Hank Greenspun

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Herman "Hank" Milton Greenspun (August 27, 1909 – July 23, 1989) was the publisher of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. He purchased the Sun in 1949, and served as its editor and publisher until his death. Greenspun was also a prominent real estate developer in the Las Vegas Valley.

Early years[edit]

During World War II, while stationed in Northern Ireland, Greenspun met his wife, Barbara, at a dinner party hosted by Maureen Black (née Peres) daughter of Harold Peres of Solomon and Peres and wife of British Businessman, Roy Keith Black. As a young man, Greenspun became closely involved with Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and the work he was doing to reopen his Flamingo casino. Greenspun worked as the Flamingos's publicity agent. Following the murder of Siegel in Los Angeles in 1947, Greenspun renewed his interest in his Jewish heritage and became a prominent figure in supporting the struggle to establish the State of Israel.

Supplies arms to foreign power[edit]

In 1947, when the Haganah was already in armed conflict with Arab forces, Greenspun shipped machine guns and airplane parts to that organization (which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces). This was a violation of the U.S. Neutrality Acts, a crime for which Greenspun was arrested and ultimately convicted on July 10, 1950. He was fined $10,000 but received no prison time. On October 18, 1961, President John F. Kennedy granted Greenspun a pardon.[1] Upon Greenspun's death in 1989, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres called Greenspun "a hero of our country and a fighter for freedom."

Feuds with Joe McCarthy[edit]

Greenspun began a feud with Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1952, publishing several articles attacking him as a demagogue. He also wrote articles accusing McCarthy of being a homosexual, an act that brought Greenspun considerable criticism, even among McCarthy foes. Greenspun became further entrenched in domestic politics when allegations were made that he held blackmail information against prominent Democratic presidential nominees.

Tied to Watergate scandal[edit]

On June 17, 1972, Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martínez and Frank Sturgis were arrested while placing electronic devices in the Democratic Party campaign offices in an apartment block called Watergate, in Washington, D.C. It later emerged that people working for President Richard Nixon wanted to wiretap the conversations of Larry O'Brien, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Watergate Scandal developed from this incident, leading to wide-ranging investigations, Congressional hearings, and enormous media coverage for the next two years.

On May 23, 1973, McCord admitted that this group (known as the "Plumbers") had been involved in several covert activities. This included a plot to steal documents from Hank Greenspun's safe. McCord testified that Attorney General John N. Mitchell had told him that Greenspun had in his possession blackmail type information involving a Democratic candidate for President. As Greenspun was an avowed Republican, it was assumed that Greenspun would use his political influence and connections to sway the election.[citation needed]

Business dealings[edit]

Immediately after his death, the Greenspun family entered the Sun into a joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Sun operated as an afternoon daily from 1990 on. Beginning in October 2005, under an amended joint operating agreement, the paper began delivery with the morning Review-Journal as an insert.

Greenspun formed The Greenspun Corporation to manage the family's assets.

Greenspun was also heavily involved in real estate, acquiring most of the western portion of Henderson, Nevada for a development that eventually became Green Valley. Much of the original seed money for the real estate investment was acquired through a loan from the Teamsters Union. His family controls the majority of this land and associated real estate developments, including golf courses and the Green Valley Ranch, Resort and Spa with interest being held through The Greenspun Corporation. A school in Henderson, Nevada was dedicated to Hank and Barbara Greenspun.

Greenpsun also started the first TV station in Nevada, KLAS-TV.

In 2008, SGP Media produced the feature documentary about the life and times of Hank Greenspun, narrated by Anthony Hopkins.[2]

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