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    Howard Hughes Autograph Letter Signed "Howard." Two yellow pages from a legal pad, 8.5" x 13", n.p., dated with a different pen "8-29-69 / 9:15 pm" to Robert "Bob" Maheu, Hughes' close assistant and confidant. With Maheu's help, Hughes, one of the wealthiest men in the world, was in the process of building a hotel and casino empire in Las Vegas, something Hughes had begun two years earlier. Writing with a sense of urgency - Maheu was leaving for Vancouver the following day - Hughes makes a suggestion in this letter about his aide's wife and asks questions about the Paradise Valley Country Club, an acquisition he had made from Hank Greenspun a year earlier. (That same year, 1968, Greenspun, the controversial Las Vegas Sun publisher, had also sold Hughes KLAS-TV channel 8.)

    "Your previous message said Lina [?] would be available this weekend and implied a likely need for contact. Bob, if you really intend to accord me any option in connection with your proposed Vancouver plans, I suggest you not send your wife on the boat until we have this situation cleared up.

    The first thing I would like to understand better is a note from Karat
    [?] Inc., for 3,000,000, and a note that some payment in the amount of 2,250,000 for acquisition of the Paradise Valley Country Club has been made.

    I am sure there is an explanation of these matters, but, not wanting to discuss them with anybody else, I am asking you.

    I would put it over until tomorrow, but since you desire to leave soon, I hope you will forgive my intrusion tonight

    This letter exhibits two staple holes in the top left corner.

    More Information:

    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 606

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