“Sometime after the Supreme Court decision I found myself inLas Vegasrepresenting a group that was building the Dunes Hotel and met a man who was working at the Flamingo. This was in the mid-1950s [italics Chatterbox’s], when theLas VegasStrip was controlled by characters who didn’t often show up in corporate boardrooms. ‘What do you do for a living?’ the man asked me. I said I was a tax lawyer.
“‘You know,’ he told me, ‘something extraordinary happened. My brother was inAlcatrazand he just got out because of some case in the Supreme Court.’
“‘What’s your brother’s name?’ I asked. He was one of the three prisoners who had been released because of the ruling in my case. I told the man the story. And the next day I was sitting in the Flamingo Hotel at a meeting presided over by one Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel. … They wanted me to represent them. … They offered me anything. Everything. All kinds of money–over the table, under the table, any way I wanted it.
“I wasn’t tempted. Money wasn’t my vice and I saw my life in a very different way. … About a year later Bugsy Siegel was found in his girlfriend’s house inBeverly Hillswith five bullets in his head. …”
–Viacam chairman Sumner Redstone (with Peter Knobler), A Passion To Win, pp. 65-66.
“Siegel was murdered onJune 19, 1947 [italics Chatterbox’s] in Los Angeles,California, at themansionofVirginia Hill, his mistress.”
“In 1947 [italics Chatterbox’s], Mr. Redstone received his L.L.B. from theHarvardUniversitySchoolof Law.”
– Redstone’s official biography on Viacom’s corporate Web site.
“‘Don’t call me a mogul,’ says Sumner Redstone, ’47 [italics Chatterbox’s]. …”
–Redstone profile in Harvard Law Bulletin, Spring 1998.
“In 1950 [italics Chatterbox’s], Deputy United States Attorney General Payton Ford, the head of the Department of Justice antitrust division, Herbert Bergson, and his assistant, Herbert Borkland, left to form a law firm. They invited a general practitioner named Bert Adams to join them. … I was an ambitious young lawyer at Justice in whom they had taken an interest, and they invited me to join Ford, Bergson, Adams & Borkland as an associate. … My most important case came through a Midwestern congressman. He was representing two innkeepers, a husband and wife, friends of his who had been indicted and convicted of tax evasion. … Lo and behold, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. … We won. … All of a sudden I was a famous tax attorney.”
–Redstone’s A Passion To Win, pp. 62-65.
(Thanks to Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe, who discovered the discrepancy; Steve Bailey of the Globe, who wrote about it on June 29; and Slate’s Margo Howard, who alerted Chatterbox.)
[Update, July 19: A reader has helped Chatterbox identify the Supreme Court case in question. It was Holland et ux. v. United States, argued on October 20 and 21, 1954–seven years after Bugsy Siegel was murdered. Incidentally, Redstone’s book also states falsely that John Marshall Harlan was one of the justices Redstone argued before. Not possible. Harlan wasn’t sworn in until March 1955.]
Got a whopper? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.
June 29, 2001: David Brock
June 22, 2001: Edmund Morris
June 15, 2001: George W. Bush
June 8, 2001: Nepali Prince Regent (subsequently, King) Gyanendra
June 1, 2001: Mary McGrory
May 25, 2001: Ari Fleischer
May 18, 2001: York, Pa., Mayor Charles Robertson
May 11, 2001: Ted Olson
May 4, 2001: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley
April 27, 2001: Ben Affleck
April 20, 2001: South Carolina state legislator Chip Limehouse
April 13, 2001: Gray Davis
April 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone
March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham
March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department
March 16, 2001: George W. Bush
March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers
March 2, 2001: Paul O’Neill
Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik
Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney
Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson
Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich