Night of the Hurricane (Or Was it Just an Idiot Wind?)

Page 6 of 7

The show itself was a mixed success, musically. Most persons directly involved thought it was an epic production. Not everyone agreed. Bob Claypool of the Houston Post recalled that "it was the first look we had at Rolling Thunder and they stunk. A lot of people left even before Dylan came out. It was boring. People were leaving in floods. A gross event. Weird bullshit."

A party after the show drained another $3366.44 from the money that could have gone to Hurricane. The whole affair had been one big party. Now it was time for Clyde to be held accountable for what he had wrought.

In accordance with that local charity law, Clyde had to file a financial statement with the City of Houston. The statement he filed was termed "incomplete" and he has yet to submit an audit.

His incomplete statement claims expenses of $428,564.46 and revenue from ticket sales of $379,787.50. Net loss claimed: $48,776.24. The Astrodome, out of beneficence, donated $10,000 to FFAF.

Out of all those expenses, the most curious is the "miscellaneous" of $38,781.13. Clyde is vague about that: it was for legal fees, insurance, accounting, telephone, mobile office, interest on the bank loans and so on. He would say, sitting there in the San Marco, that he had to shell out $7000 in one lump for a legal fee. But since his friends and associates — Sapir, Ciaccio, Bishop, Garcia — were acting as his attorneys, surely they didn't turn a profit on this benefit?

"No," Clyde said. "It was somebody else, attorneys from New Jersey, I can't tell you who they are. You'll have to ask Rubin that." Mystery piles upon mystery. Nobody will reveal who these attorneys are.

"You're trying to tie up the loose ends? You'll never tie up the loose ends." — Clyde Carson

"Just imagine what a mess there would have been if that show had grossed $800,000 or so. You would really have seen some action then." — Several persons

"Just keep my name out of it." — Several persons

City councilman phil ciaccio was the first to admit that he had cosigned Clyde Carson's line of credit at the bank. "I was an endorser to a limited amount in connection with it, in addition to being Clyde's attorney. Although I am not normally involved in the promotion of theatrical events."

Why then did he back what was basically a high-risk venture?

"Let's say Clyde is a very persuasive client . . . I'm a philanthropist. Let's say I believe in Hurricane Carter."

Rolling Stone: Clyde, why did you tell us that Ciaccio was only your lawyer and not a backer?

Carson: Did it ever occur to any of you that in his position he would not want to be known as getting conned into being that involved?

Ciaccio said he was not the elderly white-haired man Sara Ripley saw in Clyde Carson's suite.

Eddie Sapir said he certainly wasn't either, since he has "long black hair."

Clyde Carson said there was no white-haired man. "I really get upset with comments about little white-haired men and things like that."

Why then did it take him almost a year to admit he had not gone the bank note alone, and that Sapir, Ciaccio, Bishop and Garcia had sponsored his line of credit at the bank? And that the show wasn't mere philanthropy, that they would have made a hell of a lot of money if they had sold 80,000 tickets in the Superdome or even 66,000 tickets in the Astrodome? And that the show could have made his name as a promoter?

Clyde: "You know, you keep digging for shit and you're digging for bad motives on the part of people, then you start hurting people. All they did in the beginning was to help. It does not look like the most stable thing in the world for a politician to be talked into, helping back a show where they only have one thing to do, and that's lose. [It was] not a great moneymaking deal." Garcia and Bishop decline to return phone calls.

Judge Eddie Sapir cheerfully acknowledges that, instead of the five of them absorbing a loss of $50,000 or so, they could have made a lot.

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