BEST FLASHBACK TO THE '80S Phoenix 2005 - Spotting Charles Keating at El Portal
Halfway through our huevos rancheros, he walked through the door, like a prune-faced version of Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter: a ghost of Christmas past embodying all the corruption, avarice and prudish anti-porn politics of the Reagan years. Could it be, out from whatever rock he'd been hiding under since serving four and a half years in the federal pen for chiseling elderly investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars, that here was Charles Keating in the flesh? The same swindler who stuck the American people with a bill of billions when his Lincoln Savings went belly up in 1989 as part of the S&L scandal? The guy who had U.S. senators in his pocket back in the day, and spent his free time in futile crusades against porn magnates such as Larry Flynt? Hey, who knew he liked rice and beans? Come to find out, Keating wasn't just there to pick up a few tacos to go. According to a recent column by our own John Dougherty, Keating is helping powerful Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, the owner of El Portal, to develop a parcel of land near her restaurant, which she and hubby Earl bought at fire-sale prices from the Arizona Public Service Company. You never know, with all of the real estate speculation in downtown these days, maybe the Keating-Wilcox partnership is a harbinger of those bad old times being new again. Care for some real estate shenanigans with your machaca? Well, I don't mind if I do . . .