Rock n Roll Homicide Part Three
Portland became an uncomfortable place for Larry Hurwitz after the disappearance of Tim Moreau. His business was in trouble, the negative publicity around the disappearance combined with the oversold and overheated reputation Starry Night had acquired hurt business. The counterfeiting of tickets turned off concert promoters and they stopped using Starry Night for their shows.
Larry desperate for good bookings made errors like the Fake Toto concert of 1990. Starry Night announced a concert by hit band Toto known for such hits as "Rosanna'' and "Hold the Line.'' Fans paid $14.50 to $15 for tickets, premium prices for 1990. They were disappointed when they were entertained by Bobby Kimball, an ex-singer for Toto who left the band in 1984. Kimball had been playing his scam on a national tour. Larry had to give a lot of refunds for that one.
In addition the homeless street people and the poor retirees who made Old Town their home had begun to wear tee-shirts with the slogan: Who Bombed Sav-Mor? I want to know! 294-0250. The Oregonian called them “grim-faced soldiers who had invaded the neighborhood with a question on their chests.”
Rumors were rampant about the bombing. The one that turned out to be nearest the truth was that a conspiracy of local business owners had hired two Chinese tong members to firebomb the building, while police and firefighters looked the other way. But that wasn’t common knowledge yet.
The tee-shirts were part of a campaign by Bill Rees, a former college professor who had built an empire by buying up the aging buildings of Old Town. He had owned the building that had been burned in the bombing. The Oregonian said of him: He has a special sympathy for the aging pensioners holed up in Old Town hotels and shows limited but real good will toward those who have forged their own private hell.
By 1991, things were too hot in Old Town for Hurwitz and he sold Starry Night to David Leikens’ Oregon Theater Management Corp. Leikens happened to also own Double Tee promotions, the largest rock and roll concert promoter in the state. Leiken’s changed the name to Roseland and it is a good place for a concert today.
Jim Redden’s reporting in Willamette Week and the activities of Mike and Penny Moreau, kept public attention on the missing Moreau. Hurwitz’s failed libel suit just made things worse. Because he claimed monetary damages in his suit, he had been forced to file income tax returns for 1977 – 1990, which he had never done.
His obviously faked income tax returns got the IRS interested and soon they would uncover a profit skimming operation that operated at Starry Night from about 1987-1990. They said that Hurwitz had skimmed about $450,000 that he had not declared on his income tax.
Hurwitz’s testimony under oath during the libel suit also exposed his role in the plot to kidnap John Stanley’s parents in 1983. One of the questions Hurwitz was asked was about the statement in Redden's article that when Hurwitz learned about the missing money, "he immediately swore to kill Stanley.''
"Did you immediately swear to kill Stanley?'' asked the lawyer.
"I may have said those words,'' said Hurwitz. "Could be a figure of speech.''
When asked if it had been his idea to call Stanley’s parents and lure them to Portland by telling them their son was in an accident. Hurwitz claimed that Evan Parrish, an employee, had come up with the idea. Hurwitz said, “If you can do it go ahead.” He had even given Parrish the phone number for Stanley’s parents.
Hurwitz said that to say they planned to hold Stanley’s parents for ransom was “a lie.” They had only meant to use “parental persuasion.” You can understand why people connected Hurwitz with the popular TV show “Twin Peaks”.
If he thought he had suffered from “scorn of friends, neighbors and members of the community,” he would really find out what that was like now. It got especially bad in 1992 when the police searched the river for Moreau’s body and seized the carpet from Hurwitz’s office.
In 1994 Hurwitz slipped out of town and quietly moved to Seattle. There he made the contacts that allowed him to start promoting concerts in Asia. Shortly afterward, probably coincidentally since the IRS would soon come down with an indictment for tax evasion, Hurwitz moved to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. There he continued to organize popular concerts and promote ethical American business values.
In 1996 the IRS investigation began to heat up and in February 1997 Hurwitz was indicted in Federal Court for tax evasion. The U.S. State Department revoked Hurwitz’s passport and asked the Vietnamese to deport him. In November, 1997 Vietnamese authorities took Hurwitz into custody and he was deported to Thailand.
Federal authorities agreed to cooperate with Multnomah County in their murder investigation. Soon Larry Hurwitz would be coming home to Portland to face the music.
Rock n Roll Homicide Part Four: Facing the Music
Rock n Roll Homicide Part One: Starry Night
Rock n Roll Homicide Part Two: Missing Presumed Dead