Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 16, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Paletta 'close associate' of underworld financier By TERRY MCDONALD Herald Staff Writer Second of a series Copyright 1974 The Lethbridge Herald The Herald has seen RCMP files which refer to Palmont Packers Ltd., the firm which proposes to build a meat packing plant in Fort Macleod, as "controlled by one Paletta, who is involved in organized crime." "Paletta" refers to 33 year old Larry Palet- ta, also known as Renzo Paletta. The files also claim a connection between Mr. Paletta and Montreal organized crime financier, Willie Obront. Mr. Obront has been identified as an underworld financier and "untouchable" at the Quebec Police Commission's hearings into organized crime. Mr. Paletta and Mr. Obront are referred to as "rather close In another reference Mr. Paletta is called "a close associate of Willie Obront." A 2Vz month long Herald investigation into the Fort Macleod plant deal and Mr. Paletta's background was carried on in this province and Eastern Canda. Police have information, The Herald has learned, concerning a business deal between the brother of the general manager of one of Mr. Obront's firms, Salaison Allouette, and Mr. Paletta. Police also have information concerning meetings between Mr. Paletta and Mr. Obront. Top ranking Quebec criminal intelligence police officers told The Herald in separate Montreal interviews they suspect Mr. Obront's control of the meat industry in Montreal is so strong that most independent packers and wholesalers operate with his approval and perhaps his help. They believe, therefore, that Mr. Paletta could not prosper as a Montreal meat packer without at least the friendly okay from Mr. Obront. And Mr. Paletta's Palmont Packers must be prospering if he can propose a major plant in Fort Macleod, industry sources have told The Herald. The two Quebec police officials also said in in- dependent interviews they suspect the move to build a plant in the west, at Fort Macleod, may partly stem from the recent successes of Quebec investigations into organized crime. A man identified as the leader of organized crime in Montreal, Vic Cotroni, is now serving a jail sentence for contempt of court, a charge that arose out of his refusal to co operate under oath with interrogators at the Quebec organized crime hearings. Willie Obront fled Quebec this fall to avoid a subpoena ordering him to testify at the hearings. The police officials feel organized crime is sufficiently confused and disorganized now so that it is eyeing greener and less hassled pastures namely Alberta. Could the Fort Macleod plant be the first step into Alberta for Mr. Obront's meat operation? One police official, who boasted "20 years in this business" told The Herald he would "almost bet on it." Actually, Mr. Paletta was the subject of in- tense police interest even before he began his operations in Montreal. At p.m. June a bomb exploded at the Paletta Brothers Wholesale Meat Products plant at Burlington, Ont., causing about damage. On July 20, 1972 at a.m. employees at the same plant found 20 sticks of dynamite taped WILLIE OBRONT together. Police suspect someone threw the bomb over the plant's high fence, but the the fuse became detached from the dynamite when it hit the ground, averting an explosion. Five days later, on July 25, 1972 another 19 sticks of dynamite were discovered near a road about a half mile from the Paletta brothers plant. Police left the dynamite where it lay, set up surveillance and waited to see who would retrieve it. One man police describe as an "area thug" approached the dynamite but then spotted police and fled. He didn't return to the area. Paletta brothers at first told police they had no idea who was responsible for the bombings and for some threats against their lives. But Larry Paletta later told police he felt it might be a cattleman with whom he had had a business disagreement involving more than A policeman accompanied Larry Paletta on several cattle buying trips in case someone should try to carry out the threats on Mr. Palet- ta's life. Records of the Quebec government's com- panies registry show Aug. 4, 1972 as the date Renzo (Larry) Paletta registered his ownership of Palmont Packers Ltd. Official sources have not confirmed it, but The Herald also has information that income tax in- vestigators in Hamilton and Montreal and Montreal RCMP investigators searched the books of All Canadian Beef Ltd., Owned by Larry Paletta, and the books of Paletta Brothers, Burlington, in .mid April of 1973. The investigators found what they called in their report "a fraud" of but The Herald has not yet determined what the final results of the investigation were. Another facet of the police investigation con- cerning Mr. Paletta is centred on determining just what his business interests are. The Paletta Brothers Meat Products Ltd. plant at Burlington has filed records with the Ontario government's companies branch that show Renzo Paletta became a director in the family business in 1962. In 1970 Renzo Paletta was listed as director and treasurer. In 1971 Mr. Paletta ceased to be a director or officer. The company's treasurer was named as Anita Paletta, apparently the wife of Renzo's brother, Pasquale. Pasquale was the president of the firm. Other documents show Larry Paletta as presi- dent and treasurer and his wife, Mirella, as secretary of All Canadian Beef Ltd. of Burlington. And Renzo Paletta is shown as sole director and shareholder of Pioneer Livestock Ltd., of Burlington. Other documents show Renzo Paletta as the sole shareholder and director of Caesar's Construction Co. Ltd., Burlington. All Canadian Beef, Pioneer Livestock and Caesar's Construction all have the same address the Larry Paletta residence at 4477 Hawthorne Drive, Burlington. Quebec provincial companies branch records show Renzo Paletta, 4477 Hawthorne Drive. Burlington, established Palmont Packers Ltd. in Montreal August 4, 1972. Renzo is shown as president. His wife, Mirella. is shown as vice president. And a Hamilton, Ont., lawyer. Donald Cooper, is listed as secretary treasurer. Police also have information that Larry Paletta kept a 45 per cent interest of the Burlington Paletta Brothers operation when he moved to establish Palmont. In return Pasquale. his brother, acquired a 45 per cent interest of the Palmont operation. In a separate investigation, federal govern- ment agriculture officials in Montreal have charged Palmont Packers Ltd. with a violation of the beef grading regulations, The Herald has learned. The case has been adjourned to mid January. A spokesman said it was the first such case in Montreal since the new grading system was set up in this country two years ago. He called the alleged violation a "technicality about grading." Mr. Paletta has consistently refused Herald requests for interviews. L The Lethbridge Herald LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1974 15 Cents Three killed as fire sweeps reserve house Shinny classic RICK ERVIN photo The puck is past the goalie but is it a goal? Without a net, co-operation between shooter and goalie is necessary for the game to go on. Ricky Coneybeer, 11, 3005 14th Ave. S., is the victim of a hard shot from brother Ian, 13, while father Ron waits for the action to come back to centre ice. With cold weather now more the rule than the exception, Henderson Lake is providing another recreational outlet for residents. CARDSTON (Staff) A stove explosion may have been the cause of a fire that swept a home east of St. RCMP seeking robbers Lethbridge RCMP continue to seek clues in an armed robbery in which two masked men took an estimated from a Barons bank Friday. The robbers were aided by a dense fog covering the Barons area and by the lack of a police detachment at Barons. The nearest RCMP detach- ment is at Picture Butte, 20 miles south of the town. Barons, a community of about 250, is 25 miles northwest of Lethbridge. This is the second armed bank robbery in Southern Alberta in four months. In both cases the banks robbed were in small towns without police forces. The other robbery occurred Sept. 12 in Blackie. Paul's Indian Residence on the Blood Reserve at about 10 a.m. Saturday, killing three persons. Dead are Ross Edward Prairie Chicken, 22; his two year old daughter, Stephanie, and Lincoln Albert Red Crow, 23. In good condition today at the Blood Indian Hospital here are Nora Prairie Chicken, Ross' wife, and their young son, Wade. Town and Cardston Municipal District fire truck answered the call but firefighters said there was "no chance to save the house." When firemen arrived at the scene they found the house in flames. Mrs. Prairie Chicken and her son were standing out- side. It is believed the woman was cooking when an explo- sion occurred, firefighters say. "Mrs. Prairie Chicken was quite hysterical at the time and we couldn't get too much out of said one firefighter. "The house burn- ed down immediately." "We don't really know what caused said one firefighter. "We didn't have a chance to save the rest of the family." Firemen said there was some delay in getting to a telephone to sound the alarm. Said Fire Chief Don Caldwell: "We attended it when the call came. Half an hour later they called back for another engine because thejre were people involved. "All we could do was ex- tinguish the fire enough to remove the bodies. There was nothing salvageable." No Herald Christmas The Herald will not publish Dec. 25 and 26, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Advertisers should make note of the following deadlines over the holiday period. Ads to appear Monday, Dec. 23, or Tuesday, Dec. 24. must be received by 5 p.m. Thur- sday, Dec. 19. Ads for Friday, Dec. 27, will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, and for Saturday, Dec. 28, until 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23. Ads for Monday, Dec. 30, must be in before noon Tuesday, Dec. 24. Classified advertisements taken up to a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, will appear Friday, Dec. 27. Bell, A.T.BT., Dupont, I.B.M....' Inside 28 Pages Classified....... 24-28 Comics........... 22 Comment.......... 4 15-17 Family........ 20, 21 Markets.......... 23 Sports.......... 10-13 Theatres........... 7 TV................ 6 Weather........... 3 LOW TONIGHT 30, HIGH TUES. 40, CLOUDY, WINDY Charges laid in police killings MONCTON, N.B. (CP) Charges of murder and kid- napping were laid today against two -men in a provin- cial court-room under tight security following a weekend kidnap and shooting drama. Richard Ambrose, 22, of Moncton, and James Lawrence Hutchison, 43, formerly of Picton, Ont., and recently of Moncton, were jointly charged with the murders of two Moncton city policemen as well as the kid- napping of Raymond Stein, 14. The murder charges carry the death penalty. The two defendants, hand- cuffed together, appeared be- fore Judge Henry Murphy in a small courtroom filled with spectators and police. Out- side, in the hallway, at least one policeman held a shotgun. Judge Murphy turned down defence counsel's motion for a change of venue and schedul- ed a preliminary hearing Dec. 23. Ambrose and Hutchison sat quietly in the prisoner's docket flanked by three city policemen. They did not enter pleas but Edward Bell, defence counsel, said both men intended to elect trial by judge and jury. He asked for a change of venue on the grounds there was doubt the men would get a fair and impartial trial in Moncton, referring to news reports which, he said, might influence a jury. Judge Murphy said there was also national coverage of the kidnapping and police deaths. He said a decision on a change of venue, could be made, if necessary, if in- dictments were registered following a preliminary hearing. Mr. Bell also said the security of the prisoners was a concern. They are being held in jail facilities above the city police station. CeciVs 'home9 for holidays Cecil Black Plume will spend his fourteenth consecutive Christmas in jail this year. They're having turkey with all the trimmings at the Lethbridge Correctional Institution. "I can assure you it is top the assistant warden told The Herald at the weekend. Mr. Black Plume will again be there to enjoy it. More important, he again expects to perform the Chicken Dance at the annual Christmas program. The Crown prosecutor Friday offered to read Mr. Black Plume's past .record after the Standoff man pleaded guilty to stealing three wrenches from a city department store. "That won't be said veteran Judge L. W. Hudson. "Mr. Black Plume is sentenced to 30 days in jail." Mr. Black Plume smiled and sat down. Possibly he remembered a story by American author 0 Henry, The Cop and the Anthem. In Mr. Henry's tale, Soapy, a humble resident of New York spends his Christmases in the warmth of jailhouses. Until one Christmas, Soapy decides that... but the prison library probably has a copy of 0 Henry's works. Israel scoffs at growth limit ASSOCIATED PRESS Sources in Egypt say Cairo's stand against further Seen and heard About town Hockey players Darcy and Garth Sanderson searching frantically for equipment as game time approached Mark Rempel proving to older brother Brent that his bite is worse than his bark. Israeli immigration was intended as a bold attempt to break the negotiating impasse between the two. Israelis took it as a possible indication of Egypt's willingness to bargain but scoffed at the idea that Israel would agree to limit its growth. Israel has withheld official comment on Friday's state- ment by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy that it must freeze its population and halt immigration for 50 years before peace is achieved. Milk fund lets you help ease pain When you go downtown to do your Christmas shopping, you won't see the little boy from Bangladesh. When you go to church this weekend, you won't see him. Perhaps you plan to go to church Christmas eve. Don't worry, you won't see him. He can't look at you, in per- son. His eyes won't catch yours, even for a moment. You're safe. You've been ig- noring him. His glance won't make you feel guilty. Nobody knows you don't care. But he's there. And thousands more like him. He's in your subconscious mind. And all the rest are there too. Because you've read about them. Everyone knows they're starving. But not everyone cares. If they did, we'd be over our goal today. We'd have the milk or. the way. Everyone knows little children are starving in Bangladesh. Most people try to blot it from their minds. They choose to forget about it. They seek to escape.. Friends, there is no escape. Once you know about them, there is no escape. You might not help them today, or tomorrow but you're going to help them some day. Your conscience will drive, you to it. And when you turn, and face this problem, you'll probably say "If only I could do Let's do something for these starving children this Christ- mas. Send a nickel or a dime or a dollar. Join in with the rest, anonymous or otherwise, and clear some of this trouble from our collective con- science. Thank you, pupils of the Vauxhall Elementary School, for sending cups of milk to the starving children of Bangladesh. Good work, Sixth Lethbridge Cub Pack. Thank you so much, Friendship Unit, Knox United Church Women of Taber.