I don’t know what caused me to think of this again but there it was in the forefront of my brain as I was moving over the Tamiami Trail. Am I the one-eyed man and the other people involved in this matter blind? How else describe the manner in which the Whitey Bulger story has been told. Did the prosecutors abandon all common sense in accepting the stories of their criminal witnesses? Are federal prosecutors all from the suburbs and lack city smarts?
Thinking of it made me smile. Here’s the story in a nut shell. Roger Wheeler a business man out of Oklahoma saw a good opportunity to make a lot of money by getting involved in gambling. That’s like Bob Kraft and other NFL owners who saw the same opportunity and invested in sports gambling on fantasy football forgetting their objection to such activity until they were able to get a cut of it. Many folk in Oklahoma thought gambling was something to avoid but the chance to get a great cash flow was too much for Wheeler to resist.
He bought World Jai Alai in Miami. It also had a casino in Connecticut. For some reason those who attended matches at those places were exempt from a state’s gambling laws. One guy who had been the president of World Jai Alai named John Callahan was forced out of his position by Connecticut investigators who saw him in the company of Boston gangsters. One of his close friends was John Martorano. Callahan too saw the business as a huge money-maker and although he may have been involved in a little skimming he was not happy especially after he was kicked out of the job.
He wanted back in. His plan was to buy World Jai Alai for himself so he approached Wheeler seeing if a deal could be made. Unable to get satisfaction from Wheeler he decided he would take a different approach. He would hire his friend John Martorano to murder Wheeler and buy the property from his widow. Martorano and another old acquaintance of his from Boston, Joe McDonald, who was part of the Winter HIll gang and who like Martorano was hiding out from charges pending against him agreed to do it. They flew to Tulsa, murdered Wheeler, and returned.
Callahan then approached the widow. She wanted nothing to do with a sale. In the meantime the FBI in Tulsa started to look at Callahan wondering whether he might be involved in the murder. Once word of that got out Martorano recognized there was only one guy (aside from McDonald) who could tie him into the murder of Wheeler. He did not know if Callahan would stand up to questioning so he made arrangements to murder Callahan which he did along with Joe McDonald.
World Jai Alai had an FBI agent who was in charge of its security. He was Paul Rico who had worked in Boston for many years until he went to the Miami office. He retired from that office into the chief of security job. Martorano has said that he had a role in wanting to murder Wheeler although it is unclear how he would have benefited from that happening. He already had a nice gig; would it have gotten better if Callahan had taken over? The gangsters tell us we’re supposed to believe that is the case.
Now here comes the part that makes me smile every time I think of how gullible the prosecutors and his investigators and anyone else who believed it must be. Understand the deal was that Callahan would buy the property from Wheeler or his widow. Callahan is now dead. Understand! Dead people cannot make deals, agree!
Martorano spins a story that he along with Steve Flemmi, two gangsters and one who is on the lam, went to visit Paul Rico at his World Jai Alai office to see what was going on. He said they did it because Joe McDonald was wondering if the deal was still on.
How does that make any sense? How could anyone believe Martorano when he gave that as a reason for his visit? Didn’t McDonald, Martorano, the federal prosecutors understand you can’t have a deal if the parties to the deal are dead?