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    Howard Hughes wonders if there is "a way to do something for the [Nevada] governor"

    Howard Hughes Autograph Letter Signed "Howard." One and one-quarter yellow pages from a legal pad, 8.5" x 13", n.p., dated with a different pen "3/28 69 11:45 P.M." to Robert "Bob" Maheu, Hughes' close assistant, confidant, and dealmaker as Hughes purchased hotel casinos in Las Vegas throughout the late 1960s.

    In 1967, the year Howard Hughes began building his casino empire, the Nevada legislature passed the Corporate Gaming Act, which allowed corporations to own casinos. Two years later, Hughes contemplates the effects of the bill in this letter. In full:

    "Re your statement that if you oppose corporate gaming act now, Laxalt, Webb, Thomas, Parvin Dohrman will be displeased, first, it seems to me that there must be a way to do something for the governor to equalize the situation with him, re Webb, I will guarantee to placate him, re Thomas, surely there is a way to satisfy him in one of a number of ways, now, re Parvin Dohrman, I don't see why they should be hurt, since they are having no trouble selling their stock under existing laws.

    Anyway, if I am to contemplate a $200,000,000 sale of hotel stock and if this corporate gaming bill could result in more competition in this sale to the public and consequently a lower over all proceed from the sale of stock to the public, then I do not think a reduction of 10-20 or 30 million in the over-all proceeds from the sale of stock should be absorbed just to avoid displeasing Parvin Dohrman."

    Hughes mentions four names in the letter: Paul Laxalt was the governor of Nevada; Parry Thomas was Hughes' Nevada banker; Delbert E. Webb, was the owner of several Las Vegas casinos; and the Parvin-Dohrmann Company owned several casinos and hotels and sold hotel equipment. Both pages of this letter have staple holes in the upper left corner.

    Because of his eccentric and reclusive nature, Howard Hughes surrounded himself with trustworthy aides who were able to carry out his directions concerning his numerous business ventures. One of his closest aides during the late 1960s was the persuasive and diplomatic Robert Maheu, a one-time FBI counter-espionage agent. In 1961, Hughes convinced Maheu to work solely for him as his full-time surrogate and main dealmaker with a salary of $520,000 and an unlimited expense account. Over time, Hughes relied on Maheu more and more, often assigning the former FBI agent unusual projects.


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    Extended description:

    Howard Hughes' (1905-1976) bizarre behavior began as early as the 1930s when he was a Hollywood film producer and director. By the time this letter was written in 1968, Hughes, one of the wealthiest men alive, had completely disappeared from public view -- the "Invisible Billionaire," as Time magazine branded him. Because of his eccentric and reclusive nature, he surrounded himself with trustworthy aides who were able to carry out his directions concerning his numerous business ventures. One of his closest aides during the late 1960s was Robert Maheu, a former World War II FBI counter-espionage agent. After the war, Maheu, who had developed a talent for persuasion and diplomacy, started his own consultancy and worked as an operative for several clients around the world, including Howard Hughes. In 1961, Hughes convinced Maheu to work exclusively for him as one of his main aides and dealmakers with a salary of $520,000 and an unlimited expense account. Maheu once explained about their relationship, "He decided that he wanted me to become his alter ego so he would never have to make a public appearance." Over time, Hughes relied on Maheu more and more, often assigning the former FBI agent unusual projects. By the time this letter was written, Maheu was a trusted friend, but, because of Hughes' reclusive nature, the two had never met face-to-face; instead, they communicated by using these lined yellow legal-pad pages and the telephone. Their relationship, however, was becoming strained and completely ruptured in 1971 when Hughes fired Maheu following a complicated power struggle between Maheu and other Hughes' aides.



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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