Saturday, 1 March 2014

Part 6 My Story.....


IT'S ALL OVER NOW..... OR IS IT?


I knew Inspector Malone’s warning was serious and yet oddly enough over the coming months the raids seemed to be less, in fact a lot less and NEVER carried out by Inspector Malone himself. Where had he disappeared to? Had he moved on? Had he been relocated? Whatever has happened there was neither sight nor sound from the man, not that I was concerned! I was beginning to think that perhaps there had been a rethink about the way the police were operating their late night raids at Elizabeths, after all the club was regularly used by top politicians etc and therefore possibly the police didn’t want to be caught again in a uncompromising position. Whatever the reason I began to foolishly lower my guard.

I was as busy as ever as we approached the final days of Wendy’s pregnancy. It was the early hours of Thursday 13th June 1976 and Elizabeth's was extremely busy. I was standing in the foyer talking to some clients when the bell rang, the doorman as usual checked the peephole to make sure that it wasn’t the police and opened the door, within a fraction of a second the entrance was full of plain clothes Garda. I was held up against the wall and told not to move. It was then I saw the uniformed Inspector Malone filling the door frame, he wore a smile like a Cheshire cat. “ Well, Well what have we got here Mr Boland” he smiled. By then the police were all over the place taking names of the customers who were happily drinking and were all quite amused by the chaos that was ensuing. Only my staff and I knew this was going to become the beginning of the end. Whilst I was been held one of my staff came out to inform me that I was urgently wanted on the phone. I told her it wasn’t exactly an appropriate time take phone calls. Could she not see I was somewhat occupied?????. She said she knew but it was Wendy she was leaving for the hospital as her waters had broken, the baby was on his way!!! Great timing I thought at the time. I remember thinking maybe I should call the child after Inspector Malone and made a mental note to ask him his first name!!! As soon as the raid was over a made it at high speed to be with Wendy for the birth of our second son. Justin was born on the 13th June almost two years to the day of Nicholas’s birth. Of course I was ecstatic about the birth of our second son but I knew I was in deep trouble with the police more precisely with Malone!
Irish licensing laws stipulated that if you had three strikes against your licence you lost it. I had already one strike and the Malone raid now would cost me a second. I knew the he was determent to close me down after the serious embarrassment I caused him (see Part 5) and I had only one choice before receiving the finale strike and that was was to try to sell the club. The newspapers were having a field day with headlines asking ‘Is it finally curtains for Boland etc etc'


Weeks before the raid I had agreed a sale on our house Knockbeg to Albert Gubay, the Manx billionaire who was bringing his chain of Kwik Save supermarkets to Ireland. And had bought Marino House (see photo) a magnificent double fronted mansion set on one of Dublin’s most sought after addresses, Killiney Hill Road (where Bono now lives). The house had its stables, Tennis court, staff apartment and large conservatory with a wonderful mature vine. After an extensive make over Wendy and myself with our two young sons took up residence, a brave and rather stupid move when you considered that the major raid and pending court case was about to be heard with a great chance I could lose my licence!


I called Inspector Malone again and request a meeting. This time it took place in Pearce Street Garda station where Malone had taking up office. I remember he kept me waiting for what felt like hours before he saw me. Eventually I was sitting in front of the man who had my and my families future in his hands. I asked outright not to press charges but to allow me time to sell the club. At first he told me it was too late and there was nothing he could do about it, but I was persistent and after
a while I could see he was taking a more sympathetic view, eventually he cut a deal with me. He said that although he couldn’t stop the case of selling alcohol after hours against me going ahead, he would see to it that there would be no more raids therefore letting me keep my licence long enough to sell Club Elizabeth but he stipulate we are talking a maximum of 8 weeks! That was it, it was all over, I was devastated!! I left the police station heartbroken. I walked for what felt like forever until i got to St Stephen Green park, found a bench, placed my head in my hands and wept.

I knew that selling the club for any sort of a decent amount was now highly unlikely, firstly because of the high volume of negative press I had been receiving over the final raid. Secondly because Ireland’s economic recession was deepening and finally there might be a real possibility of losing the license altogether. I called Louis Murray and asked him if he knew anyone who might be interested. He called me back within the hour and said his friend Jody Carr, a wealthy young owner of the fashion business The House of Carr was interested and wanted to meet the next day. After a short meeting the decision was made for Carr to take Elizabeths from me, in fact he made me feel like he was doing me a favour. It felt like it must feel when handing over a much loved child for adoption. This was simply one of the worst days of my life. I remember sitting for what felt like hours realising I had lost it all , Sachs Hotel gone, Barbarella’s was only new and still needed time to establish it's self, and now Elizabeth’s was no more. What was I to do? I had a mortgage to pay, a wife and two young children, a large house that employed a gardener, a house keeper, a nanny and a daily help, all this and now with NO income.


The following Saturday evening was so painful, knowing Elizabeths was full and I now had nothing to do with it. It felt somewhat like I’d lost my wife to another man!!
Wendy was amazing and supportive. We agreed that we needed to tighten our belts, get rid of the household staff and put Marino House up for sale. One haunting memory I remember of that period was my phone stopped ringing practically overnight. From being the MAN around town, now I felt no one wanted to know to me! Instead of being out every day for lunch in some up market restaurant and entertaining my clients at night in my club. I was now sitting alone at home with nothing to do but watch rubbish TV. Invitations to VIP parties stopped coming through my letter box. I felt ostracised by those who used to love hanging out with me. I was confused as to why my high profile life that I loved had suddenly disappeared. All I had to look forward as a faced each day was wondering around this huge home, alone and depressed.


One Sunday afternoon I was doing what I did every day, watching rubbish on television when I spotted someone in the garden.
There were two men pointing at the house, I immediately ran out and confronted them. The older of the two extended his hand ‘Gore, Bertie Gore real estate” he announced in a very plumy accent and proceeded to introduces me to his young companion; “The is the Greek ambassador.” He proudly announced. I hadn’t a clue why they were walking around my gardens uninvited, had I forgot that they had made an appointment? I don’t think so. Before I could ask Mr Gore what he was doing here he told me that the Greek Embassy were looking for an ambassadorial residence and they wanted something on the Killiney hill road. He had heard that Marino House might be for sale? “Of course, please let me show you around!” I enthusiastically replied and proceeded to show his excellence the ambassador around the house. They left after about an hour. I was stunned, the house wasn’t even advertised, could it be for real? Late on Sunday evening the phone rang, it was the phantom realtor Bertie Gore letting me know the ambassador loved the house and wanted to make an offer. I just couldn’t believe this was happening especially in the light off what I had been going through lately. The offer was substantial and I accepted.


As I said my phone had more or less fallen silent although Wendy was back modelling and as busy as ever.(see photo)


Out of the blue I got a call from the hotelier John Costello the owner of Dublin’s Royal Dublin and the Silversprings hotel in Cork,he wanted a meeting when I had time. Time is something I had plenty of and met him in his flagship hotel The Royal Dublin on O’Connell Street. He immediately cut to the chase and said he wanted me to work with him developing a large building he had adjoining the hotel. He didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do with it except he wanted it used for leisure and that’s why he asked me if I would get involved. He wanted me to go to Las Vegas and see if I could come back with some ideas. We agreed a salary and shook hands. I felt the tide was about to change at last and couldn’t wait to get home and tell Wendy. She too was delighted the only problem was that we needed to find a house to rent as the closing dated for the sale of our house was in 4 weeks and the dates John Costello wanted me in Vegas would coincided with the move from Marino House. There was no way that I could risk asking John to change the dates for my trip to the US as the opportunity was to important to allow him the possibility of changing his mind.. So I took off to America whilst Wendy had to arrange a house to rent, the move, her modelling assignments and two young children in tow.


I was booked into Las Vegas’s famous Sands hotel. My mood had totally changed I was excited and enthusiastic; I felt the tied was changing at last and that this was this going to be my next big thing? I loved Vegas, not knowing of course how the gambling capital would play an important part in my broadcasting career 20 years later.
It didn’t take long before I settled in and started to explore the city of lights. As usual my mother called, I was still mummy’s little boy, to find out was I okay, was I eating and going to bed early etc, etc!!! She told me to look up her childhood school friend who now lives and was married in Las Vegas she’s called Barbara Greenspun who had sat beside her in school whilst she lived in Ireland. Sure I’ll call her I assured my mum, I mean how was I going to find this woman but to make my mother happy I agreed to look.
I was now visiting all the big showrooms in hotels Like Caesars Palace Las Vegas, The Aladen, the Desert Inn and of course the Sands. I was only there 24 hours when I came to the conclusion that’s this is exactly what Dublin needed a spectacular cabaret club flying stars in from all over the world. There was nothing like it in Dublin and the building next to John’s hotel would be perfect. So now I set about getting as much information on building and running a cabaret showroom. It was after one of these meetings chatting with a show director that I brought up the subject of Barbara Greenspun asking if he had ever heard of the name. He immediately froze, mouth open: “you mean THE Greenspun’s?” (see photo)
He went on to explain that her husband Hank was responsible for running the Mob out of town, names like Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Seagal and introducing some of Americas largest corporations persuading them to invest in Vegas, He introduced billionaire Howard Hughes to Las Vegas and had the Hughes Corporation make substantial investments into the cities real estate sector. The Greespums also owned The Las Vegas Sun Newspaper and Channel 8 TV in short he AND Barbara were one of Las Vergas’s most important and powerful families and I wanted to meet them.
By phoning the Sun newspaper I got through to the Greespun’s secretary who asked me a load of questions before putting me on hold. Barbara Greenspun came on the line sounding excited to hear from me remembering my mum fondly and inviting me over for dinner that evening.
The Greenspun’s lived in a highly guarded building complex the view of Las Vegas from their penthouse duplex was spectacular. We spent a wonderful and memorable evening together. They related stories of their time in the gambling city dropping names like Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Elvis, Lucille Ball, Dean Martin and Jack Benny. They set up a meeting for me with Joe Delany one of the most respected showbiz correspondent in Vegas, what he didn’t know about the city and the celebrities that have appeared there wasn’t worth knowing.
I met up with Joe the next day and he started showing me around Vegas during the day taking me in the evening to different headline shows staring some of the biggest names on the strip including; Shirley MacLaine, Siegfried & Roy, Glen Campbell and to Mr Las Vegas Wayne Newton. The great thing about being with Joe was he’d take me back stage after every show and introduce me to the stars!!!

Mean while I was planning my trip back to Ireland to present my plan to John Costello, I was excited by what I was planning and also sure this is the BIG one this will be my next big thing and I couldn’t wait to get it underway.
After the second week I left Las Vegas and many new friends I made, friends that I would call on 20 years later.
On my arrival I went straight to John’s office at The Royal Dublin. I was bursting with enthusiasm. I couldn’t wait to present my plans to him. Before I could start John said he had something he needed to tell me; “Maurice I have bad news for you, since you’ve been away I have sold the building, the new owners want to develop it into shops and apartments I’m sorry but that’s it” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Surely this couldn’t be happening to me again!!!


I left the Royal Dublin and went home to face Wendy, she must have been as heartbroken as me but as usual she supported me saying well it must have meant to be and I’m sure you’ll come up with something else
Whilst I was in Vegas Wendy had moved out of Marino House and rented a smart bungalow in Killinney. I spent the following week getting over the jetlag and the utter disappointment of losing the opportunity to build Dublin’s finest cabaret club. Now I needed to get down to more mundane things like trying to sort out our finances and getting a job.
I was surprised to see how much surplus cash we had in the bank thanks to sale of Marino House, it didn’t take long for me to realise that a lot more money could be made out of buying and renovating run down properties than getting a 9 to 5 job etc . I had always loved London’s terraced homes especially in Belgravia, Holland Park etc and decided that’s what I wanted to do
next, buy a large terraced house and revamp to sell on. Terraced properties in Dublin back in the 70’s were mostly bought for conversion into as many bedsits as you could squeeze in, they weren’t used generally as private residence, but that didn’t put me off. I eventually found a majestic three story over basement terraced house called Hamilton House set in a pretty private cul-de-sac called Trafalgar Terrace and had wonderful sea views over Dublin Bay. Although it was packed tight with student lets it was been sold freehold I bought it and built a most stunning home, so much so it was House Of The Month in Irelands prestigious Image Magazine. Again I sold it at a substantial profit. This was easy money so I thought.


But my property empire was going to cost me everything and ended me up in the Dublin’s high court.

To be continued....

3 comments:

  1. Thank you to Colin McClelland former editor of the Sunday World who messaged me: 'Enjoying My Story immensely, You've certainly had a roller-coaster of a ride! Much of the stuff I didn't know at all'

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  2. Jerry O'Conner2 March 2014 at 09:16

    An excellent well told story. Although I wasn't old enough to remember Ireland in the 70's, I'm enjoying reading your memories of that decade. Thank you.

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  3. Some more positive feedback from my Facebook:

    Sylvia Foster: So pleased I have your blog to read tonight. I usually tire of books and never finish them but this is so interesting.

    Shay Clarke in the US: I'm lovin' it. I worked there for Frank and loved every minute of it Maurice. It was a blast.

    Vanessa Paylor: This morning before getting up, I re read some of your story. I was good at English grammer and find your way of writing very expressive and clear. Your grammer is fine and at no stage did I think your story came across mixed or confusing. You show a very natural ability. I wrote a book and I have written short stories and poetry. I find it very theraputic. Enjoy your work. I remember you telling me about some of your life and I found it fascinating!! You are a good story teller!! If you decide to publish, I wish you well. If not, be proud that you touched a few peoples lives with your interesting and sometimes haphazard life!!!!!! Xx

    Declan Foley: Enjoying your blogs Maurice, top shelf writing,

    Hilda Grace: 5/- explain that to the young ones! The Good ol days.

    Jordan Dean: Oh dear. Well your going strong. Love your blogs. Keep them coming.

    Thomas Handley, Dublin (an email) Great to read about the good old days Mo. This must become a book.



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