At the heart of the story of Australia's current experience with the latest American-registered drug plane busted overseas is that this is not just another American "mystery plane."
It's a "stealth" mystery plane.
Beleaguered LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling numbers among his associates at least three figures who were involved in a troubled “rogue” drug operation run by Tampa ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) that consigned America’s reputation into the hands of people that other branches of the U.S. Government—even casino regulators in Nevada—wouldn’t trust not to cheat at penny-ante poker.
Donald Sterling has unsavory links with the owner of the New York City boutique hotel where his former mistress was beaten up Sunday night.
Four developments during the past few days in New York City offer dramatic evidence that questions recently raised here (and elsewhere) about the links to organized crime of real estate mogul, sexual sleazeball, casual racist, and soon-to-to-ex LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling are both serious and well-founded.
Since his highly injudicious comments about Asian girlfriends, Magic Johnson and race almost a month ago, the name Donald T. Sterling, casual racist, parasitic landlord, and thoroughly-disgraced owner of the NBA’s L. A. Clippers, has been much in the news.
The more salacious elements are on the record. He ran newspaper ads for “hostesses” interested in meeting “celebrities and sports stars.” He hired a former model to be an assistant GM for the Clippers.
Yet only now are more serious questions beginning to be asked about some of the more improbable aspects of what might be called “The Donald Sterling Story.”
Doug McClain learned the ins and outs of financial fraud while working for Robert Colgin Wilson, who—far more than “The Wolf of Wall Street”—exemplified the role of American organized crime in financial fraud during the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Wilson was no fly by night. His roots ran deep. When he was convicted of securities fraud in the mid-70’s, his lawyer during the trial and appeal was the same Dallas attorney, Emmett Colvin, who a decade earlier represented Jack Ruby during his trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
When the Tampa office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) partnered with McClain and other members of organized crime in a still-unexplained drug trafficking operation that brought tons of cocaine into the U.S. between 2003 and 2008, they were getting a known quantity.
When that effort went awry, Doug McClain’s last big play occurred with the hurried stripping out of a coal mining company in the coal fields of Kentucky—between July 2010, when he and his crew became the owners of eight separate coal mines—and May 2011, when the federal government stepped in and call a halt to the thieving.
The man who facilitated the purchase of several DC-9's for SkyWay Aircraft in St. Petersburg Florida was the company's largest shareholder, Doug McClain Sr.'s Argyll Equities. So how did he get such an important job in such a thriving Enterprise?
During the 90's, Doug McClain Sr. belonged to an organized crime ring run by Robert Colgin Wilson, an obese six-foot-five-inch con man, who—according to the Wall Street Journal (“High, Wide &…” Feb 24, 1997— fast-talked investors in the U.S. and Canada out of more than $100 million in the 1990's alone.
“Wilson dazzled his victims by treating them to jaunts to Las Vegas and the Cayman Islands on his luxurious corporate jets, promising super-high returns in supposedly risk-less investments, and employing high-profile, unwitting company directors –among them Chip Carter, son of the former President, and Carter budget chief Bert Lance,” the Journal reported.
“At one point Wilson was hawking his loan-finding services with Dennis Levine, who had been jailed in the 1980s with Ivan Boesky in an insider-trading scheme.”
Doug McClain Sr’s financial fraud career as a grifter, racketeer, and flimflam man can be traced back more than two decades, and likely extends much further into his past. The so-far unanswered question about him has been where he first acquired powerful patrons whose clout could—and did—keep him out of jail despite his record for flagrant financial fraud.
While the ultimate answer may not yet be clear, for sheer greed, brazen theft and raw carnality—committed with the protection and apparent blessing of former leaders in both major political parties— it would be hard to top McClain’s stint during the early 1990’s at International Profit Associates (IPA) in Chicago.
“Law enforcement always follows the drugs, because that leads to drug thugs no one cares about,” according to one former Federal official familiar with the case. “Following the money, which is much more effective, is discouraged, because it leads to the suits—bankers, politicians, law enforcement types—people with social and political clout.”
All the really successful con men are politically connected. Some of them cut out the middle man and run for President.”
Douglas Aaron McClain Sr., 62, whose Argyll Equities was a shady and now-bankrupt “investment bank” in Boerne Texas which provided services to at least three drug smuggling operations, including supplying a DC-9 to a very-possibly criminal Tampa-based ICE-HSI drug operation, is awaiting trial on charges of defrauding a 74-year-old neuro-psychiatrist paralyzed in a motorcycle accident several years ago.
News that a DEA affidavit implicated Fort Lauderdale aviation impresario Don Whittington for brokering the now-famous Gulfstream II jet that crashed with 4 tons of cocaine in the Yucatan to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) black operation in Tampa came as a complete surprise, even to those closely following the case.
But in hindsight it makes a certain sense. The Whittington’s have long been among South Florida’s most storied ‘pirates.’
And the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport is to American general aviation what Sodom and Gomorrah were to the Bible.