Gilbert Lee Beckley is—or was—a valuable man to the Cosa Nostra. He helped the mob flourish in the green field of betting on college and professional athletics. Handling as much as $250,000 worth of bets daily, Beckley, 58, mastered all the tricks of his arcane trade:
- wangling information from locker rooms,
- computing odds in his head,
- occasionally bribing athletes.
Once Beckley was discovered behind a scheme to fix college basketball games by bribing the referees. On another occasion, word flashed along his betting network that bookies need not worry about the outcome of a football game, because "the coach is betting."
Nothing if not systematic, Beckley kept his fellow bookies' identities secret. He assigned each a number, then recorded their figures in library books. Beckley, No. 11, kept his own accounts next to page 11 of the New Dictionary of Thoughts.
Two Sides. Beckley's value was not limited to the Cosa Nostra; he also worked the legitimate side of the street. He had a deal with National Football League investigators to tip them about point spreads, possible fixes and tampering with games (TIME, Aug. 22). More recently, he may have been tempted to cooperate with Government agents. Such a double life can be dangerous —even fatal. Last month, old No. 11 vanished. His lawyers have not heard from him, and he is "off the boards," or out of the play, in the betting world. Two weeks ago he forfeited a $10,000 bond by failing to appear for his trial on forgery charges in Atlanta. Some associates believe that Beckley may have fled to Belgium or Israel to escape jail. Others fear a more ominous answer. Beckley's mob associates were mindful that the N.F.L. investigators include former Government prosecutors. The mob has been worried that Beckley might try to wiggle out of his trouble by passing information to the Government. In that event, Gil Beckley would be distinctly more valuable to his friends dead than alive.
The Colodny Interview
Whether it was actual fact or invention (perhaps we shall never really know), George Owen told Len Colodny, co-author of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, in an interview in 1988 or thereabouts, that he first met Maureen Kane in 1965, and that he was introduced to her by another girl named Heidi whom he had met in Antigua. At the time he was on the island with his "running mate," Bedford Wynne, one of the co-founders of the Dallas Cowboys, and they were thinking of buying a hotel-casino owned by "Gil Beckley -- who was a world renowned gambler." This interview was transcribed and parts of it submitted as evidentiary proof in a lawsuit that would later be filed by John and Maureen Dean against the book's publisher and authors for defamation and libel, a case eventually settled.
The Portland Free Press publisher, Ace Hayes, acquired a copy of the public documents filed in the lawsuit and shared them with others. They have since been passed around digitally and have become fair use. In Colodny's book, he had made statements about Maureen "Mo" Kane (who married George Owen in 1967 and had their marriage annulled the same year) -- conclusionary statements arrived at based on dozens of interviews with people who had known Mo both before and after she married President Nixon's White House Counsel John Dean in September of 1972. Since truth is an absolute defense to the claim of libel, Colodny submitted the interview transcripts to the court in order to show that the conclusions he made about Mo were true. We don't know whether they were true or not, and, unfortunately, George Owen is no longer alive to verify the facts. Part of his interview by Len Colodny is contained below:
OWEN: And he [Gil Beckley] was a friend of Bedford's and mine and we were going, you know, try to buy the hotel. And I walked out of my room and it was raining. And they had a little tent to walk under to the casino and there to the dining room. And I saw this girl walking a dog, a little white poodle, and this was the prettiest damn girl you ever saw in your life.
COLODNY: I'll say one thing, everybody that's ever seen this woman uses those exact words.
OWEN:"Built like a brick shit house." I said, "God damn," I said "man," and I just sat down in the mud.
OWEN: I said, "I've never seen a son of a bitch as pretty as you and if you jump on my back I'll take you around the world barefooted." And she said, [Laughing] and I said "come on, I'll buy you dinner." She said, "Well, I want to tell you something, that is the most profound statement that I've ever seen a man do to get a date with me."
OWEN: Yes, sir, I'll accept and so we went to dinner, drank some wine, had a good time and everything and she was going to stay there a couple of before she meets Mo, there, she's up in Washington and then she meets this guy from Texas and then she goes back to Washington and she seems to be tied pretty much to this guy.
OWEN: Oh yeah.
COLODNY: And, and now, now Mo meets you in '67 and then they go to Tahoe together. Now, what was the point of them going to Tahoe together?
OWEN: Maureen, ah, went with a guy who was a dealer up there. And she fell in love with this guy, and you know, they lost a lot of weight and a whole bunch of...
COLODNY: Yeah, she, this is the story she tells: "I chose Tahoe with, with my new and good friend who I'd met through George, Heidi Rikan, I skied, swam, gambled, played tennis, and hiked. I lost weight going from one fifteen to ninety eight pounds, to [from?] a size six to a three, George saw me once during this period and handed me two hundred dollars and said, 'My god, you're starving, go fatten yourself up.' "
OWEN: [Laughing] That's about right, that's about the size of it.
COLODNY: "And after several months with Heidi I finally decided I had to strike, straighten out my marital situation so I sought and got an annulment from my marriage to George Owen." Is that accurate? Is, as best...
OWEN: Oh, it could have been, I didn't know. I had a divorce, I didn't need a, anything like this.
OWEN: Well if you know, if you analyze the whole situation. I wasn't with Maureen very long. Well, I met her in late '65 and in '66 we, she left and out, in, and out, in, and then in '67 we got married. I went and got a Mexican divorce before we got married.
COLODNY: All right so in other words, Diane Wisdom was gone by the time?
OWEN: Oh yeah. Diane had been gone a long time. She traveled with Frank Sinatra's...
The Miramar Hotel Casino in AntiguaOWEN: A Mexican Divorce and ah, this friend of mine, this, this guy we talked about, ah, you know, signed one of, as one of the witnesses or something like that. But any way I had the divorce and then we got married and then, then everything else happened.COLODNY: Right so, so she's gone and, and you had a Mexican Divorce and now you're...
So, George told Len Colodny he met Heidi Rikan in Antigua at a hotel/casino in which Gilbert Lee Beckley was an owner/manager before George met Heidi's friend Mo in 1965. The newspapers in 1959 were full of reports that Beckley lived in Surfside, Florida and was being questioned by a grand jury about the fixing of a boxing match, but nothing came of it until John Kennedy was elected and made his brother Robert the Attorney General. Six months after the inauguration, we read:
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Justice Department today announced indictments against 13 men for using illegal long-distance telephone hookups to conceal a nationwide horse race betting system. Atty. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy said a 20-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in New Orleans, grew out of illegal calls to or from these 10 cities: New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., New York, City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, Biloxi, Miss., and Newport, Ky.
The indictment charged that the defendants, described unofficially as including some of the biggest names in horse race lay-off gambling operations, paid telephone company employes to fix switchboards so that wagering calls went through free and unauthorized. The indictment charges them with conspiring to defraud the government of taxes and to cheat the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. of toll charges. The Internal Revenue Service investigated the case. Bench warrants have been issued by U.S. District Judge Herbert W. Christenberry for the arrest of the 13. Bond was fixed at $25,000 each.
The defendants are: Benjamin Lassoff, 53, and his brother Robert Lassoff, 41, and Myron Deckelbaum, 57, all of Cincinnati, Ohio. Gilbert Lee Beckley, 49. Surfside, Fla., and Alfred Mones, 57, Miami Beach. Sam Di Piazza, 35, and Louis E. Bagneris, 60, Arabi. La.; Eugene A. Nolan, 31, Baton Rouge; Charles A. Perez, 44, Harold Brouphy, 52, and Anthony Glorioso, 45, all of New Orleans. Alfred Reyn, 52, New York City and Peter Joseph Martino, 37, Biloxi Miss.Part of the records released by the FBI relating to the Kennedy Assassinations includes the following document at Mary Ferrell website.
|Miramar Hotel Casino in Antigua, British West Indies|
|Charlie "The Blade" Tourine|
|Gil Beckley in Antigua at Tourine's Casino|
We are told that this group of mobsters was part of the Vito Genevese Family, about whom Drew Pearson in an October column in 1950 had this to say:
Vito Genovese mug shotVito Genovese of New York and New Jersey — Genovese was Lucky Luciano's gunman. He gained notoriety helping Luciano terrorize tributes from New York's brothels, fled from New York to New Jersey and now is an important cog in the New Jersey Mafia. His criminal history dates back to April 15, 1917, when he was arrested in New York city for possessing a revolver and got 60 days Since then his power has grown. He has been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, felonious assault, homicide, disorderly conduct, burglary, petty larceny, and first-degree murder. Miraculously, however, he was acquitted on the murder charge.
If we return to the beginning of this essay, the interview between Colodny and George Owen, we must understand that Colodny started his research on Watergate to follow up on some of the information revealed in a book by Jim Hougan, published in 1984, called Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA. Hougan himself has continued his own research, which has been published in an essay online, in which he muses about the friend George Owens first met in Antigua, whom he called Heidi:
But what about "Cathy Dieter"? Who was she? According to Gordon Liddy, Dieter's real name was Heidi Rikan. Liddy testified that he learned this from a seemingly authoritative source: Walter "Buster" Riggin, [see Watergate Exposed for more information] a sometime pimp and associate of Joe Nesline, himself an organized crime figure in the Washington area.
Formerly a stripper at a seedy Washington nightclub called the Blue Mirror, the late Erica "Heidi" Rikan was a friend of Nesline's and, more to the point, of John Dean and his then-fiancee, later wife, Maureen. Indeed, Rikan's photograph appears in the memoir that "Mo" wrote about Watergate. 
While admitting their friendship with Rikan, the Deans deny that she ran a call-girl ring, or that she used "Cathy Dieter" as an alias. Beyond Buster Riggin's assertion to Liddy, evidence on the issue is slim or ambiguous. One writer who attempted to verify the identification is Anthony Summers. As the Irish investigative reporter wrote in his massive biography of President Nixon:Before her death in 1990, Rikan said in a conversation with her maid that she had once been a call girl. Explaining that a call girl was 'a lady that meets men, and men pay them'---the maid had grown up in the country and knew nothing of big-city sins---she added, tantalizingly:
|Excellent book by Phil Stanford|
But then, Anthony Summers couldn't see evidence of an inside job in Venice, Florida, after spending weeks with Daniel Hopsicker.'I was a call girl at the White House." This would appear to confirm assertions that Rikan was a prostitute. But Summers undercuts the confirmation by reporting in that same book---strangely, and in a footnote---that he "found no evidence" of Rikan working as a call-girl. Notes:
23. Maureen Dean (with Hays Gorey) Mo: A Woman's View of Watergate, Simon & Schuster (1975).
24. Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power (Viking, 2000), p. 422.
25. Summers, p. 530.
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