More Clouds Over Dylan's Hurricane Benefit

New York congressman launches investigation into finances

Bob Dylan
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Bob Dylan
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New York — Partly because of a Rolling Stone investigation (RS 233) and partly due to requests from constituents, United States Representative Edward Koch (D-N.Y.) is launching his own investigation into the fund-raising benefits staged for former boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

Koch said he plans to introduce legislation covering such charitable fund-raising events, requiring audits of the monies raised and providing criminal penalties for misuse of such funds. His investigation also calls for an audit of the use of funds raised for the Attica Defense Fund.

Rubin Carter and codefendant John Artis were resentenced February 9th to three life terms for a triple murder committed in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. Judge Bruno Leopizzi, in passing sentence and denying defense motions for acquittal and a new trial, observed that Carter had made no apparent attempts to rehabilitate himself. Carter then received two consecutive life terms and one concurrent life term, making him eligible for parole in 1996. Artis, who has been taking college courses while in prison, received three concurrent life terms, making him eligible for parole in 1981.

The two won a retrial last year after two large fund-raising benefits in Houston's Astrodome and New York's Madison Square Garden, both headlined by Bob Dylan, drew enormous attention to their petition for a new hearing. In that retrial, they were reconvicted last December 21st.

Those two fund-raising affairs grossed over $600,000 but added only slightly over $100,000 to the defense fund. Koch directed the New York State Board of Social Welfare (which has jurisdiction over such charitable events) to explain why it had not audited either "Night of the Hurricane" benefits and to prepare an audit to be presented to the state attorney general.

The report from the Board of Social Welfare revealed that a donation of $10,000 to Freedom for All Forever (the defense committee) from the Houston benefit was a "fictitious figure." The report also showed that at least $58,000 had been paid out in legal fees to the following: Beldock, Levine and Hoffman ($39,145); Avron Brog ($6218); Lois, Holland and Calloway ($4897); Lewis Steel ($5645); and Busch and Busch ($2696). There was also an unexplained legal bill of $7000.

The report recommended "referral . . . to the attorney general's office for further investigation to determine the extent to which Freedom for All Forever participated in the Astrodome concert. [We] would also request that the attorney general's office review the expenses of the Madison Square Garden event in order to determine their reasonableness."

The attorney general's office has not announced what action, if any, will be taken after they study the finances involved.

Passaic County prosecutor Burrell I. Humphreys, who put Hurricane away, said it best: "Murder was what happened but money was the name of the real story in this case."

This story is from the March 24th, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 235: March 24, 1977
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