Over the years we've all heard the stories about La Costa being a mafia-preferred resort, and though he does not confirm the rumors of special escape tunnels under the course, the resort's creator and now-broke former multi-millionaire Merv Adelson confirms the mob ties.
The explanation comes in an excellent Bryan Burroughs profile from the latest Vanity Fair.
“Were the Teamsters mobbed up? Oh God, were they,” Adelson says. “But I didn’t know it at the time, not really. I just wanted the money. I didn’t especially care where it came from.” Had he known the extent the Teamsters were involved with the Mafia, I ask, would he have taken their money? He thinks for a long moment. “No, I wouldn’t have done it. Because that became the big grief, that was what eventually drew us into court, with all the publicity … ”
He sighs. “And Hoffa. And all that crap.”
The Rancho La Costa resort opened its doors to the public in 1965. From the outset Adelson could tell his dreams of escaping the Mafia had been dashed. “The first guests, they were all Teamsters!” he exclaims. And then Detroit and Chicago Mob bosses, all the way up to Meyer Lansky himself. “There were hundreds of them!” Adelson adds. “I couldn’t get rid of them! The Teamsters treated it like their country club. It got a real reputation. I didn’t like it at all. But I couldn’t stop it. We owed them money! What could I do?” His children were soon being teased with the same taunts they had heard in Las Vegas. He was trapped. A very rich trap, but a trap nevertheless.