Role Models For Dummies
In the mid-1970s, a tragic event occurred in Arizona. An intrepid reporter for the Arizona Republic was investigating organized crime when he apparently flew a little too close to the sun. His name was Don Bolles. His investigation was leading him to a wealthy Arizona businessman named Kemper Marley.
On June 2, 1976, Bolles was mortally wounded by a car bomb. Before lapsing into unconsciousness, Bolles uttered the words, “Adamson, Emprise, Mafia.” He died 11 days later.
John Harvey Adamson confessed to luring Bolles to a Phoenix hotel parking lot and placing a bomb beneath the reporter’s car. The bomb, Adamson testified, was detonated by James Robison, a Chandler plumber. Adamson testified he was hired to kill Bolles by Max Dunlap, a Phoenix contractor and close associate of [Kemper] Marley’s. Marley had extended a $1 million loan to Dunlap, which had not been repaid. Adamson said Dunlap hired him to kill Bolles because Marley was upset over Bolles’ stories.
Kemper Marley is a decades old business partner of Jim Hensley, John McCain’s father-in-law. If you dig into the archives to learn how Jim Hensley, a convicted felon, acquired a license to distribute alcohol, say, for a Budweiser distributorship, you’ll find no answer. As late as 1988, Hensley was still lying in sworn affidavits to the government about his felony convictions. No one in government today can explain how Hensley acquired the necessary permits to sell alcohol. Recently, John McCain, in a return volley about how how many homes he owned, had a few words to say about Jim Hensley.
I spent some years without a kitchen table, without a chair, and I know what it’s like to be blessed by the opportunities of this great nation. Cindy’s father, who barely finished high school, went off and distinguished himself in World War II in a B-17 and came back with practically nothing and realized the American dream, and I am proud and grateful for that, and I think he is a role model to many young Americans who serve in the military and come back and succeed.
We should all thank 5th-from-the-bottom-of-his-class John McCain for mentioning Cindy’s father as his role model. It gives us another chance to examine the Senator’s judgment. The following is from a meticulously researched expose published by the Phoenix New Times in 2000:
The Hensley saga, meanwhile, swirls with bygone accounts of illicit booze, gambling, horse racing, deceit and crime. James Hensley embarked on his road to riches as a bootlegger.
The Hensley brothers were partners with a powerful Phoenix businessman named Kemper Marley, who had cornered a large share of Arizona’s wholesale liquor business after Prohibition was lifted in 1933.
A federal jury in U.S. District Court of Arizona in March 1948 convicted James Hensley on seven counts of filing false liquor records in addition to the conspiracy charge. Eugene was convicted on 23 counts of filing false statements and the conspiracy count.
One can only speculate how a convicted felon who falsified federal liquor records managed to obtain a state and federal wholesale liquor license within a few years of his 1949 conviction and 1953 indictment. But apparently, Hensley did.
It is uncertain how convicted bootlegger James Hensley obtained a federal basic permit. However, it is extremely unlikely that a person with a similar conviction today would get a federal liquor license, says Allison Stevens, ATF Phoenix Area supervisor.
Hensley’s oldest state liquor license application on file dates to 1971. In that application, he disclosed his felony conviction but failed to state that he had been an owner and employee at Ruidoso Downs as the secretary of the corporation. At the time, the problems at Ruidoso were widely publicized in New Mexico newspapers and his brother was in prison for tax evasion and skimming funds from the track.
State records show James Hensley applied for another liquor license in 1988. This time, Hensley did not disclose his federal conviction when asked specifically on the form whether he had ever been convicted of a felony. James Hensley signed the sworn and notarized statement that warned false information “could result in criminal prosecution.”
In 1977, one year after the Bolles murder, a team of investigative reporters remained on the trail. The following appeared in an Albequerque newspaper under the main headline, “Organized Crime Showing Interest In New Mexico”:
Riudoso Race Track Owners Tied to Arizona Gambling
Former associates of Phoenix wheeler dealers and gambling interests once controlled Riudoso Downs race track and while in New Mexico they apparently kept their business operations to themselves.
Eugene V. Hensley and his brother James W. Hensley who purchased controlling stock of Riudoso Racing Association in December 1952, once worked for and with Kemper Marley, Phoenix millionaire rancher and wholesale liquor dealer.
And When the Hensley brothers purchased control of the Lincoln County track, Phoenix gambler Clarence E. “Teak” Baldwin simultaneously bought one third of the race track stock—something the Hensleys denied in a State Racing Commission hearing in May, 1953.
Marley, 70 was named recently in a police affadavit as the man who requested the contract killings of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, slain in a bomb attack last June and Arizona Attorney Gen Bruce Babbitt.
This diary at Kos has more of the story and carries the Hensley money origins even farther, linking it, via Marley, to Al Capone.
Role models indeed.