OPENING NOTES

Samuel Belzberg shows his support, Pamella Bordes has a Canadian connection, and John Tower goes to work

April 17 1989

OPENING NOTES

Samuel Belzberg shows his support, Pamella Bordes has a Canadian connection, and John Tower goes to work

April 17 1989

OPENING NOTES

Samuel Belzberg shows his support, Pamella Bordes has a Canadian connection, and John Tower goes to work

ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PAST

Her sensuous mouth was her most striking feature. And when British headlines accused Pamella Bordes—a 27-year-old former Miss India—of using her pass as a House of Commons researcher by day to help her ply her trade as a high-class call girl by night, she warned that she might spill some devastating secrets. But now it seems that someone may have tried to silence her. On March 28, on the Indonesian island of Bali, where Bordes had been in hiding, a car that appeared to be tailing her hit the motorcycle on which she was riding. Bordes was then flown to Hong Kong, where a surgeon operated on her battered face.

And in an unrelated development, Maclean's has learned that among her varied international ties, Bordes counted one Canadian acquaintance: Walter Ernest (Ernie) Miller, the Richmond Hill developer who was named as a financier in the 1986 Iran-contra arms scandal. Miller met Bordes through Shri Chandra Swamiji Maharaj—the Indian guru whose finances he manages—after she sought the swami's help in acquiring a U.S. work permit. And when she joined the swami's entourage, friends say that Miller shepherded her around New York City. The swami later introduced Bordes to Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, and she has been a guest on his yacht when Khashoggi entertained clients. Said Washington lawyer Steven Martindale, who knew her then: "Pamella was always a class act." No doubt the curtain has yet to fall.

Sellin,4~ the stoy of a fallen hero

A federal inquiry into steroid use by Canadian athletes resumed in Toronto last week, bringing new revelations about drugs in sport. Among the surprises was Hamilton sprinter Andrew Mowatt’s testimony that disgraced Olympic champion Ben Johnson had offered to pay him to inject Johnson with performanceenhancing steroids. But one former Johnson fan had particular reason to mourn the sprinter’s sagging reputation. James Christie is the author of the book Ben Johnson: The Fastest Man on Earth. Publishers Seal Books released 25,000 copies of Ben last August at $26.95 a copy. But, according to Seal associate publisher Dean Cooke, “sales dropped sharply” after Johnson lost his Olympic gold. Last week, only Coles bookstores carried the book—at $3.99 per copy. Johnson’s is a story of apparently diminishing returns,

ASSAULT ON A WEAPON

Last month, California congressman Pete Stark launched a campaign against manufacturers of semiautomatic firearms, including Action Arms of Philadelphia, the sole U.S. importer of Israeli-made Uzi assault weapons. Stark expressed anger at a claim by Action Arms that a new, 10inch version of the Uzi was suited to “a backwoods camp or family home.” But officials at Action Arms were calm in the face of that opposition. Said spokesman C. B. Stem: “Our job is to sell guns.” And, clearly, they plan to stick to them.

Making a killing on a winning game

When British businessman Jack Jaffe first tried to sell his board game Save the President—which centres on a plot to kill a fictitious U.S. head of state—to American toy sellers in 1984, he met with universal resistance. But last month, toy emporium FAO Schwarz of New York City became the first U.S. store to stock the game, which retails for $36, after hearing reports that European stores had sold 30,000 copies. For her part, White House deputy Press Secretary Alixe Glen was evasive about the Bush administration's reaction to the game's U.S. debut. Said Glen: “I'd rather play Trivial Pursuit. "

CEMENTING THE BONDS OF TRUST

Although Wall Street bond trader Michael Milken pleaded not guilty last week to a 98-count indictment that charged him with racketeering and securities fraud, several of his richest peers publicly questioned the system that allowed the 42-year-old financier to earn more than $660 million in 1987 alone. But a group of 88 prominent businessmen— including Vancouver-based tycoon Samuel Belzberg—showed their support for Milken in a full-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal. The ad, which appeared on March 31, read simply “Mike Milken, we believe in you.” Milken’s employer, financial advisers Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., acted as the financial adviser to Belzberg’s First City Industries Inc. in 1986 when the company sold its appliance division to Irish manufacturer Glen Dimplex. Then, last November, Dimplex launched a lawsuit against First City and Drexel, alleging that the defendants had knowingly deceived Dimplex at the time of the earlier sale. Some bonds are forged by necessity.

FOND MEMORIES IN THE WHITE HOUSE

President John F. Kennedy began a Washington tradition when he chose former president Thomas Jefferson as his unofficial role model. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, worked to imitate the charismatic Franklin Roosevelt—as did Ronald Reagan. Now, George Bush has weighed in with his choice. According to White House sources, Bush read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris, on Easter weekend. Then, late last month, Bush ordered his staff to hang a portrait of Roosevelt in the Cabinet Room. The President's choice should please Canadian environmentalists who hope to persuade U.S. officials to cut acid rain emissions. Roosevelt, who like Bush was a keen outdoorsman, was also a champion of environmental causes. Perhaps Bush's choice was simply second nature.

A launch too late

On March 9, the U.S. Senate rejected President George Bush’s nomination of former senator John Tower as the new secretary of defence. Many of Tower’s opponents in the Senate had expressed doubts about his ability to separate himself from his recent work as a consultant for the defence industry. Quick to recover from that rejection, Tower immediately returned to his job as chairman of Pergamon Brassey’s International Defence Publishers Inc. of McLean, Va. And last week, he announced that one of his first scheduled duties is to host a party, next May 18, to launch a new book by Maj.-Gen. Perry M. Smith. But for Tower, the new book will likely lack the appeal it might have had if he had won the Senate battle. Its title: Assignment: Pentagon—The Insider’s Guide to the Potomac Puzzle Palace. In Washington, timing is everything.

Elastic demand

For more than two decades after Delaware-based E. I. Du Pont Co. invented spandex in 1958, the formfitting fabric was used largely in the manufacture of women's underwear. But in the 1980s, the versatile cloth has become popular for jogging suits, biking shorts and bathing suits. Indeed, the fabric is so popular that many clothing manufacturers have begun to complain about an imminent worldwide spandex shortage. Clearly, the fabric has been stretched to its limits.