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Founded in 1962 by Charles L. Klotzer

Archive for May 2010

Under the radar

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East Side player Gary Fears and his diverse business associates are betting that his military aviation business finally takes off. Whether it will fly is still up in the air.

By C.D. STELZER / cdstelzer@gmail.com

Part two of a two-part series

For a free PDF download of these stories, go to http://www.scribd.com/Fears-Stories/d/33114607

“It’s interesting that the guys who came here to help move the plane actually were Russian nationals,” says Cheryl Hill, a prosecutor in Marquette, Michigan.

Hill is referring to a gargantuan Soviet military aircraft worth millions of dollars that has been stranded for the better part of the last year at a former U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command base in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The spring thaw has melted the snow that accumulated around the aircraft over the winter, but mysteries surrounding its presence at Sawyer International Airport remain. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

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Fears and lobbying in Collinsville

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Illinois kingpin Gary Fears works in mysterious ways

By C.D. STELZER / cdstelzer@gmail.com

Part one of a two-part series

For a free PDF download of these stories, go to http://www.scribd.com/Fears-Stories/d/33114607

Nine Gateway Drive is far from K Street, the center of Washington’s influence-peddling industry. The address belongs to a now-vacant space in a strip mall located in Collinsville, Illinois, just east of St. Louis.

This small town, which bills itself as the horseradish capital of the world, seems an odd place for the Kingdom of Morocco to be doing business, but, according to a 2006 congressional lobbying report, the North African nation hired Collinsville-based Avatar Enterprises Inc. to help represent its interests in the United States.

Gary R. Fears, the 63-year-old owner of Avatar, now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, but his career is deeply rooted in Madison County politics, where he made his bones decades ago as a Downstate operative for then-Gov. Dan Walker. Since leaving public life, Fears has traded on his insider status and political connections to parlay a series of controversial deals into a byzantine financial empire. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by writer. Edited by editor.

May 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized