Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Wynne-ers' Circle

 The Power of the Wynne Family

Excerpt from Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, pp. 285-86:

Toddie Lee Wynne, Sr., the founder of the Wynne family fortunes, had begun in the 1930s as attorney for Clint Murchison, Sr. [10]  Bedford Wynne, the senior partner in the family law firm of Wynne, Jaffe, and Tinsley, was a Washington troubleshooter for the powerful Murchison oil and construction interests in Texas; we have already seen that in 1963 his questionable lobbying activities were beginning to attract the attention of the federal government.


Bedford Wynne
Most accounts of the efforts to bring an NFL team to Dallas treated Murchison and [Bedford] Wynne as partners and Wynne clearly served as the spokesman of this partnership. Wynne was the one who announced the hiring of Tex Schramm as general manager of the proposed team in November 1959. Wynne was also present at the meeting in Miami in 1960 when NFL owners officially approved the Dallas club as a franchise.
The picture above [see photo inset to right] shows Wynne and Murchison left along with Redskins owner George Preston Marshall and Tex Schramm. Marshall had been one of the more vocal opponents of expansion especially to the Southwest.
Wynne’s story is actually quite fascinating. Born July 14, 1923 he attended high school in Longview before graduating from the New Mexico Military Institute. He spent three and a half years in the Army and then attended the University of Texas. After graduating from UT he moved on to SMU Law School and was later admitted to practice in Texas.
He came from a prominent family in East Texas. His father [Angus Gilchrist Wynne, Sr.] was a lawyer [from tiny Van Zandt County] and active on the political scene. His brother [Angus Gilchrist Wynne, Jr.] was a successful real estate developer and his uncle [Toddie Lee Wynne] was a famous oilman. Wynne joined his family’s law firm and became a partner.
His interests were diverse. He was a director with such companies and organizations as Reliance Life Insurance Company the Sweetwater Development Center Junior Achievement Children’s Development Center the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association University of Texas Ex-Students Association Highland Park United Methodist Church and the nonprofit Garrett Foundation. He was also co-owner of Wynne & Black an oil business as well as the Garrett-Wynne Angus Ranch of Longmont Colorado.
In 1959 he earned media attention when he bought a share of a famed Black Angus bull named Prince 105 which reportedly carried a hefty price tag of $230,000. During the same year Wynne was actively involved with an effort to bring top professional bowlers to the Dallas area. At that time he was an official with Great Southwest Lanes of Arlington.
When Dallas millionaire Lamar Hunt and others announced the formation of the American Football League during the summer of 1959 the NFL moved quickly to announce that the older league would expand as early as 1961. The first two cities named as possible locations were Dallas and Houston and Murchison and Wynne appeared in the newspapers constantly during negotiations. These negotiations ultimately succeeded and Dallas received a franchise a year earlier than originally announced.
Because Wynne appeared in the newspaper so often many thought he was an equal co-owner. However Clint Murchsion owned 95% of the team with his brother John while Wynne was only a minority owner along with Toddie Lee Wynne and W.R. “Fritz” Hawn. Bedford Wynne held the position of director and secretary of the Cowboys.
In 1967 Wynne decided to sell his shares in the Cowboys to help organize the expansion New Orleans Saints. He also left his law practice in 1967 and began to focus on other business ventures.
After 1967 Wynne’s name surfaced less and less. In one interesting story he won a camper at the Byron Nelson Classic in Fort Worth when he hit a tee shot closer to the mark than opponent Mickey Mantle.
He was chairman of a group that operated and managed Teen America Associates which produced a teen beauty pageant for several years and he later became president of Family Recovery Inc. a family counseling service.
Wynne died at the age of 65 on December 30 1989 of a heart attack. He was survived by three daughters and a son along with six grandchildren.
[Source: Viewed at  Sports Comet  [http://www.sportscomet.com/sports_thread/view/id-10802] no longer extant.]
Continuation of Peter Dale Scott excerpt:

In August 1963 Bedford Wynne was the subject of a highly critical army audit of his "salary" from a firm with federal-government contracts (Sweetwater Development), which had been set up by the Murchisons' Tecon Corporation through the law firm of Wynne, Jaffe, and Tinsley. [11] To Wynne this must have seemed like gross political ingratitude. As recently as January 1963, Bedford Wynne had raised a half-million dollars for the depleted treasury of President Kennedy's Democratic party, after which Clint Murchison's son John was granted a mutually satisfactory interview with President Kennedy about preserving the oil depletion allowance. [12]

But it was unlikely that Wynne could escape being noticed in the mounting publicity about the scandalous activities of Lyndon Johnson's Senate protege, Bobby Baker. As noted earlier, it was in the Life issue of November 22, 1963 (p. 92A), that Bedford Wynne was first named as a member of the "Bobby Baker set" at Washington's Q Club. Subsequent Treasury and congressional investigation of Bedford Wynne and Clint Murchison established that their Sweetwater company had made payments (which looked very much like political kickbacks) to the legal firms of Bobby Baker and of Democratic Congressman Emmanuel Celler.[13]  Dallas Republican leader Robert H. Stewart III, a director of Great Southwest, had also arranged for questionable loans to Bobby Baker, via the same two Murchison employees (Robert Thompson and Thomas Webb) who figured in the Baker payoffs from Bedford Wynne.[14]

The Great Southwest Corporation's Project in Texas

When Charles Hurwitz began acquiring a company called McCulloch Oil in 1978, the chairman of the
company was Charles Wood, Jr.--the man who had designed and engineered the construction of
Disneyland in 1955. McCulloch Oil had been founded by Robert McCulloch, a close business associate
of Wood. In 1960 McCulloch and Wood began to develop Lake Havasu City near Scottsdale, Arizona
around a man-made geyser and the London Bridge, which had been transported across the Atlantic and
reassembled. After Disneyland, Wood had gone on to build Freedomland in the Bronx, New York and to
work with Toddie Lee and Angus Wynne of the Great Southwest Corporation in building Six Flags in
Texas. The Great Southwest Corp., in conjunction with Webb and Knapp had gone into great debt in the
early 1960s pursuing these projects and tried to recover by selling the corporate stock to the Penn Central
Railroad owned by the Pennsylvania Company, which, at the same time, bought Macco Realty and

What is intriguing about this is that McCulloch Oil, the Great Southwest, Macco and Arvida were very
rich in land. This fact was no doubt known by David Murdock, who in 1964 had moved to Los Angeles
from Phoenix where he had been involved in home construction. Although he was allegedly insolvent
when he arrived in California, he founded a company that made tile to be used in construction and later
became a land developer and then a corporate tycoon. We do not know at this point whether Murdock,
whose background before that time is extremely sketchy, may have been involved with the Bonanno family which had been involved in real estate development in Arizona.

In 1956-57 the area between Westwood and Los Angeles proper, now called Century City, was owned by Twentieth Century Fox (headed by Spyros Skouras); it was the Tom Mix ranch and the backlot. But the studio needed cash and decided to sell off this 260 acres of real estate. The studio contacted William Zeckendorf--who headed Webb & Knapp--was a Rockefeller-connected developer in New York (he had hired Disney's engineer, Charles Wood, to build Freedomland park in the Bronx and who was a partner with Toddie Lee and Angus Wynne in developing the Great Southwest project in Texas). He agreed to buy the land and lease back a portion to the studio for one and a half million dollars a year.

Zeckendorf eventually sold out his interest to the Mellon family's Alcoa. He states in his autobiography that he became great friends with "General Richard Mellon," whose family has long been connected to O.S.S. and C.I.A. activities, as well as with Gulf Oil (at the time the Mellons were largest shareholders), which was an investor brought into the Zapata Corporation by the Liedtke brothers.(5) By the time Victor Palmieri went to work for Janss Investment, the Janss brothers had sold a half interest in the commercial properties, in 1955, to Arnold S. Kirkeby of Chicago, owner of a chain of hotels including the Beverly Wilshire at Wilshire and Rodeo Drive. Kirkeby changed the design of the village by bringing in highways and high-rises.

The Arizona Project, a journalistic investigation into mob activities in Arizona, which found strong financial links between Arizona real estate development and construction of Las Vegas casinos, also noted:
For [Del] Webb, the Flamingo experience (6) led to a series of deals with other developers who had their own ties to the Mob-dominated Chicago political machine, including Henry Crown and Arnold S. Kirkeby of Los Angeles,

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