Soviet Emigre Is Found Slain

Soviet Emigre Is Found Slain

A February 7, 1983 article (“Soviet Émigré Is Found Slain”) from the New York Times states:

A 24-year-old émigré from the Soviet Union was found shot to death Saturday in the doorway of a commercial building in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. The police said yesterday that the motive for the crime was unclear. They said they doubted it was robbery because the victim, Victor Malinsky of Floral Park, Queens, was wearing gold chains and a diamond ring and had $265 in his wallet. He was also carrying a pagin device, which was beeping when officers arrived at the scene at 5:30 A.M. Mr. Malinsky was shot in the head, chest and back, the police said. The body was found at the entrance to 601 West 26th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues, by the building’s night watchman. Mr. Malinsky, a self-employed interior decorator, arrived from the Soviet Union in 1980 and lived at 270-15A Grand Central Parkway, according to the police. They said they had not determined whether the victim was slain at the Chelsea site or slain elsewhere.

A 1985 diary entry by gay club promoter Dean Johnson who worked at The World states:

While I was working the door at Save The Robots an obnoxious little man insisted on being let in to the club and I had to turn him away. He said, "You'll be sorry, I'm Arthur Weinsteins's brother, I'll have you fucking killed. I'm gonna go get him right now. You'll be sorry." Well, I was a little nervous since rumor had it that Arthur Weinstein had killed a man at an after-hour club called The Jefferson, but there was a higher principle at stake here. His brother was gross. A few minutes later a shadowy, menacing figure showed up at my door. It was Arthur Weinstein. "Do you know who I am?" he asked me. "Yes," I replied. "Did you turn my brother away from your door?" "Yes," I repeated. He leaned in closely and looked me square in the eyes. "Would you like to come work for me?" he asked. A week later I started as the doorman at the World.

BQ NOTE: In a 1984 diary entry Dean Johnson stated that he "[o]pened a club on Third Street called Uncle Bud's Amway" which "was a huge hit until the local mafia chased us out." Sadly, Dean Johnson recently died under mysterious circumstances, and some are suggesting that he may have been murdered; if so, I wonder to what extent, if any, such a murder might have had something to do with his apparent knowledge of organized crime control of gay bars.

A July 18, 2004 article (“The Gang of New York”) by Anthony Haden-Guest from the Observer states:

Stephen Sprouse's wake took place in April this year in a design studio on 601 West 26th Street. Sprouse, an inventive designer, had a flock of friends, many of whom were on hand. * * * Sprouse had been something of a New York club kid, too, so it made sense that Arthur Weinstein was in a corner with his wife, Colleen. An urban dandy, powder-dry, with a bouffant stiff enough to scrub a floor, Weinstein is one of the more durable figures in New York's nightworld. It turned out that 601 West 26th Street is not just shared with the high-gloss likes of Martha Stewart and Hugo Boss. 'It's the building my partner, Victor Malinsky, was killed in front of,' he told me. 'I know that story, Arthur,' I said. And I thought I did. But I was wrong. Why hadn't he told me this tale before? 'I was scared,' he said. He spoke deadpan. But he meant it. It began with a party that Arthur Weinstein threw for Colleen in their loft on the second floor of the Jefferson, a defunct theatre on West 14th Street. This was in 1980. Until not so long before - until the celebrated Studio 54 opened, to be specific - Weinstein's club Hurrah had been a playpen for new wavers like the B-52s, Talking Heads and Blondie, and he was still one of the coolest of Mr Cools. The party was wall-to-wall with the creatures of the A-list night. 'I look around. It was magic!' he said when he, his wife and the rest of the gang finally decided to tell me all. 'I thought, fuck it! I'm opening the place.' As an illegal after-hours joint, that is. * * * He reeled in a partner, Scotty Taylor. They had met when Taylor was a barman at Studio 54. A sunny fellow, awestruck by what he had heard of Hurrah, Taylor had kept Weinstein supplied with Stoly-and-tonics on the house. He had then moved to the Ritz, a club owned by the theatre producer and bon viveur Jerry Brandt. 'I would take money from the Ritz basically. I would pull $300 every night. Arthur would pick it up,' Taylor said. Thus the club was funded. ‘I found out about it years later,' Jerry Brandt said. 'And I was furious. I was mostly furious because they had only to ask me.' * * * They needed a final 10 grand to kick-start the place. 'And even though I was taking money, I still had more in my cash register than all the other people working,' Taylor said. 'I liked the status. And the club loved me because I was number one money guy. So I didn't want to go below that.' Paul Garcia, a successful model with ambitions to run his own place, came up with the necessary. He became the third partner. The Jefferson opened on New Year's Eve 1980. * * * It was Jerry Brandt who warned Weinstein they needed protection and hooked them up with the cops of the Ninth Precinct. 'He said, "You've got to pay these guys and they'll make sure that you stay open,"' Weinstein said. 'So I began paying them $500 a week.' * * * Arthur learnt he was going to have to wear a concealed mic - a wire - against the cops. * * * It transpired that the feds' focus on after-hours joints was not just a phase of the war on nightworld that felled Rubell and Schrager. John S Martin Jr, the district attorney for the southern district of New York, originally sent out agents to check whether the mob was involved in the after-hours clubs. 'They saw it was just a bunch of kids with pink hair running clubs,' Scotty Taylor said. 'They told him there's nothing going on here. Only they're paying off the cops.' The DA decided to go after the cops. * * * Weinstein, who was now paying off the cops with marked bills supplied by the FBI, had so far managed to keep Taylor out of the mess. 'Art told the feds I was a drug addict,' Taylor said. 'He said that I was slightly retarded, that I don't know anything.' * * * By then, the Jefferson was waning. 'We had a very good run. But it was pretty much the end of the line because I had been closed several weeks in a row,' Weinstein said. 'In the nightclub business, if you're closed, it's a real problem. People go somewhere else. Then another prize character comes around, an ex-cop, a psychotic crazy fuck. He'd been with the Ninth Precinct. He was into Quaaludes. He was always whacked out, always.' * * * 'Everybody was afraid of him,' Weinstein said. 'He came in with a wad of cash. As an investment. And I took it. And I managed to get back on an even keel for a little bit.' Club people hang together. One morning Weinstein and John Belushi took off for AM-PM, a club run by one Vito Bruno. He got back home about 10 in the morning. 'Colleen was out of town,' he said. 'And the guy was waiting for me in his car. And he's got a long ... thing in this plastic bag. Like it was flowers. But you knew it wasn't flowers. He said, "Get upstairs." We get upstairs. 'So he sits down. He takes out a long single-barrelled shotgun. And he said to me - it sounds ridiculous, but he said to me: "Where did you go?" 'I go, "I went to AM-PM." 'He said, "Because you didn't say goodbye!" 'And he has the gun like this.' Arthur waggled his forearm. 'And it went off!' He gave a hiccup of a laugh. 'I was 'luded too. If I wasn't, I probably would have jumped out of the window. The gun blew a hole the size of a grapefruit - bigger than a grapefruit, more like a little pumpkin - in the wall. Three feet over my head. And he goes, "Oh, I'm sorry! It went off by accident."' They flew off in opposite directions. 'The very next day I said to Scotty, "I'm getting the fuck out of here,"' Weinstein said. 'And that was the end of the Jefferson.' * * * Did the feds ever learn about the psycho? 'No. I was so scared of him that I didn't tell 'em. And somehow they never found out,' Weinstein said. * * *And even before the Jefferson was shuttered, Arthur Weinstein, the man who did so much to create it, was putting together his next place. A cool name is crucial and he called this (wholly illegal) space the Continental. The space was a garage on West 25th Street, namely West Chelsea, the area which has now replaced SoHo as the Posh Art District, but it was then an industrial wasteland, clustered with auto-parts outlets. Didn't the FBI mind? 'It was the feds who told him to go ahead,' Colleen said. 'That's how we got our money. From the feds!' Weinstein said. 'We had just started construction. I did what I usually did. I got money from whoever I could that I knew wasn't going to turn around and kill me if I didn't pay him back that day. I told the feds I didn't have any money to keep going, and the fucking thing wasn't going to make it, and yadda-yadda-yadda. So they gave me about $15,000. Cash, of course.' Why would they do that? 'The feds had busted the Ninth Precinct. Now they wanted the 10th,' Colleen said. The Ninth Precinct had been ordinarily sticky-fingered. The 10th were ... professionals. * * * 'The feds were more than happy,' Scotty Taylor says. 'They didn't have to pay for a sting operation. We put out the cheese and, sure enough, guys from 10th Precinct came driving up.' The Fire Department soon followed. ‘The fireman who came was a real riot,' Arthur says. 'He was a squat, overweight wide-bodied type. He patted me down for a wire. Thank Christ he didn't find it, because I never wore it where everybody thought it might be. Then he said, "All right! You're OK! Now let's cut the bullshit! How much you gonna pay?"' A wry chuckle. 'That was the last recording I had to make.' * * * It was then some Italian wise guys made their move. A couple arrived at the door, with babies. 'Am I here?' one asked Arthur. It wasn't one of Weinstein's more alert evenings. He eyed them, blurrily. 'Not knowing what the fuck he means by this, I say, "Of course you're here,"' he said. Next night they were back. This time Paul Garcia was on the door. 'The guy says, "Listen, I want a thousand dollars in an envelope every night." I said, "Yeah? I'll have to talk to my partner about that."' Unlike Scotty Taylor, Garcia had no idea Arthur was wearing a wire. It simply didn't occur to him to go to the authorities. 'I wouldn't have paid the guy. We would have closed and opened somewhere else. They probably would have followed us around. And they probably would have shut us down,' he says. But it happened that Paul Garcia had his own Italian connections. ‘I was very lucky. It was mere coincidence. I rented a downtown restaurant from a particular family. The grandfather started out as a rubbish collector. They owned that whole area around Canal Street and bits of Tribeca when it was very unfashionable. 'I had very little contact with the head of the family. It was one of his sons that we leased the property from. He liked my brother and me. I called and said, "I need to set up a meeting with your father."' Both father and son were called Vincent. Paul gave Vincent Jr the name of the fellow who had demanded the $1,000. Vincent Jr set up a meeting with his father. 'This was a beautiful scene. It was more like something out of The Godfather than The Sopranos. It was in their own restaurant - very old-world Italian. It had a little white canopy down to the street. And it was all wise guy cars outside. 'They brought the hood in. He turned out to be just a muscle man from Brooklyn. We met in the corner in the restaurant and the father reluctantly sat down with us. He said: "All right! So what's the situation?"' Paul said, 'I've got this other place which is the money I need to pay your rent. And this guy wants to squeeze it out of me. If he squeezes it out of me, then I'm going to have to walk away. You're not going to have a tenant in the diner.' Vincent Sr followed the plot. 'Go to the bar and have a drink,' he instructed. A while later, Garcia was called back to the table. The Brooklyn guy was still there. 'He's wearing a white jacket like John Travolta in the disco movie,' Garcia said. Vincent Sr told Garcia no payments would be necessary. The would-be shakedown artist showed no emotion. 'You don't got to worry about that no more,' Vincent Sr told Garcia. 'But if something else happens, don't bring me into the picture.' * * *Money was flowing into the Continental, but it evaporated the way easy money does, and soon enough they needed re-financing. New York had been filling up with Russian hard men. One pair showed up: Vadim Semon and Victor Malinsky. Paul Garcia was not delighted. 'I don't really want these Russkies involved with my trade,' he told Arthur. 'But if we've got to borrow money, you borrow money from Vadim, and only Vadim. Victor is not part of the picture.' 'Victor, he was a counterfeiter,' Arthur said. 'Vadim was into a lot of different things. Anyway, they gave me about $75,000. I never had any problems with the Russians. And they got their money back.' The Continental had a longer run than the Jefferson, namely a couple of years, but in Manhattan a whoosh! can go pfft! in a nanosecond. And so it was with the Continental. 'One moment you've got the hottest club in New York. Next moment you've got nothing,' Weinstein said, dolorously. Scotty Taylor does not concur. 'We were still doing business. It wasn't because nobody was showing up. It was because the feds were going to start prosecuting. We had to close,' he said. Anyway, Arthur - keep moving! - was already putting together another joint. It was on 27th Street and 11th Avenue. He called it Le Pop. * * * 'Vadim was my partner. But I didn't take a nickel for Le Pop. That's why I didn't get killed,' Arthur said. 'We were getting ready to open. And then by very lucky timing 23 cops were busted in the 10th Precinct. That was on 20 January 1983. We opened on 5 February.' 'Le Pop was great. We opened one night. And the second night was the real opening. There was a huge snowstorm,' Scotty Taylor said. The Russians were harder to get rid of than the Italians. 'Victor and Vadim were there,' Arthur said. 'Vadim was on crutches. He is obviously in agony. He'd been in a skiing accident. To this day I think about that night. I couldn't figure out what he was doing at the club. Then Victor got a call at three in the morning and left.' It was almost six and Le Pop was popping. Ellen K - the club-name of the editor of a Downtown fashion magazine, now a housewife and mother in Connecticut - was sitting with Colleen. She thinks there may have been as many as 700 people there. 'Somebody rushed up and told us something had happened,' she said. 'Then the police came. We ran into the bathroom and they gave me lots of coke to carry out. I shoved it down my corset. We were stuck inside for 15 or 20 minutes before the police opened the door.' Victor had been found in the doorway of 601 West 26th Street. He had been shot in the head. 'The police searched 98 per cent of the people, looking for the gun. But this guy and I walked out arm in arm, like boyfriend and girlfriend. We put on a show, kissing. And then we went off to AM-PM. It was no big deal. We went off partying.' Ellen laughed incredulously. 'Can you imagine?' It emerged that Victor, who had previously been arrested for distributing counterfeit dollars, had reneged on a deal to go undercover because he was scared of 'his friends'. He was to have been sentenced on 7 February. There is heat and there is too much heat. Le Pop never had a third night. The trial of the 10th Precinct cops began. Arthur had a simple deal: Testify, then ... au revoir! The trial was colourful. It turned out the cops also had been partying with the transvestite hookers who were a feature of the district. 'They had orgies in a van. One of the transvestites had to turn in the cops and he/she was down at the trial,' Arthur observed. 'It was an orgy. I wonder where he wore the wire?' A sergeant co-operated with the prosecution. 'He ratted out everybody. He got sent fish in the mail.' The fish being a nice Godfather touch. 'He wouldn't move. He was kind of a swashbuckling guy who thought he could handle anything.' Arthur had to testify about each cop he had paid off. 'Wherever I could protect somebody, I did. They weren't bad guys. The feds wanted to know if I gave somebody $50. If I didn't have to tell them, I didn't. The feds will ruin a guy's career for $50 or $100. They have absolutely no ethics.' The feds kept their deal, however. Arthur did what he had to do. He felt his journey to the bottom of the night was over. Wrong. On Tuesday 22 1983 the front-page headline on the New York Times ran: 'FBI Inquiry on After-Hours Clubs Strains Links With Police'. The story began: 'At 1am the ground floor of the warehouse was transformed into a cave of fantastic shadows: an all-night crowd spurred on by flashing lights, music, liquor and a little cocaine. Standing on the loading dock in front of the after-hours club, the Continental on West 25th Street, was Arthur Weinstein, the co-owner. His hair was slicked back and he wore a white dinner jacket with a jet-black cummerbund. Underneath his evening clothes was a transmitter that allowed the FBI to monitor every word he said.' * * * Arthur had only worn the wire against targeted cops and firemen. * * * 'Somebody wrote, 'ART THE WIRE' on my door. That was nice,' he says. 'But you know what? I never stopped going out. Nobody had the balls even to stand next to me, that's how hot I was. "Why are you alive? Why aren't you in Brazil?"' 'Arthur still came out every single night. Art didn't hide. He didn't hide,' Scotty Taylor said. 'He was scared too. Guys were going to go to jail. The mafia, they're all about business. But bad cops can be mean. And everybody everywhere was yadda-yadda-yadda. It didn't stop.' What made people decide he hadn't been taping them too? 'Because I was there,' Arthur said. 'They figured if this guy's crazy enough to be walking around, he's not afraid. Because if he's got something to hide, he don't come around. So gradually people started to relax. But I'll tell you one thing. I had two guys I got pot from, very big dealers. And they didn't think twice about selling to me. I thought that was pretty classy.'"

1 σχόλιο:

Ανώνυμος είπε...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter.