1984 Article: Jerry Vann was Nash’s Right Hand Man


This article is about the criminal hijinx of L.A. and Vegas tough guy, Gerald Van Hoorelbeke, aka Jerry Vann, aka VAN, aka VANN.

This really is a pretty crazy article. And it is merely posted for entertainment purposes, because Vann is full of shit and because it seemed that everyone wanted a piece of the Nash, or at least to point the finger at him. When necessary, a prosecutor could say “the defendant knew Eddie Nash!”. Big deal. Lots of people did. I don’t know if you could call Ed an Israeli mafia boss either. He was a wealthy club owner with connections, despite wearing his speedo around the house and doing lots and lots of drugs.

US DoJ officials Henderson and Crane later sued the Arizona Republic over this article alleging slander/libel. I don’t know if they won their case.

Hey, can anyone find me a photo of Jerry Vann? I had no luck.

Van was found guilty in June 1979 of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. He was identified in court records as the “right-hand man” of reputed Israeli Mafia boss Adel “Eddie Nash” Nasiallah.

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THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1984

U.S. CRIME STRIKE FORCE IN LA ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION

By Jerry Seper

Republic Staff

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating allegations of corruption and misconduct by high-ranking officials of the federal Organized Crime Strike Force, The Arizona Republic has learned.

The probe, which is being conducted amid extraordinary secrecy, is aimed at James D. Henderson and Richard Crane, the current and former heads, respectively, of the strike force based in Los Angeles.

The Justice Department investigation was requested by a congressional committee in the wake of its own secret, four-month probe, and it was outlined in a confidential letter to Attorney General William French Smith from Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.

“This committee recently received information concerning allegations of official corruption and dereliction of duty relating to narcotics enforcement in the Southwest area of the United States,” Rangel wrote in the Nov. 15, 1983 letter, a copy of which has been obtained by The Republic.

“I bring this matter to your attention and strongly urge you to undertake a vigorous investigation.”

The allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct involving strike-force officials were brought to the committee in September by a protected federal witness, Jerry Van, who is a former lieutenant of the Israeli Mafia in the Los Angeles area. This crime syndicate specializes in murder, arson, narcotics and pornography. The allegations are described in several confidential reports from committee investigators to Rangel and others.

Van told the committee that Henderson and Crane were “unusually soft on organized crime and corruption” and testified that he knew of instances in which the two men avoided prosecuting certain organized-crime figures operating in the strike force’s five-state region, which encompasses Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and New Mexico.

The strike force, which is within the Justice Department, coordinates federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies in cases against racketeers and mobsters, and prosecutes.

Van described the crime figures, including high-profile drug dealers and members of the Israeli Mafia, as “friends or associates” of the two prosecutors. He said Crane, who retired in 1977 after 13 years as head of the strike force, currently works for “the Las Vegas mob” and is involved in gambling interests in Nevada.

JAMES D. HENDERSON

“THIS IS ALL NEWS TO ME.”

“Crane’s clients are organized-crime figures,” Van told committee investigator Sterling Johnson, according to a confidential memo. “When Crane’s clients have problems with the Los Angeles strike force, they are rarely touched because the current chief, Jim Henderson, is a friend and former subordinate (of Crane).”

RICHARD CRANE

“UNTRUE, UNFOUNDED AND UNFAIR.”

John T. Cusack, the committee’s chief of staff, confirmed this week that the panel had requested the investigation. He described the allegations as “very serious and very comprehensive” but declined to be specific.

“We wouldn’t have taken the trouble to write the letter if we didn’t think there was a problem,” Cusack said. “We just don’t write letters like that every day.”

Crane, who is in private practice in Los Angeles, said he was aware of the Justice Department’s investigation but denounced the allegations as “untrue, unfounded and unfair.”

“I never met Jerry Van, never had any (expletive) dealings with him and have no idea what he’s (expletive) talking about,” Crane said. “I have never represented any organized-crime figures, and I never asked Henderson to do a (expletive) favor for me or any of my clients.”

He denied being actively involved in Nevada’s gaming industry but acknowledged he is a part owner of the Barbary Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Nevada Gaming Commission records show Crane owns a 5 percent interest.

Crane said he attempted to find out about the Justice Department investigation when he learned of it a few weeks ago but was unable to get satisfactory answers from department officials or the House committee.

“This is no way to run a (expletive) investigation,” Crane said. “I have a good reputation. Let’s get it over with and get the results of it out.”

Crane said he and Henderson talked about the allegations, the House request for an investigation and the Justice Department probe of them. He said Henderson told him Van is “a kook.”

Henderson, however, told The Republic he was not aware that specific allegations have been made against him, Crane or the strike force, that he had not talked to Crane about them and that he did not know that the House committee had requested an investigation by the Justice Department.

“This is all news to me,” he said.

Henderson denied any wrongdoing and accused Van of having a “personal vendetta” against him. He said Van, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for assault, is not a credible witness.

“If the committee is listening to Jerry Van, they ought to consider whether or not he is a credible witness,” Henderson said. “And I can tell you that he is not.”

Van, located at a federal prison where he is being held in the government’s witnessprotectionprogram, challenged Henderson’s claim that he is not credible.

“I testified several times for Jim Henderson,” Van said. “I was his star witness more than once. I guess you could say I am credible only when it is convenient for the government.”

Records show that Van has been used by strike-force prosecutors and others in numerous cases as a witness during trials and before various grand juries. His testimony has been instrumental in winning 10 convictions of organized-crime figures in cases ranging from murder to racketeering, the records show.

During a September 1982 hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, strike-force prosecutor Paul Corridini testified that Van had been used often as a witness, and that he was “100 percent truthful and had a unique amount of knowledge about the criminal activities” of the Israeli Mafia and other crime groups.

Cusack said Van’s allegations, along with information his staff was able to gather, indicate that “much more than just narcotics enforcement is involved” in the alleged improprieties.

Cusack said he learned “unofficially” last month that Justice Department investigators “are talking to people now,” but he said he doesn’t know who has been questioned because no one from the department has discussed the case with the committee.

Department officials refused to comment.

A confidential letter to Rangel from Michael E. Shaheen, an attorney in the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, however, said an investigation was begun Nov. 28, 1983, and that the committee would be advised of the results once it was concluded.

Shaheen failed to respond to several telephone inquiries. Rangel has not returned repeated telephone calls.

The request for a Justice Department investigation came after the House committee began its own inquiry into the allegations, committee records show. That investigation, according to the records, continued for at least four months.

A confidential memo dated Jan. 30 said many of Van’s allegations had been “substantiated” during the committee’s secret inquiry. The memo, a copy of which has been obtained by The Republic, outlined an interview with a law-enforcement official in Hawaii, who was described as being knowledgeable about the activities of the Los Angeles-based strike force.

The official, Donald Cartensen, an investigator with the Honolulu city prosecuting attorney’s office, was quoted by committee investigators as saying he was “concerned and shocked” by the number of “strong cases” that had been dismissed by strike-force attorneys in Los Angeles.

Cartensen told the committee’s chief counsel, Richard B. Lowe, and investigator John Capers, that cases involving well-known, high-profile drug traffickers working with entertainers and organized-crime figures either had been dismissed or never brought to trial and that he did not know why.

A September memo from committee investigator Johnson to Cusack, chief of staff for the House committee, also described an interview with Hal Glickman, a Los Angeles bail bondsman who recently completed a prison term for attempting to bribe a federal judge.

Glickman, according to the memo, claimed that strike-force prosecutors had been paid bribes by Los Angeles-area mobsters, but he refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. He said that if he cooperated with the government, “a lot of people would get hurt.”

Glickman was not available for comment.

Van was found guilty in June 1979 of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. He was identified in court records as the “right-hand man” of reputed Israeli Mafia boss Adel “Eddie Nash” Nasiallah.

Van agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in cases against other organized-crimefigures in return for a reduction in his 16-year sentence. He is scheduled to be paroled in June 1985.

Shortly after Van appeared before the committee, he was transferred from the government’s witness-protection program into the prison’s general population, a move that some — including Rangel — felt had placed Van’s life in jeopardy.

The protected-witness unit houses prisoners who have testified against others, often high-ranking organized-crime figures, and are considered at risk of being killed in reprisal for their testimony.

“Shortly after Mr. Van made these allegations, he was transferred from protective custody into the general prison population,” Rangel wrote in his confidential letter to Smith. “While I do not want to draw conclusions from this act, it raises certain questions, particularly, what conditions have changed that would diminish the need for Mr. Van to be under witness protection.”

Van was returned to the protected-witness unit shortly after the letter was received by the Justice Department.

Source:

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19891427729FSupp698_11294

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