Description

    Howard Hughes sends Robert Maheu to buy "the corner lot next to Caesars Palace"

    Howard Hughes Autograph Letter Signed "Howard." Three yellow pages from a legal pad, 8.5" x 13", n.p., dated with a different pen "3/28/68" to Hughes' close assistant and confidant Robert "Bob" Maheu. At the time Hughes wrote this letter, he was buying several hotel casinos in Las Vegas, often relying on Maheu to make the deals. In this letter, Hughes, one of the wealthiest men in the world, sends Mehau to buy Las Vegas property.

    "Re. sand Dunes, the answer is by all means yes. However, lets trade the price to the lowest possible figure. Why not try an immediate all cash offer of $300,000. Tonite or tomorrow A.M.

    Please tell Wall I want the tract next to this also. . . . Also, please tell Mr. Wall I want to buy all the rest of the land between sands and Flamingo Rd. except that which is improved with something valuable. That includes the corner lot next to Caesars Palace. I would like a map of the above area and Walls best estimate - not the asking price - Wall's best estimate of what each tract can be bought for. . . . Re. the hospital, how much will it cost and (roughly - very roughly, without approaching anyone even remotely connected with the hospital) what does it consist of. . . ."

    Hughes then directs Maheu to placate Hank Greenspun, the controversial Las Vegas Sun publisher, who, rightfully, "frightened" Hughes.

    "Re. Hank, will you tell him I will check into the hospital without any delay at all. Please tell Hank that, in any event, I appreciate very much his kind advice and he may be sure we will be guided by it. Please tell him to rest assured that, as the result of his message, we will enter into some philanthropic project of importance. That we will do so without delay. Don't try to extract a promise, but try to bring him to a frame of mind whereby you can tell me you are convinced he will not attack us if we do something substantial and soon.

    This man has always frightened me because he is unpredictable and emotional. He can praise you to the skies one day and son-of-a-bitch you all over the place the next. And nobody knows it better than we do! Don't you remember that double-cross when we first got here?"

    Greenspun was involved in Las Vegas real estate and in 1968, sold Hughes KLAS-TV channel 8. This letter has staple holes in the upper 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.



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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