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Watergate, the Bahamas & Howard Hughes

Everyone’s in Bed With Everybody Else
January 31, 1974

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Steadily, murkily, there’s rising a classical Nixon strategy to succeed in the mild at the finish of the Watertunnel. The current Nixon vow to “fight like hell” in his battle towards impeachment has led some investigators to consider that Nixon has concluded: In case you can’t get yourself clean, the next neatest thing is to dirty everybody else.

The operative factor on this technique is to trash Democrats, and it appears as if Lyndon Baines John­son, the late President and leader of his social gathering, shall be the first Democrat to be caught in the Watergate net. Johnson was just lately described to The Voice as “an investor” in an enormous Howard Hughes land improvement scheme in the Bahamas. Others involved in the deal embrace Nixon’s previous regulation agency, Daniel Okay. Ludwig, the reclusive delivery billionaire, and a nest of shady figures in the Bahamas and Florida. Different Democrats who have put their eggs in the messy Caribbean basket are positive to comply with.

That is the method a couple of in­vestigators are beginning to view the general Nixon technique: the Watergate investigation has grown like a cancer. What was once the meandering digging of two repor­ters is now a whole phalanx of in­vestigations. Inevitably, in­vestigators now say, such a huge investigative and prosecutorial ef­fort, helped by the work of the major newspapers and tv networks, was destined to go past the unique bounds of Watergate and related crimes.

Classically, as an investigation spreads outward from the vacuum (the individual investigated) in its middle, it tends to go for the intersections of power in this coun­attempt, for that is the place the most in­formation lies. At such intersections, the worlds of politics, business, and crime come collectively.

In current weeks, the in­vestigation of Richard Nixon has more and more begun to come across the power intersections which sur­spherical American life.

Mainly, there have been in­creasing intimations of in­volvement by Nixon and/or his close associates and advisers with organized crime. Some in­vestigators now consider Nixon welcomes the twist the Watergate investigation has taken, because he is aware of that different politicians and large business pursuits have long been camped out at the energy in­tersections on the periphery of American life. “He’s not the only one out there playing footsie, and he knows it,” one investigator informed The Voice last week. “The closer these investigations get to him in the Bahamas, for example, the more Democrats and other Republicans they’re going to stumble over. It’s a rats nest out there. Everybody in bed with everybody else. Nixon’s is just one chess piece in a very big game on a very big board. Inevitably, the closer they get to impeaching Nixon, the more skeletons will be crawling out of the closet on both sides of the aisle.”

“This is the way Nixon looks at it,” a well-informed supply stated last week. “If the President of the United States is going to be made to stand naked before the Senate, a lot of those voting yea or nay will do so in their underwear.”

***

All bets have been off in the Bahamas in 1969. The just lately elected govern­ment of Lynden O. Pindling, the first all-black government in the historical past of the island, was driving a crest of public approval. Ever since Pindling had defeated the in­well-known “Bay Street Boys,” a gaggle of rich British business­men and hustlers who had long managed authorities and com­merce in the Bahamas, there had been a lot agitation for the Bahamas to break away from the British and achieve independence.

This put the many overseas in­vestors in the Bahamas in one thing of a tizzy. They feared an unbiased black government can be unimaginable to cope with in the approach enterprise had lengthy been carried out in that part of the world: in cash.

This rising concern, in a minimum of two situations, led to a seek for a measure of political clout which might offset any political tur­bulence the government in the Bahamas may run into. One in­terest very much in want of such political clout was Howard Hughes, who in 1969 was in the midst of creating an enormous parcel of prime waterfront property on Grand Bahama Island. This massive Hughes actual property scheme in the Bahamas is now being seemed upon as a potential new motivation for the now well-known Hughes $100,000 “donation” to Nixon, in accordance with authoritative sources on Capitol Hill. They say the so-called donation, made in two $50,000 installments (one in 1969 and one in 1970), might have been meant to purchase political affect in the Bahamas which Nixon, as President of the U.S., might have wielded by means of diplomatic overtures to Bahamas officers, or by more direct strategies.

The story behind this new twist in Watergate-related monetary affairs goes like this:

Hughes bought an enormous parcel of prime waterfront property in the Bahamas in the early ’50s. That is the first time Hughes has been described as proudly owning property in the Bahamas. There have been rumors in 1970 and 1971, when Hughes was dwelling in the Bahamas atop the luxurious Resorts International-­owned Britannia Seashore Lodge on Paradise Island, that he was enthusiastic about buying property and taking over residence in the Bahamas completely. Then, as instantly as he had appeared in the islands, Hughes disappeared and turned up later in London. Speak about Hughes and the Bahamas subsided, a minimum of for the time being.

Additionally operating heavily in Bahamas real property at the similar time have been Wallace Groves and Louis Chesler, individuals who have been described repeatedly by regulation enforcement officers and organized crime specialists as prime lieutenants of Meyer Lansky, the infamous “chairman of the board” of international organized crime. Groves and Chesler have been well known to a man who did business with them in the Bahamas. This man has described to The Voice the real property improvement enterprise in the Bahamas this manner:

“If you dealt in land, you dealt with Uncle Wally and Uncle Lou. You did things their way, you acted when they told you to act, or you didn’t act at all. There was no other way to go. There’s plenty who just got out of there with their skin for thinking they could beat them at their own game. Uh-Uh. Don’t work that way.”

Hughes apparently purchased the waterfront property after which did nothing with it till the late 1960s. The event scheme, which based on knowledgeable per­sons on Capitol Hill was being per­sonally supervised by Hughes him­self, additionally included different buyers. Certainly one of them was Lyndon Johnson, who reportedly did not use a lawyer, however fairly dealt personally together with his investment. Additionally concerned was billionaire delivery magnate Daniel Okay. Ludwig, who handled the Hughes interests by means of his at­torneys, Nixon, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander, in 1968. He remained with the similar firm in 1969, after Nixon and his pal John Mitchell had left for greener pastures. The regulation firm represents Nationwide Bulk Carriers, Inc. considered one of the largest oil delivery fleets in the world and Ludwig’s major property.

“A group of four investors from Miami” was additionally involved accord­ing to these knowledgeable about this deal. However they might not recall who the 4 have been.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, however precisely the similar time there began to be speak amongst the Hughes buyers of the need for political clout in the Bahamas, one Robert Vesco hired the President’s nephew, Donald Nixon as a per­sonal “adviser.” Donald Nixon was at that time 22 years previous. He was utilized by Vesco in negotiations to purchase the Paradise Island Casino from Resorts Worldwide. It was extensively rumored in the Bahamas at that time (1969), based on accounts by Hank Messick and Jim Savage of the Miami Herald, that the presence of the President’s nephew at the Vesco elbow was meant to “telegraph” United States concern about the security of American investments in the Bahamas. A matter of great con­cern to Vesco and Paradise Island owner James Crosby (an excellent good friend of Nixon and Rebozo) was the gambling exemption for the casino, which could possibly be revoked at any time by the Bahamas government with nearly no purpose or warning. The casino to this present day en­joys its playing exemption.

It isn’t recognized whether or not Robert Vesco or the Resorts International crowd had an curiosity in the Hughes improvement scheme in the Bahamas, although some in­vestigators do not take frivolously the incontrovertible fact that Hughes was staying at a Resort International lodge in the Bahamas (he additionally stayed at a Resorts International lodge in Lon­don). And now he is again in the Bahamas staying at the Xandu Princess, owned by D. Okay. Ludwig, a associate in the Hughes develop­ment scheme.

As one authoritative supply put it, “Anything is possible down there. They’re like one big, happy family: Resorts, Crosby, Vesco, Ludwig, Hughes, Rebozo, Donald Nixon. I would be very surprised if all of them weren’t involved with each other in one way or another.”

***

Including to the speculation about Nixon’s technique for dealing with impeachment final week was the following:

After the Senate Watergate com­mittee voted four to 3 alongside get together strains to resume hearings, only three days have been allotted for the listening to on Hughes/Rebozo/Nixon $100,000. The committee employees had requested for no less than two weeks.

A person close to the committee employees advised The Voice that, regardless of that setback, the employees was gearing up to match as a lot in the three days as potential when extra dangerous news got here their method. The employees was in­structed, apparently by Ervin and Baker, to “stay away from the fol­lowing areas”: any attainable quid-­pro-quo for the so-called donation; the Paradise Island Casino; Rebozo’s bank; F. Donald Nixon’s involvement; and “the whole area of the President’s finances.”

The individual close to the employees, who is understood by The Voice to have good contacts and be properly up on what’s happening, stated the employees was flabbergasted. “‘It came down from both sides, Republican and Democrats. It was like tying their hands after they had done four months work on this thing. They were ready to go with everything. They could have drawn a picture you wouldn’t consider. Then the phrase comes right down to back-off prac­tically all the things.

“Smathers (former Senator George A. from Florida) and Dan­ner (Richard G. — the man who car­ried the cash to Rebozo from Hughes; a former City Manager of Miami Beach from 1946 to 1948) are both in town. They (the com­mittee staff) think they’re leaning on Talmadge. It looks like Hughes is calling in all his chips. He’s col­lecting all his debts. That accounts for some of the paranoia. But Jesus, how far is this going to go?”