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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 14, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta The LetHbtidge Herald LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1974 20 Cents Meat packer named in confidential RCMP files Underworld ties alleged University governors go public For the first time in its history, the University of Lethbridge board of governors will make some of its decisions in public in After two hours of debate, the governors this week approved in principle the practice of holding a portion of its monthly meeting open to public attendance. While the board decided to open several meetings on a trial basis, it did not reach a decision on how much of its meeting would be open or when the first open session would be held. Board Chairman Blame Thacker said in an interview Friday the open session would not likely occur until February because "the mechanics" of the meeting would have to be worked out in the board's January meeting. New oil price VIENNA (AP) The world's leading oil exporting nations have adopted a new price system to bring them an extra 38 cents a barrel an increase of 3.9 per cent. OPEC officials said the move is aimed at reducing "unjustified" profits by the Western oil companies. RIPPED-OFF BANK AND MANAGER BEN REITER Gun-toting robbers hit bank at Barons By KEN ROBERTS Herald Staff Writer BARONS Royal Bank Manager Ben Reiter was go- ing to Taber to curl Friday at 5 p.m. but at the last minute he changed his mind. His decision cost the bank upwards of Shortly before 6 p.m. two men, armed with what appeared to be sawed off .22 rifles, entered the bank here, tied up Mr. Reiter and three tellers and made off with more than Barons, a community of 250, is 25 miles northwest of Lethbridge. Mr. Reiter decided not to go to Taber because his accoun- tant was sick and the bank would be open until 6 p.m. If he had gone, the robbers wouldn't have got as much money because only the- manager knew one of the com- binations to open the vault door. The two men entered the bank at a few minutes before closing time. They wore ski masks and each carried a firearm. No customers were in the bank at the time. "They told us to freeze and to back Mr. Reiter said. The men closed the drapes and locked the front door. Mr. Reiter and the girls were told to lie down on the floor. As one of the men tied two of the tellers up the other rifl- ed the tills. The one who was rifling the tills appeared ner- vous and did all the talking. The other was very quiet. There was about in the tills, the manager estimated. The third teller and Mr. Reiter were then escorted to the vault at the back, it was opened and the men took the cash there. Mr. Reiter knows the com- bination to one of the locks on the vault and the teller who accompanied him to the vault with the robbers knows the other. After the men cleaned up the money from the vault they stuffed it in what looked like a washed out sugar bag, the manager said. They tied Mr. Reiter and the other teller up and fled out the back door. Mr. Reiter and the girls freed themselves a few minutes later and police were called at about p.m. Mr. Reiter estimated the men' were in the bank about 15 minutes. He said he was afraid dur- ing the hold-up. He didn't like a gun being poked in his face. The men told the bank employees if they did what they said they wouldn't be hurt RCMP arrived about 15 minutes after they were called. An intensive search was started in the area but was hampered by a heavy fog. Road blocks were set up and manned by RCMP officers armed with shotguns. RCMP said today there were no new developments in the investigation of the robbery and to this point no one has been apprehended. There is no RCMP detach- ment in Barons. The nearest one is at Picture Butte, about 21 miles south. Mr. Reiter described the robbers as young, about five feet 10 inches tall and of nor- mal build. He said they were wearing ski-jackets and jeans RCMP report was taken from the bank but Mr Reiter says the theft was closer to He said they hadn't tallied the day's receipts since 3 p m He said he wasn't sure how much money was in the bank when the robbers walked in. Seen and heard About town Bill Kergan saying smoking should be banned in all public places so he'd be forced to quit, as he lit up a cigarette at a luncheon meeting Bar- bara Jones, loans officer for a local bank, closing a deal on a street corner. Milk fund reaches first The Cup of Milk Fund has now passed the mark in its drive to its goal. Many thanks, Herald readers, for helping us move closer to our goal of cups of milk for the starving children of Bangladesh. We humbly thank you. Thank you so much, Rain- bow Sunday School of Monarch, for your wonderful gift. Thank you, four Beranek children of Elk Valley, B.C., for your gift of 100 cups of milk for the little children. You did something about their hunger. Thank you, Baby Michael Ellefson of Picture Butte. Yes, it is true, you will never experience the destitution, starvation and utter despair of the children of Bangladesh. Can we realize their plight? Let's hope we can, truly and fully realize it. Then we will surely do something about it. The responre is thrilling. Many thanks to the Foremost Community Carol Festival. The list is growing longer each day. Let us come very much to the point. Our lives are meaningless if we show in- difference to their suffering. Come with us, we implore you, and give them some sustenance. If we save one life, it will be worthwhile. Fortunately, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova and the Unitarian Service Committee are helping many, many children. And you are helping them, just as surely as if you could see them and talk to them and reach out and touch them and comfort them. The total cost, excluding inland distribution in Bangladesh, is 63 cents per pound or per pounds, one carload. One pound of powdered skim milk provides 16 cups of milk. One dollar buys 25 cups of milk. One cup of milk costs four cents. You might be tired of appeals. You might be weary from the emotional stress of Christmas. You. may say, "What can I Send us your pennies. Let the dollars take care of themselves. Join hands with your neighbors. It all counts. You might be surprised to know 'just how hard some of the children are working on this Cup of Milk Fund. First a trickle, then a little stream, and then an ocean of goodwill and nourishment. Write Cup of Milk, Lethbridge Herald. (List of contributions on Page By TERRY McDONALD Herald Staff Writer First of a series Copyright 1974 The Lethbridgs Herald The Eastern Canadian meat packer who proposes to build a large plant in Fort Macleod is referred to in con- fidential RCMP files as an organized crime figure, The Herald has learned. The reference was discovered in the course of a 2Vz- month investigation carried on by The Herald in this province and Ontario and Quebec. The packer is Larry Paletta, also known as Renzo Paletta, a 33 year old wheeler dealer businessman with connections with at least four businesses related to the packing industry. He also has a construction com- pany. Mr. Paletta has purchased 70 acres of land at Fort Macleod for on which he says he will build a meat .packing plant that will employ at least 200 persons. Takes out option He has also taken an option on two other parcels of land in Fort Macleod totalling 360 acres, town officials say. He has made a down payment of for the option. The Herald has also learned that Quebec law enforcement officials have investigated and are continuing to investigate Mr Paletta's dealings with Willie Obront, a Montreal un- derworld figure identified in hearings of the Quebec Police Commission's organized crime inquiry as an underworld finan- cier. Repeated attempts by The Herald to question Mr Paletta about his background and the Fort Macleod plant have been un- successful On the surface, it looked like the Paletta Fort Macleod match was made in heaven. Fort Macleod was a foothills community of people struggling to maintain what little growth it had and with plenty of idle land for development. Larry Paletta was a businessman needing land for a large packing plant. He was looking for a community situated in the midst of Alberta's cattle feeding and ranching country. The town and the packer met each other last summer through the matchmaking effort of MP and former Fort Macleod mayor Ken Hurlburt and it was love at first sight Mr. Hurlburt's Lethbridge riding includes Fort Macleod. But while the town and Paletta were discussing the new plant and the new population surge It would bring and while the flamboyant meat packer was tantalizing town officials with talk of still other big projects such as a tannery, a shopping and a residential development the meat packing and cattle in- dustries and police officials were less enthusiastic. Sources say stones have circulated for years about the operations of the meat packer. Several well known cattle and meat packing figures who want to remain anonymous say Mr. Paletta is a mysterious operator at the very least. A few went further and related stories about Paletta connections with organized crime. Police officials are anxiously looking into Paletta's plans in Alberta. One top ranking criminal intelligence police officer told The Herald in a Quebec interview he suspected that the Paletta plans for Fort Macleod meant that the eastern organized crime element was trying to establish a foothold in Alberta. Questions unanswered The Herald has sought to question Paletta on the following points, uncovered in its investigation: Bombings at the Paletta Brothers Meat Products Ltd. plant at Burlington, Ont at the same time in 1972 that Larry Paletta pulled out of the Paletta family's Burlington plant to move to Montreal to establish Palmont Packers, the firm that proposes to build the plant at Fort Macleod. Charges in Montreal by federal agriculture department officials that Palmont Packers had illegally graded and stamped about 100 beef carcasses. A transaction with the Canadian National Railway that saw the largest live cattle shipment ever go from Western Canada to Montreal in mid-August of 1973 through a series of regional railway employees strikes that crippled most other cross country rail traffic. Mr. Paletta's link with Willie Obront. A police investigation in April 1973 which uncovered an apparent fraud in connection with a deal between a Toronto cattleman and Paletta-owned companies. The consensus among meat packers and cattlemen in Alberta and Eastern Canada interviewed by The Herald that the Palmont Packers Ltd plant operates under a distinct economic handicap yet is thriving and could afford to hire salesmen away from Canada Packers at Montreal. CP is the largest packer in Canada. The Calgary Albertan, in a copyright front page story Wednesday, said Quebec police intend to present evidence to the organized crime hearings linking Paletta to Obront. Mr. Paletta, in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon during which The Herald again pressed for a meeting to discuss his background, said The Albertan story was "all false it's the most ridiculous thing that ever happened to me in my life." The packer agreed to an interview with The Herald that day, then called later to say he had to cancel the interview because he was "called out of on business." He promised to set up another meeting Thursday morning, but didn't call and could not be reached. A Calgary lawyer who said he was representing Mr. Paletta told The Herald Friday the meat packer would not be available for an interview. Mr. Paletta was planning a statement for the "reasonably- near future" but that for now the word was "no said lawyer Barry Sullivan. RICK ERVIN photo LARRY PALETTA AT CALGARY AIRPORT This Weekend THE GAMBLE Here's what happened when the premier of an unemployment ridden province met a millionaire who wanted to build a sports car. Weekend, Page 2 YULE'S CLOSE This week's snow reminded Southern Alber- tans that Christmas is closing In and shoppers are storming Lethbridge stores. Page 13 HIGH SCORER Rookie Brian Sutter scored three times as Lethbridge Broncos finally came out on the winning end against Medicine Hat Tigers, dumping the lethal 'Hat crew 6 4 Friday. Page 31 OIL FOR B.C. British Columbia may receive Alaskan oil if the Trans Mountain pipeline flow is reversed, as suggested this week by a U.S. Senate com- mltte report. Page 25 CONSERVATIVE BUREAU Alberta's Women's Bureau is a conservative oriented affair because the director says she has no reason to believe the female segment of the population Is particularly radical or liberated. Page 33 76 Pages Classified......26-30 Comics............10 Comment........4, 5 13-15 Family.........33-36 Markets.......24, 25 Religion.........8, 9 Sports..........21-23 Theatres.....18, 19 TV................16 Weather............3 LOW TONIGHT 15, HIGH SUN. 35; GUSTY WEST WINDS ;