Dorothy, he was only a minor executive of the Simmons Co., railroad equipment suppliers, while his wife’s father was building one of the most gigantic businesses in the world. The following year the couple tried to move back to Columbus, Ohio; there Prescott worked for a short time in a rubber products company owned by his father. But they soon moved again to Milton, Mass., after outsiders bought the little family business and moved it near there.

Thus Prescott Bush was going nowhere fast, when his son George Herbert Walker Bush–the future U.S. President–was born in Milton, Mass., on June 12, 1924.

Perhaps it was as a birthday gift for George, that “Bunny” Harriman stepped in to rescue his father Prescott from oblivion, bringing him into the Harriman-controlled U.S. Rubber Co. in New York City. In 1925 the young family moved to the town where George was to grow up: Greenwich, Connecticut, a suburb both of New York and of New Haven/Yale.
Unfortunately, Chaitkin and Tarpley failed to answer the following questions:
  • What was the name of the rubber company Prescott worked for that took him to Milton, Massachusetts?
  • Where is the documentation that Bert Walker organized W. A. Harriman & Co. in November 1919?
  • And where is the evidence that Prescott was "rescued" by Bunny Harriman?
Our research makes it seem much more likely that the man who threw Prescott a lifeline was his wife's father, Bert Walker, who was closely associated with Lulu Wear's brother, Joseph Wear, in a linoleum and rubber business based in Philadelphia. Joseph Wear's wife's father, William Potter, in 1920 oversaw the sale of his family-owned company to a Certain-teed, incorporated in St. Louis, which manufactured roofing materials.

The Walker Family Vacations

Even before his retirement, D.D. Walker and his wife enjoyed their travels and were often mentioned in local news accounts, frequently accompanied by daughter Mazie (spelled variously as Maizie, Maisie or Maysie) and granddaughter Martha, while husband, Asa Pittman, remained in St. Louis to work.  

As early as 1886 D.D. Davis' family had a summer cottage in Kennebunkport, and that same year they spent the spring in St. Augustine, Florida, accompanied by Mazie and Martha's mother, Jane Beaky, all according to society news items. 

The three youngest sons--David, Bert and Teddy--were sometimes mentioned in the local gossip accounts as well. For example, when Teddy was a 12-year-old boy, attending St. Vincent's Seminary, a Catholic school run by nuns for girls and primary school boys located at Grace and Locust Avenues in St. Louis, he was mentioned in an 1889 feature item and described as "one of the youngest reporters on earth," as he helped interview youngsters who saw the Olympic Theatre's matinee of Little Lord Fauntleroy, then on tour. Ten years after being cited for his reporting skill, Teddy was named to Phi Beta Kappa for his studies in economics at Yale (the same fraternity his great-nephew, George H. W. Bush, would attain in 1948).

We know from vacation accounts that all three of the younger boys attended Stonyhurst in England, David having been enrolled during the fall of 1887 had been taken on a tour of Europe with his parents and sister the following summer. Bert and Teddy skipped Europe that year, going instead to Kennebunkport, their usual vacation place, possibly with family servants supervising, while presumably the two eldest sons, by then in their early twenties, were working at the dry goods business with other members of the firm. 

Bert's summer break from Stonyhurst
Bert's tenure at Stonyhurst, mentioned in a previous segment, thus was not a circumstance special to him, but something the Walker family had chosen for each son by that time. Bert would follow David to Stonyhurst in 1890, as indicated in the local paper's account (inset, left) of their summer plans. Later, Teddy would follow Bert to the Jesuit institute.

After Bert returned to St. Louis and while he was at law school, during the winter of 1895, the St. Louis newspaper published reports that D.D. and Martha Walker had toured California for three months  with their only daughter, Mazie, and her daughter, Martha Walker Pittman, in tow. After two months back in St. Louis, the four had then gone to Kennebunkport to spend the summer months at the D.D. Walkers' cottage. Two years earlier the paper had mentioned that Bert was staying at the Ocean Bluff  House in Kennebunk, Maine, then a popular summer hotel. Perhaps there was not room for him in the family cottage. Perhaps Bert and his father were already experiencing a conflict of personalities which was to plague them in future years.

Mazie died in 1896, however, leaving her daughter in the care of her father, Asa Pitmann, who tragically died from influenza three years later. Martha Walker Pittman thereafter lived with her maternal grandparents when not off in boarding schools in Paris and Briarcliff, New York. She still spent most holidays with her Walker grandparents for many years to come, and was a bridesmaid in Dorothy Walker's Kennebunkport wedding in 1921--when Bert's daughter married Prescott Bush. Four years later, Martha married a Diplomatic Courier Officer from Baltimore society, John Mortimer Duval, Jr.

Bert's In-Laws--the Wear Family

In January 1899 Bert Walker married Lulu Wear, a daughter of one of his father's former competitors. While Wear and Walker had both made their fortunes in the wholesale dry goods trade, the two fathers were unlike in many other ways. The Walkers were Catholic, while the Wears were Presbyterian. Although the Walkers preferred to summer in Maine, the Wear (sometimes misspelled as Ware) family traditionally vacationed at Jamestown island in Rhode Island.

James Hutchinson Wear, Lulu's father, had been born in central Missouri and moved to St. Louis around 1863. Like David Davis Walker, Wear learned the wholesale dry goods trade for fifteen years before he formed a partnership called Wear, Boogher & Co. with Murray Carleton, whose mother had been a Boogher. Shortly before he died, Wear sold his interest to Carleton in 1893. 

John Holliday Wear

John Holliday Wear, the eldest of James H. and Nannie Wear's sons, was born in 1868 and started his career working as a salesman for Murray Carleton, his father's successor, and was still so employed when he married Susan Leigh Slattery in 1903. A year after his sister Lulu married Bert Walker, John Wear obtained a passport with the intent of traveling out of the country, listing his address as Carleton's Dry Goods, 9th Street and Washington Avenue, an address which placed him only a few steps away from Ely & Walker's building, then at the southwest corner of N. 8th and Washington. John H. Wear would thereafter remain in the dry goods business, while his three youngest brothers attended Yale in the late 1890s, as did Bert Walker's youngest brother, Ted. The above addresses today sit across the street from St. Louis' convention center complex.  

Click to enlarge

John Wear resided with his mother, while G.H. and Lulu Walker lived only a mile or so away at 3800 Delmar. A few years after his own marriage in 1903, John's work address became 708 N. 4th Street, while he and Susan lived at 4643 Berlin, changed to Pershing during World War I. The map above also locates the banking office of D.H. Byrd's uncles, mentioned in a previous post at this blog. As we can see, the investment banking offices of Wear, Walker, and the Byrds were within close walking distance from where the Federal Reserve complex was eventually built, and directly across the street from the Wear and Walker dry goods warehouses the city happened to build its convention center, with upscale hotels built at the site of the warehouses.

Mildred Wear (Mrs. Max) Kotany

Lulu's sister, Mildred, four years older than Lulu, was 25 in 1895 when she married 42-year-old Max Kotany, a Hungarian-born stockbroker who immigrated to the U.S. in 1867 at age 14. By 1870 Max was listed in the St. Louis census as a messenger boy in a bank, living in the home of Amelia Abeles, widow of Adolph Abeles, and he still lived in her home on Delmar in 1880. By then he had become a naturalized citizen and a stockbroker.

Mrs. Abeles had been born in Prague around 1831, and arrived in St. Louis in 1849 with the Taussigs, part of her extended family. She married Adolph Abeles almost immediately upon her arrival, and he went into the lumber commission business with Charles S. Taussig. Adolph was unfortunately among those killed in 1855 when the Gasconade Bridge collapsed, and thereafter, Amelia seems to have continued the partnership on her own until her son was old enough to take her place. According to the Find-a-Grave website:
Adolph and Charles developed a vertically integrated business around the Pacific Railroad supplying land, timber and capitol for its development. Adolph was elected state representative to the Missouri General Assembly in 1850 and served two years. Among other things, he promoted the Pacific Railroad's incorporation, which ultimately led to his death.
Amelia's father is shown by some genealogists to have been John Low Taussig, a wholesale dry goods merchant in 1860, as was his brother J. Seligman Taussig. Nevertheless, Amelia was quite close to a family named Singer, who lived in Hungary, and to Minna Singer, married to Alexander Sandor Kotanyi, who remained there. Amelia Abeles obtained a passport in 1867 and made a trip to eastern Europe; that same year Max Kotany arrived in the United States from Hungary to take up residence with Amelia Abeles' family for more than a decade. He told passport officials in 1905 that he was naturalized in 1876. He married Lulu Wear's sister in 1895.

Max also had a younger brother named Ludwig, who moved later to St. Louis and, after studying economics and working with G.H. Walker & Co., was employed as early as 1918 as treasurer of Robert Brookings School of Economics and Government, which had before 1924 been part of Washington University in St. Louis.  

In 1904 Bert Walker was president of the St. Louis Stock Exchange, as well as a member of the New York Stock Exchange. Max Kotany was one of about 50 members of the St. Louis Exchange, and had his own brokerage office on Olive Street, while his brother Ludwig went to work for Max's brother-in-law at G.H. Walker & Co. the year it opened. Bert and Max each served on several committees, with each other and with J. D. Perry Francis, son of former mayor of St. Louis, governor of Missouri, who was then serving as chairman of St. Louis' World's Fair planning committee, after having served in Grover Cleveland's administration. The governor was also a director of the Chicago & Alton Railway, E. H. Harriman's railroad which ran through St. Louis. The connection to the Francis family was powerful indeed for young Bert.

Other wealthy connections came through Bert's wife, Lulu and her sister Mildred Kotany, who had been close to each other and to other girls their age within their father's network of business associates. One such friend, Bertha Dibblee of Chicago, was a daughter of Laura Nash Field Dibblee, Marshall Field's niece and later heir to part of his estate. Bertha had visited Lulu during Christmas holidays in 1897, before her wedding to Bert Walker. Marshall Field was Chicago's biggest retail department store, which bought merchandise from wholesaler Wear, Boogher, while firms like Sears Roebuck and J.C. Penney purchased their dry goods stock from Ely-Walker.

The summer prior to Bertha's visit to St. Louis, Mildred Kotany had chaperoned her sister (inaccurately called Miss L.J. Ware in the newspaper) at the Wentworth Hall casino in Jackson, New Hampshire.[*] Max Kotany was primarily involved with the Taussig brothers in a silver mining syndicate, Good Hope Mining. James J. Taussig was an investment banker who was part of a Montana silver mining syndicate with other wealthy St. Louis businessmen as early as 1879, but his eldest brother William was a physician, who had studied chemistry in Prague before locating in St. Louis. Later Dr. William Taussig was named a director of the newly consolidated St. Louis Union Trust. James Taussig and his family often spent summers at Kennebunkport before acquiring in 1898 a summer home at Shoreby Hill on Jamestown, the island wedged between Newport and Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

James E. Taussig was president of the Wabash Railroad before his death in 1949. James Taussig, a legal associate of Charles Nagel (then married to Fanny Brandeis), in 1878 became a "mentor" to young future Justice Louis D. Brandeis. After Fanny's death, Nagel married Anne Shepley, sister of John Foster and Arthur Shepley and of Louis Shepley (Mrs. Isaac) Lionberger. The Shepleys were grandchildren of Ethan Shepley, U.S. Senator from Maine who resigned to become that state's chief justice. All were part of the power elite in St. Louis.

Both John F. Shepley and Isaac Lionberger, who had been law partners for several years, in 1896 abandoned the Democratic Party of William Jennings Bryan to become Republicans in favor of the gold standard. By this time, Shepley had been at the St. Louis Union Trust for six years, and was married to Sarah Hitchcock, daughter of Ethan Allen Hitchcock, soon to be named by William McKinley as minister to Russia, and also to serve in Teddy Roosevelt's cabinet as secretary of the interior.

James H. Wear, Jr.

James Hutchinson Wear, Jr., Yale class of 1901, married in 1909 Ellen D. Filley, daughter of John Dwight Filley of St. Louis. James played football at Yale and was scorer for the baseball team, according to Yale's yearbook.

Joseph Walker Wear

Lulu's brother, J. W. Wear, finished his studies at Yale in 1899 and married Adaline Coleman Potter, daughter of William Potter of Philadelphia in 1903. William (and Jane Kennedy Vanuxem) Potter lived in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, and Adaline's parents both descended from illustrious families in Philadelphia, her father acting as the attorney for his father's company--Thomas Potter & Sons oilcloth and linoleum flooring business. It was a dangerous business, judging from the blazes which occurred on their premises in 1898, 1905, 1915 and 1917. Nevertheless the sale of the Potters' stock to the roofing company owned by George M. Brown of St. Louis, put $3 million in their pockets only a few month after an announcement had been made in March 1920 that Bert Walker was creating a new company to be known as Morton and Company.

In 1920 the company was sold to Certain-teed Products of St. Louis, a move which earned both Bert and William Potter a seat on the new board, while his brother-in-law, Joseph Wear, became treasurer of the new company.

Joseph himself had a patent issued in his name in 1917 for a linoleum product. But before moving to Philadelphia in 1914 to work for his father-in-law, he returned to St. Louis to work in the dry goods company with his older brother John. Two years after John's death, he and his wife moved to her hometown of Philadelphia where J.W. was a very active tennis player at the Cricket Club, especially in doubles competition. He and Dwight F. Davis of St. Louis, who had played on Harvard's team, won the doubles title in 1914, and in 1920-1924 J.S. partnered with Jay Gould II, son of George J. Gould, to capture the championship each year.

In 1892 William Potter had been named Minister to Italy during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. He later was named president of the Jefferson Medical College and sat on the Board of the Philadelphia City Trusts. At the end of WWI he also went to the Far East in 1919 when Japan was in the process of invading Manchuria.

Arthur Yancey Wear

He played on the Yale baseball team graduated from Yale in 1902 and was tapped to Scroll and Key. President of the St. Louis Club at Yale in 1902. He would be killed in France during WWI.
He was a cousin of Joseph G. Holliday (B.A. 1884), Samuel N. Holliday (B A. 1908), and Joseph Holliday (B.A. 1913).

To be continued.