Art Nadel and the Wall Street Wise Guys

The death in prison of Art Nadel last week left numerous questions about the scandal that may never be answered.

Authorities will now be rolling up the sidewalks on the Art Nadel scandal, continuing the trend of American scandals going unexplained and largely unexplored stretching back to Iran Contra.

Art Nadel was a disbarred NY attorney with a recent work history consisting of playing gigs in second rate piano bars. Yet apparently the FBI's best "thinking" is that Nadel was a lounge act who stole $166 million… all by himself.

Was Art Nadel the mastermind of a huge financial fraud, or just a hapless front man?  A Ponzi all star? Or a Ponzi patsy? We may never know.

Two matters cry out for more attention.  The first involves the names of the firms which made Nadel’s fraud possible:  Wachovia Bank, whose assistance enabled Nadel’s scheme, and  Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm which cleared his trades.  

Fishing in muddy Wall Street waters

Goldman Sachs and Wachovia Bank are names with a lot of mud on them. Both firms have recently paid huge fines for criminal behavior for which individuals spend decades in prison.

Art Nadel's use of Goldman and Wachovia in tandem seems too prescient for a man of his meager talents. So, how did this arrangement came about?

 “Nadel engaged in at least a dozen regular financial transactions that were serious criminal violations,” a recent lawsuit by the Federal receiver in the case alleges. About them all, Wachovia remained "inexplicably unconcerned."

The suit states baldly, “For Wachovia's failure, there is no legitimate explanation."

And the attorney for the Federal receiver who filed the lawsuit,  Terry Smiljanich, told me flatly, “Wachovia has a history of assisting and profiting from the commission of fraud by the bank’s account holders.”

Was Art Nadel really a Lone Nut Ponzi All Star?

The second thing about the Nadel scandal which seems more than odd  concerns the omission in news stories of his death in prison of the fact that—while his Ponzi scheme was in full flight—Nadel bought the notorious Huffman Aviation at the Venice Airport, the place where both terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center learned to fly.

Apparently the mainstream media did not find it significant that Nadel used a goodly portion of his ill-gotten gains to buy a flight school whose name will forever live in ignominy.

In fact, a Google search for “Art Nadel” and Huffman Aviation” turns up 600 results, all of which link to stories published first on this website. 

While defrauding $166 million from investors, Nadel was establishing a sizeable aviation presence, buying and FBO’s at airports in Georgia, North Carolina and in Venice. To what end? For what purpose? 

We’ll likely never know. No one is even asking. Why? Perhaps because Art Nadel wasn't even the first recent owner of Huffman Aviation to be involved in a Ponzi scheme.

That honor belonged to previous owner Wallace J. Hilliard, who owned Huffman Aviation while Mohamed Atta took flying lessons there. Hilliard  was involved in two separate Ponzi schemes…

Both of them were bigger than Nadel's. This stretches the boundaries of coincidence way beyond any reasonable definition of the word.

Hilliard was a grateful beneficiary of a massive $300 million financial fraud involving Richard Boehlke, Hilliard’s partner in a soon-to-be-bankrupt airline called Florida Air.

According to the Portland Oregonian,  the scheme scammed $300 million dollars from the pension funds of mostly-Mob run unions.

Boehlke shoveled trunk-loads of cash—more than $12 million—into the back of his Hummer. His Ponzi money paid for the half-dozen jets used by the airline.

Hilliard was an “health insurance” executive from Green Bay, Wisconsin who “retired” to Florida. Most retirees in Florida buy a set of golf clubs and matching sans-a-belt slacks and sweater combos in canary yellow or lime green.

Hilliard, on the other hand, bought two dozen luxury jets as well as flight schools in Venice and Naples, FL. that enrolled unknown but statistically-significant numbers of Arab men, many of whom are now suspected of being terrorists.

What prompted Hilliard to establish such a serious aviation presence in Florida? Good question. Someone should ask him. Under oath.

A continuing criminal conspiracy

Hilliard was also doing business with notorious Arab arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi (who was just then also involved in a $200 million fraud, called Stockwalk, which led to the biggest collapse of a brokerage since the Depression.)

A Lear jet owned by Hilliard flew regularly for Khashoggi to an off-the-beaten-path island in the Bahamas called Rum Cay.

The island once served as a refuge for pirates looting ships from the Spanish Main. It became a center of gun-running during the American Civil War, then was a port used for boot-legging alcohol into the US during Prohibition

The island’s current attraction is a new 5000 foot runway. It can now be used by mid-sided business jets, offering a strategic refueling location between Colombia and Florida. DEA officials sometimes—when its convenient—say  as much as two-thirds of all cocaine entering the US transits the Bahamas.

And, of course, just three weeks after Mohamed Atta arrived to attend Huffman Aviation, Hilliard’s  Lear jet was busted carrying  43 lbs of heroin.   The Orlando Sentinel called it “the largest heroin bust in Central Florida history.”

The DEA confiscated his Lear jet and was instrumental in a Federal Court ruling denying Hilliard his plane back, shredding his pretense to being an “innocent owner.”

"Guido, meet Mohamed. Mohamed, Guido."

To call the recent past of Huffman Aviation “troubled” is like saying the ruined American economy has been undergoing a “correction.” 

It's true, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far. And it certainly doesn't convey the magnitude of the criminal turpitude which somehow found a home at the tiny Venice Airport.

Two recent owners of the aviation business at the Venice Airport that taught Mohamed Atta to fly were involved in crimes traditionally associated with organized crime.

Ponzi schemes are—and have always been—the hallmark of the Mafia. What were Art Nadel’s Mob ties?  That he had them is already known. He was a lawyer in New York disbarred for stealing client monies to pay back a loan shark.

 So if terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta met guys with names like “Fat Pete” or Joey Cakes” while learning to fly at Huffman Aviation, it would come as no great surprise.

A mountain of evidence points to the conclusion that the men who owned the flight school—both then and now—have more than a passing acquaintance with organized crime.

Owning Huffman Aviation—even if you change the name—seems to be like being the head of the Teamsters: “Going away for a while” seems to be just part of the job.

Once Nadel bought Huffman Aviation, he ordered the company’s  familiar blue-awning façade obliterated, rebranding terror flight Huffman Aviation as  the Venice Jet Center.

The move closely replicates the obliteration of a prominent landmark in the Kennedy Assassination: the tearing down of the building in New Orleans at 544 Camp that housed Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Lee Harvey Oswald, from which many believe the conspiracy to assassinate John Kennedy was orchestrated.

Today it is a Federal office building. A calculated effort to make the truth disappear? Or just a coincidence?

The Clean-up crew cleans up

The last time Art Nadel appeared in public—without handcuffs—the dress code specified "circus glamorous.”

The aging social set in Sarasota Florida turned out under the Big Top on January 9, 2009, to see and be seen at a circus-style gala & fund-raiser wistfully entitled “An Evening of Ageless Delight.”

Nadel and his wife, the evening’s event chair, were known for their charity. Peg Nadel, nee Quisenberry, had been a social fixture in Sarasota for over a decade.

Aerialists, contortionists and circus clowns, met arriving grandees as they stepped out of their cars, wafting them through a tunnel-like portal opening into what the Sarasota Herald Tribune called a “magical and grand” ringside-cum-dining-room.

The “laughter and good vibes were unlimited,” the paper reported.

It wouldn't last.

Four days later Nadel went on the lam, leaving behind a green Subaru parked at Sarasota International Airport,  and a curious suicide note which stated that if people wanted him dead, he’d be happy to oblige. 

Rumors spread that Nadel was already dead. He wasn't…

Instead he was flying above the clouds on a sleek luxury 1996 Learjet 31-A worth $2.3 million, which cruises comfortably at 500 miles an hour at an altitude of 51,000 feet.

Nadel flew from Sarasota to San Antonio to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and ended up in Slidell La. just outside New Orleans, legendary home of Carlos Marcello's hunting lodge, a part of JFK assassination lore.

Questions which were never answered include: Why did he end his journey there? Who did he meet with?  And just who did Nadel suspect wanted him dead? Jilted investors? 

Perhaps some may have harbored homicidal impulses towards him. But not, certainly, until after they'd discovered what he’d done with their money.

What do Ponzi schemers, drug traffickers, terrorist hijackers & private equity capital firms investing money from Arab sovereign wealth funds have in common? As the buzz about Facebook’s upcoming IPO intensifies, it may be important to note that criminals have social networks too.

The basis for organized crime— interlocking social networks, or what used to be called “relationships”—is always the same, across time, space, and culture.

“He’s connected,” accompanied with a shrug, seems to be a universal statement of the way things are.

Would they were different.

Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.

24 Responses

  1. adam says:

    Do you know if Genesis Electronics Group is a Khashoggi company?

    Its important, thanks.

  2. some guy says:


  3. tom miller says:

    Just discovered that Alex Jones is hosted by a company owned by Khashoggi. Could it be that 
    he really is a fake (Jones)?

  4. Anonymous says:

    You really are putting it together.
    Speaking of North Carolina, this period coincided with the Bluegrass Conspiracy era:
    Do you think these were connected with Iran Contra or just another American Drug Lord, "private" operation?

  5. A long time ago I wrote about Khashoggi’s Genesis companies, and noted that then Florida-Governor Jeb Bush’s chief technical advisor, later convicted of multiple felonies, owned a company called Genesis Communications, and that Alex Jones’s show was owned or run or aired on a Minnesota company called Genesis Communications. I thought it interesting then, I still do, because code words like Genesis or Trinity (another Khashoggi and Bass Family favorite) often announce ops to the initiated. However I NEVER wrote or said that the Khashoggi Bush & Jones Genesis companies were linked, because I could find no connections between them. The Jones’ Genesis IS owned by a scumbag, with links to weirdness in Montana, but that’s neither here nor there in re any Jones link to Khashoggi, which to my knowledge does not exist.

  6. There are no “private” operations, in the sense you use the term. You’re talking about a government that can read the make of your golf ball…from outer space. Free-lancers end up in jail. The protected trade is ongoing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You're right. They have to know what's going on and the networks appear embedded with multi-millionaires, high-end technology, yachts and private landing strips still involved – not to mention sophisticated money laundering schemes. 
    (This raises the question: "How long has American been a narco-republic?")
    Some believe the ones running the Bluegrass Conspiracy's "Company" in the 1970's and 1980's are still running it.  According to the book, the DEA agent in charge was even a part of it.   Private landing strips there, in Georgia, and Belize and Mandeville and other places still exist.
    It's been said too many politicians and political friends are making money from drugs.  100 years from now historians will investigate this drug period as the "enterprise" that destroyed America and made a network of drug "Kings" who carefully laundered the money.  Obviously kingpins are not patriotic –  the only grandchildren they care about are their own.
    When a hand gets smacked or goes to prison, it probably was the one who stepped out of the Company's graces if not a handful of street dealers here-and-there they used as mules and pawns.
    Years ago there was information on the net that this underground cocaine network was actually a subversive fanatical religious organization that was piling up the illegal money to purchase land and build assets so that their own people and children would "inherit the earth."  I've tried lately to find that article with no luck. Very interesting article, but was it true?
    History will one day recognize Daniel Hopsicker as one of the few who had the courage to attempt to expose it all. 
    The sooner the better.  Thanks so much for all you do.

  8. tom miller says:

    Thanks for the explanation.

  9. Vicky says:

    I sent you an email once explaining the connection between the airports, flight schools and intermodal commerce zones.  Perhaps I didn't explain the foreign direct investment and foreign trade zones part of it.  It's not as exciting as terrorists, drugs and the mafia, but keep in mind, that's what lawyers are used for – to look for the legal loopholes through which the criminals can operate. 

  10. Strange Nefarious Acts eminating from MONTANA?
    After Barry Seal and Mena shut down (did it shut down?)….the Bush crime family moved coke around the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia…then into Canada…landing in Montana at an abandoned air force base (there was an old WW II air field within eye sight of Koresh's Davidian Church) near Havre.  Here we had Montana GOP Gov. Marc Racicot doing "the clinton dance" using his state office to stifle and abstruct any honest law enforcement.
    Racicot then later becomes GOP Treasurer, and also on short list to be Attorney General after Ashcroft took a powder.
    One guy who whacked out witnesses was a psycho path I ran into named Mike "chuckie" Peters.  He showed up on my tail in Luverne, Minnesota at a fast food restaurant on April 26th, 2004, after I debriefed Dr. Mark Gordon in his apartment across street from St. Paul Fed Building where Minneapolis FBI (supervising Sioux Falls, South Dakota FBI) polygraphed Dr. Gordon.
    This occurred after CIA murdered his brother, Richard Gordon (former chief of staff for SD US Sen Tom Daschle)  Rich got brain tumored with a directed energy weapon.  Others tied to me, ended up dead or hospitalized.  This all occurred during The Sioux Falls Joint Fed Local Terrorism Task Force investigation of me.
    There is another great story for Daniel to cover……..all he has to do….is contact me for straight answers to his probing questions.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out "why they did not kill me"?  I guess….Mueller's FBI put their foot down…but also…seemed to have an info leak since "all my known associates were identified and located" under the rubric of this South Dakota JFLTTF?
    Anyway…good luck and good story.
    Don't forget to google and search at Alex Constantine's site.  He has a free conspiracy encyclopedia worth a look.
    Cheers, Daniel.

  11. Particularly obvious and shattering is….Holder's failure to prosecute 3,000 Swiss UBS tax scofflaws (US citizens).  How many are congressman or governement?
    Not one lawyer has litigated a Writ of Mandamus ordering "Holder to at least disclose the names of those who have IRS violations" with analysis of "what was the quid pro quo"?
    Good luck Daniel….always thought you were deserving of so much more respect and fame and wealth based on these efforts and "that incredible story" down south.
    PS:  heard John Caylor lost his house to corrupt Dixie Mafia Judges and cops who killed his mother.  He is on the run….living somewhere in Pac NW.

  12. Indeed.  NSA satelite SIGINT seems to be "handed off" to Fusion Centers (civilian front for illegally obtained info) who are a private NSA for INFRAGUARD.
    INFRAGUARD is a civilian fronted FBI GESTAPO staffed by highly paid contractors who seem to act with impunity and seem to act as though "they have a legitimate law enforcement prerogative bolstered by Patriot Act Section 215 and The War Commissions Act legalizing "entrapment" and torture of US Citizens.
    INFRAGUARD was used and armed by Salt Lake City FBI SAC McTeague….when…somehow…another murder of my briefly known associate in Quartzite, Arizona, was murdered (my guess) to obtain his lucrative laundromat in this dusty winter tourist town.
    Seems as though….the Neighborhood Watch Groups are enlisted and or paid using INFRAGUARD CONTRACTS to do "foot, vehicle surveillance" (some call it stalking)…and in Quartzite, Arizona,…the murder for profit scheme involved The City Council man who made headlines with the police chief when a citizen was not allowed to speak at a public meeting.  The barely uncovered scandal only alluded to "illegal surveillance of someone" .  Keith Olbermann was only mainstream media journalist who bothered taking my advice to search to see free speach being neutralized by local gun toting GOP lowlifes (all Infraguard and Neighborhood Watch Groups).
    Daniel, if you want a story…or tips to cover your own way….all you got to do is ask me some questions.

  13. Antifascist says:

    Excellent work as always, Daniel. I particularly enjoyed this gem: "To call the recent past of Huffman Aviation 'troubled' is like saying the ruined American economy has been undergoing a 'correction'." Brilliant!

    Anonymous inquired: "How long has American been a narco-republic?"

    Short answer: like, forever.

    Consider this: At the the end of 2009, The Observer reported: "Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.'

    "Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result."

    Costa went on to say: "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."

    "Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities… There were signs that some banks were rescued that way."

    On and on it goes…

  14. Yep. Its the Never-Ending Scandal.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If it's been going on forever, and the drug lords are running our local and state and national governments and have infiltrated our businesses and banking system, how can we direct our children and grandchildren to avoid it?
    Any ideas?
    Is there a town in America where local "nobodies" can't point out the rich families who made their money from drugs?
    Many of us were born into this thing blind and truly believed the government's law enforcement, DEA, CIA and FBI was at work to eradicate it [for the past fifty years] – – and failed so very miserably.

  16. Panamaed says:

    You need to Google John….

  17. Anonymous says:

    If this is "worldwide," then the USA must be "the world." I don't know how accurate this map is, but  it doesn't look like the other countries have anything near the drug problems that we have in this country.

  18. I was down in Austin, watching community access TV, when Alex…first impressed me with what was a healthy dose of suspicion and doubt about so called legitimate Transference Authority Figures.
    His popularity or support from big money….might be one those "deals with the devil".  He always struck me as being a healthy anti authority type personality…like me.
    He does not ever venture towards linking Israel to 9/11?
    Someone like Alex…should have been on that angle…and maybe that is where the 'deal with the devil' if found.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Not apropos of this article:

    Argyll, one of the investors in Skyway of cocaine plane fame, appears to have been busted for selling goat’s blood.

    As a cure for HIV, of course.

  20. Anonymous says:

    (Also not,)
    "The Company" was originally founded in 1976 East St. Louis, Illinois by a man named Richard Dial Thorp for the purpose of running marijuana and making lots of money flying marijuana in from Colombia. "The Company" was set up like a corporation and had about 300 members, and  international.  One of the members, Robert Snyder was The Company's security expert and was a well-known polygrapher who had been associated with pornagraphy in St. Petersburg, Fl.  Snyder became affiliated with the Lexington, Ky police department where he was affiliated with former police officer, "Drew" Thornton, of "The Bluegrass Conspiracy."
    "The Company" was huge, and landed tons of marijuana in three states including Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina.  Later they became involved in guns and other drugs.
    Richard Dial Thorp, a former helicopter gunner in Viet Nam, was the CEO and founder, and eluded police for years.
    James Dugan was boyhood friend of Thorp, became The Company's ground operations manager
    James Mitchell became The Company's marijuana warehouser
    Michael Grassi, Thorp's "executive assistant," ran The Company's day-to-day operations, and was running the Georgia arm of the international smuggling outfit.

    Daniel and his reporting….is way, way, way….ahead of it's time.  The Zeitgeist just ain't ready for the truth….so….we will know and remember who "told the truth" that shoulda, coulda….helped to save a once thriving and powerful country.
    From the time I found MadCowMorning news….I always promoted this somewhat obscure man, named Daniel Hopsicker. 
    If you click that link above, you'll find my Xmas gift to Daniel (getting the buzz going for him)….you'll find out that anyone with a blog…can promote Daniel in an attempt at getting some momentum and buzz working his way.  Hope my blog moved people to study and read Daniel's archive (best reading available to the public…in my opinion).
    (Mea Culpa:  …."some of my words are redneck and even embarassing to me…yet, that's how I felt on that day, and apologize if I have offended anyone's sense and sensibility"….)

  22. How would you like to view a video of a lecture tying in:  Allen Dulles….Oswald…Guy Bannister (working X Files and UFO cases)…Aleister Crowley…David Ferrie…Roman Catholic Church?
    At Veteran's Today, editor Gordon Duff posted a story about a Korean UFO caught on the VELA satelite system. This post included a Youtube video of:
    PETER LEVENDA "Secret Space Program" (2011).
    You'll find…that Nazis and the offspring of Nazis….are tied to CIA…and "did not really lose WWII, but kept on keeping on…trying to finish off the Third Reich Goal with a new spin, "New World Order".
    You can find ex DEA agent MIKE LEVINE (Expert Witness Radio Show) and his books…depicting Nazis in South America creating a narco republic in Bolivia?
    Cheers, mates.

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  1. April 30, 2012

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