Elections

Special Report: Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Ducey Hails From an Infamous Ohio Organized-Crime Family

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See, franchisees for Cold Stone Creamery, like franchisees of other fast-food chains, benefit from loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In a recent analysis, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cold Stone Creamery was one of "the 10 worst franchise brands in terms of [SBA] loan defaults," coming in at number four, with a nearly 30 percent failure rate.

But sharing such negatives does not help close a deal. As they say in sales, "Never answer an unasked question."

So Ducey didn't delve into the downside of Cold Stone's rapid growth.

Similarly, when he discussed how, as state treasurer, he successfully campaigned against a proposition that would have made permanent a temporary one-cent state sales tax, Ducey didn't mention the mess the state's budget currently is in or how Arizona faces a massive $1.5 billion deficit over the next two years, which the sales tax would have helped ameliorate.

Ducey normally does not offer up adverse information about his state, his accomplishments, or his personal history. What politician does?

"I don't come from any political background," Ducey told attendees. "I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. My dad was a cop. I'm very much a product of the Midwest and the working class."

He also related how, during his junior year at Toledo's St. John's Jesuit High School, his school counselor pulled a Horace Greeley and pointed toward Arizona on a map, suggesting to Ducey that there was opportunity aplenty out West.

"So I got in my Datsun B210 and drove from Toledo to Tempe," he said. "I didn't know one person. I had never been in Arizona."

Ducey studied finance at Arizona State University and married his college sweetheart, Angela, a beauty queen with whom he's had three clean-cut Catholic boys.

After working for Procter & Gamble in Los Angeles and Chicago, he returned to Arizona and got involved with a local ice cream retailer, which he helped turn into a vast chain before selling it for millions of dollars to Scottsdale's Kahala Corporation.

Turning his eye to politics, he ran for treasurer in 2010 and won, deftly using the low-profile office as a stepping stone to greater things.

This year, in a campaign he helped bankroll with $3 million of his own fortune, he emerged victorious from a six-way Republican primary for governor, with a 37 percent plurality.

But the all-American image Ducey projects, one which helped him win the primary and may help him win the general election, belies a family tree that includes two generations of his mother's family's involvement in organized crime.

That said, New Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting discovered no evidence that Ducey ever profited from the activities of his involved maternal relatives -- or that the GOP candidate engaged in any criminal activity.

According to newspaper accounts and public records from various court and congressional hearings, four of Ducey's relatives in an Italian-American family called Scott (anglicized from Scotti) were involved in illegal gambling in Ohio.

Family members ran after-hours gambling clubs and participated in bookmaking, numbers-running, extortion, loan-sharking, and other lucrative illicit activities from the 1920s through the 1980s.

The candidate's maternal grandfather, William Scott (a.k.a. Bill Scotti), was a convicted bookmaker who partnered with members of the Detroit mob.

His son Billy Scott, Ducey's uncle, was a high-profile sports bookmaker in Toledo who did time in federal prison in Arizona before fleeing to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where he became an online gambling kingpin.

Uncle Billy returned to the United States in 2012 to plead guilty in federal court to international money laundering and illegal Internet wagering.

Ducey's great uncle Tony Paul Scott (a.k.a. Neufio Scott), his grandfather's brother, was among Toledo's "most legendary racketeers" and one of the "elders of the loosely knit Toledo crime family," according to the Toledo Blade, the city's daily newspaper.

During his long life, Tony Paul was arrested numerous times, incarcerated for illegal gambling and highway robbery, and eventually stripped of his U.S. citizenship, though he was allowed to remain in this country until his death in 1993.

These sins of the state treasurer's fascinating bloodline have remained unknown to the general public. Until now.

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Stephen Lemons and Lance Williams