We can only wonder whether he was in any condition to host a party on November 21, 1963 in Dallas at a mansion on Turtle Creek. The biggest question we need to ask, if we're following the money, is "What was the Alleghany Corporation?"
Drew Pearson Column
Texans Raid Wall Street
WASHINGTON — It won't make the headlines of the recent invasion of Cuba, but a Texas invasion of Wall Street is now taking place. It's a proxy fight, the biggest in history, to take over the management of the giant Allegheny holding corporation. At stake are the New York Central Railroad, the Missouri Pacific, and Investors Diversified Services, a $2 billion mutual funds empire, all controlled by Alleghany. The cast of characters in this battle of financial titans is:
- The Murchison family of Texas, including the once rugged, now ailing, Clint Murchison Sr., and his two sons, Clint Jr., and John Dabney, now living at the Carlyle Hotel in New York.
- Allan P. Kirby, parsimonious Scotsman who eats crackers and milk at his desk in Wall Street and commutes nightly to New Jersey.
The fight for the Alleghany Corporation climaxes one of the most amazing in a series of Texas Raids on the north—political and otherwise—ever seen In a state famous for its old-time border raids. Clint Murchison Sr., has been raiding the north ever since he sent $10,000 into Maryland (with his wife) to help the late Joe McCarthy defeat the late Sen. Millard Tydings; also sent money into Connecticut lo help McCarthy defeat Sen. Bill Benton. Murchison's Maryland contribution, which was not reported to "appropriate authorities," was also found by a Senate committee to have been used to pay for a tabloid featuring a faked picture of Tydings posing with Communist leader Earl Browder. This the committee described as part of a "despicable back - street" campaign which "disregarded simple decency and common honesty." The Murchison money which raided Connecticut, helped McCarthy defeat the one senator—Bill Benton—who had the courage to demand McCarthy's senate censure.
Murchison also sent money north to help finance McCarthy's 1953 Chicago telecast in which he charged that Adlai Stevenson would continue "the suicidal Kremlin- dictated policies of this nation." Murchison's far-flung operations were made possible by the 27 ½ per cent oil depletion allowance which puts him and other oilmen in a more favored position than other taxpayers. They can use their money to influence political thought and dominate Industry as most taxpayers can't. This oil depletion allowance, incidentally, is one of the major loopholes In the tax structure which President Kennedy did not recommend plugging when he sent his recent tax message to Congress.
* * *
By taking advantage of it, Clint Murchison has amassed not only on oil empire valued at some $300 million, but an insurance company in Richmond, Va., Atlantic Life; a bus company, Transcontinental Bus System, second only to Greyhound in size; a publishing company, Henry Holt; a candy company, Martha Washington; a sportsmen's magazine, Field and Stream, West Coast steamship company; The Royal Gorge Bridge and Amusement Company in Colorado; various motels, and at one time two race tracks at Charlestown, W. Va., and San Diego, California. At the latter, Del Mar race track, Murchison also owns a motel at which he lavishly entertained J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief, and Joe McCarthy. In the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, Murchison also owns a 75,000-acre ranch valued at $1 million, where he takes guests on hunting junkets. Clint Murchison Sr., once described as a "bold and rugged Texas Democrat," is now not as rugged as he used to be. Confined to a wheel chair, Murchison, according to his family physician, is now "able to speak only a few words at a time and these words are frequently difficult to understand and to interpret."
* * *
The family physician. Dr. John L. Jenkins of Dallas, filed a sworn affidavit Feb. 20 of this year in
the U.S. District Court of Southern New York on another legal battle involving the Murchisons.
The affidavit states:
"The stroke Mr. Murchison suffered in April 1960, caused partial paralysis of the right side of Mr. Murchison's body and caused an impairment of the nerves of the speech center, making it very difficult for him to speak. As a result of the stroke Mr. Murchison's memory has failed to the extent that even as to recent events he sometimes has no recollection at all and when he has some recollection of events it is often faulty. Mr. Murchison has been for some time and is now unable to walk unaided. "It is impossible to predict or give an opinion as to whether Mr. Murchison's condition will change in the foreseeable future."
Perhaps because Clint Murchison Sr., is ailing, and because his two sons are not the rugged individualists their father is, the Murchison financial empire has been searching frantically for funds. The Murchisons owe several millions to Mrs. Robert Young, widow of the late New York Central executive, and, according to SEC records, have borrowed $3,000,000 from Arnold S. Kirkeby, who owns the Kirkeby hotel chain and who once borrowed indirectly from "Longy" Zwillman, the New Jersey gangster, to acquire the Sherry-Netherland in New York. It's a frantic battle between the new Texas oil millionaires and the old Scotch Wall Street millionaire. Whoever wins out on May 1 will control two major railroads and the biggest mutual funds empire in the world. The battle will be worth watching.