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GOLD CLUB PLEA BARGAIN / Support Dr. Luther
by Marty Goldstein on 2001-08-18

We'll have to wait for the tell-all book, or so it seems, to find out if KEVIN NASH lived up to his reputation as "Big Sexy" during his forays into Atlanta's late, lamented Gold Club. Nash was in the on-dack circle, next to testify, when to the dismay of wrestling pundits everywhere US federal prosecuters cut a deal that sent everyone home happy, with one exception. One defendant goes to jail happy.

Club owner Steven E. Kaplan was facing 195 years in prison if convicted on the myriad of charges with his co-defendants. They were fighting 86 charges ranging from extortion, money laundering, paying off the boys in blue and, in what had become the best part of the circus trial, paying for some very personal lap dances for patrons, aka prostitution.

But the feds were under strong criticism for putting the morals of celebrities on costly trial (pro athletes were first but rumours persisted that Hollywood mainstays were next to be exposed, pardon the pun). Although wiseguys on the stand testified that New York native Kaplan was friends with jailed Mob kingpin John Gotti, after the first 3 months none of the evidence had proven the claim that the strip joint was actually a laundramat for the Gambinos, a noted crime family. The case lacked "traction".

The atmosphere was so out of hand that one defence attorney began doing a table dance and was warned by US District Judge Willis B. Hunt (with an H), "Counsel, please keep your feet on the floor." Just like a Kevin Nash match. So, for a mere $5 million, handing over the keys of his establishment to the feds, and going directly to Club Fed for 3 years of 3 square meals a day, the case against Kaplan was closed. (A former cop and an alleged Gambino crime family captain may still face prosecution).

The club was a better draw than WCW during Nash's tenure as WCW booker, and much more fun to watch from the sounds of things. The Gold Club generated $20 million in revenue a year on 200,000 spectators, er, customers. One person who apparently WAS a spectator was Kaplan himself, whom NBA star Patrick Ewing and MLB star Andrew Jones testified watched while they got some from the club's staff, paid for by the former roller rink manager turned dance emporium empresario.

And, of course, who will ever forget the colourful testimony of "wrestling executive", Nash's buddy Eric Bischoff throwing his own wife under a dancer while he held onto the tag rope at ringside in their hotel room, courtesy of Kaplan's deep pockets. (See our earlier story, "Mrs. Bischoff Is Done, Who Want To Sex Mutombo?")

But now the mystery of Nash's out of the ring activities will remain a mystery until the tell-all book, by Nash or Kaplan or one of the danseurs. Fans and Moondog Manson can hardly wait.

* * * * *

On a personal aside, if you agree please support Dr. Luther and call APTN (Aboriginal Network in Canada) to show your belief that a wrestling tape, specifically the IWA of which he is champion, should be carried by the network. Len is one of the great Canadian vets, world traveled, and has asked me and others to help get the word out. With WWF holding a monopoly, it is important for a Canadian indy to get national TV. Call 1-888-278-8862 or email info@aptn.ca. to help.

Please note that I am not advocating for any one promotion over the other, as I have not seen anyone's pilot tapes lately but my own, so I don't know whose tape is good or not in Canada right now. Maybe APTN should carry more than one show. I will say that any promotion featuring Dr. Luther on top has a good chance of success nationally, and he, along with Bret Como, were far more deserving of WCW contracts than the green musclehead stew that caught on in Atlanta's dying days.


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