Yesterday was my 30-year sobriety birthday. I didn’t post it until today because lightning had knocked out my computer.
I haven’t had a drink of alcohol or an illegal drug since October 16, 1989. It was rough and rocky traveling through those hard years of 1988 and 1989. I was busted four times and charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine after each arrest.
It is by God’s grace, help from a big bunch of anonymous sober drunks, and a front of nightclub advertisers who stuck with me through the worst of it all, that Action Magazine was to survive while I somehow escaped hard time in the state penitentiary.
After almost 44 years of monthly publicatiion without a miss, I retired Action Magazine this past January. The most memorable of my drug busts came at the hands of former Bexar County Sheriff Harlon Copeland, and by the Alamo Area Drug Task Force, headed back then by Sumner Bowen.
Sheriff Copeland personally conducted the wild circus-like drug bust of my Action Magazine offices on Wurzbach Road where I was led into the parking lot only after Copeland’s deputies had alerted every TV and radio station in town.
I recall a Channel 4 reporter poking a microphone in my face and announcing with much drama: “You are live on WOAI-TV. What do you have to say?”
I was completely out of control at the time. I distinctly recall answering the TV reporter with “Fuck Harlon Copeland.” I don’t recall much more about that awful day. I can testify with accuracy that no more microphones were shoved in my face.
I had already been convicted and placed on 10 years probation when I was busted again, this time by task force leader Sumner Bowen who raided magazine offices I had on the main drag in Castle Hills.
Bowen offered me an informant deal which I rejected.
“Give me the lab,” Bowen said, “and we can all have a cup of coffee at Maggies and go on home.”
I chose the trip to jail, not because of any misguided loyalty notions or drug world hero status. At that point in time, I had been around the criminal element long enough to know what happens to snitches, and I had no intention of spending the rest of my life looking back over my shoulder.
My arrests wound up on the front page of the San Antonio Light and on a section front in the Express/News, both without me losing one single advertiser in Action Magazine that I was aware of.
Major North Side club operators like Ronnie Branham, Alex Habeeb, Jack Mikulenka, and Danny Levinson, plus South Side club stalwarts like Frank Mueller and Frank Mumme, closed around me like shepherds protecting a stricken lamb.
They seemingly did not give one shit about my arrest problems, and when I hit the front page of th Light, Tiffany Billiards owner Danny Levinson called up to double the size of his Action Magazine ad.
Details of my jail time, courtroom miracles, and association with both petty criminals and headliner bad boys like Arthur Harry (Bunny) Eckert, will all be included in an autobiography I have started writing. So stay tuned.