Northeast's Blog

Drama, Betrayal & Murder? New!
05/21/2020

The following was written by Christy.

The Story of Ted Binion - Part 2

Ted was found dead when Sandy arrived home in the early afternoon of September 17th. At first glance, the scene of the body was unremarkable. This looked like a cut and dry drug overdose, so the police did not take any special care at the scene to protect any pieces of evidence from being contaminated. Ted’s body was taken to the coroner who ruled it a drug overdose, with not much clarity if it was intentional or not. Time of death was near noon.

Soon thereafter, things started to get suspicious. In the early morning hours of September 19th, just two days after Ted’s death, his partner and friend Rick Tabish was found digging up the silver vault that only he and Ted had the combination for. Rick had a briefcase with him. Inside they found a love note from Sandy and information on how to sell silver coins. He was promptly arrested.

The Binion family had suspicions about Sandy’s possible involvement with Ted’s death. Detectives started looking into her behavior on the day Ted was found. A few things stood out to them. There was video footage of her at the hospital. The detectives noticed that although her reactions seemed appropriate for losing someone close to her, she seemed to be able to turn her reactions on and off. Almost as if they were rehearsed.

There were other strange occurrences that seemed to sprout up. Many of the various safes in the house had been completely emptied out at some point. Sandy had called their cleaning lady that morning and canceled their scheduled services for that same day. Ted’s realtor had called the house on the day in question. Sandy answered the phone and told the realtor that Ted was not available, and he was “out of it.” The time of the phone call was right around the estimated time of death. Shortly after the phone call, Sandy left the house to run errands before coming home to discover the body.

The body was re-examined. A few things that had gone under the radar were now being looked at more closely. There was bruising on his face and torso that now seemed more sinister. The medical examiner also determined that there was reason to believe that Ted was face-down for some time after death, but he was found face-up.

On May 18th, 2000, Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish were tried and convicted of murdering Ted Binion. The jury determined that the suicide had been forced and they were sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

The court proceedings did not end there. Four and a half years later, in 2004, Sandra and Rick were granted a re-trial on the basis that jurors were not properly instructed on how to deliberate, as well as Rick having multiple charges lumped into the trial that should have been separated into different trials. The defense attorneys argued that most of the evidence against the pair was circumstantial and there was a lack of evidence that anything had been forced upon Ted.

The verdict on the murder charges was overturned on November 23rd, 2004, but both were convicted on lesser charges. Murphy was released on time served, and Tabish continued to serve his sentence until 2010.

What about Ted’s treasure? Some remains unclaimed at the courthouse. Most of what was in the vault was recovered and given to his Daughter. She has offered some of it for sale to the public. You can see these labeled as “Binion Collection” on NGC certified coins. A lot of Ted’s treasure is still unaccounted for. There are rumors that the strange mounds on his property still hold his missing treasure trove.  As recently as 2019, a man was arrested for attempting to dig up the rumored silver, the whereabouts of which will have to remain a mystery for now.

Ted Binion

Ted Binion's property in Pahrump, NV.

Sandy Muprhy and Rick Tabish during their trial.

Binion Collection Morgan Dollar released for sale to the public.

Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish.

Part of Ted's recovered silver hoard.


A Man, his Morgans & Murder? New!
05/12/2020

The following was written by Christy.

The Story of Ted Binion - Part I

To understand the story of Ted Binion, you must start with his family life and where he came from. Ted Binion was the son of Benny Binion, an extraordinarily successful and wealthy Casino owner. He owned and operated the Binion Horseshoe Casino and was regarded as a pioneer of Las Vegas. It went on to become one of the biggest and most successful casinos in all the city.

Benny found himself in legal troubles with tax evasion, and in 1964 his two sons, Jack and Ted had to step in to run the Casino. Ted was only 21 years old at the time.

Ted continued in his father’s footsteps when it came to legal issues. Over the years running the casino he had built himself a reputation as a partier and a playboy. He had a rampant drug addiction to heroin and Xanax, and he liked to associate himself and party with very influential people, including those in organized crime. In 1986 he was arrested on drug trafficking charges, marking the beginning of a long list of troubles he found himself in.

In 1996 he was banned from entering the casino and court ordered to undertake mandatory drug testing.  He went great lengths to try to avoid testing, at one point shaving off all of his body hair to evade certain types of tests. In 1997 his gaming license was suspended as a result of him not living up to the agreements of the court, and in 1998 his gaming license was permanently revoked due to his ties with the mob.

Ted married his wife Doris in 1980, but their relationship was just as rocky as his professional life. There were rumored affairs on both sides and ultimately, they filed for divorce. Around the same time as the divorce, Ted met Sandra Murphy at a Gentleman’s club and they quickly became a couple.

Ted had an affinity for silver, both in bar form and silver dollar coins. His love of stockpiling silver and stacking coins went so far that he had housed a giant vault in the basement of the casino for his collection. He was not shy about his collection and was known to brag about his hoard, telling anyone and everyone who would listen about his stockpile.

When things went south with his dealings in the casino, he only had two options; he could sell off his collection, or he would have to find a new place to keep it. Rick Tabish, the owner of trucking company MRT Transport, had become fast friends with Ted. With the issue of moving the silver, they became business associates. A 12-foot deep vault was installed in one of Ted’s properties in Pahrump, NV, a suburb about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. Rick handled transporting the hoard to the vault. Only Rick and Ted held the combination to his underground bunker. In total, the hoard amounted to about six tons in silver bullion, casino chips, paper currency and over 100,000 silver dollars, which included many Carson City silver dollars. Ted also hid his money and silver in secret locations around his home in Las Vegas. There were safes scattered about the property inside and out.  The only person who knew of every location was Ted himself.

On September 17th, 1998, 12:00 PM, Ted was found dead in his home by his live-in girlfriend Sandy. When medical examiners arrived, they found him lying on his back. Nearby they found drug paraphernalia and an empty bottle of Xanax. At first glance this seemed like a standard overdose, accidental or intentional, but was it really? 

Stay tuned for the next installment!


A photographer on vacation New!
04/28/2020
There is 1 comment on this post.

The following was written by Marne.

Being the Northeast photographer with no coin images to share with you is quite frustrating! Though not coins, I would like to share with you some photos from my honeymoon trip to New Zealand this past October/November. It was a colorful autumn here, and a sunny springtime there. The flight was long, but the food and flight attendants on New Zealand Air were wonderful. We were kept full on champagne and snacks most of the flight there.

New Zealand is known as 'The land of the Long White Cloud', and it's easy to see why when the clouds stretch in long strands across the snowy volcano formed mountain peaks.

Our first adventure was a cross country train ride from Auckland to Wellington. It’s hard to get photos from a fast-moving train, even a sightseeing one. We did enjoy meeting many people who had been keeping the bar car busy during the long trip.

The hills looked like soft velvet, and the views looked like landscape paintings.

The next day we ferried to the South Island on the fancy InterIslander. This is where I learned to order my coffee as ‘flat white with 2 sugars’, and that beans in tomato (pronounced Ta-Mahh-Toe) sauce was served with breakfast. The shore arriving looked like something out of a dream.

The South Island was full of beauty, lots of sheep, charm, and character. We quickly had to adapt to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road AND other side of the car! We searched for Kiwi but had to visit a sanctuary where photos were not allowed in the Kiwi habitat. We made friends with the other birds there as well. We visited wineries in the infamous Marlborough region, and stayed in unique AirBnBs!

 

Once back on the North (big) Island, we went to the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. I am a huge fan of the Hobbit, and it was amazing and fun to be immersed in that fantasy world! We even found a farm stay nearby that resembled a hobbit hole! Starting a coal stove is NOT easy! The pond had a loud screeching water fowl resident that surprised us, and the stone shower was amazing. Running water but NO electricity, candles only! It was incredible.

We had a most magical time, and even though we are all stuck at our homes right now, I hope these memories of mine took you there and you enjoyed them!

~Marne

Comments:
Created by: TimMoore on 04/28/2020

Beautiful pictures. What an amazing trip to visit the Hobbit movie set !!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”


Shipshape New!
04/19/2020

The following was written by Christy.

Greetings from my remote shipping department. In the Before Times, even with a small crew here at Northeast, there was never a dull moment. Between the ever-present game of What- is-Brian-Eating, or keeping a running tally of every time Tom says “Tom,” and trying to decode my cryptic emails, it was always bustling and busy with orders to get shipped out. These days I do as much as I can remotely, and believe me, my bosses have tried really hard to make this possible for me. Sometimes we have to get creative and I have to write a blog post. These are truly tough times, people.

Working at home is just as strange as it is interesting, though. Instead of getting sidetracked by office banter, I now find myself chasing after my dog at a moment’s notice because he got into the laundry again. Have you ever tried working from home with a high-energy dog? They don’t like losing your attention. He’s learned about four new tricks ever since I started working from home, so I guess you can say he also puts in a good shift every day.

As the saying goes, you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone. I didn’t realize how much of the little things in the office I would miss until I wasn’t in there with the rest of the team. Running jokes just aren’t the same through messenger, and now it’s so quiet I’ve started responding to myself when I think out loud just to fill the silence. There are some perks to working from home though. Namely, I have access to my air fryer. My questionable wardrobe choices aren’t subject to the judgment of my peers, and I’m now testing the boundaries of how much coffee is too much coffee. I’ve also discovered just how much wildlife lives in the woods outside of my home. I didn’t know we had turkeys!

Throughout all of this, I am happy that we’ve managed to go through the changes that keep us safe and healthy, as well as busy! We hope you are all doing the same and finding creative ways to keep yourselves busy. Feel free to comment on this blog and share with us what you've been doing during all of this.


On the Road Part 2 - By Jack Karysnack New!
04/13/2020

I now turn the conversation to my favorite subject: food!

There’s no doubt that you’ve been curious from time to time just what exactly it is that we eat at these coin shows. “What does Brian eat?” has unquestionably been a nagging question for you readers. Well, I’m hoping I can answer this burning question and any others you may have. 

Breakfast is relatively easy as many options are available either inside the hotel or on the walk to the convention center. However, getting in meals at these convention centers, let alone nutritious meals, can be quite the daunting challenge. We try to let the trade show coordinators know that those little snack packs that are included on our table at some shows...well, sometimes that is lunch for three people, so keep ‘em coming. When it is crazy busy, we don't often have time to pick up a lunch, never mind eat it. With the shows going sometimes until 8:00 PM, this can be a long time going without sustenance. Insert pitiful violin music

While there are indeed other 'options' available at coin shows (many of them which are chosen much to my astonishment by throngs of people), it seems better for you (and the environment for that matter) to not eat at all. I’ll bet a Nathaniel’s foot long is great if you’re on Coney Island or at a BBQ at home, but the ones that roll around on those hot grease-laden tubes for days on end make me want to start a Dalai Lama-style fasting on the double. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge faced at some convention centers is a policy of not allowing outside food or drink onto the bourse floor. While I have never seen the drink rule enforced*, I (and many others) certainly have been stopped trying to bring in boxes of food, which apparently, is a major crime. Let’s take a look at some of the major criminals of our time:

1)    Al “Scarface” Capone - tax evasion (some hint that he was involved in other unlawful activities as well)
2)    Ted “The Unibomber” Kaczynski – responsible for more than a dozen terrorist bomb attacks that killed three people and injured 23 others
3)    Brian “The Mule” Alty – apprehended carrying unlawful and possibly nutritious contraband into known convention centers with intent to consume/distribute.

Now, there is a way around this (do not try this at home): one can simply get an unmarked bag large enough to put the illegal lunch items in and stroll right past security (think Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemption walking into the Bank of Portland to withdraw the warden’s money). I can’t help but feel a little like Jason Bourne steadfastly avoiding the convention center Polizei. “They can’t search the bags without a warrant” I remind myself as I smugly traipse through their thin line of defense and across the goalmouth of the Bourse floor to victory!!!

I then deliver the goods to the fine people at Northeast Numismatics (and sometimes Bill Shamhart). 

So, this ended up being a teaser. Tune in next time and I’ll regale you all with what and how we eat at these shows (and even at our office). It’ll be sure to put a smile on your face. 

For now, be well, be safe, be informed and try to help others!


*I defy anyone including weapon-toting law enforcement to take away my morning cold brew iced coffee (two creams, no sugar if you’re buying next time). They would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. Think Michael Douglas/Falling Down on steroids.