The Hells Angels clubhouse on Ortono Avenue in Oshawa is now just a pile of rubble, after authorities levelled it. It had been empty since the province seized it a couple of years ago, as proceeds of crime. The bunker/bungalow was originally a Satan’s Choice meeting spot, back when Bernie Guindon was the Choice president. Guindon patched over to the Hells Angels, but left the club five years ago. His son Harley (who isn’t a Hells Angel) is in the hole at Milhaven Penitentiary, after refusing to say who’s smuggling drugs into the prison.
I have a live radio interview tomorrow (Friday March 26) at 9.30 am EDT on the BBC World Service. They began following this story immediately after the murders, and stayed with it. Bikers seem to have a more civilized image on the other side of the pond. Eight years ago, a Hells Angel called “Snob” rode in the official procession to honour the Queen’s 50 years on the throne. That sort of official sanction would be unfathomable in Ottawa. I also find it fascinating how Irish bikers can fight among themselves, but they band together to keep the American-based clubs out.
No wonder my former Toronto Star colleague Linwood Barclay is semi-addicted to googling bestseller lists. His novel Fear the Worst is topping the Globe and Mail’s bestseller list, while his Never Look Away is #8. The Bandido Massacre‘s holding its own, with three weeks on the Globe and Mail’s bestseller list for Canadian non-fiction. It has also made the Canadian Booksellers Association top 10 and tops Amazon.ca for a category called “Murder and Mayhem,” and #2 on a list called “True Accounts,” after a couple weeks at #1. It’s not listed in the “Organized Crime” category, which probably makes sense, since the Canadian Bandidos weren’t particularly organized and didn’t make much, if anything, from crime.
George (Bandido George) Wegers, once the most powerful Bandido in the world, lies today in a nursing home, broke and without any status in the club. Wegers suffered severe spinal damage while cruising alone on his Harley Street on the afternoon of Sunday, September 27. He was turning off Interstate 5 in Skagit County, Washington State, near his home when his bike spun out of control. There were no drugs or alcohol in his system, although his helmet wasn’t Department of Transporation approved. Apparently he was being tailed by federal agents at the time of the crash. He had already been bumped from the club because of a television interview he gave. Just a half dozen years ago, top Canadian Bandidos grumbled about how they couldn’t get a telephone audience with him. Now, he’s physically and financially busted and out of the club, and they’re either dead or in prison. Odd to think that, not long ago, they all wore patches with “BFFB,” for “Bandidos Forever, Forever Bandidos.”
Artist Karlene Ryan has some strong sketches of the mega-trial on her website. Her artwork added alot to my book and website, giving an original, graphic novel feel. I particularly like the sketch on her website of Wayne (Weiner) Kellestine, after he was cleaned up for the trial to the point that he looked more like a highschool teacher than an outlaw biker.
I’ve heard that at least some of the bikers convicted in the Bandido massacre are having a rough go of it in prison. Wayne (Weiner) Kellestine has been in a solitary, high-security cell, which had plumbing problems. Brett (Bull, Beau) Gardiner, who didn’t fire a shot during the killings, was attacked and stabbed while Dwight (Dee) Mushey, escaped a recent attack. They’re in separate prisons now, close to their home towns, and any semblance of safety in numbers in long gone.
I don’t like taking the offensive against other books. Ideally, people will read whatever they like on a topic and make up their own minds. I do like the saying, “There’s enough sun for everybody.” However, I really don’t like being misrepresented, which brings me to why I’m writing this posting. My thanks to Vincent Larouche of RueFrontenac.com (an online newsite maintained by Journal de Montreal workers who have been locked out for the past 13 months), for clarifying my views on murdered Bandido prospect Jamie Flanz, and how he was accused of stealing drugs from the Hells Angels. I did not include that in my book because I do not believe it is in any way true and I have never believed it is in any way true. Nowhere, in the more than eight months of the mega-trial, or three related trials, or in the preliminaries for those trials, was this ever suggested by anyone as a motive for the slaughter. There were six very vigorous and creative defense teams at the mega-trial, and none of them even once floated this theory, to my recollection. It was also never mentioned once in chats I had in my research for the book, which ran the gamut from Hells Angels to police. It’s not fair to Flanz’s family or memory to suggest this, nor is it fair to the families or memories of the other murdered men. However, I see that I am being linked to Alex Caine’s “alternative theory” nonetheless. It’s absurd but I felt the need to clear the air on this. Why would Hells Angels just leave a huge amount of drugs unattended? What are the odds that Flanz would stumble onto these drugs on the side of a Toronto road, in a metropolitan area of roughly 5-million? Hopefully, this posting is the last time I have to wade into this muck. If you’re interested in a credible insider’s view, I recommend the work of Edward Winterhalder. We have different styles but I respect his knowledge and honesty. I think it’s safe to say we agree that the most fascinating part of this story is that the Canadian Bandidos totally self-destructed. They did not need an attack from the outside. As is generally the case, the true story is the best story.