It was about that time that I got my loan to buy the magazine with my partner and high school friend, George Bryant. The “Memphis Music” TV show, of course, never happened. But Harwell did rape the Memphis Music industry. In my opinion, Joe Harwell was personally responsible for Stax Records' downfall and the decline of Memphis Music in general.
Those same court documents made it clear what kind of man Joe Harwell was. “He authorized loans for Stax Records from Union Planters Bank. In return, he received cash payments to himself from Stax. In addition, in the early sixties, Harwell began to set up fictitious accounts without the involvement of Stax, and made loans to them, and directly embezzled the money.”
When my account at Union Planters screeched to a halt, I had just written a check to the Post Office for our Pitney Bowes postage machine. So, I bounced a check for $1,300 to the government. Big Brother doesn’t take kindly to being screwed out of over a thousand dollars.
Mr. Stanton told me there would be a federal warrant issued for my arrest. The charge would be Check Fraud. His investigation into Joe Harwell and Al Bell was continuing, and he didn’t want me to be arrested. My innocence would prove wrongdoing by the bank. That would expose his investigation. He suggested that I curtail any phone calls and letters to anyone. I needed to become invisible so the investigation could continue until it was completed. I thought an out-of-town job would be a good idea about now.
In the meantime, Lee Abrams had set me up with the station owner he was consulting in New Orleans, WRNO. So off to the Crescent City I went.
WRNO flew me down to meet with them about the job. I was excited to be going back on the air, and to be in New Orleans was a dream come true. To be anywhere but Memphis at the time was not only a thrill but a necessity.
I always fly in the window seat if I can. It’s a short flight to New Orleans; as we approached the New Orleans airport, the plane banked over the city, and I looked down to take it all in. As I did, I died laughing. Someone had climbed on top of the Superdome and painted “714” in big black numbers right in the middle of the top of the dome. It looked like a giant Quaalude right in the middle of the city. How cool was that? I knew then this was going to be my next great adventure, and I was right. It was going to be one hell of a ride, but a little bumpier than I thought.
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