Ponzi Schemer Allen Stanford Sounds More and More Like Bill Brasky

You remember Bill Brasky, right? The guy whose friends are always hooking up in SNL skits to drink scotch and talk about the manly, insane stuff he does?

Like: "He used to shoot whiskey in his neck with a syringe." And, "We once had a bachelor party for Bill Brasky. He ate the entire cake before we could tell him there was a stripper in it." And, of course, "His poop is considered currency in Argentina."

Well, the more that comes out about our old buddy Allen Stanford -- he of the accused $8 billion Ponzi scheme fame, whose story New Times brought you last month -- the more Sir Allen sounds like Bill Brasky.

The guy had a minivan-full of mistresses, hit on famous English cricket players' wives -- right in front of them -- owned a faux-English mansion in Coral Gables with a throne toilet and an entire private island outside Antigua. He may have carried around the blood from a priest with stigmata in his briefcase. And now check out this key passage from a new Stanford feature in GQ:

Stanford liked to drive himself along Antigua's rutted roads in his
four-wheel-drive SUV. One afternoon, he parked his truck and walked up
the steps of a little bar called On the Ground, a hole-in-the-wall with
wooden-lathe windows that let in the island breeze. Walter Sweeney, the
bar's owner, calls Stanford "the greatest man I've ever met." Stanford
would often pay with hundred-dollar bills and refuse the change,
Sweeney told me. "I'd have to put six Carib beers on the bar. I used to
just put them up there one at a time. But he said, 'No, put six there,
Walt!' And then he drinks them like that: one, two, three, four, five,
six!" Sweeney smiled, recalling how, after Stanford guzzled them down,
he would stretch and flex his muscles a bit and say, "Oh, Walt, now I
feel like going to the gym," and then walk out of the bar and drive
himself off down the road.

I mean, come on! Let's insert Allen Stanford's name into some famous Bill Brasky quotes. You tell me if you'd really be that shocked to see these in a news story about Sir Allen:

  • "(Allen Stanford) once ate a Bible while waterskiing."
  • "(Allen Stanford) uses the Shroud of Turin as a golf towel."
  • "(Allen Stanford) drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls."

Joking aside, the GQ feature does including some interesting new information on Stanford's Miami connections. According to the story, David Tinsley, the chief of a Miami-based DEA money laundering unit, traced millions in Mexican drug money to Stanford's bank. Here's the passage on what happened next:

(Tinsley) told me he contacted Stanford for the first time in 1999, as
Stanford was preparing to fly from D.C. to Houston. When Stanford
answered the phone, Tinsley told him that he'd found dirty money in
Stanford's bank, a lot of it, and that he'd already sent out subpoenas.
Stanford told his pilots to reroute his flight, and within hours he
touched down at the Miami airport, then drove to the secure DEA
compound in the center of the city. "We were somewhat staggered that he
would come talk to us without a truckload of attorneys," Tinsley said.

As Stanford sat in a DEA conference room, impeccably dressed and
polite, Tinsley told him that he'd been tracking the money of the
legendary Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who'd apparently
stashed some of his funds in Stanford International. "Mr. Tinsley,"
Stanford finally said, "if you tell me this money's bad and get a
seizure order, I'll personally deliver it."

Tinsley shook his head as he recounted the scene, still surprised by
Stanford's willingness to cooperate. "He said, 'If I have other
accounts you want to know about, just tell me. I'll let you see them!'
" Agents say Stanford also told them he'd been approached by
international spy services--Tinsley assumed he meant the British
secret-intelligence service, MI6--who wanted access to his customer
accounts. "I want you to be aware," Tinsley recalled Stanford telling
him, "I've never helped them, but I'm helping you."

And just to tie everything up, a gratuitous Bill Brasky clip. Enjoy:

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink