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Whataburger Employee Gets $10,000 Mink Coat as a Tip

Whataburger Employee Gets $10,000 Mink Coat as a Tip

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A customer just handed a very expensive fur coat through the drive-thru window

A Whataburger customer handed a $10,000 coat through the drive-thru window.

Most drive-thru employees do not get tips at all, but one woman received a huge gratuity from a customer who just handed her a fur coat worth $10,000.

According to ABC News, Cheryl Semien was working at the drive-thru Wednesday at the Texas Whataburger where she’s been employed for nine years when a customer drove up to the window wearing a silver mink coat. Semien complimented the woman on the coat, and the woman took it off and handed it to her, right through the drive-thru window.

Semien said, "She was a perfect stranger, I didn't know this lady from nowhere. I didn't see her come through my drive-thru window as long as I've been at Whataburger for nine years.”

Coincidentally, Wednesday was Semien’s birthday. Her coworkers said that she yelled as though she’d won the lottery when the customer gave her the coat.

The generous customer was eventually tracked down by ABC News and did not wish to give her full name, but she said giving the coat away just felt right. She estimated that the coat was worth about $10,000.

The Jet : Born to Brawl, Benny Urquidez Lived Through a Death Match to Become One of the Greatest Unknown Fighters in America

Benny (the Jet) Urquidez’s eyes nearly shot out of their sockets when he heard the words. Foam collected on his lips and sweat slipped off his chin. Across a dark, dingy ring without ropes in Hong Kong, a square-jawed Chinese champion kick boxer had his arms thrust upward as he slowly approached Urquidez.

Above the spirited banter of hundreds of onlookers, most of them wielding handfuls of cash, and music sounding like a thousand screeching cats, Urquidez heard his opponent scream again, “ To the death!

“Bits and pieces of my life flashed before my eyes,” recalls Urquidez, 33, a World Karate Assn. champion kick boxer.

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Urquidez often had to fight his way out of fixes. Half-Spanish, half-Mexican and all-American in a martial arts world dominated by Asians, having defended world titles in four continents, he was accustomed to being in strange places.

He was alone in Hong Kong in November, 1980, only to promote a karate movie on a talk show. Look what had transpired in 24 hours, he thought.

Someone in the TV studio audience had stood up and called him nothing but an actor, a sham of a fighter. The man--who turned out to be a Hong Kong kick boxing champion--challenged Urquidez to a death match. Urquidez demanded $20,000 and a mink coat, calling the man’s bluff. The challenger’s promoter met Urquidez the next day, however, handed over the cash and the coat and drove him to the noisy warehouse.

A horn sounded, the opponent shouted and Urquidez sprang out of his corner. He sent a shin kick to the cheekbone, another to the ribs. Spinning 360 degrees, Urquidez then landed a backfist to the face.

“By the third round, he looked like the Elephant Man,” says Urquidez, who declines to reveal the opponent’s name.

In Round 4, repeated rib shots laid the guy on his back, wheezing for air. The crowd clamored around the ring, shouting and whistling.

Says Urquidez: “I was confused. They wanted a kill and I wouldn’t give it to them. The promoter pulled me into an adjoining room, where I stood for four hours waiting for the riot to end.”

Although Urquidez’s death match didn’t follow the form of most of his fights in the Far East, Europe and North and South America, the outcome was the same. This modern-day conquistador claims never to have been defeated in battle.

“I have traveled to many lands, fought the best men, eaten the best food and returned with riches,” he states softly with a characteristic chop of his hand.

Comparing Urquidez’s exploits to those of early Spanish conquistadores Hernando Cortes or Francisco Pizarro--who are remembered as much for spilled guts as glory--is not completely fair to the Jet, however. His machismo is tempered with the discipline required in the martial arts.

“Control is the key to understanding,” Urquidez says. “Control of the body, of the mind, of the spirit and of the heart.

“I don’t fight out of anger. I am a sportsman. Through my sport I have learned self-respect and discipline.”

He speaks of spiritual understanding in the same controlled cadence that he tells of his grandmother riding with Pancho Villa and of his Valley upbringing.

Urquidez roamed the streets of Van Nuys, San Fernando and North Hollywood as a youngster along with four brothers and four sisters, fighters all. Benny’s mother supported the family with work as a professional wrestler at venues like the Olympic Auditorium his father, who left the household when Benny was 8, was a professional boxer.

Benny’s sister, Lilly, 37, has been a world champion super bantamweight kick boxer. At 21, she married Benny’s 15-year-old friend, Blinky Rodriguez, who has been a super middleweight kick boxing champion.

“When we fought in the street, we fought for real,” Urquidez says. “We didn’t believe in leaving the other guy standing, because he might come back with a 2-by-4 and cave in our skulls.

“We owned the Valley. We would walk the streets and a hundred kids would follow behind.”

Urquidez, in turn, followed the teachings of North Hollywood-based karate and judo instructor Bill Ryusaki from ages 9 to 13. Ryusaki remembers Benny as a born brawler.

“Benny was from a bad area and he had a bad attitude,” said Ryusaki. “He had a complex about being small and felt he had to prove himself by fighting. I wouldn’t let him fight. I made him work on form and learn discipline.”

Urquidez attended Grant and Polytechnic high schools before graduating from North Hollywood High in 1969. He wrestled at Poly and played football at North Hollywood.

“My football coach would tell me, ‘See that guy, put him out of business,’ ” Urquidez says. “I was a hyper little defensive back.”

Now, Benny, all 145 pounds of him, commands the rapture of the martial arts world. In Japan, he is the great “ Yukiide-san ,” and is claimed to be half Japanese.

“The Japanese are a proud people and there is no other acceptable explanation to them for my domination over their best martial artists,” Urquidez says.

Urquidez’s exploits are chronicled in Japanese “Benny the Jet” comic strips. Art imitates life: The Jet always wins.

He has been named Full-Contact Fighter of the Year five times by the Standardized Tournaments and Ratings Service (STAR) and is listed by STAR as having a 56-1 record, although the Urquidez camp vehemently disputes the loss.

Currently, he holds the super lightweight (140 pounds) title and is planning to fight for the welterweight (147 pounds) title against No. 1 contender Tom LaRoche in October.

Says Paul Maslak, a kick boxing authority who heads STAR: “Benny Urquidez is the only active great from the early days of full-contact karate. He is unquestionably a legend in the Orient, and in parts of South America and Europe. Benny’s stature is similar to that of Muhammad Ali about the time he fought Joe Frazier in Manila--still the greatest, but perhaps slipping a bit.”

In the late 1970s, Urquidez fought six to 10 times a year. He has cut down to two bouts a year since 1980, and his last fight was a fifth-round technical knockout over European Muay-Thai Nederland middleweight champion Iwan Sprang on Jan. 15, 1984.

Despite its popularity abroad, kick boxing has mostly drawn yawns in the United States. Cable network ESPN broadcasts Professional Karate Assn. bouts.

Similarly, Urquidez hasn’t been able to capture the imagination of American sports fans. You won’t see him in a breakfast cereal ad like Mary Lou Retton or Pete Rose, smiling over a bowl of Urqui-ties.

Only four of Urquidez’s fights have been broadcast on network TV, and his purses have rarely exceeded $10,000 in the United States. He has earned as much as $50,000 for bouts in Japan, Canada and Holland. Yet Urquidez, who lives in Tarzana, says that he is “not rich, not poor, but very comfortable.”

So, while the Jet has kept his spinning kicks and backfists flying, kick boxing promoters have spun their wheels. And one of the world’s most colorful sportsmen is virtually anonymous in his homeland.

Urquidez’s greatest recognition in the United States came while delivering a barrage of leaping leg kicks during a WKA lightweight title bout at Madison Square Garden in 1975. A spectator stood and screamed, “He looks like a Jet!” Whereupon the crowd stomped its feet and chanted, “Jet, Jet, Jet.” Urquidez won the title and thanked the crowd for its rousing support by doing a back flip in the center of the ring.

The nickname and back flip have remained Urquidez trademarks.

“Benny Urquidez has become Benny the Jet,” Benny says. “In other countries, my wife and I are addressed as Mr. and Mrs. Jet.”

The Jet moniker was a play on the popular 1974 Elton John song, “Benny and the Jets.” A “Benny the Jet Theme” was released as a single in Japan in 1978, a song Urquidez’s manager Stuart Sobel says sounds like the theme from Rocky.

“I should have gotten residuals from the Elton John song, too,” Urquidez says. “I’ve signed thousands of those records.”

Life has been weird and wonderful for Urquidez ever since he donned the traditional karate gi and earned his black belt at 14.

“My oldest brother, Arnold, would send the family out to seek new fighting techniques,” Urquidez says. “We would return and share our knowledge with the others. Judo, karate, kick-boxing, western boxing--we blended them into a family style.”

Benny was the runt of the family (at 5-6, he is still shorter than his brothers) and was often challenged.

“Guys would always fight Benny because of his baby face,” says Rodriguez, Benny’s brother-in-law. “They would all end up in the same position--on their heads.”

Says Urquidez: “I developed spinning kicks and back knuckles in elementary school. Soon, my reputation preceded me. The biggest kids would stand aside.”

In 1974, the Urquidezes rose from the Valley and went nationwide.

Chuck Norris, a pioneer of full contact karate, had begun the National Karate League. His team, the Los Angeles Stars, included 22-year-old lightweight Benny Urquidez and middleweight Blinky Rodriguez. Two of Benny’s brothers, Adam and Manuel, were alternates and two others, Arnold and Ruben, were trainers.

Benny’s first five professional full-contact karate bouts came later that year in the World Series of Martial Arts, a two-day extravaganza held in Honolulu.

Recalls Urquidez: “There were street fighters, boxers, every kind of martial artist, sumo wrestlers, western wrestlers--about 200 in all. There were no rules and no weight divisions. I won my three fights the first day and my first fight the second day by knockout. I had to beat Dana Goodson for the title.”

Goodson was a 6-1, 225-pound Hawaiian heavyweight kick boxing champion. Urquidez knocked him out in the third round.

“I attacked him like a leech sucking blood,” Urquidez says. “I am a stone survivor and that day I proved it to the martial arts world.”

With the WSMA title under his black belt, the Jet’s career took off. He captured the NKL lightweight title in 1975 and the PKA lightweight title in 1976.

Urquidez’s most discussed fight, of course, is the purported loss. When a fighter is 56-1, attention is focused on the defeat. Did the Jet really lose?

That depends on who you believe. Benny scowls at the mention of the August night in 1980 in West Palm Beach, Fla., when a virtual unknown from Texas named Billye Jackson took a seven-round decision.

Stuart Sobel, Benny’s manager, offers this version: “Thirty minutes before the fight, Jackson said he wouldn’t get in the ring unless Urquidez agreed not to use leg kicks--Benny’s speciality. I told Benny, ‘This is ridiculous, we can walk.’

“There were 6,000 people in the stands and the promoter nearly fainted. Benny agreed to the change, but without leg kicks his rhythm was off. The last couple of rounds, Benny pummeled the guy. If the fight would have went one more round, Jackson wouldn’t have been standing.”

Jackson wouldn’t fight with leg kicks because of a leg injury, Jackson’s manager told Official Karate magazine in February. Jackson retired from kick boxing last year with a 22-2 record.

WKA President Howard Hanson denied Sobel’s formal appeal for a no-contest ruling. He says the Jet was grounded fair and square, but adds that the loss revealed more about Urquidez’s integrity than any win.

“Benny lost the fight,” Hanson says. “Sobel’s version is essentially correct, but a loss is a loss. Benny proved what kind of gentleman he is, though. When Jackson requested no leg kicks, rather than leave the promoter with a riot on his hands, Benny stepped in the ring.”

The calm in Urquidez’s voice and the dignity in his demeanor leave a deep first impression on a visitor. His tone is a decibel above a whisper and conversation invariably steers to his family.

“My family is the source of my strength,” says Urquidez, looking at photos of Sara, his wife of 11 years, and Monique, his 7-year-old daughter. “My wife and daughter, my brothers and sisters, my parents--we are a strong tribe.”

Urquidez returned two years ago to his birthplace, Van Nuys, to build what he believes is the consummate martial arts facility. He, Rodriguez and Jan Sirchuk, a contractor and friend, are partners in Benny the Jet’s Jet Center. Similar Jet Centers have opened in Japan, Canada and Holland.

The Urquidez family remains deeply involved in the Valley community. Project Heavy brings local toughs off the street into the Jet Center, where they are taught Ukidokan--Benny’s personal blend of martial arts and philosophy.

The Jet Center has dormitories where kick boxers from around the world stay for monthlong internships under Benny. They emerge as Jet fighters.

“My fighting career may be near its end, but I will never stop fighting through my students,” Urquidez says, his face unmarked by more than a decade of kick boxing competition. “I will teach honor, discipline and respect throughout the world.

“It’s going to be hard to get rid of me. Benny the Jet will create an empire.”

Chick-fil-A model helps it lead

While many of its competitors have hit a wall, Chick-fil-A is on a roll.

The College Park-based chicken sandwich chain rang up the fast-food industry’s highest average sales per store last year — almost $2.7 million per shop — putting it ahead of industry giants such as McDonald’s, which posted $2.4 million.

At the same time, several of Chick-fil-A’s big competitors have stalled. While Chick-fil-A has been adding stores, rival KFC has been shrinking in terms of total units, as have Pizza Hut, Arby’s, Hardee’s and Dairy Queen, according to QSR, a trade magazine for quick-service restaurants.

So what is Chick-fil-A’s secret ingredient?

There may be several — some better known than others. There’s its well-known, never-open-on-Sunday Christian mores, which have lent the company cult status among some customers and employees. Company officials tout the quality of its food and its focus on local communities, which builds repeat business.

But a less known key to Chick-fil-A’s success is its unusual approach to franchising, which is almost unique in the restaurant industry.

Boiled down, Chick-fil-A’s system allows the privately held company to be extremely choosy about who runs its restaurants, and to reward them well if they succeed — or get rid of them if they don’t. Because it owns all its restaurants — seemingly a contradiction in franchising — Chick-fil-A can move quickly into new products and markets. It can shift strong-performing franchisees to bigger stores or give them more responsibility — much like employees — while firing up their entrepreneurial zeal.

“I look at it as a great opportunity,” said Margaret Phillips, who nearly 30 years ago scraped together $5,000 to take over her first Chick-fil-A store in Daytona Beach, Fla. Then 23, she was already a Chick-fil-A veteran, having started at 16 in a shop in North DeKalb Mall. “They have shown us a lot of grace and love over the years,” said Phillips, who now runs a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Commerce.

Normally, companies use franchising to speed up their growth by tapping outside investors’ money to build additional outlets. Would-be entrepreneurs pay an up-front franchise fee and the costs to build and open a new outlet. They also pony up roughly 9 percent of sales to the company for advertising and rights to use its brand and sell its products.

To join a major chain like KFC, franchisees typically need to shell out about $1.9 million before opening their doors, according to Don Sniegowski, editor of Blue MauMau, an online publication that tracks the franchise industry.

But Chick-fil-A CEO and founder S. Truett Cathy turned that model on its head when he decided in 1967 to expand his business into a chain of restaurants.

The company bankrolls the entire cost of its new restaurants and picks the locations. The only cost its so-called “operator” franchisees shoulder up front is $5,000, but they can’t later sell the business or pass it on to their heirs. Chick-fil-A retains ownership of the restaurant, and takes a much bigger cut of each store’s revenues and profits than at most franchises. It gets 15 percent of sales, collects rent on the property, and splits the remaining profit with the operator.

The formula seems to have worked well for both sides.

Based on franchise disclosure documents and interviews with Chick-fil-A officials, the company’s roughly 1,100 operators took home operating profits of about $210 million last year, or an average of $190,000 each. Some make substantially more.

Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A collected about $841 million last year in rent, royalties and its share of operating profits from franchisee-operated restaurants — four times what the franchisees got. The company reported a $175 million profit for 2010 on systemwide revenue of $3.4 billion last year.

Company officials say Chick-fil-A gets 10,000 to 25,000 applications for roughly 60 to 70 new slots that open each year.

The result is highly motivated “operator” franchisees like Phillips, Bob Garrett and Melissa Winkfield, whose metro Atlanta restaurants generate annual sales of up to $4 million each — two or three times the average fast food restaurant’s volume — despite being open only six days a week.

Chick-fil-A’s profit-splitting arrangement is a huge motivator for operators, who would not get a share of profits if they were traditional employees, said Russ Umphenour, head of Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands, where he oversees Moe’s and five other fast-food chains.

“If [you’re] thinking about every dollar that walks in the door, [part] of it will be mine, you start to look at the world differently,” said Umphenour, who calls himself “a huge Truett Cathy fan.”

Before joining FOCUS Brands, Umphenour tried a similar plan with many of the managers at his 775 Arby’s restaurants he operated before selling in 2005. In exchange for $5,000, the Arby’s managers got a 10 percent to 20 percent share of their units’ profits. Many of those operators later boosted profits by up to 25 percent, he said.

Still, only a few companies, including the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, Outback Steakhouse and the Shoney’s restaurant chain, have tried similar plans, say industry players.

“I think most companies are scared of it, because they think it will eat into their profits,” said Umphenour.

Chick-fil-A’s 2010 profit margin, which was 5.1 percent of its systemwide sales, was somewhat behind the 6.4 percent profit margin of industry kingpin McDonald’s Corp. last year. But industry experts say Chick-fil-A is beating most rivals in terms of sales and profits per store.

“I’m just amazed that there haven’t been more businesses doing this,” said John Gordon, with Pacific Management Consulting Group, a San Diego restaurant consulting firm.

By not depending on franchisees to build stores and maintain them, Chick-fil-A has grown slower, but has the power to upgrade restaurants, launch new products or change operators whenever it wants, he said. Older franchises such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC can’t do the same without risking a revolt by franchisees who don’t want or can’t afford to make such changes.

“The flexibility to operate what is essentially a 100-percent company operation is tremendous,” he said.

Chick-fil-A’s unusual approach has helped fuel its steady growth, despite the 2007-2009 recession, with systemwide sales rising from $2.3 billion in 2006 to $3.4 billion last year.

With total sales expected to hit $4 billion this year, it’s poised to displace Oklahoma City-based Sonic as the nation’s 10th largest fast-food chain in terms of revenues. Chick-fil-A expects to add 92 outlets next year to its more that 1,500 locations, which includes about 1,000 free-standing restaurants and a smaller number of company-operated stores and units in malls, hospitals, airports and colleges.

Still, Chick-fil-A’s unusual franchising approach and pervasive Christian culture hasn’t been for everyone.

According to press reports, the company has been sued about a dozen times for employment discrimination, sometimes based on religion. According to Forbes, a former restaurant operator who is Muslim sued in 2002, alleging he was fired for not participating in a Christian prayer at a company training program.

Meanwhile, some states have challenged Chick-fil-A’s tight control over franchisees, alleging that they are employees rather than business owners.

Last year, a former franchisee in Delaware sued Chick-fil-A alleging wrongful termination of his restaurant agreement. He also sought unemployment compensation. The case was settled after the former franchisee received $115,000 in net payments from Chick-fil-A and he “affirmed that . [he was] a franchisee and independent contractor” rather than an employee, according to Chick-fil-A’s franchise disclosure documents.

The company said it has withstood all claims that its franchisees are employees. Otherwise, in its dealings with operators, Chick-fil-A would have been subject to federal employment discrimination restrictions and other occupational rules that don’t apply to independent contractors.

“We work really, really hard to make sure it’s abundantly clear . that we meet all franchise laws,” said Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president of operations. “It’s been the same for 40 years. It’s held consistent.”

And while there “have been some lawsuits” alleging discrimination, Tassopoulos said, the company doesn’t ask about operators’ faith or discriminate based on religion, race or other traits. Those lawsuits went through “normal legal resolution,” he said.

This much is clear. By the time new franchise operators walk into their stores for the first time, Chick-fil-A has spent a lot of time getting to know them. And odds are, the operators also enthusiastically embrace founder Truett Cathy’s blending of faith and finances.

When she was 21, Melissa Winkfield was working two jobs, as an assistant manager at a very large burger chain and as a cook at a Chick-fil-A. She ultimately chose to stick with Chick-fil-A because the other company was “all about the numbers,” she said. At Chick-fil-A, “the atmosphere was so different,” she said. The company’s philosophy is “to glorify God by being a good steward.”

Now 39, Winkfield operates a Chick-fil-A restaurant in East Point, one of the company’s highest-volume restaurants in metro Atlanta, with about $4 million in annual sales. She takes home well above the average operators’ income.

“We grew up in a low-income home. My parents are very proud of me,” said Winkfield. “It’s just been an awesome blessing.”

Bob Garrett, 47, likewise counts his blessings.

Before he joined Chick-fil-A, Garrett, of Lawrenceville, was a general manager at a family-owned truck-washing company. But after 18 years at that company, Garrett said he tired of the moves the job required. On the recommendation of a longtime friend working at Chick-fil-A, he decided to become a franchise operator.

A year and a half and 15 interviews later, Garrett took over an existing Chick-fil-A store in Lilburn. The chain later promoted him to open a new store in Hamilton Mill.

Then earlier this month, Garrett became one of roughly 100 operators who Chick-fil-A allows to operate two stores, opening a new store in Dacula.

At the Dacula shop on the eve before its opening, Garrett said he’s “humbled” to get a second store.

Outside in the restaurant’s parking lot, among about 70 tents, a crowd of people threw footballs and tossed flying discs, watched TV, listened to music and got ready to spend the night. The next day, the first 100 customers were to get a year’s worth of weekly meals from Chick-fil-A — now a tradition at new stores.

“This just completely changed my life,” Garrett said of joining Chick-fil-A’s operations. He hopes his two stores, with about 140 employees, will eventually tally $7 million in combined sales, and roughly double his income.

“I get to make more than I’ve ever made in my life, doing what I love to do,” he said.

Top-selling restaurant chains

Chick-fil-A tops the industry in terms of average sales per restaurant. And while industry giant McDonald’s has the second-highest sales per restaurant, the list is generally dominated by fast-growing regional brands or niche chains with a loyal following. Most national brands, such as Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC and Taco Bell (not shown) are slower-growing and generally have average per-unit sales in the $900,000 to $1.4 million range.


MICHAEL RAYMOND WAS UPSET. Scheduled to be transferred from Federal prison in Springfield, Mo., to a jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the comfort of a plane, he was instead handcuffed, clapped in leg-irons and driven in a van for seven days across the South. This was not the kind of treatment he was used to, especially from the Government for which he has taken so many chances and provided so much information.

Were it not for Raymond, last year's corruption scandals in New York City might never have been uncovered. Were it not for him, Queens Borough President Donald R. Manes would probably be alive today Stanley M. Friedman might still be the Bronx Democratic leader, and a number of other public officials in New York and Chicago, where another scandal is now unfolding, might not be facing prison.

For much of the last two decades, the shadowy Raymond has been an informer, providing law-enforcement agencies with the evidence to convict a score of criminals and to recover millions of dollars in stolen securities. And all the while, this street-smart, steel-nerved confidance man has pursued his own spectacular life of crime. Coolly maneuvering within a lenient, careless and often petty legal system, Raymond - a jowly, balding 57-year-old with diabetes and a heart condition - traveled widely under a dozen aliases, carrying out swindles, embezzlements, thefts and, Florida authorities now charge, at least one murder.

On Aug. 17, he is scheduled to go on trial in Fort Lauderdale for the 1975 killing of Adelaide Stiles, a widow who gave him her love and her money. At the Manhattan District Attorney's office, meanwhile, prosecutors are investigating his possible involvement in other deaths and disappearances, including the twin murders in 1981 of a former New York construction company executive and his dancer companion.

Like the bumpy trip from Missouri, this is not what Raymond expected.

IRONICALLY, MICHAEL RAYMOND IS now in jail because another informer informed on him. He might have escaped judgment for murder were it not for the notoriety following his most productive undercover work. Posing as the corrupt representative of a municipal contractor, Raymond wore a body wire for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 18 months in 1984 and 1985, recording bribe-seeking public officials and influence-peddlers and bribe-paying contractors in Chicago and New York. Hundreds of tapes were made, laying the foundation for 15 indictments in Chicago and providing the basis for a dozen successful prosecutions in New York.

''What are you paying Geoffrey?'' Raymond asked Bernard Sandow, the contractor for whom he worked but who knew nothing of his double role, in November 1985. Geoffrey was Geoffrey G. Lindenauer, the deputy di-rector of the New York City Parking Violations Bureau and a close associate of Donald Manes.

''Nobody's supposed to know that,'' said Sandow, who was about to introduce Raymond to Lindenauer at a Manhattan restaurant.

RAYMOND: I understand that. But I'm asking you. You can understand what kind of hand I got. I'm not gonna say it to him. He gets a pretty good chunk?

RAYMOND: Good. Good. Very important to know.

In Chicago, Clarence McClain, Mayor Harold Washington's former patronage chief, mused on another tape: ''This is an indictable thing we're talking about.'' McClain is now accused of accepting $35,000 from Raymond to exert his influence with the city government. Morgan M. Finley, who as Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court administers the country's biggest local court system, has been charged with taking $25,000 from Raymond. Most of the cash is believed to have been Sandow's, although some may have been put up by the F.B.I.

Whatever the outcome in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale, Raymond's life on both sides of the law - including his relationship with the F.B.I., which repeatedly failed to pursue its worst suspicions of him - is a strange and alarming odyssey.

RAYMOND WAS BORN IN Brooklyn in 1929, the son of Leo Rafaelowitz, a paint manufacturer and sometime securities speculator, and his wife, Sadie. A mercurial and domineering figure who changed his last name to Raymond, Leo was charged several times with participation in stock swindles and passing worthless checks.

As a young man, Michael Raymond was in and out of a couple of Brooklyn high schools, and briefly attended the University of Illinois. In the early 1950's, he married Pauline Maldonado, a nurse from Puerto Rico, and had a short stint in the service that ended after an Army psychiatrist concluded that he suffered from 'ɾmotional instability.'' His own psychotherapist noted his ''tremendous parental resentments'' and ''turbulent ambition to establish himself.''

During the next few years, Raymond, who had begun selling securities in New York, was dismissed from several jobs for misappropriating funds and was eventually charged with defrauding stockholders in a company he had formed himself. Between 1957 and 1961 he was in prison twice.

For several years after his release, he eluded organized crime figures who were pressing him for loan payments, and the authorities, who wanted him for an illegal transfer of stocks to a Swiss account. In early 1964, the F.B.I. arrested him in Manhattan.

Facing 20 years in prison, Raymond pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of wire fraud and offered his cooperation to the Government. His Federal sentence was postponed.

HE WAS NOW AN INFORMER, and his information enabled Chicago authorities to recover paintings that had been spirited out of the Milwaukee Art Institute and several hundred thousand dollars in stolen securities.

But in a pattern that would continue, Raymond was also busy with his own deals, unbeknownst to the F.B.I. In February 1966, he was again arrested, by detectives from the Manhattan District Attorney's office, for buying stolen securities. Confronted once more with jail, he became an informer for District Attorney Frank S. Hogan as well.

Murray Gross, the assistant district attorney who supervised him, said that over the next several years Raymond helped recover some $9 million in stolen securities. 'ɻut he would only produce if you caught him red-handed or gave him money,'' Gross recalled. ''He always thought he was smarter than anyone else, and nine times out of 10, he was.''

In 1970, Raymond received a four-year prison term in Chicago for trying to buy two small Middle Western banks with stolen Treasury notes. Noting Raymond's criminal history and record as an informant, an anguished Federal judge observed that Raymond's situation was 'ɺ correctional nightmare'' in which it made no sense to either ''lard it on'' or ''pin any medals on you.'' According to Federal prison records, he served no more than two months.

The next year, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, headed by Senator John L. McClellan, was holding hearings on organized crime and stolen securities. Gross introduced his star informer to Philip Manuel, the subcommittee's chief investigator.

Wearing a hood and using the name George White, Raymond regaled the committee with stories of Mafia victims ''planted like potatoes'' in the fields of New Jersey. He also named names and deals, said he had bribed several state judges and admitted he had not filed an income tax return for 16 years.

Impressed by Raymond's acumen, Senator Charles H. Percy said he had recommended him for a job with the New York Stock Exchange to ''protect investors.'' Raymond was placed in the Federal witness protection program and with a new name -Michael Burnett - moved to Florida. The Government gave him $1,500 a month, plus $50,000 for ''job assistance,'' according to records of the Marshals Service. It also paid $25,000 to Robert E. Dell, an Englishman who had been arrested with Raymond in 1966 and often served as his ''go-fer''.

Although the United States Marshals Service felt that his life was in danger, Raymond moved around in the early 1970's like a man without cares. He drove Cadillacs, wore mink coats and his fingers sparkled with diamond rings. In his soft, staccato speech he interspersed Yiddish expressions with a favored line: ''There's no question about it.''

In November 1972, Raymond founded the Silenus Corporation to pursue an idea that would prove an obsession - the development of a charcoal substitute made from crushed citrus products that could burn safely indoors. He called them charkettes.

The next fall, he met Max E. Bussard, a Florida accountant who had been placed on probation in 1964 for embezzling funds from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. Raymond and Dell moved into the guest house of Bussard's lavish home in Boca Raton. And Bussard, on behalf of Silenus, took out tens of thousands of dollars in bank loans secured by Union Carbide stock and Treasury notes that were later found to be counterfeit or stolen.

As Bussard got in deeper, Raymond re-emerged as an informer, providing evidence to convict two men in a scheme to steal blank checks from the Los Angeles city treasury and forge sums in the millions. Raymond sought a reward of $125,000 for ''making'' the case. He was paid $45,000.

On May 21, 1974, he contacted the F.B.I. in Miami and supplied information that led to the arrest of two men in New York in connection with stolen Treasury notes.

Moreover, he linked Max Bussard to them.

The F.B.I. arranged to interview Bussard on May 23. But that morning, a man who identified himself as Nelan Sweet, a lawyer for Bussard, called to say that his client had left town on business. Bussard did leave, but not until the following morning. He told his wife he was meeting Raymond in Chicago.

Using the name Funk, Bussard registered at a motel in Wheeling, Ill., outside Chicago. He had been brought there by a man named Delbert Dobbins, who was known at the motel because he frequently ate at its restaurant.

On June 3, Bussard called his wife and said he would be returning to Miami the next afternoon. She never heard from him again. According to an F.B.I. report, Raymond visited Mrs. Bussard the next evening in Boca Raton and 'ɼursed her repeatedly'' when she demanded to know where her husband was.

Mrs. Bussard tried to convince the F.B.I. that her husband might have been murdered by Raymond. She gave the Bureau two pages of handwritten notes in which Bussard said that Raymond had supplied him with the securities and Treasury notes he pledged at the banks.

But it was not until the following April that the F.B.I. interviewed Sweet, who claimed he had never represented Bussard and never called the F.B.I. Raymond told the Bureau he did not know what had happened to Bussard.

After repeated requests from its office in Miami, the F.B.I. in Chicago interviewed Delbert Dobbins in June 1975. Dobbins, a 43-year-old truck driver who lived in Wheeling, said only that he had met a man named Funk at a bar and had driven him to the motel. But the interview report did not mention two things that the F.B.I. was aware of: that both Dobbins and Raymond had spent time in Federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., and that they were friends. ADELAIDE STILES HAD been a society columnist and public relations executive, but in 1975 she was a lonely, 67-year-old divorced woman whose dwindling income led her to rent out her roomy white stucco house in Fort Lauderdale and live in a one-room cottage in back.

On a trip to New York, Mrs. Stiles met a woman named Jean Kempinski and told her she expected to come into some money from her mother's estate. Mrs. Kempinski and her husband, Ted, introduced Mrs. Stiles to a friend who was renting a $600,000 stone ranch house near her in Fort Lauderdale. The friend was Michael Raymond.

Within months, Mrs. Stiles told Jean Kempinski that she and Raymond planned to marry. On July 18, she wrote to a former Radcliffe classmate living in England that she and ''my Mike'' - a ''nice, cozy, real person'' - were coming to Europe on July 27.

In late August, when a tenant of Mrs. Stiles's found out that she had never arrived in England, he filed a missing person's report with the Fort Lauderdale police.

Through his Miami lawyer, Burton Levey, Raymond declined to speak to the police. But from bank records, they discovered that Mrs. Stiles had turned over a $6,000 check to Raymond on the day she disappeared, and had earlier invested more than $30,000 in the charkettes project.

That December, a mutual friend of Raymond's and the Kempinskis told the F.B.I. and the police that Raymond had admitted killing Mrs. Stiles. The man, a convicted swindler named Ralph Rapp, gave a detailed statement to the Fort Lauderdale authorities - and, for several months, the F.B.I. in Miami tried to reach the peripatetic Raymond, mostly by phone. They failed. Then an off-duty Miami policeman, skin diving off the Florida Keys, found a suitcase bearing the name of Adelaide Stiles. The suitcase was turned over to the local sheriff's office, which contacted Fort Lauderdale police. But by the time they went to pick up the suitcase, it could not be found. Jean Kempinski told police that Raymond had paid $8,000 for the introduction to Mrs. Stiles. ''It was a con game to get her money,'' she said.

Despite these developments, state prosecutors in Florida told police it would be difficult to make a case without a body and Federal authorities dropped their own plan to call Raymond and Dell before a grand jury.

DURING THE FOLLOWING year, 1976 and early 1977, there were two other disappearances in which Raymond was suspected.

One was Charles J. DeStefano, a Long Island securities salesman believed to have misled a retired executive into depositing $1 million of bearer bonds in an offshore trading company headed by Raymond. On May 20, 1976, an assistant Attorney General for New York State received a call from Burton Levey in Miami ''who stated that he had DeStefano in his office as well as the principals'' of the trading company and that DeStefano would come to New York for questioning.

He never showed up. After a brief inquiry during which Raymond said he knew nothing of DeStefano's whereabouts, the salesman was all but forgotten by the authorities.

The other disappearance was that of Anne Sessa, the 63-year-old widow of a New York jewelry dealer, who met Raymond in October 1976 at a barbecue at his Fort Lauderdale home. Two months later she withdrew $165,000 worth of securities and flew to Switzerland with Raymond. When she returned in late January 1977, she told friends she was going to the Caribbean with her new acquaintance.

In April, police found Mrs. Sessa's Lincoln Continental in the same Miami airport parking lot where Max Bussard had left his car in 1974. The parking stub showed the car had been there since Feb. 3, but no airline had a record of carrying Mrs. Sessa then.

Once again, Burton Levey told the police that Raymond had nothing to say. The F.B.I. learned that one of Mrs. Sessa's stock certificates had been sold in Switzerland for $26,000 after Feb. 3 and the proceeds deposited in a Liechtenstein account of Raymond's. But the F.B.I. was told that Mrs. Sessa had personally approved the transaction in Switzerland, and so closed its investigation. Police in Florida, however, have long believed that if a woman did approve that stock sale, she was an imposter.

In mid-1977, a friend of Mrs. Sessa's received a postcard from the Bali Beach Hotel in Indonesia, dated June 11. It said: ''It is a very tiring journey as we are constantly moving. See you in the fall. Love, Anne.''

The loose, disjointed handwriting was nothing like Anne Sessa's neat script.

ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT prosecutors, Raymond controlled huge sums of money during much of the late 1970's, when he was not an active informer. In 1977 and 1978 alone, he was known to have deposited $2.7 million in American and Swiss banks - much of it, authorities believe, from stolen securities - and to have withdrawn $2.4 million.

Under the name Paul M. Fenton, he kept an apartment on Madison Avenue and on Chicago's Near North Side. Divorced from Pauline, he lived in Manhattan with a woman named Laurie. He shared his Chicago apartment with a 20-year-old French language student at Northwestern University.

On Feb. 1, 1979, Raymond was arrested in New York for swindling a group of Austrian businessmen out of $1 million. He was released on $200,000 bail and trial was set for April 2. But on that day, using a passport he had obtained in the name of Myron Herbert Solnet, he flew to Switzerland to consummate a $5 million Swiss bank loan secured by what the F.B.I. described as 'ɼounterfeit blue chips or stolen securities.''

In a telex at that time, the F.B.I. in New York noted Raymond's ''long and infamous'' criminal history and described him as the ''prime suspect in three homicides which took place in Florida.''

On a tip that Raymond was in the Bahamas, two F.B.I. agents flew to Nassau on May 4, had Raymond placed on board a night flight to Miami and arrested him. ''Life with its many ironies,'' he remarked, ''has finally caught up with me.''

When he was returned to New York, however, Raymond quickly made another deal, this time with the United States Attorney. After pleading guilty to charges -on both the swindling case and for stealing bonds - that could have netted him as much as 25 years, he was sentenced to just 13 years and again became an informer.

As often happens with Federal prisoners who are informers, Raymond was kept outside the Federal prison system - in the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, N.J. Routinely, he was taken to a room rented by the F.B.I. at the Westbury Hotel in Manhattan, or to restaurants, where he pretended that he was in the market for stolen securities. In Room 1110 at the Westbury, F.B.I. agents monitored his conversations from a closet.

His undercover work led to the prosecution of at least three persons and the recovery of $5.5 million in stolen securities. But he declined to take part in an F.B.I. operation aimed at Jackie Cerone, the reputed head of organized crime in Chicago.

''Raymond knew who not to make an enemy of,'' recalled Raymond A. Levites, the Federal prosecutor who supervised Raymond's secret work.

In the spring of 1980, Raymond petitioned to have his sentence reduced, arguing that he had '⟊rried out various dangerous assignments of substantial benefit to society'' and had become ''truly rehabilitated.'' Federal Judge Edward Weinfeld was skeptical, but in view of Raymond's cooperation, reduced his sentence from 13 to 8 years.

THAT NOVEMBER, Raymond told the F.B.I. that Howard Krantz, one of his lawyers, had recently visited him in jail, along with William H. Callahan, who Raymond knew to be under investigation for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from the Arc Electrical Construction Company in New York. Callahan was executive vice president of Arc.

Callahan, 54, was a handsome and magnetic womanizer who always regretted having given up a career as a promising Broadway and film dancer. He had regularly appeared on the Jack Paar Show and, in 1946, was the lead dancer in '⟊ll Me Mister.''

Raymond told his F.B.I. contact, Gary Mastronardi, that Callahan had deposited Arc funds in Swiss bank accounts and wanted his help in moving $1 million back into the United States. He offered to send Callahan anywhere the Bureau wanted. The F.B.I., however, felt it had enough evidence against Callahan, and turned down Raymond's offer.

Meanwhile, Callahan and a companion, Wendy McDade, were shuttling between Europe and the Caribbean. The two had met while Ms. McDade, a 29-year-old dancer with the Pearl Lang Dance Company, was performing at the Rainbow Grill in Rockefeller Center.

On March 5, 1981, the couple arrived in Chicago and registered under false names at the Continental Plaza Hotel. On March 17, Callahan told a desk clerk that they were meeting friends for a St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Early the next morning, the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the Chiwaukee Prairie nature preserve in Wisconsin, an hour's drive from Chicago. They were lying face up in the tall grass, fully clothed and not robbed of expensive jewelry or cash both had been shot three times in the back of the head.

Several weeks later, the desk clerk recognized a published sketch of the dead man, and the victims were identified as Callahan and Ms. McDade.

Raymond, according to a report by Gary Mastronardi, asked him if he had read about the murders. ''The Feds really missed the boat on that one,'' Mastronardi quoted Raymond as saying.

Stunned, Mastronardi told the Wisconsin authorities about his conversation the previous fall with Raymond. He found that many of the places where Callahan had traveled after that, including St. Vincent's, were favorites of Raymond's. Mastronardi wondered whether Raymond had been 'ɽirecting'' Callahan after all.

Three agencies investigated the Callahan-McDade murders in the early 1980's -the F.B.I., the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin, and the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which had been conducting its own inquiry into Arc Electrical. Interest in Raymond's possible connection to the deaths intensified when officials learned that some of the calls to Callahan at the Continental Plaza had been made from the home of Delbert Dobbins. Raymond was soon regarded by Manhattan prosecutors as the chief suspect in the killings, ''if not as a shooter then as the contractor.''

But the agencies were also fighting among themselves. The F.B.I., incensed at Wisconsin officials for 'ɼonfronting Howard Krantz with confidential information'' provided by the Bureau, apparently withdrew from the case in February 1983. The Kenosha County and Manhattan investigations, competitive from the start, dried up. And, in March 1983, Raymond was sent to Federal prison in Texarkana, Tex., to complete his sentence.

In December 1983, he was paroled, having served 4 1/2 of his 13-year sentence. When the United States Parole Commission made its decision, it had ''no information'' concerning the Florida disappearances or the Wisconsin murders. ''Obviously, we should know if somebody is suspected of murder,'' said a senior commission official. ''It could influence our decision.''

BERNARD SANDOW was president of Systematic Recovery Services, one of a number of companies that had contracts with the New York City Parking Violations Bureau to collect unpaid parking tickets.

Sandow, an aggressive product of the Bronx streets, was trying to win a lucrative contract to collect on millions of overdue parking tickets in Chicago. Howard Krantz, according to Sandow, suggested that Michael Raymond could be useful, and introduced them.

In January 1984, Sandow hired Raymond for $425 a week - later increased to $1,500 - gave him an American Express card and sent him to Chicago. Raymond, Sandow said recently, reported back that ''if we want the business, we'll have to spend some money.''

Sandow, who had been paying bribes in New York for years, gave Raymond money and eventually SRS was awarded a water and sewage bill collection contract in Chicago. It never received the contract for parking tickets.

At about the time Raymond began working for Sandow, another Texarkana inmate, Vernon R. Frazier, was paroled. Within days of his release, Frazier later told Florida detectives, he contacted Raymond, who flew him back and forth between New York, Chicago and Nashville at SRS's expense and ''worked up a game plan.''

According to Frazier, the plan included burglarizing the home of a Nashville insurance executive, where Frazier's mother was a maid. After a few dry runs on the executive's home, Frazier said, he got scared, went to the F.B.I. and informed on Raymond, for which he was paid $2,500.

On July 11, 1984, while Raymond and another former Texarkana inmate, Alan Russell Varley, were sitting in a van near the Nashville home, the F.B.I. and the police closed in. Among the weapons inside the van was a loaded machine gun, equipped with a silencer.

According to William Aronwald, Raymond's criminal defense lawyer, the F.B.I. broached the subject of his client cooperating again, ''with information of current value.''

Others, however, say that it was Raymond who raised the subject of cooperating. ''I was told that, even in the squad car, he was cutting a deal, making a pitch,'' said a former Federal prosecutor.

Raymond was allowed by the Justice Department to return to Chicago and to his work for Sandow, who was unaware that his gregarious employee - still using the company credit card to take toning classes for his 275-pound figure and charge $17,778.65 worth of home furnishings at Bloomingdale's -was now an undercover agent for the F.B.I.

ON DEC. 20, 1985, TWO F.B.I. agents knocked on the door of Sandow's office at 928 Broadway. ''They said this is the most important day of my life, and asked for my cooperation,'' Sandow recalled. ''I said I wanted a lawyer. Six feet away, in a safe, were all my records of payoffs in New York.'' Sandow took the records to his apartment and frantically burned them.

A week later, he and his lawyer, Ira D. London, appeared at the F.B.I. office at 26 Federal Plaza. Agents played some of the recordings Raymond had made, including the lunch conversation between Sandow and Geoffrey Lindenauer, when Sandow had paid Lindenauer a $5,000 bribe.

Sandow offered to cooperate. His agreement - and the subsequent cooperation of other city contractors -touched off a series of wide-ranging corruption investigations in New York. Aware of what was coming, Donald Manes, Lindenauer's political patron, plunged a knife into his heart. Lindenauer pleaded guilty to racketeering, Sandow to mail fraud. Both became key Government witnesses at the trial of Stanley Friedman neither has yet been sentenced.

Last September, Raymond was sentenced to 40 months in prison on the Nashville weapons charge the term was retroactive to the summer of 1984, when he began to cooperate in the corruption investigations. He was imprisoned in Springfield, Mo., for medical evaluation, and was scheduled to be freed early this year. Instead, he was taken to Fort Lauderdale to await trial, without bail, for murder.

AL ORTENZO WAS eating dinner in front of the television set one evening in January 1986 when a news report about the corruption scandals - with sketchy references to Raymond's background - came on. He recalls the lawyer for 'ɺ big fat man'' challenging the police in Fort Lauderdale to, in effect, ''put up or shut up'' about Adelaide Stiles.

Ortenzo had recently been appointed chief of detectives in Fort Lauderdale and wasn't familiar with the Stiles case. The next day he sent for the file and discussed it with veteran detectives.

The case was reworked by Detective Gary Ciani and Jack Lovell, an investigator for the Broward County State Attorney. When the two learned that Vernon Frazier had informed on Raymond in Nashville, they tracked Frazier down in a San Diego jail, where he was serving a year for passing bad checks.

Frazier decided it was time to talk.

He said that he had known Raymond since 1974 and had received $10,000 from him for helping to kill Adelaide Stiles on a boat ride from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, where Mrs. Stiles believed that she and Raymond were leaving for Europe. Robert Dell had driven the boat and Frazier himself had killed her, at Raymond's direction, by hitting her with a tire iron and then shooting her.

Before Mrs. Stiles's body and suitcase were thrown overboard, Frazier told the investigators, Raymond removed a gold watch, studded with diamonds, from her wrist. Frazier said he later saw Raymond give the watch to a woman named Carol Lambesis in Chicago. An 18-carat gold ladies wristwatch with 12 diamonds has been turned over to Florida authorities by Michael Lambesis, who said it was given to his wife by Raymond about 10 years ago. Frazier has identified the watch as Mrs. Stiles's. Lambesis, who had known Raymond since 1966, is the chief investigator for the Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. As a result of Raymond's taping, he is now under indictment for racketeering, and has been suspended Raymond contends that he did not meet Frazier until they were at Texarkana together in the early 1980's, long after Mrs. Stiles disappeared. But Florida police are said to have located a man who says he introduced Raymond to Frazier in 1974 in Michigan, where Frazier, a former Marine, was a security guard for the Ford Motor Company.

Robert Dell, who is also known as Bobby Johnstone, will stand trial with Raymond. Pitted against the two will be Frazier, who pleaded guilty to murder last fall with a promise that Florida prosecutors would not seek the death penalty against him.

INFORMERS - KILLERS among them - have long been the most treasured asset of law enforcement, especially for the F.B.I. They number in the thousands, are often paid for their information and rarely surface publicly. But few career criminals have had so durable a relationship with the Government as Raymond, who became what Thomas P. Puccio, a former Federal prosecutor, calls 'ɺ cooperation expert.''

The F.B.I. says the killings and disappearances to which Raymond has been linked were primarily cases of ''local jurisdiction,'' and that it never impeded investigations at that level. The Bureau used Raymond in Chicago, its says, because he was already part of a corrupt effort and presented a ''unique opportunity.''

''To get the goods on corrupt politicians, you need people who are wallowing in corruption, and one of those people was Mike,'' says his lawyer, William Aronwald. ''He's a mercenary, he's never made any bones about it.''

Still, the saga of Michael Raymond has left many uneasy. Although he opened the window on corruption for them in 1985, Federal prosecutors in New York then shied away from Raymond in amassing their cases. Even in 1979, before Raymond Levites agreed to a deal with Raymond, a colleague at the United States Attorney's office refused to do so. ''I told Raymond he was probably the worst we were going to get,'' John Siffert recalls. ''He was a very, very bad person.''

In 1984, Levites cautioned the Justice Department about Raymond. ''It's a significant public-policy question of when to use people like Mike,'' Levites says now. ''He is brilliant, but a sociopath, a classic recidivist. And the social damage and cost of what he has done is quite high.''

At most day spas, it&rsquos appropriate to tip 15-20% of the bill. However, if you&rsquore getting a massage at a bargain price or are using a coupon code, the gratuity should be based on the actual retail value of the service and not the reduced rate.

If you&rsquore staying at a resort spa, note that many spas add a service fee of 18-20% onto the massage or facial. If you think you received exceptional service, you can give the therapist additional money in the treatment room.

Top Franchises You Can Launch for Less Than $50,000

Business ownership doesn't have to be super-expensive. Sure, some franchises cost thousands--even millions--of dollars to start. But a growing number of franchisors are coming up with homebased and mobile options, as well as new technologies, to help keep costs down for franchisees. Below, you'll find Entrepreneur 's Top Low-Cost Franchises, 97 businesses that can each be started for less than $50,000.

These companies are listed based on their ranking in Entrepreneur's 2013 Franchise 500®, which is determined using objective, quantifiable criteria, including system size, growth and financial strength and stability. This listing is not intended as a recommendation of any particular company, but merely as a starting point for your own research. Always make sure you know what you're investing in by reading a company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant and talking to franchisees.

The Fine Print

If costs are a priority in your franchise evaluation, pay particular attention to three sections of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).

Item 5: Initial Fees
This section outlines what you will owe to the franchisor before your franchise opens--most important, the franchise fee. Typically this is a uniform lump sum, but for some companies it varies based on factors like experience, location and territory size--so make sure you know exactly what you're paying for. A smaller territory may be cheaper, but it will also limit your business.

Item 5 will also tell you whether the franchise fee must be paid in full or whether it can be paid on an installment basis, and what the payment terms are.

Item 6: Other Fees
Don't make the mistake of thinking your financial obligation to the franchisor ends when you pay the franchise fee. Item 6 outlines recurring and occasional fees, including royalties, which are required by almost all franchisors in return for their ongoing support. Usually royalty fees are a percentage of sales, but some companies may instead charge a flat fee on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

Although royalty fees are not included in startup costs, they are just as important a consideration. A franchise with slightly higher startup costs but low royalties may turn out to be a better deal in the long run than one with low startup costs but high royalties.

Item 7: Estimated Initial Investment
Two words are important to note here: estimated and initial. Item 7 gives a range of how much it likely will cost to start the business: the franchise fee, plus additional costs such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses and working capital. Actual costs will vary depending on your individual circumstances. While all the companies on this list can be started for less than $50,000 (based on their Item 7 estimates), that doesn't mean all their franchisees start their businesses for that little. If keeping startup costs low is a priority, examining the table in Item 7 will help you determine how to do it, whether it's running the business from home, buying used equipment or leasing equipment.

It's also important to recognize that this is just the initial investment. It covers only the money needed to get the business up and running, along with operating expenses for a short period--typically around three months. Don't get into a franchise thinking this is all the money you'll ever have to spend. Like with any business, you will have significant ongoing expenses.

Unlike most independent businesses, though, you can talk to existing franchisees to find out what those ongoing expenses are and whether you'll be able to manage them. Reading the FDD is essential to your decision-making process, but firsthand accounts from the trenches are indispensable when deciding what makes a wise franchise investment.

1. H & R Block
Tax preparation & electronic filing
Startup cost: $31.5K-138.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,083/6,588

2. Jan-Pro Franchising International
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $3.1K-50.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 11,146/0

3. System4
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $6.2K-37.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,392/2

4. Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $9.9K-39.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,696/0

5. Jazzercise
Dance fitness classes, conventions, apparel & accessories
Startup cost: $2.98K-76.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 8,641/2

6. Cruise Planners-American Express Travel
Cruise & tour travel agency
Startup cost: $1.6K-19.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,172/0

7. Anago Cleaning Systems
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $8.5K-65.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,432/2

8. Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
Carpet, drapery & upholstery cleaning tile & stone care
Startup cost: $32.7K-127K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,500/0

9. CruiseOne
Cruise & travel agency
Startup cost: $4.6K-26.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 884/0

10. Novus Glass
Auto glass repair & replacement
Startup cost: $31.6K-134.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,581/13

11. Heaven's Best Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
Carpet & upholstery cleaning
Startup cost: $44.9K-65.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,304/0

12. Proforma
Printing & promotional products
Startup cost: $4.7K-44.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 709/0

13. Cellairis Franchise
Cell-phone & wireless-device accessories
Startup cost: $36.8K-182.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 620/0

14. Buildingstars International
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $2.2K-52.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 376/0

15. DKI
Insurance restoration services
Startup cost: $7.1K-117.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 265/0

16. American Poolplayers Association
Recreational billiard league
Startup cost: $17.1K-24.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 308/4

17. Coffee News
Weekly newspaper distributed at restaurants
Startup cost: $9.4K-10.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 883/4

18. U.S. Lawns
Commercial landscape maintenance services
Startup cost: $48.5K-75.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 262/0

19. Real Property Management
Property-management services
Startup cost: $35.6K-74.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 198/1

20. Mint Condition Franchising
Janitorial & building-maintenance services
Startup cost: $4.9K-45.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 265/0

21. SuperGlass Windshield Repair
Windshield repair
Startup cost: $9.9K-31K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 285/0

22. N-Hance
Wood floor & cabinet renewal systems
Startup cost: $30.5K-130.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 218/0

23. Club Z! In-Home
Tutoring Services
In-home tutoring services
Startup cost: $27.7K-56.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 404/0

24. Rooter-Man
Plumbing, drain & sewer cleaning
Startup cost: $46.8K-137.6K
Total franchises/
co.-owned: 481/8

25. MaidPro
Housecleaning services
Startup cost: $19.8K-114.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 158/1

26. Caring Transitions
Sales of estates & household goods
Startup cost: $45.5K-73.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 127/0

27. Soccer Shots
Soccer programs for children ages 2 to 8
Startup cost: $17.9K-22.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 133/8

28. Mr. Sandless/Dr. DecknFence
Sandless wood refinishing
Startup cost: $12.4K-62.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 254/11

29. HappyFeet Legends International
Soccer programs for children ages 2 to 18
Startup cost: $18.3K-23.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 107/5

30. Guard-A-Kid
Children's identification & safety products
Startup cost: $21.4K-38.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 182/1

31. OpenWorks
Commercial cleaning & facility services
Startup cost: $17K-119.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 303/5

32. Bricks 4 Kidz
Lego engineering classes, camps & birthday parties
Startup cost: $33.8K-51.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 231/2

33. Fresh Coat
Interior painting
Startup cost: $44.4K-70.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 89/0

34. Just Between Friends Franchise Systems
Children's & maternity consignment-sale events
Startup cost: $25.4K-32.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 132/0

35. Complete Music
Mobile DJ-entertainment service
Startup cost: $30.4K-48.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 180/2

36. ASP-America's Swimming Pool
Swimming pool maintenance, repairs & renovations
Startup cost: $48.8K-89.96K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 124/1

37. City Publications
Publication for affluent homeowners
Startup cost: $45K-150K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 96/0

38. Estrella Insurance
Auto, home & business insurance
Startup cost: $49.95K-84K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 55/0

39. The Glass Guru
Window restoration & replacements
Startup cost: $27.7K-117.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 69/1

40. Pillar To Post Inspection Services
Home inspections
Startup cost: $30.9K-46.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 349/0

41. Plan Ahead Events
Corporate event planning
Startup cost: $38.9K-70.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 99/0

42. Kinderdance International
Children's movement/educational program
Startup cost: $14.95K-46.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 128/2

43. Realty Executives International
Real estate
Startup cost: $20.4K-119K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 521/1

44. Office Pride Commercial Cleaning
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $14.9K-59K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 110/1

45. Bevintel
Liquor inventory-control services
Startup cost: $36.9K-50.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 307/2

46. Amazing Athletes
Sports-based fitness & enrichment classes for children
Startup cost: $38.2K-53.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 67/0

47. Sit Means Sit Dog Training
Dog training
Startup cost: $21.1K-93.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 67/1

48. Drama Kids International
After-school drama classes & summer camps
Startup cost: $33.6K-38.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 196/0

49. TGA Premier Junior Golf
Youth golf programs
Startup cost: $13.2K-62.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 48/2

50. Izon Global Media & Billboard Connection
Ad agency specializing in outdoor media
Startup cost: $42K-64.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 121/0

51. Young Rembrandts Franchise
Art classes for children ages 3 to 12
Startup cost: $40.4K-48.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 96/0

52. Acti-Kare
Nonmedical in-home senior care
Startup cost: $17K-36K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 35/0

53. Grout Doctor Global Franchise
Grout, tile & stone care
Startup cost:
Total franchises/co.-owned: 71/3

54. The Decor Group
Landscape, outdoor, holiday & event
Startup cost: $16.1K-77.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 291/0

55. Town Money Saver
Direct-mail advertising
Startup cost: $35.6K-44.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 38/0

56. Yellow Van Handyman
Handyman services
Startup cost: $19.5K-32K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 47/0

57. Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $10.8K-44.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 9,202/0

58. AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services
Home inspections
Startup cost: $41.4K-72.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 294/0

59. AArrow Advertising
Advertising, sign spinning, guerrilla marketing
Startup cost: $36.9K-80K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 43/0

60. BookKeeping Express
Bookkeeping services
Startup cost: $39.4K-55.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 40/3

61. Squeegee Squad
Residential & high-rise window cleaning & building maintenance
Startup cost: $28.4K-77.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 35/1

62. Window Gang
Window, gutter, house, roof, dryer-vent & chimney cleaning deck & fence cleaning/sealing
Startup cost: $34.4K-81.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 168/25

63. My Gym Children's Fitness Center
Children's early-learning/fitness program
Startup cost: $34.3K-236.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 291/0

64. Fast-teks On-site Computer Services
On-site computer-repair services
Startup cost: $36.5K-62.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 251/0

65. Kitchen Tune-Up
Residential & commercial kitchen & bath remodeling
Startup cost: $45.8K-55.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 155/0

66. Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care
Pet-sitting & dog-walking services
Startup cost: $11.8K-21.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 17/5

67. ERA Franchise Systems
Real estate
Startup cost: $47.7K-209.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,311/11

68. Mainstream Boutique
Women's clothing, accessories & gifts
Startup cost: $43.7K-129.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 22/1

69. National Property Inspections
Home & commercial property inspections
Startup cost: $39.6K-42K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 207/0

70. Cruise Holidays
Cruise travel agency
Startup cost: $10.4K-160.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 221/4

71. Jantize America
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $29.7K-171.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 247/0

72. Computer Troubleshooters
Small-business technology consulting
Startup cost: $17.2K-67.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 415/0

73. Baby Boot Camp/Karna Fitness
Prenatal & postnatal fitness women's private & small-group training
Startup cost: $4.7K-10.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 147/1

74. Sunbelt
Business brokerage
Startup cost: $49.95K-112.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 223/1

75. Certified Restoration DryCleaning Network
Textile-restoration services
Startup cost: $45.6K-235.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 151/0

76. Dale Carnegie Training
Workplace training & development
Startup cost: $40K-164.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 202/2

77. Summit Learning Services
Tutoring/learning services
Startup cost: $32.99K-46.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 20/13

78. WIN Home Inspection
Home inspections
Startup cost: $42.5K-66.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 164/0

79. Aire-Master of America
Restroom deodorizing & maintenance services
Startup cost: $34.7K-126.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 91/4

80. Jet-Black International
Asphalt maintenance services
Startup cost: $38.4K-90.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 75/8

81. 9Round
Kickboxing fitness program
Startup cost: $40K-52K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 50/3

82. HomeVestors of America
Home-buying, repair & selling system
Startup cost: $42.3K-346.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 329/0

83. 360clean
Commercial cleaning
Startup cost: $9.4K-15.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 60/0

84. Oxi Fresh Franchising
Carpet cleaning
Startup cost: $37.7K-60.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 229/4

85. Mom Corps
Staffing services
Startup cost: $39.2K-63.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 17/0

86. Sports Image
Sports marketing for high schools & organizations
Startup cost: $15.5K-38.97K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 18/1

87. The Senior's Choice
Assisted-living & healthcare-staffing services
Startup cost: $34K-51K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 166/0

88. Tutoring Club
Individualized instruction for K-12 students
Startup cost: $26.3K-127.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 120/1

89. Assist-2-Sell
Discount real-estate services
Startup cost: $19.5K-40.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 242/1

90. Pressed4Time
Dry-cleaning pickup & delivery, shoe repair
Startup cost: $35.9K-44.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 117/0

91. Murphy Business & Financial
Business & franchise brokerage/commercial real estate
Startup cost: $45.8K-113.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 146/1

92. Tax Centers of America
Tax preparation & electronic filing
Startup cost: $20.3K-63.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 117/1

93. The Mad Science Group
Children's science education & entertainment
Startup cost: $49.4K-80.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 159/0

94. Lil' Angels Photography
School & child-care photography
Startup cost: $46.7K-51.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 72/0

95. Abrakadoodle
Art-education programs for children
Startup cost: $35.8K-74.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 103/2

96. i9 Sports
Youth sports leagues, camps & clinics
Startup cost: $44.9K-72.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 115/1

97. CompuChild
Technology education for children
Startup cost: $18.5K-33.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 50/2

Child Nutrition Programs

During summer months, USDA works with community sponsors to serve millions of meals to low-income children through the Summer Food Service Program. This program helps fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing organizations such as schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for providing healthy meals to children.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, promotes healthy birth outcomes and early child development by providing food packages, health screenings and referrals, breastfeeding promotion and support, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants. The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides vouchers for eligible low-income seniors to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and roadside stands, as well as through community supported agriculture programs.

Senator Richard Nixon’s Famous Checker’s Speech

I come before you tonight as a candidate for the Vice Presidency and as a man whose honesty and integrity have been questioned.

The usual political thing to do when charges are made against you is to either ignore them or to deny them without giving details.

I believe we’ve had enough of that in the United States, particularly with the present Administration in Washington, D.C. To me the office of the Vice Presidency of the United States is a great office and I feel that the people have got to have confidence in the integrity of the men who run for that office and who might obtain it.

I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that’s why I’m here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.

I am sure that you have read the charge and you’ve heard that I, Senator Nixon, took $18,000 from a group of my supporters.

Now, was that wrong? And let me say that it was wrong—I’m saying, incidentally, that it was wrong and not just illegal. Because it isn’t a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn’t enough. The question is, was it morally wrong?

I say that it was morally wrong if any of that $18,000 went to Senator Nixon for my personal use. I say that it was morally wrong if it was secretly given and secretly handled. And I say that it was morally wrong if any of the contributors got special favors for the contributions that they made.

And now to answer those questions let me say this:

Not one cent of the $18,000 or any other money of that type ever went to me for my personal use. Every penny of it was used to pay for political expenses that I did not think should be charged to the taxpayers of the United States.

It was not a secret fund. As a matter of fact, when I was on “Meet the Press,” some of you may have seen it last Sunday—Peter Edson came up to me after the program and he said, “Dick, what about this fund we hear about?” And I said, “Well, there’s no secret about it. Go out and see Dana Smith, who was the administrator of the fund.”

And I gave him his address, and I said that you will find that the purpose of the fund simply was to defray political expenses that I did not feel should be charged to the Government.

And third, let me point out, and I want to make this particularly clear, that no contributor to this fund, no contributor to any of my campaign, has ever received any consideration that he would not have received as an ordinary constituent.

I just don’t believe in that and I can say that never, while I have been in the Senate of the United States, as far as the people that contributed to this fund are concerned, have I made a telephone call for them to an agency, or have I gone down to an agency in their behalf. And the records will show that, the records which are in the hands of the Administration.

But then some of you will say and rightly, “Well, what did you use the fund for, Senator? Why did you have to have it?”

Let me tell you in just a word how a Senate office operates. First of all, a Senator gets $15,000 a year in salary. He gets enough money to pay for one trip a year, a round trip that is, for himself and his family between his home and Washington, D.C.

And then he gets an allowance to handle the people that work in his office, to handle his mail. And the allowance for my State of California is enough to hire thirteen people.

And let me say, incidentally, that that allowance is not paid to the Senator—it’s paid directly to the individuals that the Senator puts on his payroll, but all of these people and all of these allowances are for strictly official business. Business, for example, when a constituent writes in and wants you to go down to the Veterans Administration and get some information about his GI policy. Items of that type for example.

But there are other expenses which are not covered by the Government. And I think I can best discuss those expenses by asking you some questions.

Do you think that when I or any other Senator makes a political speech, has it printed, should charge the printing of that speech and the mailing of that speech to the taxpayers? Do you think, for example, when I or any other Senator makes a trip to his home state to make a purely political speech that the cost of that trip should be charged to the taxpayers? Do you think when a Senator makes political broadcasts or political television broadcasts, radio or television, that the expense of those broadcasts should be charged to the taxpayers?

Well, I know what your answer is. It is the same answer that audiences give me whenever I discuss this particular problem. The answer is, “no.” The taxpayers shouldn’t be required to finance items which are not official business but which are primarily political business.

But then the question arises, you say, “Well, how do you pay for l these and how can you do it legally?” And there are several ways that it can be done, incidentally, and that it is done legally in the United States Senate and in the Congress.

The first way is to be a rich man. I don’t happen to be a rich man so I couldn’t use that one.

Another way that is used is to put your wife on the payroll. Let me say, incidentally, my opponent, my opposite number for the Vice Presidency on the Democratic ticket, does have his wife on the payroll. And has had her on his payroll for the ten years—the past ten years.

Now just let me say this. That’s his business and I’m not critical of him for doing that. You will have to pass judgment on that particular point. But I have never done that for this reason. I have found that there are so many deserving stenographers and secretaries in Washington that needed the work that I just didn’t feel it was right to put my wife on the payroll.

My wife’s sitting over here.

She’s a wonderful stenographer. She used to teach stenography and she used to teach shorthand in high school. That was when I met her. And I can tell you folks that she’s worked many hours at night and many hours on Saturdays and Sundays in my office and she’s done a fine job. And I’m proud to say tonight that in the six years I’ve been in the House and the Senate of the United States, Pat Nixon has never been on the Government payroll.

There are other ways that these finances can be taken care of. Some who are lawyers, and I happen to be a lawyer, continue to practice law. But I haven’t been able to do that. I’m so far away from California that I’ve been so busy with my Senatorial work that I have not engaged in any legal practice.

And also as far as law practice is concerned, it seemed to me that the relationship between an attorney and the client was 80 personal that you couldn’t possibly represent a man as an attorney and then have an unbiased view when he presented his case to you in the event that he had one before the Government.

And so I felt that the best way to handle these necessary political expenses of getting my message to the American people and the speeches I made, the speeches that I had printed, for the most part, concerned this one message—of exposing this Administration, the communism in it, the corruption in it—the only way that I could do that was to accept the aid which people in my home state of California who contributed to my campaign and who continued to make these contributions after I was elected were glad to make.

And let me say I am proud of the fact that not one of them has ever asked me for a special favor. I’m proud of the fact that not one of them has ever asked me to vote on a bill other than as my own conscience would dictate. And I am proud of the fact that the taxpayers by subterfuge or otherwise have never paid one dime for expenses which I thought were political and shouldn’t be charged to the taxpayers.

Let me say, incidentally, that some of you may say, “Well, that’s all right, Senator that’s your explanation, but have you got any proof”

And I’d like to tell you this evening that just about an hour ago we received an independent audit of this entire fund. I suggested to Gov. Sherman Adams, who is the chief of staff of the Dwight Eisenhower campaign, that an independent audit and legal report be obtained. And I have that audit here in my hand.

It’s an audit made by the Price, Waterhouse & Co. firm, and the legal opinion by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, lawyers in Los Angeles, the biggest law firm and incidentally one of the best ones in Los Angeles.

I’m proud to be able to report to you tonight that this audit and this legal opinion is being forwarded to General Eisenhower. And I’d like to read to you the opinion that was prepared by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and based on all the pertinent laws and statutes, together with the audit report prepared by the certified public accountants.

It is our conclusion that Senator Nixon did not obtain any financial gain from the collection and disbursement of the fund by Dana Smith that Senator Nixon did not violate any Federal or state law by reason of the operation of the fund, and that neither the portion of the fund paid by Dana Smith directly to third persons nor the portion paid to Senator Nixon to reimburse him for designated office expenses constituted income to the Senator which was either reportable or taxable as income under applicable tax laws. (signed) Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher by Alma H. Conway.”

Now that, my friends, is not Nixon speaking, but that’s an independent audit which was requested because I want the American people to know all the facts and I’m not afraid of having independent people go in and check the facts, and that is exactly what they did.

But then I realize that there are still some who may say, and rightly so, and let me say that I recognize that some will continue to smear regardless of what the truth may be, but that there has been understandably some honest misunderstanding on this matter, and there’s some that will say:

“Well, maybe you were able, Senator, to fake this thing. How can we believe what you say? After all, is there a possibility that maybe you got some sums in cash? Is there a possibility that you may have feathered your own nest?” And so now what I am going to do-and incidentally this is unprecedented in the history of American politics-I am going at this time to give this television and radio audience a complete financial history everything I’ve earned everything I’ve spent everything I owe. And I want you to know the facts. I’ll have to start early.

I was born in 1913. Our family was one of modest circumstances and most of my early life was spent in a store out in East Whittier. It was a grocery store — one of those family enterprises. he only reason we were able to make it go was because my mother and dad had five boys and we all worked in the store.

I worked my way through college and to a great extent through law school. And then, in 1940, probably the best thing that ever happened to me happened, I married Pat—who is sitting over here. We had a rather difficult time after we were married, like so many of the young couples who may be listening to us. I practiced law she continued to teach school. Then in 1942 I went into the service.

Let me say that my service record was not a particularly unusual one. I went to the South Pacific. I guess I’m entitled to a couple of battle stars. I got a couple of letters of commendation but I was just there when the bombs were falling and then I returned. I returned to the United States and in 1946 I ran for the Congress.

When we came out of the war, Pat and I—Pat during the war had worked as a stenographer and in a bank and as an economist for Government agency—and when we came out the total of our saving from both my law practice, her teaching and all the time that I as in the war—the total for that entire period was just a little less than $10,000. Every cent of that, incidentally, was in Government bonds.

Well, that’s where we start when I go into politics. Now what I’ve I earned since I went into politics? Well, here it is—I jotted it down, let me read the notes. First of all I’ve had my salary as a Congressman and as a Senator. Second, I have received a total in this past six years of $1600 from estates which were in my law firm the time that I severed my connection with it.

And, incidentally, as I said before, I have not engaged in any legal practice and have not accepted any fees from business that came to the firm after I went into politics. I have made an average of approximately $1500 a year from nonpolitical speaking engagements and lectures. And then, fortunately, we’ve inherited a little money. Pat sold her interest in her father’s estate for $3,000 and I inherited $l500 from my grandfather.

We live rather modestly. For four years we lived in an apartment in Park Fairfax, in Alexandria, Va. The rent was $80 a month. And we saved for the time that we could buy a house.

Now, that was what we took in. What did we do with this money? What do we have today to show for it? This will surprise you, Because it is so little, I suppose, as standards generally go, of people in public life. First of all, we’ve got a house in Washington which cost $41,000 and on which we owe $20,000. We have a house in Whittier, California, which cost $13,000 and on which we owe $3000. * My folks are living there at the present time.

I have just $4,000 in life insurance, plus my G.I. policy which I’ve never been able to convert and which will run out in two years. I have no insurance whatever on Pat. I have no life insurance on our our youngsters, Patricia and Julie. I own a 1950 Oldsmobile car. We have our furniture. We have no stocks and bonds of any type. We have no interest of any kind, direct or indirect, in any business.

Now, that’s what we have. What do we owe? Well, in addition to the mortgage, the $20,000 mortgage on the house in Washington, the $10,000 one on the house in Whittier, I owe $4,500 to the Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. with interest 4 1/2 per cent.

I owe $3,500 to my parents and the interest on that loan which I pay regularly, because it’s the part of the savings they made through the years they were working so hard, I pay regularly 4 per cent interest. And then I have a $500 loan which I have on my life insurance.

Well, that’s about it. That’s what we have and that’s what we owe. It isn’t very much but Pat and I have the satisfaction that every dime that we’ve got is honestly ours. I should say this—that Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she’d look good in anything.

One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something-a gift-after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was.

It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted.

And our little girl-Tricia, the 6-year old-named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.

It isn’t easy to come before a nation-wide audience and air your life as I’ve done. But I want to say some things before I conclude that I think most of you will agree on. Mr. Mitchell, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made the statement that if a man couldn’t afford to be in the United States Senate he shouldn’t run for the Senate.

And I just want to make my position clear. I don’t agree with Mr. Mitchell when he says that only a rich man should serve his Government in the United States Senate or in the Congress. I don’t believe that represents the thinking of the Democratic Party, and I know that it doesn’t represent the thinking of the Republican Party.

I believe that it’s fine that a man like Governor Stevenson who inherited a fortune from his father can run for President. But I also feel that it’s essential in this country of ours that a man of modest means can also run for President. Because, you know, remember Abraham Lincoln, you remember what he said: “God must have loved the common people—he made so many of them.”

And now I’m going to suggest some courses of conduct. First of all, you have read in the papers about other funds now. Mr. Stevenson, apparently, had a couple. One of them in which a group of business people paid and helped to supplement the salaries of state employees. Here is where the money went directly into their pockets.

And I think that what Mr. Stevenson should do is come before the American people as I have, give the names of the people that have contributed to that fund give the names of the people who put this money into their pockets at the same time that they were receiving money from their state government, and see what favors, if any, they ave out for that.

I don’t condemn Mr. Stevenson for what he did. But until the facts are in there is a doubt that will be raised.

And as far as Mr. Sparkman is concerned, I would suggest the same thing. He’s had his wife on the payroll. I don’t condemn him for that. But I think that he should come before the American people and indicate what outside sources of income he has had.

I would suggest that under the circumstances both Mr. parkman and Mr. Stevenson should come before the American people as I have and make a complete financial statement as to their financial history. And if they don’t, it will be an admission that they have something to hide. And I think that you will agree with me.

Because, folks, remember, a man that’s to be President of the United States, a man that’s to be Vice President of the United States must have the confidence of all the people. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, and that’s why I suggest that Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Sparkman since they are under attack should do what I am doing.

Now, let me say this: I know that this is not the last of the smears. In spite of my explanation tonight other smears will be made others have been made in the past. And the purpose of the mears, I know, is this—to silence me, to make me let up.

Well, they just don’t know who they’re dealing with. I’m going l tell you this: I remember in the dark days of the Hiss case some of the same columnists, some of the same radio commentators who are attacking me now and misrepresenting my position were violently opposing me at the time I was after Alger Hiss.

But I continued the fight because I knew I was right. And I an say to this great television and radio audience that I have no pologies to the American people for my part in putting Alger Hiss vhere he is today.

And as far as this is concerned, I intend to continue the fight.

Why do I feel so deeply? Why do I feel that in spite of the mears, the misunderstandings, the necessity for a man to come up here and bare his soul as I have? Why is it necessary for me to continue this fight?

And I want to tell you why. Because, you see, I love my country. And I think my country is in danger. And I think that the only man that can save America at this time is the man that’s runing for President on my ticket — Dwight Eisenhower.

You say, “Why do I think it’s in danger?” and I say look at the record. Seven years of the Truman-Acheson Administration and that’s happened? Six hundred million people lost to the Communists, and a war in Korea in which we have lost 117,000 American casualties.

And I say to all of you that a policy that results in a loss of six hundred million people to the Communists and a war which costs us 117,000 American casualties isn’t good enough for America.

And I say that those in the State Department that made the mistakes which caused that war and which resulted in those losses should be kicked out of the State Department just as fast as we can get ’em out of there.

And let me say that I know Mr. Stevenson won’t do that. Because he defends the Truman policy and I know that Dwight Eisenhower will do that, and that he will give America the leadership that it needs.

Take the problem of corruption. You’ve read about the mess in Washington. Mr. Stevenson can’t clean it up because he was picked by the man, Truman, under whose Administration the mess was made. You wouldn’t trust a man who made the mess to clean it up— that’s Truman. And by the same token you can’t trust the man who was picked by the man that made the mess to clean it up—and that’s Stevenson.

And so I say, Eisenhower, who owes nothing to Truman, nothing to the big city bosses, he is the man that can clean up the mess in Washington.

Take Communism. I say that as far as that subject is concerned, the danger is great to America. In the Hiss case they got the secrets which enabled them to break the American secret State Department code. They got secrets in the atomic bomb case which enabled them to get the secret of the atomic bomb, five years before they would have gotten it by their own devices.

And I say that any man who called the Alger Hiss case a “red herring” isn’t fit to be President of the United States. I say that a man who like Mr. Stevenson has pooh-poohed and ridiculed the Communist threat in the United States—he said that they are phantoms among ourselves he’s accused us that have attempted to expose the Communists of looking for Communists in the Bureau of Fisheries and Wildlife—I say that a man who says that isn’t qualified to be President of the United States.

And I say that the only man who can lead us in this fight to rid the Government of both those who are Communists and those who have corrupted this Government is Eisenhower, because Eisenhower, you can be sure, recognizes the problem and he knows how to deal with it.

Now let me say that, finally, this evening I want to read to you just briefly excerpts from a letter which I received, a letter which, after all this is over, no one can take away from us. It reads as follows:

Since I’m only 19 years of age I can’t vote in this Presidential election but believe me if I could you and General Eisenhower would certainly get my vote. My husband is in the Fleet Marines in Korea. He’s a corpsman on the front lines and we have a two-month-old son he’s never seen. And I feel confident that with great Americans like you and General Eisenhower in the White House, lonely Americans like myself will be united with their loved ones now in Korea.

I only pray to God that you won’t be too late. Enclosed is a small check to help you in your campaign. Living on $85 a month it is all I can afford at present. But let me know what else I can do.

Folks, it’s a check for $10, and it’s one that I will never cash.

And just let me say this. We hear a lot about prosperity these days but I say, why can’t we have prosperity built on peace rather than prosperity built on war? Why can’t we have prosperity and an honest government in Washington, D.C., at the same time. Believe me, we can. And Eisenhower is the man that can lead this crusade to bring us that kind of prosperity.

And, now, finally, I know that you wonder whether or not I am going to stay on the Republican ticket or resign.

Let me say this: I don’t believe that I ought to quit because I’m not a quitter. And, incidentally, Pat’s not a quitter. After all, her name was Patricia Ryan and she was born on St. Patrick’s Day, and you know the Irish never quit.

But the decision, my friends, is not mine. I would do nothing that would harm the possibilities of Dwight Eisenhower to become President of the United States. And for that reason I am submitting to the Republican National Committee tonight through this television broadcast the decision which it is theirs to make.

Let them decide whether my position on the ticket will help or hurt. And I am going to ask you to help them decide. Wire and write the Republican National Committee whether you think I should stay on or whether I should get off. And whatever their decision is, I will abide by it.

But just let me say this last word. Regardless of what happens I’m going to continue this fight. I’m going to campaign up and down America until we drive the crooks and the Communists and those that defend them out of Washington. And remember, folks, Eisenhower is a great man. Believe me. He’s a great man. And a vote for Eisenhower is a vote for what’s good for America.

Turkey Trouble? At Butterball, Operators Are Still Standing By

As Thanksgiving looms, no algorithm can comfort hordes of harried cooks like the 38-year-old Turkey Talk-Line.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — The internet should have killed the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line years ago, but all the Google searches, YouTube videos and turkey tweets in the world can’t match the small-bore magic that happens here on the fifth floor of a suburban office building 3 4 miles southwest of Chicago.

Each year from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, 50 Butterball experts ease more than 100,000 nervous cooks through their Thanksgiving meal, either over the phone or, more recently, through text, email or live chat sessions.

The talk line started 38 years ago as a marketing gimmick, and has grown into a seasonal slice of Americana as sturdy and reassuring as a Midwestern grandmother with a degree in home economics, which many of the experts are.

“People can be just paralyzed with fear,” said Phyllis Kramer, who first took the seasonal job 17 years ago after retiring as a home economist. “All they usually need is someone who takes the time to be personal and sympathetic.”

Ms. Kramer embraces the talk-line ethos, which requires a cheery, solution-oriented and nonjudgmental demeanor. But who doesn’t love a good kitchen disaster story? It doesn’t take much to coax the experts into spilling some tea on America’s turkey illiteracy.

Their version of comedy gold often centers on thawing, the most common topic among callers. People ask if they can thaw a turkey in the dishwasher, under an electric blanket or in the backyard pool. One man threw a wrapped turkey in the bath water with his two children.

Here’s a classic: A man called in, worried about whether his bird would thaw in time. “What state is your turkey in?” the expert asked, trying to do a little culinary detective work. “Florida,” he answered.

Then there was the woman who wanted to know if she could check the turkey temperature with a fever thermometer, another who used dish soap to wash the turkey and the newlywed who called from a closet, fearful that her mother-in-law would discover she didn’t know how to roast a turkey.

Ms. Kramer’s favorite call came five years ago, when a group she suspects was fueled by a few holiday cocktails complained that the 21-pound turkey they had just pulled from the oven had barely any meat. She was puzzled, but then had a moment of what she called divine inspiration. “Turn the turkey over,” she suggested. They had cooked it breast-side down.

“The internet isn’t going to tell them that,” Ms. Kramer said.

The Butterball talk line is one of the great marketing ideas of modern American consumerism, right up there with using a national baking contest to promote Pillsbury flour, or Clydesdales to sell Budweiser.

It was born in 1981, when Pam Talbot, an executive of the Chicago public relations firm founded by the feisty former journalist Daniel J. Edelman, pitched the idea as a way to help deal with what she tagged “turkey trauma.”

The first year, six women fielded 11,000 calls on a toll-free line — no small thing in an age before unlimited calling plans and mobile phones. Their reference material was contained in small binders.

Today, the experts, all of whom possess some kind of culinary or nutritional background, have an elaborate database of turkey tips and recipes at their fingertips, with links at the ready to send out via text and social media. Last year, Butterball loaded answers spoken in the experts’ voices into Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

They do their best to keep up with the trends. Last year, there were a lot of questions about Instant Pots and sous vide. This year, spatchcocking and air frying are popular. And always, there are questions about deep-frying.

Still, the people in headsets remain steadfast in the belief that the company’s preferred method is best: Coat the turkey with oil or cooking spray. Use a shallow roasting pan with a rack, a bed of aromatic vegetables or, in a pinch, a coil of foil. Cook at 325 degrees. A 10- to 18-pound turkey will take three to three-and-a-half hours if you don’t open the oven to baste it, which isn’t necessary anyway. The thigh should reach 180 degrees and the breast 170 degrees, which you achieve by placing a foil tent over the breast in the last half-hour.

The Edelman company still helps coordinate the talk line, which has so embedded itself in popular culture that it’s namechecked regularly on talk shows, and once worked its way into the fictional Oval Office on “The West Wing.”

“It’s the most brilliant piece of branding,” said Joanna Saltz, the editorial director of Delish and House Beautiful. “In the day and age of automated everything, getting a live human on the phone on the most culinarily challenging day of the year? It’s so genius. It’s like calling the police.”

What to Cook This Week

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the week. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • A salty-sweet garlic and scallion marinade enhances these Korean beef burgers with sesame-cucumber pickles from Kay Chun.
    • If you can get your hands on good salmon at the market, try this fine recipe for roasted dill salmon.
    • Consider these dan dan noodles from Café China in New York. Outrageous.
    • How about crispy bean cakes with harissa, lemon and herbs? Try them with some yogurt and lemon wedges.
    • Angela Dimayuga’s bistek is one of the great feeds, with rice on the side.

    Evan Kleiman, the former Los Angeles restaurateur who answers Thanksgiving questions during her prerecorded radio show, “Good Food,” is a steadfast fan. “It’s some woman talking you off the ledge,” she said. “Don’t you wish there was one for everything else?”

    The call traffic starts picking up in earnest the Thursday before Thanksgiving, which Butterball calls National Thaw Day. Go time is Thanksgiving itself. The action starts as soon as the line opens at 6 a.m . and doesn’t stop until it closes 12 hours later.

    They pull down extra pay that day, although everyone from the supervisors down to the people working in the back row of the call center are tight-lipped about how much they make. But they cheerfully point out that everyone also gets a free turkey.

    To keep their voices from going hoarse on Thanksgiving Day, the experts rely on soup, mints and plenty of water. They’ll field more than 10,000 calls. (That’s a mere drop in the gravy boat compared with the estimated 40 million turkeys that will be cooked on Thanksgiving.)

    The concept is so enduring that competitors like Jennie-O Turkey Store and food media organizations have adopted it. The Splendid Table host Francis Lam will preside over a panel of cooks including the New York Times columnist Melissa Clark, who will take calls live for few hours on Thanksgiving Day.

    Food52 runs a hotline through email. The goal is to answer people within 10 minutes, said Amanda Hesser, a founder and former Times food journalist who will work two shifts herself this year.

    She concedes that a phone line is the gold standard. “Hearing a reassuring voice on the other end of the line is powerful,” she said. “Under the surface, the people who call are really looking for a connection.”

    The Butterball help-line office, with a doorbell that gobbles and an inflatable roast turkey, is not a place where culinary envelopes are pushed or global perspectives are embraced. Culturally, the talk line is as white as a turkey breast. The help it offers — based on hundreds of tests on Butterball products — is safe, reliable and seasoned with not much more than salt and pepper.

    That’s what callers are usually looking for. At least it was for Jee Won Park, a New York publicist who called the Butterball line in 1997, when she was in her early 20s.

    A friend in New Jersey had bought and stuffed a big turkey, and she headed over to help him cook it. After about four hours, a little red plastic button inserted into the breast as a guide to indicate doneness had failed to pop up. Was it done?

    Ms. Park didn’t know anything about roasting turkeys because her Korean-born parents never did it. A call to his friend’s mother, who had immigrated from China, was equally fruitless.

    In those days, internet searches were still cumbersome. There was no other option than to call Butterball.

    “It gave us some agency,” she said. The woman on the other end of the line was wonderful, but ultimately couldn’t help the desperate cooks because they didn’t know how much the turkey weighed, nor did they have a meat thermometer. They ended up roasting it for about six hours, and it was awful.

    “It didn’t feel like a gimmick, and that’s the beauty of it still,” Ms. Park said. “In some ways it’s a selfless kind of thing. I know they benefit, but it doesn’t feel gross to me.”

    Of course, the talk line is ultimately about selling turkeys. And data gathered from the callers helps Butterball’s marketing strategy. But why be so cynical on Thanksgiving? There’s a lot of heart here underneath the corporate logos that hang on the walls.

    Many of the experts have developed longstanding friendships. They have worked together for decades, watching babies grow up and mourning the passing of family members. In the off season, some meet up for dinner or weekend trips.

    It’s the kind of bond that can be formed only when the calls are stacking up like dirty dinner plates and a cook’s emotional state on the nation’s premier food holiday is precarious.

    Only a fellow Butterballer knows how difficult it is to not launch into a lecture about oven calibration when an angry caller blames you because a turkey took five hours instead of three to cook.

    Who else understands what it was like during the talk line’s early #MeToo moments when men would call to ask if the women made “house calls”? One particular creep, emboldened by a very homey Ladies of the Talk-Line calendar in 2002, called to ask an expert’s breast size.

    Last year, they had to contend with a flood of calls from anxious parents who had been trolled as part of the viral turkey challenge, in which their children sent them texts asking how long to microwave a frozen 25-pound turkey, and then posted the befuddled responses online.

    Almost all of the experts have that one deeply meaningful call. It came for Bill Nolan in 2016. He’s a chef and retired culinary educator whose other job involves preparing meals for a group of priests. He is relatively new — one of only a few men on the talk line, which didn’t hire its first until 2013 .

    Mr. Nolan picked up a call from a widowed man the day before Thanksgiving. “He said his wife was gone, but he wanted to make that first Thanksgiving meal without her for his family,” Mr. Nolan said.

    Tears came to his eyes as he told the rest of the story. Although the average call is about three minutes, he spent almost a half-hour with the man, coaching him through a simple Thanksgiving meal.

    “I mean, here was this guy in a house by himself who called us to help,” Mr. Nolan said. “We don’t cure cancer and we don’t save lives, but maybe that guy had a good meal.”

    Hedgehog used in attack on teenager

    A man in New Zealand has been charged with using a hedgehog as a weapon, the New Zealand Herald has reported.

    Police said William Singalargh, 27, hurled the hedgehog, similar to the one pictured here, at a 15-year-old boy.

    "It hit the victim in the leg, causing a large, red welt and several puncture marks," Senior Sgt. Bruce Jenkins, in the North Island town of Whakatane, told the Herald.

    It was unclear whether the hedgehog was still alive when it was thrown it was dead when collected as evidence.

    The police spokesman said the suspect was arrested "for assault with a weapon, namely the hedgehog."

    Singalargh is due to appear in court next Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

    Photo: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times

    Apr 11, 2008 10:16:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Bookmark it:

    Watch the video: Whataburger employee robbed while walking into restaurant (June 2022).


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