I guess it's just my natural curiosity about things....Holden Wakefield's rags to riches story sounded too good to be true...So I started checking it out....He was indeed buying the building that Ralph Scallion lived in...He had already bought up a couple of properties in Philadelphia......His company was called "Wakefield Limited".
I looked it up...It supposedly was started in 1982. That's impossible...We were both just geting out of high school...It's Chief Operating Officers were listed as Robert Thornton and Holden Wakefield....There was several addresses for this company....One was in Manilla....I called that number and found that it was disconnected! I made a few more long distance calls to the locals there and found that that number belonged to a long defunct warehouse.
The other address was in Honolulu, Hawaii....I called it....Same thing, disconnected....Belonging to a warehouse that had caught on fire!.
The number for New York City was non-existant!!! So that left Philadelphia PA. I looked up the address of Wakefield Limited and I got a Post Office mailbox.
A lot of red flags were flying right now.
As usual, I wound up at Robert Foxworth's law firm....Chance and Cole were in court...Robert and I sat in his office and enjoyed a nice Italian Hoagie , some chips and a Coke...I showed him all of the information I dug up and photos of his warehouses and the cheap ratty furniture and rugs....He looked it over between bites and said..
''This guy Robert Thornton.... I wonder if it's the same Robert Thornton from the neighborhood?" he asked.
"You mean Robert "Big Butt" Thornton??? Hmmm...He was a big time drug dealer....His organization was selling dope and coke around a lot of the military bases in Southern California when I was working out there....It was me and Holden who put him out of business...He's cooling his heels in a federal prison." I said.
"Yeah? I read in the paper not too long ago that he's up for parole soon...He's been down for 15 years." said Robert Foxworth.
"Parole??? He got 25 years to life." I said.
"He's done a quarter of his sentence Kev...You know how that goes...He's due out soon." he said.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"You mean what prison? I don't know...You got a friend in the FBI, go ask him." he said.
"Do you think?....Robert do you think that Holden and Robert "Big Butt" Thornton have been in a quiet type of partnership all these years?" I asked.
"Your boy from Scallion's rooftop party? Could be....I mean aint no way he's exporting and importing that raggedy ass furniture and bringing in the kind of dough you say he is." he said.
''And the real estate he's buying up?" I asked.
"You know how that goes Kev...Legitimate business to bring in revenue and launder any dirty money." said Robert Foxworth.
I shook my head.....
"I can't believe it....We made a case against Robert "Big Butt" Thornton years ago...We took him down and this guy cut a side deal?" I said.
"You said he got caught in the sack with your CO's wife and kicked out of the military....It was a nice way to stay afloat...I could see him making that kind of deal.....Find out where Big Butt Thornton is being held...Check his books...If they're loaded with cash....You got your man." said Robert.
Then again...I wasn't a cop or a NCIS investigator anymore.....I didn't have a dog in this fight...If Holden was a bad apple...That was on him...I wasn't even on a case.
Later on that afternoon...I'm in Josies, having a few beers.... Gus stopped by...
"Hey kid...drinkin alone tonight?" he asked.
"Yup." I said.
"Your crew aint been around....That's surprisin." he said... I smiled.
From the corner of my eye I noticed Rollie Rollerson, Black millionaire and a member of the board of trustees of the very Magazine that I run...he was talking to, guess who? Holden Wakefield and City Councilman Gil James...I got up and walked over to where they were sitting.
"Slumming Rollie?" I joked as I joined them in their booth.
''Kevin....you pop up everywhere!"said Holden...
"I could say the same thing about you." I said.
"Rollie here tells me that you are the Editor and Chief of a very profitable magazine...." he said.
"Yes...I am." I remarked.
''Hmmm,looks like something I might be interested in either buying or investing in."said Holden.
"Kevin, this is city councilman Gil James." said Rollie.
I knew who he was...He was at this very moment, the subject of a major graft investigation....He was close to being indicted.
"I've read about you in the papers" I said as I shook his hand..
"Well everything you read isn't necessarily true...heh heh heh.." he said.
"I sure hope not." I said without a trace of a smile.
Holden ordered more drinks...and we continued... to laugh and talk...As the night wore on...He got drunker and drunker...I wanted to talk to him, but now was not the time...
Too much was going on....My old friend had really gotten in bed with a bad apple....No...he had himself become a bad apple.....I would try to talk to him, but after that...he was on his own.......
I got home around 3:00 in the morning....I walked up to my room....Sepia was fast asleep...She wasn't under the covers...The Air conditioner was blasting.... I sat on the side of the bed and kicked my shoes off! I had some more checking to do....Then I would talk to my friend and see what he was up to!
(Definitely To Be Continued...)