Tags: fbi | valenti | probe

FBI Probed Hollywood's Jack Valenti for Mob Ties

By Jim Meyers   |   Monday, 09 Feb 2009 05:24 PM

Jack Valenti, a top aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson and longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America, was investigated by the FBI for his relationships with a "top hoodlum."

Documents obtained by Newsmax under the Freedom of Information Act also reveal that Valenti's father and father-in-law were both jailed for embezzlement.

And an unsubstantiated report claimed that Valenti, who died in April 2007 at age 85, had arranged for an abortion for a woman impregnated by LBJ.

An ad executive from Texas and a longtime friend of Johnson, Valenti handled the advertising in his home state during LBJ's 1960 vice presidential campaign.

He was present when Johnson was sworn in as president following the November 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, and flew with Johnson to Washington, D.C., aboard Air Force One following the ceremony.

Although he held no official title in the White House, FBI documents refer to him most often as a "special consultant" or "special assistant" to the president.

An early document in Valenti's FBI file dates from Dec. 13, 1963, shortly after he joined President Johnson's staff. The White House had requested that the Bureau investigate Valenti's background.

The document mentions an "alleged relationship between Valenti and [name redacted] top hoodlum."

Another document in Valenti's file refers to this individual as a "top hoodlum and leading gambling figure of the Houston area," and says he had been "a friend of long standing" with Valenti.

A document dated Dec. 20, 1963, states that the "top hoodlum" conducted "a lucrative bookmaking operation" and was "employed by [name redacted], who has also been investigated under the Anti-Racketeering Program. [Name redacted] is an extremely wealthy individual who heads [redacted] in Houston, which is a private oil producing company."

Valenti's file reveals that his father, Joe Valenti, was sentenced on Nov. 2, 1937, to two years in prison for felony embezzlement from Harris County, Tex.

Joe Valenti was Deputy Assessor and Collector of Taxes of Harris County, and was charged with pocketing about $175. He served 14 months in jail and was pardoned in 1940.

Jack Valenti wed Mary Wiley, LBJ's longtime secretary, in 1962. A document dated Jan. 2, 1964, discloses that her father George Wiley was charged with embezzling about $40,000 from the Texas bank where he worked as a cashier. He was sentenced to two years in prison in March 1937.

Shortly after Valenti married, he and his wife spent several days at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, and the hotel bill was "complimentary." The free room was authorized by "a major owner of record of the Tropicana Hotel," an individual identified elsewhere in Valenti's file as a "millionaire lumberman from Alabama."

A curious document in Valenti's extensive file discloses that on Oct. 19, 1964, an FBI agent received a phone call from an "informant" who said the Bureau should investigate Valenti "as a sex pervert," the document states. "He based this request on the fact that he had read in the newspapers that Valenti swims in the nude in the White House pool."

That same month, President Johnson asked the FBI to probe any "derogatory information" concerning his White House associates. The FBI responded with a promise to send a memo regarding "Valenti's association with a homosexual in California and Texas."

This individual was identified as a professional photographer and attended a number of Valenti's parties in Houston.

A memo dated May 28, 1965, cited a "contact" who reported that Valenti "arranged for an abortion for a girl whom the President had made pregnant."

But the FBI determined that the "abortion allegation is not supported in Bureau files."

Several months later, Valenti asked the FBI to check his home phone line, fearing that it might have been tapped. Nothing of the sort was found, an agent told Valenti.

In 1966, Valenti resigned his White House Post, which paid $30,000 a year, and accepted an appointment to be president of the Motion Picture Association of America — a position that reportedly paid $175,000 a year.

In September 1974, the FBI was asked to update Valenti's files because he was "being considered for presidential appointment, position not indicated."

However, Valenti remained with the MPAA for 38 years, retiring in 2004 at age 82. He died three years later.

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