The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on July 7, 1991 · Page 2
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 2

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Nashville, Tennessee
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Sunday, July 7, 1991
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2'A TN Tfwmww . tumUyJUlY 7. 1 Wl C Gambling godfathers may lose their plea deal :I.IJIJMaH 3 tence for federal gambling charges. U.S. District Judge Thomas Higgins called the deal "awfully cheap" In an April sentencing hearing and delayed his decision. He said the U.S. attorney's recommendation was "way off the mark." Metro police Investigators filed documents Friday that showed a Wednesday raid at a North Nashville car lot owned by Resha, Shu-bert and an associate, Ronald E. Huey, turned up evidence of gambling. No charges were filed and no arrests were made. Officers said they confiscated about $17,000 in cash, numbers slips, pads, ledger books and tickets from the office and various cars at the lot, Regal Auto Pawn, 1203 Buchanan St. "I wouldn't tell the court to accept the agreement, knowing what is hanging in the fire," Washko said yesterday. Resha's lawyer, Aaron Wyckoff, said the new allegations would not affect the plea agreement because they were false. "Ronnie Resha Is not Involved In any gambling business," Wyckoff said. Shubert's lawyer, Aleta Arthur Trauger, said her client had not gambled since the 1989 raids that resulted in charges of running illegal numbers operations and filing false Income tax returns. In the plea agreement, the two men admitted to running a $1.7 million-a-month gambling operation. Wyckoff and Trauger said the North Nashville car lot was a legitimate business. Resha. 44, of 3415 West End Ave., and Shubert, 45, of 518 Mansion Drive in Brentwood were two of six gambling kingpins Metro police have called "gambling godfathers" because of their sponsorship of illegal operations. Metro police Officer L Alan Poindexter filed an affidavit Friday which was used to get search warrants in the raids Wednesday. Poindexter's statement said Investigators used telephone wiretaps which support claims that the two men continued to engage In gambling activity. Investigators reopened the probe of Resha and Shubert in March because the Davidson County district attorney general's office received information "that Resha and Shubert were still operating a very profitable gambling business ..." Poindexter's affidavit said. Also raided Wednesday were the homes of Resha, Shubert, Huey and four people Identified by police as associates: Buford B. Smith Jr., Barbara J. Winkler, Bobby Ray and Judy Ward. Ward was Identified as Resha's girlfriend. Police said they seized from the car lot, said to be the new "bank" for the operation: 12.963 in cash from a small shaving kit and completed numbers slips from Huey's car. $3,184 from a car lot employee Identified only as "Baker." $1,030 that Shubert was carrying. Numbers slips, pads and carbons from a Cadillac on the lot of Regal Auto Pawn. Ledger books, a box of blank pads, numbers tickets and an entry form for the Australian Players' Service Lotto from the car lot business office. Surveillance by Investigators in March and April showed the car lot was a pickup and dropoff point for "runners" of numbers bets and cash, the statement said. "We did not see any auto sales activity, any customers on the lot, no turnover of vehicles, very few autos on the lot" during the surveillance, Poindexter wrote in the affidavit. Resha's lawyer called the observations "simply false." "There Is a legitimate auto business there," Wyckoff said. 2 power board members asked to quit mmwan 3 le's term expires July 1, 1992. The Sharp resolution is only a request. The council could pass an ordinance to remove the two men from the board after a public hearing, but the council's attorney has warned against that approach because a new state law giving the council such power appears to be unconstitutional, Sharp explained. The pay Increases, which also were approved by board chairman Mike Hampton, sparked an outcry In public and political circles that eventually forced the board to rescind the pay raises and deliver a public apology. Mayor Bill Boner has said he will not reappoint Hampton. Board member John Hicks did not vote for the Increase and board member Reese Smith was absent when the June 1 2 vote was taken. "I have never seen this community so electrified," said Sharp, who is running for re-election. The increases applied to general manager Dudley Phillips, executive assistant general manager Don Hawkins and assistant general man ager James Dalrymple. A 20 Increase would have Jumped Phillips' salary from $92,700 to $ 1 1 1,240. Hawkins' salary was to go from $84,000 to $100,800, and Dalrymple's yearly salary was to go from $76,300 to $91,560. Board members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. "They violated the public trust," said Councilman Del Pirtle. "Their effectiveness is minimal at this point." Council members favoring the ouster said that the electric company's reduced rates and rebates to NES customers are not good enough reasons to keep the men on the board. Other members who have signed the resolution include: Councilwoman-at-large Jo Ann North, Councilman-at-large George Ar-mistead and Councilman-at-large Buck Dozier and district council members Guy Bates, Vernon Winfrey, Buster Bo-guskie, Michael Wooten, Randy Kennedy, Mansfield Douglas, Gary Odom, Rod Williams, Sherry Jones, Carney Patterson, Tandy Wilson, Charles Fentress and Charlie Tygard. InMlfk ADVENTUROUS riginNll m New (pmrii a? mm Sodn anae I A i r I I -ft 1! I I I KNOTT CO. rm Ti i eiewsion was Key to Alamo's cautere By SANDY SMITH Slajj Wnlrr Television, the medium that cult evangelist Tony Alamo first used to spout his beliefs, was key to his capture Friday. Alamo was featured this spring In stories on Unsolved Mysteries, A Current Affair and 60 Minutes, and a U.S. Marshal's Service spokesman called the media attention "instrumental" in the capture. "There Is no way of knowing when the twisted odyssey of Tony Alamo will end," Unsolved Mysteries host Robert Stack Intoned at the end of the May 16 program. Stack then urged viewers with Information on Alamo to call the Unsolved Mysteries toll-free number. A Current Affair and 60 Minutes also featured profiles of the on-the-lam Alamo, though neither offered a phone number for tipsters. Alamo was arrested Friday in Tampa, Fla., becoming the latest in a string of captures for NBCs Unsolved Mysteries. According to information supplied by the producers of the 3-year-old Mysteries, 27 of all cases featured result in captures. An operator answering the phone yesterday at the Unsolved Mysteries "tip hotline" refused to say how many calls were generated by the Alamo episode. The country slnger-turned-evangellst and businessman and his late wife, Susan, first gained notoriety as hosts of their own syndicated religious program, which aired in the middle to late 1970s on WTVF-Channel 5 and WZTV-Channel 17. It was Cult needs its leader, expert says H:M:i;7.WaM 3 ty." Alamo's stepdaughter, Chris-tiaon Cole, who has left the group, agreed that Alamo's personality was not holding the members to their faith. Coie, who lives in Los Angeles, credited her mother, Susan Alamo, with charging the members with Christianity. Susan Alamodiedlnl984. "He Tony wasn't popular," Coie said. "My mother started this, and she was extrememly charismatic." The economic well-being of the members of Alamo's sect may be in greater danger than their spiritual survival, Melton said. Last June federal agents seized Alamo's home, store and church In Nashville as well as extensive holdings in Arkansas and other states. Without those money-makers which the government said were supported by exploitative labor practices to support the hundreds of members who still remain In Alamo's group, they will not have a means of support. Melton said. The corporation that ran the various money-making ventures Alamo promoted, including his famous designer jackets sold at The Alamo of Nashville on Broadway, is "held together by a board of which Alamo had total control," Melton said. Tony Alamo In Hillsborough County Jail He described Alamo as a good manager and said that without him there to give the orders, the economic base of the once-wealthy group would diminish. Alamo will probably not be in prison for very long If he is convicted, and Melton said Alamo will probably try to make a comeback once he gets out of jail. While Alamo's status is questionable, his lieutenant, Larry LaRouche, will probably try to keep the corporation going, Melton said. LaRouche has run the business aspect of the organization since Alamo started running from federal agents two years ago, Melton said. LaRouche, in his mld-30s, was one of the early converts that Tony and Susan Alamo took off the streets of Los Angeles in the 1970s. "He comes off as a manager administration type combined with a PR man," Melton said. "His primary interest is the business." taped In various Nashville locations, Including the Grand Ole Opry House. The program, called The Tony and Susan Alamo Show, featured Susan preaching and Tony singing. Though they made no direct appeal for money, Susan hawked Tony's albums, which sold for $6 each. The Unsolved Mysteries piece on Alamo, taped In Arkansas, featured an Interview with a former member of the Alamo Church and used an actor to portray Alamo as a mentally deranged minister who used God's name to mete out severe punishments on young members of his flock. Both Unsolved Mysteries and Fox's America's Afost Wanted profile unsolved crimes or feature wanted criminals. Both programs, which rely on viewers to offer tips, average more than 3,000 calls each week. Neither program offers financial rewards for tips. America's Most Wanted, which debuted In 1988, has more than 100 captures under its belt, accounting for nearly 50 of the cases profiled. Both programs have profiled Midstate cases in the past. Including the murder of a Dover, Tenn., couple and a Murfreesboro abduction. An East Tennessee jail fugitive was nabbed in Canada after Unsolved Mysteries aired a story. Another Unsolved Mysteries case resulted In the capture of "Con Juan" In 1988. Louis Dominic Car-luccl was arrested by the FBI in Nashville. Carluccl was charged with swindling at least $1 million from more than 1 2 women he married. Viewers help by watching CrimeStoppers Local television viewers also can help police catch criminals. WKRN-Channel 2 broadcasts a CrimeStoppers report In Its 5 p.m. newscasts on Tuesdays. The station also runs a CrimeStoppers public service announcement 15 times a week. The Tennessean publishes CrimeStoppers photos monthly. The program Is "enormously successful," says Channel 2 station manager and CrimeStoppers board member Bill Lord. "In a modern society, a TV station has the broadest reach. We can hit more people quickly. It's a great opportunity for us and for The Tennessean to help the community." It's also instant. Lord cites a recent arrest, which came less than 45 minutes after the CrimeStoppers report first aired. "It aired at 5:15. By 5:20, they .had a name and a location. By 6 p.m., he was in custody." CrimeStoppers offers a reward for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction. But not all callers are after the reward money, Lord says. "There are thousands of dollars In uncollected rewards. People just call up to be good citizens." CrimeStoppers has a 95 conviction rate and has helped solve thousands of crimes in its seven years, Lord said. Eveei&s in Alamo's Me 1934 Tony Alamo (real name: Bernie Lazar Hoffman) born Joplin, Mo. 1965 Alamo meets future wife, Susan, in a Hollywood nightclub. The talent promoter Joins up with the actress-evangelist, and they start their own ministry taking addicts off of the streets of Hollywood. 1966 Tony and Susan Alamo marry. It is the third marriage for both. 1969 Tony and Susan Alamo form the fundamentalist Christian Alamo Foundation in Saugus, Calif, and begin taking converts there to work for little or no salary. 1971 Alamo loses a paternity suit to Judy Stearns, a woman he met in an Omaha, Neb., nightclub. 1974 Tony Alamo's stepdaughter tells a California legislative committee that followers are not allowed to receive medical care or question the Alamos' authority. 1974 Tony and Susan Alamo expand into Nashville, establishing their clothing store on Lower Broadway. 1975 The Alamos make Alama, Ark., their headquarters, establishing churches, shopping centers and a living compound. 1982 Susan Alamo dies of cancer, and her husband keeps her embalmed body on display for six months in Arkansas, promising to bring her from the dead. 1985 IRS revokes the sect's tax-exempt status and asks for $7.9 million in back taxes. October 1988 Alamo goes Into hiding after being charged with child abuse. June 1989 Alamo charged as a federal fugitive in California based on local warrant charging him with child abuse. July 1990 IRS seizes Alamo's Nashville clothing store, Tyne Boulevard home, Music Square Church, and properties in Arkansas and other states. February 1991 IRS auctions Alamo property In Nashville, raising $440,000 toward payment of a $1.4 million judgment to former followers. That amount was later raised to $2.3 million to pay for fees. February 1991 Federal marshals raid an Alamo Foundation compound near Dyer, Ark., and confiscate property. Susan Alamo's body later Is missing from a mausoleum at the compound. February 1991 Alamo charged in a felony complaint with threatening U.S. District Judge Morris Arnold in Fort Smith, Ark. April 1991 Auction in Fort Smith, Ark., of properties seized by the IRS in Arkansas nets $ 1.6 million. June 1991 A federal judge says Alamo's former followers don't have to share the proceeds of the auction with IRS or state of Arkansas. July 5, 1991 Alamo arrested In Tampa, Fla., and held without bail. Robbery suspect nabbed after store rammed By JAN BOTTS Stale Writer ASHLAND CITY An Ashland City man, who police said rammed his car through the front of a store to gain entry and rob it, was arrested yesterday and accused of shooting the store owner. Roy Daniel Mayo, 29, of Ashland City, was charged with the attempted murder of Samuel Eugene (Gene) Fox, 61, the owner of Fox's Market on Highway 12, police said. Fox was listed in critical condition at Vanderbilt Univegity Medical Center last night. Mayo was being held without bond last night in the Cheatham County Jail. Cheatham County Sheriff Pat Chandler said Mayo was loading cigarettes into his car at about 2 a.m. when he was confronted by Fox, who had been awakened by the noise. Fox, who lives next door to the store, apparently heard a commotion and walked to the store carrying an unloaded 12-gauge shotgun, Chandler said. Fox apparently hit Mayo in the head during a struggle, in which Fox was shot twice by Mayo in the left chest and right arm with a handgun Mayo was carrying t the time of his arrest, Chandler said. Fox's wife, Carolyn, reportedly hit Mayo over the head with a broomstick when he broke into the house in an apparent attempt to disrupt the phone system to keep her from calling the police, Chandler said. Among the items police say Mayo stole are 114 cartons of cigarettes, cigarette lighters, fishing lures and lunch meat. Mayo was arrested at the scene. The incident is under investigation by Sheriffs Department criminal investigators Pay Haynes and Floyd Duncan. Ray Waddle Tony Alamo: ever-elusive, ever-present Phantom-like leader leaves indelible mark Even in a long Interview, Tony Alamo has been a phantom presence, almost as elusive as those mysterious worldly forces he says are out to destroy him. Despite writing dozens of stories about Alamo, I've never met the man. At his Insistence, we've always talked by phone, since Alamo is usually on the run. His ground rules always required the reporter to request an interview through his followers here before he returned the call, usually by untraceable cellular phone somewhere across America. (For all I know, given his sense of humor, he might have been calling from the Exxon across the street on Broadway.) Oddly, Alamo seemed eager for press publicity, even while condemning the news media as a toady for the Vatican. A phone interview with Alamo is always a lesson in strange conspiracy theories and religious obsession mixed with a born showmanship and a hearty fundamentalist piety. I had to formulate the first question carefully during these seat-of-the-pants phone interviews because I was unlikely to get to ask another Once Alamo started talking he didn't want to stop. What about? It seldom varied: The Vatican Is to blame for everything from World War II to the federal tax code; the President of the United States and Jerry Falwell are Jesuit agents; the pope controls the FBI and the federal courts. Hearing him blame the Bishop of Rome for every mass murder of the 20th century, I often wondered whether he really believed It himself. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the United States, Alamo put out a curious press release, castigating the expense of the papal visit No news there. But then he went on to point out that, when in Rome, he doesn't demand such pomp and ceremony himself, so why should the pope? As humor, the press release was a success, so much so that it raised the question: Is this a joke to him? Alamo's preoccupation with the pope has always been a puzzle. Perhaps It is simple professional envy: Alamo's empire of mom-and-pop businesses, Pentecostal churches and hip designer clothes was never a match for the majesty of the Holy See in Rome. Alamo never played Saint Peter's. Perhaps the obsession was mostly his wife Susan's idea, which he inherited after her death In 1982. Perhaps he found it too tempting a strategy for bringing unity to his flock and gathering power for himself by defining an enemy "out there." The Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation may have hit on a socially useful scheme in their early days scooping up street people and drug addicts off the streets of Los Angeles and giving them a gospel and a job, even if later the U.S. Department of Labor called it exploitation. But religion is a fragile thing. It can get sick. When the will of God and human whim become synonymous, it's time to run for cover. Alamo isn't running anymore, which gives his scattered followers time to ponder his future and their own. Many have been with Alamo 20 years or more, some since birth, working and worshipping and raising families in a small universe fashioned by a man who designs $800 denim jackets and preaches that Jesus will soon split the Eastern skies at His Second Coming. Perhaps they'll continue to be Christians without him, as one religion expert suggests. For some, however, Alamo's arrest may spell the making of a martyr whose strong stand for his faith has invited persecution, in classic style, by the secular authorities. In the end, Tony Alamo may not be guilty of any crimes. The gaudy jackets and skirmishes with the law may make him a strange Christian witness to most who know his name, but he's proven to have a certain resilience and entrepreneurial flair. Don't expect him to disappear from the American religious landscape.

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