Saturday, April 2, 2011

Seven-night-a-week Partygoers

Yet another Watergate revision posted here for what it's worth--basically only basic information about John Dean's life. "Shepard asserts that once Dean, the president’s counsel, decided to aid the investigation, he became the villain, breaching attorney-client privilege and releasing government secrets.... Shepard is thorough in his research and passionate in his viewpoints but has no compunction about imagining events and motivations when they are not documented and is reluctant to provide facts and let readers come to their own conclusions. Still, Shepard brings back vivid memories of an acrimonious time and raises some interesting questions," says reviewer Vanessa Bush.

Troublesome Facts About John Dean

November 11, 2009 by Geoff Shepard |

You will read his books and search the Internet in vain if you are looking for any detail in John Dean’s rise to power.  One might believe that his story was one of a natural progression from Wooster College to Georgetown Law School to the House Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice and then to the Nixon White House—but this would overlook the astonishing number of fits and restarts in his early career:
  • Dean grew up in Marion, Ohio and first attended Eber Baker High School—switching to Staunton Military Academy in Virginia early in his Sophomore year. It is not clear what happened at Baker High, but in that era you got sent away to military school only if you came from a military family or there was trouble on the home front.
  • He graduated from Staunton in 1957, but did not go into the military.  Instead, he enrolled at Colgate University in New York, intending to major in English.  Things did not go well for him at Colgate and he again switched schools in the middle of his Sophomore Year—returning to Ohio to attend tiny Wooster College, where his activities centered on the Pre-Law Club.
  • In his Senior Year, Dean married Karla Hennings, daughter of Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri.  He graduated in the lower third of his class in 1961 (144/204), but did not go to law school.  Instead, he enrolled in American University in Washington, DC, doing graduate work in political science.
    Dean's father-in-law, Sen. Hennings
  • In 1962, he dropped out of American University to enroll in Georgetown Law School, from which he graduated in 1965.
  • His first (and only) experience in private practice was with the small communications law firm of Welsh & Morgan, who specialized in obtaining very lucrative FCC broadcast licenses.  Dean was fired in six months ‘for unethical conduct’:  Apparently, while working on a license application for a firm client, he also prepared an application on behalf of his mother-in-law in St. Louis.  It is not clear from the record whether the Dean application was in direct competition with the one he was working on for the firm or just one that would have reduced the scarce number of such licenses.  What is clear is that Dean quickly ascertained the lucrative nature of what he was working on for the firm and sought to take advantage of that knowledge for his own family.
  • Dean quickly became Minority Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, courtesy of Rep. Bill McCullough of Ohio—and Wooster College alum.  For reasons that remain unclear, Dean ‘was terminated effective August 13, 1967’ and remained unemployed for the next six months.
  • In February of 1968, Dean became Associate Director of the Commission to Reform the Federal Criminal Laws, named the Brown Commission after its chairman, Edmund G (Pat) Brown ( who had defeated Richard Nixon in 1962 to become California’s Governor).  Dean described his duties as administrative in nature, but also dealing with conflict of laws and death penalty statutes.  While on the Commission staff, Dean obtained a letter from his previous law firm that qualified his termination, saying it  ‘resulted from a basic disagreement over law firm policies regarding the nature and scope of an associate’s activities’—but the letter notably did not rescind the prior characterization of being terminated for unethical conduct.
It is from this highly questionable base of experience and expertise that Dean became Associate Deputy Attorney General shortly after Nixon was inaugurated in January of 1969.  It was there that he supervised the work of the Legislative and Legal Section of the Department of Justice.  Six months into his new job, Dean separated from his wife, leaving her with their two year old son.

Dean moved to the White House in July of 1970, replacing John D. Ehrlichman as Nixon’s Counsel.  How could someone who started and then dropped out of his first high school, college and graduate school, and who was terminated from his first two jobs end up on the White House staff? It is as story of a classic bureaucratic move gone bad:  Ehrlichman had roomed at UCLA with Bob Haldeman before joining to Stanford Law School and practicing law in Seattle. He had been a senior member of Nixon’s 1968 campaign staff that was run by Haldeman. With Haldeman as Nixon’s Chief of Staff and Ehrlichman as his lawyer, they soon became known as the Berlin Wall. After eighteen months, Ehrlichman become Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, taking all his top staff to the newly formed Domestic Council.

The hiring of John Dean to replace Ehrlichman—essentially replacing a power figure with a demonstrably less senior successor—was done to assure the Counsel’s office did not again become a power base. Dean has said ‘the title was the best part of the job’, since all he really was ‘just a messenger boy between Haldeman and Attorney General John Mitchell. He told his sentencing officer that ‘His principle [sic] duty was of evaluating and handling security clearances and clemency petitions in addition to administrative duties.’ Amazingly, in retrospect the FBI full field investigation that would have preceded any appointment to the White House staff was waived in Dean’s case —since he would have been the one to review it.
Jun. 25, 1973
In 1969 Richard Kleindienst, who was then Deputy Attorney General, hired Dean as the Justice Department's liaison with Congress. As such, he was in charge of lobbying efforts for the ill-fated nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. His loyalty to the Administration so impressed senior White House staffers that he was hired to succeed John Ehrlichman as presidential counsel in 1970. In that job, Dean appeared to be a man of rigid principle, even when he was secretly helping to cover up Watergate. Once a junior staffer asked whether he could accept a $200 honorarium for a speech. "No, sir," Dean declared. What if he turned the money over to his church? "No," Dean repeated. "Nobody on the White House staff is going to accept money for anything."

Undoubtedly, Dean's career was furthered by his good looks and his command of the social graces. Detractors also suggest he was helped along by his first marriage—to Karla Hennings, the daughter of the late Senator Thomas C. Hennings of Missouri. She bore his son John IV, now 5, but the marriage ended in divorce three years ago.

Last fall [1972] Dean married Maureen, a former insurance saleswoman from Los Angeles.

From the outset, John and Mo Dean maintained a low social profile in their $70,000 brick town house on Quay Street in Alexandria's affluent Old Town section, just 200 yards from the Potomac. Now, of course, the profile is lower still. Occasionally, they eat out with the Goldwaters, who live across the street. One recent Saturday, another neighbor, Ervin Committee Member Lowell Weicker, dropped in for beer and pretzels. Before the worst of Watergate, the Deans played tennis and golf, swam and sailed their 18-ft. boat. Nattily dressed in broad-lapel suits and wide ties, Dean used to drive to work a purple Porsche 911 as highly polished as his shoes. Now he and Mo stay home.

Although hidden from public view by drawn shades, he still looks tanned. The tan is inexplicable; he told a recent visitor: "I haven't been in the sun for days. I would call it a bourbon pallor; except I haven't had a drink for days either." For the most part, in these last weeks leading up to his climactic appearance before the Ervin committee, he has worked in his basement, putting his letters and other documents in order, preparing for his ordeal.
JULY 13, 1964
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —North Carolina delegates to the Republican National Convention were told Sunday the successful Goldwater drive for delegate votes began in the Tar Heel state. Dick Kleindienst, GOP candidate for governor in Sen. Barry Goldwater's home state of Arizona, thanked North Carolinians for their early support of Goldwater in a brief visit to a caucus of the 28 delegates. He said that if there was a place that could be said to be a beginning of Goldwater's successful campaign, it was last Feb. 15 when the Fifth North Carolina District pledged  delegates to Goldwater.

Kleindienst, a Goldwater manager, predicted the senator's nomination on the first ballot and called Him "a truly national candidate." At its caucus, the North Carolina group also heard from close relatives of the two major candidates — Barry Goldwater Jr., representing his father, and Mrs. Marian Isaacs, representing her brother, Gov. William Scranton of Pennsylvania.

JUNE 4, 1971
 NEW YORK (UPI) - The American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU), in response to criticism by Deputy Atty. General Richard G. Kleindienst, reiterated its claims yesterday that most of the mass arrests during Washington's May Day antiwar demonstrations were illegal. In addition, the ACLU office in New York said the persons arrested were detained illegally, the physical facilities in which they were held were "chosen to maximize pain and suffering" and arrest forms "were deliberately falsified in a retroactive attempt to justify the arrests."

Kleindienst, the No. 2 man in the Justice Department, said Thursday the arrests were legal constitutional and essential to control a "vicious and wanton mob attack on Washington."

"In apparent frustration over its inability to win other wars, the administration has inflated the May Day disruptions into a threat to the national survival which it could crush through a display of overwhelming force," the ACLU said.
March 9, 1972
 WASHINGTON (AP) — Columnist Jack Anderson told Senate investigators today that "Richard G. Kleindienst is unfit to be attorney general because he is not a " man who understands the law and respects the truth."

Despite his disclaimers, acting Atty. Gen. Kleindienst played a major role in settlement of three antitrust suits against the International Telephone & Telegraph Corp. Anderson testified to the Judiciary Committee as a result of columns written by Anderson last week the committee is taking new testimony relating to Kieindienst's nomination to be attorney general. In the same newspaper is this:
WASHINGTON — Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., R-Calif., is engaged to marry 25-year-old Susan Lee Gherman, a business major at the University of California at Los Angeles. The 33-year-old congressman, whose office announced the engagement Wednesday, is the son of Sen. Barry Goldwater. R-Ariz. Miss Gherman is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Mort [Emmanuel Motimer] Gherman of Newport Beach, Calif. No wedding date has been set.
Susan's father, a lawyer and psychiatrist, lived in Newport Beach, California, but had been born in Winnepeg, Canada and educated as a physician there before his emigration in about 1936. From 1954-56 while living in Chicago, he was a Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol (see page 3). Susan Gherman had been engaged in 1967 to Harry Roger Drackett III of Cincinnati, Ohio, whose grandfather invented Windex. She attended Santa Monica City College after graduating from Katherine Gibbs School in New York. Shortly after the Newport Beach wedding on March 30, 1972 to Barry Goldwater, Jr. where 1,500 guests attended the Balboa Bay Club reception, the following appeared in the Desert Sun:
Father-In-Law Of Goldwater Faces Charges
SAN BERNARDINO (UPl)—The father-in-law of Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., R-Calif. was charged Thursday with 10 counts of grand theft and 59 of false and misleading advertising in connection with real estate sales. The charges were brought against Dr. E. Mortimer Gherman, of Laguna [sic] Beach, Calif., father of the former Susan Lee Gherman, who married the young congressman less than two months ago. Goldwater is the son of Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the 1964 Republican presidential nominee. Charges against Gherman and two others, James Moreland and John A. Patterson, were filed by Deputy District Attorney Charles Wolfe, who said the accusations were related to sale of 128 cabin sites for $1.1 million at Big Bear Lake, a popular weekend resort for Los Angeles area residents. He said the state Department of Real Estate began an investigation because lot buyers complained that advertisements led them to believe utilities were available at the sites, and they weren’t.
Most readers may not realize that when John Dean met his future wife, Maureen Kane Biner Owen (or perhaps it was Maureen Kane Owen Biner?), she had a good friend named Susan Gherman who married John's former roommate from Staunton Military Academy days, none other than the son of U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. After Susan and Barry Jr. divorced, Susan married an older man named Marvin L. Warner, to whom she was married at the time the following story appeared in 1979, although the marriage would endure for less than one year:

Susan Goldwater more than meets one's eye
June 10, 1979

Daily Herald Chicago, Illinois

WASHINGTON - When people talk about Susan Goldwater, which is often, it is in terms of her stunning looks. But there's much, much, more to the senator's former daughter-in-law than meets the eye. Statuesque Susan, who has a pilot's license and races cars, is transforming herself from a much-photographed, much-touted seven-night-a-week partygoer into a television performer.

She has her eyes set on the national scene and is carefully negotiating, through a New York agent, freelance television work via a network or syndication. Goldwater, 33, wants and is getting the best of both worlds.

On May 26 she married the American ambassador to Switzerland, 60-year-old millionaire Marvin Warner of Cincinnati and Miami.

Goldwater says Warner has given his blessings to her career ambitions. "We're giving each other room," she says. The remark Is revealing.

SUSAN GOLDWATER is the mother of Barry III, who's 4, and her no-fault divorce from Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., R-Calif., became final May 16.

She comes from an affluent California family background. Her father, Mort Gherman, is a lawyer and psychiatrist. The family home is in Newport Beach, and Susan is used to the best of everything.
Lately she has been working for it.

Now she co-hosts "PM Magazine" on WDVM-TV, Washington, with a $40,000 plus-expenses salary. When she signed her three-year contract, she insisted on an option to quit, on short notice, if a network offered her a job. But she will leave the station, a CBS-TV affiliate, now that she has married Warner. She expects to be back on syndicated or network television in the fall. The root of her ambition goes deep: "I plan to make a go of this thing." she says. "By that I mean right to the top."

Goldwater sounds calculating, but television is a tough, cut-throat business where pretty faces and famous names are common.

IN A WAY, her third marriage will make her career pursuit easier, Warner has a private plane and plenty of household help. Susan Goldwater is just breaking into a highly competitive business where she sees her rivals as Phyllis George and Jane Pauley. Her new lifestyle will help.

What makes Susan Goldwater tick is her sheer gutsiness. Some call it nerve. Others call it aggressiveness. Her charm tempers her steel, and the combination is fascinating. You get the real clue to Goldwater's personality when she talks about driving the pace car, at 130 mph, at the Daytona 500. She talks about flirting with danger, maybe death.

"The cars are just inches away. One wrong move and..." The smile she smiles is sweet and out of context with her description of Russian roulette on wheels.

After the Goldwater marriage of five years had failed, Susan, with no television experience, showed up in Columbus, Ohio, hosting a nightly cable television show.

SUSAN GOLDWATER, astute social butterfly, slowly became Susan Goldwater, creditable television interviewer. "I know," she says, "that I've made a complete switch. I went from the party life to nothing — nothing but work."

That's not exactly true. Susan is very attractive and there was a string of serious admirers. Warner, though stationed in Switzerland, courted her with daily trans-oceanic telephone calls and once-a-month rendezvous in Washington, Switzerland and Palm Beach.

The difference in age — 27 years — doesn't bother her. She says they have an agreement not to "botch up" the relationship with silly lovers' quarrels. "Time is of the essence for us," she says seriously.

"There's no time for arguments or competition or games." She repeats his age, 60, for emphasis. "This understanding gives our relationship a special quality. It makes everything positive." She quibbles about the word love.

"I LIKE it better," she says firmly, "when a man tells me I'm fun to be with or that he likes me." The tone is somewhat poignant, the eyes sad. "The word, love, is such an empty word," she says. It's an open secret in Washington that, for a long time, Susan thought she and Barry would or could reconcile. It never happened.

Is she over that? Are the old wounds healed? Her answer is simple and frank. "I can talk to Barry now without mourning the relationship I feel should have been," she says.

"There is our son," she says. "I'm always thinking of our son."

There are Susan Goldwater detractors, particularly women in the television business who complain that the Goldwater name, which is known nationally, has opened doors. She's well aware of the criticism and points out that 400 tapes were reviewed by WDVM-TV before she landed the job.

"There are people out there who say, oh yes, Goldwater, the girl with the golden name." There is a certain I'11-show-them tone in her voice. Then: "The money you get in television is nice, but to me success Is much, much more than that. It's a feeling deep inside that you somehow emerge the victor." She sighs.
(c)  1979 Boston Globe Newspaper Co.
1979  Los Angeles Times Syndicate


Pete Brewton
pp. 280 et seq.
Consider the first bank where [Fernando] Birbragher was caught: Great American Bank in Miami. At the time (1980 and 1981) Birbragher was laundering the cartel's drug money through Great American Bank, it was owned by Marvin Warner, an Alabama native whose businesses were based out of Cincinnati. Like Charles Keating, his fellow Cincinnatian, who also got caught in the savings-and-loan debacle, Warner is full of arrogance, bluster and hubris, a man who thought his political connections and influence mongering would save him, and when it didn't, carped bitterly about government interference.

Warner got his start building houses after World War II. In the late 1950s, he bought Home State Savings in Ohio and prospered, investing in race horses and professional sports teams [including the New York Yankees]. In 1977, his support of Democrats paid off when President Jimmy Carter appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland. During his absence overseas, Warner hired Donald E. Beazley, a Miami banker and former federal bank examiner, to run Great American.

Before Beazley joined Warner he had worked for a while for Guillermo Hernandez-Cartaya, according to author James Ring Adams in The Big Fix: Inside the S&L Scandal. CIA asset Hernandez-Cartaya had gotten involved with Warner's close associates at the fraud-infested E.S.M. Securities. In fact, E.S.M. files contained a note from Hernandez-Cartaya thanking an E.S.M. principal for his offer to help in the sale or purchase of Jefferson Savings and Loan in McAllen, Texas, from Lloyd Bentsen's family.

When Warner returned from Switzerland in 1979, he took Beazley's place at Great American Bank. Beazley then jumped to the presidency of the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia. That bank, the subject of a book by Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots, was crawling with ex-CIA (if there is such a thing as ex-CIA) and former high-ranking military officials, and was used in drug-money laundering, weapons transactions and the cheating of American investors, among other things. (Beazley was never charged with any wrongdoing at Nugan Hand.)

When Beazley was working for Great American Bank, he was approached by an individual on behalf of Nugan Hand, who wanted to buy a Great American subsidiary bank, the Second National Bank of Homestead, Florida, Kwitny reported. The deal eventually fell through, but there were allegations that Second National Bank had been connected to the late PAUL HELLIWELL, the China OSS veteran and CIA master-operative who practiced law in Miami and was one of the powers behind Castle Bank & Trust, the offshore tax haven bank used by the CIA and the mob to launder money.

While Beazley was chief executive officer of Nugan Hand, he took part in the attempted acquisition of a London bank. 4 One of his partners in the deal was Ricardo Chavez, a Cuban exile and CIA contract agent who was a member of the Edwin Wilson, Ted Shackley and Tom Clines group. In fact, Chavez was an officer in Wilson's Houston-based A.P.I. Distributors.

Despite all these relationships to CIA operatives, Beazley has denied any connections to American intelligence. 5

Marvin Warner in cuffs
After Beazley left Nugan Hand (when it disintegrated following the alleged suicide of one of the principals), he returned to Florida banking--first as president of Gulfstream Banks, and then as president of City National Bank of Miami. City National was owned by Alberto Duque, a Colombian whose father was a wealthy coffee magnate. The attorney for the bank was Stephen Arky, Marvin Warner's son-in-law....

Arky committed suicide in July 1985 after the E.S.M. Government Securities fraud scandal broke. The collapse of E.S.M. wrecked the Home State Savings of Arky's father-in-law, Warner, and led to Warner's conviction for fraud. After Arky's suicide, he was praised by his former boss at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where Arky worked after getting out of law school. "He was one of my real success stories," Stanley Sporkin, then general counsel to the CIA, told the Miami Herald. "He was one of my finest young men."6

4. Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots.
5. Ibid.
6. Miami Herald, July 24, 1985.


Anonymous said...

Linda--Your posting is only a portion of my full essay about John Dean--but the information on his early life and career is all based on materials contained in his sentencing file, which is included in Judge John Sirica's papers at the Library of Congress. More about John Dean can be viewed in my Mysteries of Watergate presentation last year at the Nixon Library: that also has been re-broadcast several times on C-Span. Geoff Shepard

Linda Minor said...

Thanks for the comment from Geoff Shepard.