I was very happy to have not only met T.C. Koo the son of the Great Chinese law maker photo below, but also to have built his home at Hyde Park in Florida. He was a man of great talent and tact and the ultimate politician. His son Jimmy Koo went ot the Poinciana School where my children also attened. He left me $1,000 in his will, when he died at about 86 years old.
V. K. Wellington Koo (1887–1985)
Columbia College 1908; PhD 1912
Koo played a major role in expanding China's relationships with the West. Founder of the modern Chinese foreign service, he was instrumental in negotiating the end of the "unequal treaties," a series of agreements China had signed with Western powers under threat of force in the mid-nineteenth century. He was China's delegate to the Paris peace conference of 1919, and served as acting prime minister from 1926 to 1927. Koo held the posts of ambassador to France, Great Britain, and, for ten years, the United States—he was the youngest ranking diplomat to come to the United States. Koo is also credited with China's participation in founding the United Nations, serving as his country's signatory of the UN charter. He further extended his international role in the last phase of his career, when he served as judge and vice president of the International Court of Justice at The Hague from 1957 to 1967
I met Lord Shawcross in 1975 at the Stock Exchange Building for a late 7pm meeting with the Department of Trade on my BSQ Company's takeover of Court Hotels. I entered the building at about 6:45 pm and entered the elevator. There was an elderly man standing by the floor buttons and I said "19th Floor please, and with a nudge said have they got you on overtime". Later, I was to see that Lord Shawcross, was my elevator boy. During the meeting, and as there were about 8 of the top business people in London, I asked to see the balance sheet of the target company "Court Hotels" I saw that there was a cash amount of $1.2 Million dollars (about 800,000 UK pounds), and asked if anyone minded if I went to the Bank the next day to count the funds. Lord Shawcross leaned over looking over his small hornrimmed glasses, and politely if not with slight sneer, remarked that if the balance sheet said there was that amount in the bank, then it was surely there.
Two days later on further due diligence, we found that Stanley Tollman had taken the Money out and wired it to the USA. More on Stanley below: Moral of this story is always check the bank first.
Stanley S. Tollman was for many years one of Manhattan’s most engaging multimillionaires, a bon vivant with a bright smile, a deep South African accent and an ever-present cigar.ip to next paragraph
Steve Parsons/Press Association, via Associated Press
He had a coveted corner table at the “21” Club, where he regaled politicians like former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato. He gave what was widely regarded as the best New Year’s Eve party in Palm Beach, Fla., attracting celebrities and socialites like Robert De Niro and Phyllis George. He was a friend of Margaret Thatcher and slept in the Reagan White House.
But for all his travels and all his wealth, there was one dream that always seemed just beyond his grasp: to build a Las Vegas-style casino next to the Monticello Raceway in the Catskills in conjunction with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe. Now his 10-year-old dream is almost within reach, with 3,500 slot machines planned to go with 125 roulette, poker and blackjack tables.
But Mr. Tollman will probably never set foot inside, and he may never see a dime from the enterprise.
The reasons are entwined in a strange tale that says much about power, money and political connections in the long journey of the Mohawk casino.
Mr. Tollman was indicted in 2002 as a kingpin in what federal prosecutors described as a $100 million bank fraud and tax evasion scheme involving the Days Inn hotel chain. After negotiating over his bail, Mr. Tollman failed to show up at his arraignment in Manhattan and, according to prosecutors, went on the lam. For the past four years, he has been living in a lavish London home near Buckingham Palace, fighting extradition to New York.
Mr. Tollman and his family still retain a stake of as much as $11 million in the company that is in line to build and manage the Mohawk casino in Monticello. But they cannot get at their stock because the authorities have effectively frozen his assets in this country. And his old company, now known as Empire Resorts, has disowned him.
“He has absolutely no role in the governance of Empire,” said David Hanlon, the company’s chief executive. “Tollman’s problems, past and present, are his problems. Empire has nothing to do with them.”
Mr. Tollman’s relationship to Empire Resorts, no matter how remote today, will be fodder for opponents of gambling and rival tribes interested in casinos. More important, it will be scrutinized by regulators at the National Indian Gaming Commission this year, as they consider the final plans for the casino.
NB* My Notes on this are as
follows: Earlier in 1987/8 when Thomas F. Quinn becomes an item of interest. Stanley B Whitten one of the Chief Investigators for the Chicago Branch of the Securties and Exhange Commission, became a
good friend, due to my knowledge of Europe and of Thomas Quinn's background. Stanley called me one day and asked me if I had known in the UK one Stanley Tollman, I sent him all I had on him
which included the episode of the missing $1.2 Million. I asked him why, he said that Tollman had applied for a Gambling License, and Whitten wanted evidence that he was of unfit charcater to obtain
one. So the wheel of fate goes round and around, and this time it came home to rest on Tollmans head.
Mr. Tollman, 76, has said he is innocent and disputes the case against him. He claims in court documents in London that he had little day-to-day involvement in the hotel company and never made any false statements or misrepresentations to his lenders. He also objects to being labeled a fugitive by prosecutors.
“Stanley Tollman is a highly respected figure who was branded a fugitive when several years ago he had in fact retired at the age of 70 to live in Europe,” his New York lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said in an interview.
Yet, Mr. Tollman’s friend and former partner, Monty D. Hundley, did not fare well at trial, where he and three other officers of the hotel company were convicted of charges relating to the bank fraud. Mr. Hundley is serving an eight-year prison sentence.
The case has also turned into a family affair. Mr. Tollman’s son, Brett, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and has served time, his wife was charged with tax evasion, and the authorities tried unsuccessfully to extradite his nephew, Gavin Tollman, from Canada.
Stanley Tollman, a courtly man who routinely dresses in a suit with a red carnation boutonniere, took a convoluted path across three continents to the Catskills. Scion of a wealthy family in South Africa, he and his wife, Beatrice, built up a travel and hotel business there before moving to London in the 1970s. In 1978, he met Mr. Hundley, a well-regarded hotel executive, and they went into business together.
Together they built a hotel empire in the United States called Tollman-Hundley Hotels, which at its peak comprised the Days Inn of America franchise and more than 100 hotels. By the late 1980s, each man estimated his net worth at over $100 million.
During a downturn in the early 1990s, the two men restructured many of the company’s debts, signing notes making them personally liable to their creditors. Around the same time, they sold Days Inn to Hospitality Franchise Systems, or H.F.S., which later became known as the Cendant Corporation.
Between 1993 and 1995, Mr. Tollman and Mr. Hundley together sold more than $100 million worth of H.F.S. stock as the hotels’ finances improved. But instead of repaying their loans, they maintained that they were practically penniless. Prosecutors say the two men, along with several others, duped their lenders into selling the debt on the hotels for 10 cents on the dollar to supposedly unrelated investors, which were in fact puppet companies controlled by Mr. Tollman and Mr. Hundley.
Meanwhile, the Tollmans were shuttling between multimillion-dollar homes on Park Avenue and in Litchfield County, Conn., London and Geneva. Mr. Tollman also contributed thousands of dollars to the Republican Party and to the political campaigns of Mr. D’Amato and former Gov. George E. Pataki.
And they knew how to give a party. In 1995, the couple flew an entire circus from Las Vegas to their waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, where guests viewed trapeze artists in pink and blue tights over vats of caviar and hogsheads of Champagne. “People would give their eyeteeth to be invited to the Tollmans’ party,” Lou Gartner, a party guest, told Vanity Fair in 2004.
During those heady years, Mr. Tollman and Mr. Hundley invested $35 million from the sale of their H.F.S. stock into Alpha Hospitality, which had a riverboat casino in Mississippi.
Mr. Tollman asked a Republican fund-raiser with whom he had become friendly, Charles A. Gargano, to join the Alpha Hospitality board in 1991. Mr. Gargano said he eventually bought about $800,000 worth of stock in the company, though the board “never had a meeting.”
But Mr. Gargano said he lost about $625,000 on the stock when he was forced to sell it in 1995 after becoming the state’s chief economic development official. The two men remained friendly, with Mr. Gargano joining Mr. Tollman for lunch at the “21” Club and on safari in South Africa.
“This guy was a big-deal businessman and a terrific guy,” Mr. Gargano said.
Aside from the money-losing riverboat, Mr. Tollman and Alpha were also active in upstate New York, where they tried unsuccessfully to convert a bingo hall into a casino on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation near the Canadian border. That is when Mr. Tollman met Robert Berman, a Catskill native who wanted to revive the resort area’s economy by opening an Indian casino at the Monticello racetrack. Mr. Berman approached the Mohawks, who embraced the idea and asked him to work with Alpha Hospitality.
“He was a fine gentleman who sat across the table and had some very nice things to say,” Phillip Tarbell, a Mohawk legislator, said of Mr. Tollman.
Mr. Tollman and Mr. Berman joined forces in 1996, and for four years they worked working with state and federal officials on the casino proposal. In the spring of 2000, the project seemed on the verge of victory when the Interior Department granted preliminary approval. But in a surprising turn, the Mohawks jettisoned Alpha Hospitality and signed a new deal with Park Place Entertainment, then the largest gambling company in the world.
Mr. Tollman soon learned that his friend Mr. D’Amato, then a consultant for Park Place, had helped woo the tribe away from Alpha. Mr. D’Amato later assured the Mohawks that he was pleading their case in Washington while at the same time he told Mr. Tollman that he had had nothing to do with the tribe’s turnabout.
“He was livid,” an executive who worked with him at the time said of Mr. Tollman. Mr. D’Amato said through a spokesman that he could not recall much about Mr. Tollman.
After Mr. Tollman and Mr. Hundley were indicted in 2002, Mr. Berman, eager to sever his connections to the men, reorganized Alpha and renamed it Empire Resorts. In recapitalizing the company, he gave $1.7 million in nonvoting stock to the families of Mr. Tollman and Mr. Hundley.
“Stanley was a complete gentleman about it,” Mr. Berman said. “The guy said, ‘I don’t want our problems to affect you, the other partners or the employees at the track.’ ”
As the Mohawk casino project proceeds, state regulators have said that state police investigators determined that Mr. Tollman’s interest is “sufficiently remote as to prevent any credible claim of ‘ownership’ or ‘ability to control’ ” Empire Resorts.
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