Robert Vesco, Elvis Presley, and Delta Airlines - March 16, 2018

The Runaway U-2 – March 9, 2018
March 9, 2018
Let’s Talk About The Boeing 727 – March 23, 2018
March 23, 2018
Show all

Robert Vesco, Elvis Presley, and Delta Airlines – March 16, 2018

Robert Novells’ Third Dimension Blog

March 16, 2018

Good Morning,

Back in the 70s there was a man named Robert Vesco, he decided to help himself to the assets of a Mutual Fund he controlled, was about to be caught by American authorities for his misdeeds when he decided to get on his private 707 and flew the country. Thus began a forty year odyssey for Mr. Vesco who eluded authorities until his death. The most interesting part of the story is how his airplane was recovered and who was trying to buy the airplane after its return to the US.

Enjoy…..

Vesco’s Fugitive Jet

The pilot who once flew fugitive financier Robert Vesco from place to place remembers him as a fearful “white knuckles passenger.” Vesco’s coloring these days is more likely an outraged shade of purple. Last month the pilot, a 45-year-old daredevil named Alwyn (“Ike”) Eisenhauer, “repossessed” Vesco’s $3.5 million Boeing 707, flying it from Panama to New Jersey, where it was impounded by a court order.

Eisenhauer pulled off the brazen stunt in order to collect about $55,000 in back pay and other expenses that he says Vesco owes him. It was one of the few successful attempts to recover anything from Vesco, who is accused of bilking $224 million from overseas mutual funds. For more than two years Vesco has been living in the Bahamas and Costa Rica.

In 1971 Eisenhauer, then Vesco’s chief pilot, helped his boss lease the surplus airplane and oversaw the refitting to include such amenities as a bar, sauna and dance floor. Then, when Vesco’s financial network soured, Eisenhauer’s job fell through, and about two months ago Vesco ordered the jet parked in Panama, where he thought it would be safe from his creditors.

Back in the United States, Eisenhauer proposed sneaking the plane home to a New Jersey judge, who gave tacit approval to the scheme on behalf of the airplane’s owners, a holding company that had gone into receivership. The plane is its principal asset.

Eisenhauer and a crew of two flew to Panama on a commercial jet and wangled a meeting with the country’s director of civil aviation. The official was still angry because the pilots Vesco had hired to fly the airplane to Panama had landed without the proper clearance. Brags Eisenhauer: “I wrote a beautiful letter apologizing and explaining I represented the legal owner.” Then he sat down for a formal meeting with the Panamanian official, where the two discovered they were both old fighter pilots. “He came around the desk and shook my hand with both of his,” says Eisenhauer. It was then he knew the ploy had worked. Eisenhauer and his crew went to the airfield, readied the plane and made an uneventful flight to the United States.

The airplane will probably be sold—a rock band has expressed interest—and it will be sorely missed by Vesco, who sometimes would put in as many as 28 days out of a month aboard the jet. “He liked to work in it,” recalls Eisenhauer, “wearing his wine-colored lounging pajamas. It was like his security blanket. The crew was all on 24-hour alert—always on the go. Before you could even finish your drink you were in another country.” Though Vesco often ordered exotic meals prepared for his guests, his own favorite was pizza cooked aboard the plane and an inexpensive Chianti.

Ironically, Vesco disliked flying, especially in turbulence. “Once,” recalls Vesco former chief stewardess Dottie McCarthy, “we hit an air pocket and a galley door banged open. Bob dropped to his knees and yelled, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And he walked back to his seat on his knees.”

Source Document

Now, after the return of the 707 it turns out Elvis was looking for an airplane and Elvis paid a $75,000 deposit on the Boeing 707 but the deal fell through. The previous owner, Robert Vesco, was the fugitive financier who had fled to South America after allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from international investment firms. Buying his plane would involve some complicated wrangling with the IRS and Elvis was warned about another complication: If the plane ever landed in any of the countries Vesco was establishing a base in, there was every reason to believe that they might try to seize it.

lisa-marie-jet

So, Elvis found a used Delta Airlines Convair 880 that had a clean record and would have no problem flying to any country around the globe. Elvis opted for the Convair for $250,000.00 USD.

Now, what happened to Vesco?

A Last Vanishing Act for Robert Vesco

Other photos show him coughing and clearly in pain in a hospital bed on what a friend said was the day before he died. There are also photos of a small group of people attending his burial.

His last days, a friend said, were in marked contrast to his ebullient pre-prison phase, when he partied lavishly, chain smoked and talked big.

Some of those who knew Mr. Vesco said it would not surprise them if he had orchestrated a fake death, to slip away one more time. “He could have died,” said Arthur Herzog, an author who interviewed Mr. Vesco in Cuba for a biography. “But Bob has used disguises in the past.”

On top of that, Mr. Herzog said, an intermediary who lives on the island had left the impression that he was in contact with Mr. Vesco in Cuba within the last month.

After a criminal odyssey that began on Wall Street, Mr. Vesco fled the United States in 1971, along the way repeatedly demonstrating the power of money to overcome any ideology.

Robert L. Vesco in 1974. He fled the United States in 1971 to avoid legal problems, and after a long odyssey avoiding American justice, friends say he died in November from lung cancer. Credit Associated Press

His associates and protectors included democratically elected presidents in Costa Rica, the left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the cocaine barons of Colombia, the terrorism-tainted government in Libya, and, finally, the Communist government of Fidel Castro.

Whereas the American government considered Mr. Vesco to be an American fugitive, he had apparently somehow gained Italian citizenship. A friend provided a copy of an Italian passport issued in 2006 that bore Mr. Vesco’s name and photograph.

The friend said representatives from the Italian Embassy had visited Mr. Vesco while he was in jail and had assisted with his funeral arrangements. An Italian Embassy official did not return calls seeking comment.

Having lived comfortably in Havana for more than a dozen years, Mr. Vesco was convicted and jailed there for fraud in 1996 after reportedly double-crossing Fidel Castro’s relatives in a bogus wonder-drug deal.

How much truth there was to the allegation was impossible to know for certain because accusations against the shadowy financier have always seemed to mix rumor and fact.

At the height of his notoriety in the 1970s, Mr. Vesco looked like a tough guy out of Hollywood central casting — tall, craggy-faced, with a mustache, long sideburns and sunglasses. He liked to burnish his image as an unpredictable rogue driven as much by perverse pride as by crass profit.

He also delighted in thumbing his nose at Cuban agents who were on his trail. They responded by suggesting that Mr. Vesco was the mastermind behind every sort of money-laundering, narcotics and smuggling plot in the Caribbean.

“With even a fraction of what he was supposed to have stolen he could have disappeared,” wrote Mr. Herzog, in his 1987 biography, “Vesco: From Wall Street to Castro’s Cuba, The Rise, Fall and Exile of the King of White Collar Crime.”

Instead, Mr. Vesco seemed to have a compulsion to call attention to himself from his places of exile. A self-made man, he seemed hardly able to help it.

A high school dropout from Detroit, he lied about his age to get a job on an automobile assembly line. At 21, he moved to New Jersey to work for a struggling manufacturer of machine tools.

He took over the company when it went bankrupt, rebuilt it and renamed it the International Controls Corporation. By the age of 30, Mr. Vesco was a millionaire.

He later turned his sights on a Switzerland-based mutual fund company, Investment Overseas Services (I.O.S.). When that, too, ran into trouble, Mr. Vesco offered to rescue the company and was embraced as a white knight by investors terrified of losing their savings.

He bought I.O.S. in 1970 for less than $5 million, gaining control of an estimated $400 million in funds. The accounting at the company had been so chaotic that Mr. Vesco, by adding a few subterfuges of his own, was able to plunder its holdings at will.

After numerous complaints, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission carried out an investigation. In 1972, the commission charged Mr. Vesco and others in a civil suit with stealing more than $224 million.

But Mr. Vesco had already fled, first to the Bahamas and then to Costa Rica. There, he established a close friendship with President José Figueres, plowing some $11 million into his adopted country.

“I wish more Vescos would come to Costa Rica — we need them,” said Mr. Figueres on television in response to criticism that he was harboring a criminal.

Mr. Vesco also befriended Donald A. Nixon Jr., a nephew of President Richard M. Nixon, and gave $200,000 to the Nixon campaign, apparently hoping the president would help quash the investigation against him.

It was to no avail. But to the frustration of the F.B.I. Mr. Vesco remained tantalizingly out of reach in Costa Rica, where he passed himself off as a progressive dairy and cattle rancher, and an investor in high-tech projects.

Eventually, one of his high-tech brainstorms — a factory to make machine guns, which included President Figueres’s son as a partner — became his undoing.

A public and political outcry ensued, and by 1978 he was forced to leave for the Bahamas, the beginning of years of hopscotching that included stops in Antigua and Nicaragua, before Cuba finally accepted him for “humanitarian” reasons.

“We don’t care what he did in the United States,” Fidel Castro said. “We’re not interested in the money he has.”

In Cuba, Mr. Vesco grew a beard, donned a white guayabera shirt and passed himself off as a Canadian citizen named Tom Adams. He and his family lived in a suburban Havana house that was modest by United States standards but lavish for Cubans. Within a few years, allegations began to circulate about Mr. Vesco’s involvement in narcotics trafficking, and he was named as a co-conspirator in the trial in Florida of Carlos Lehder Rivas, a reputed leader of Colombia’s biggest drug cartel.

Mr. Vesco eventually ran afoul of the Castro government with a scheme to produce a wonder drug that supposedly cured cancer, AIDS, arthritis and even the common cold. He was accused of defrauding a state-run biotechnology laboratory run by Fidel Castro’s nephew, Antonio Fraga Castro, and sentenced to 13 years. After serving most of his time in a private cell in a large prison in eastern Cuba, Mr. Vesco was quietly released in 2005 and lived so simply in recent years in Havana that a friend said he did not know what had happened to his fortune.

Source Document

So, I think we can agree that the only thing new in today’s world is the history we have not read…..but now you know the rest of the story and corporate crime, on a large scale, is nothing new and will continue…..there is a reason greed is one of the seven deadly sins

Have a good weekend and take care/be safe.

Robert Novell

March 16, 2018