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1.8 Don Arden (The Osbournes) part4




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This article is from the The Osbourne FAQ, by Mike L. with numerous contributions by others.

1.8 Don Arden (The Osbournes) part4

There was one final footnote to the Arden/BBC extravaganza which
neither party had
anticipated. One of Don's sixties groups, the Nashville Teens, took
advantage of his plight in order to promote a comeback single,
'Midnight', which they cheekily dedicated to the man.
Extending the ironic gesture still further, they embarked on a 'Be
nice to Don Arden' tour
and even offered to play a benefit concert for the beleaguered rock
mogul. It was a
delightful spoof and a pleasing reminder that after all the financial
disputes, harsh
criticisms and bitterness, this hard-working, stoical group had
somehow retained its sense
of humour.

Don Arden assumed a lower profile in the eighties, leading to
speculation that he had
mellowed with passing years. It was a happy delusion broken by
newspaper headlines in 1985
and 1986 suggesting that he was in more trouble than ever.

On 19th March 1986, David Arden appeared at the Old Bailey charged
with carrying out his
father's instructions to blackmail and imprison Harshad Patel, an
accountant who rose to
power in the Jet organisation to become Don's partner. Patel had
fallen out with Arden,
who accused him of extorting company funds in excess of $100,000. It
was not a vast sum
by Arden's financial standards, but rather than pursuing his
allegations through the
courts, Don allegedly decided to take the law into his own hands
using strong-arm methods. One evening, Don and David Arden,
accompanied by two thugs, allegedly held Patel captive
for over 24 hours. During his long ordeal, the unfortunate accountant
was verbally abused
by Arden Snr, who at one point allegedly flew into a rage and threw a
cup of coffee over
his victim. In an earlier hearing, it was suggested that Patel had
been 'beaten up' and
forced to sign a letter of credit for 69,000. Evidently, Arden had
not bargained upon
Patel's indignation and willingness to contact the police about the
incident. In the past, Don's intimidatory tactics had attracted
enquiries from the police, but these allegations
were arguably the most serious yet, and, if proven, would almost
certainly place Arden behind bars.

The Old Bailey trial ended with Arden's son, David, being sentenced
to two years' imprisonment, albeit with one suspended. Meanwhile,
Arden Snr remained in Los Angeles awaiting his fate. In open court,
it was confidently stated that Arden would be brought back to England
at the earliest opportunity to face these charges. An extradition
order followed and, 20 months after
his son's incarceration, Arden arrived at the Old Bailey for one of
the most dramatic court cases in pop history.

Don Arden was arrested in the US in late 1985 and prior to extradition
proceedings voluntarily returned to the UK where he was charged under
his family name, Harry Levy,
on two separate counts of false imprisonment and blackmail. During
November 1987, the Old Bailey heard a staggering series of
accusations from Harshad Patel, Arden's former
book-keeper/accountant. Patel explained that Arden suspected him of
misappropriating funds from Jet Records and during a stormy meeting
in November 1983 allegedly attacked
him with a hatstand, pulled a gun from his briefcase and threatened:
'I'm going to shoot you'. The accountant was then dispossessed of
several post-dated cheques and car keys before
being unceremoniously sacked. He claims Arden demanded 'substantial
compensation' for the supposed fraudulency and threatened to recruit
Mafia associates to take care of matters. The perturbed Patel
returned to England, but further trouble followed.

On 7th December 1983 at 1 a.m., Patel was asleep at his house in
Harrow when an American
heavy named Charlie Holbrook alleged unless he accompanied him
immediately to Arden's
Wimbledon home. There, Patel was supposedly interrogated by the son
of a leading New York
Mafia boss and physically assaulted by Arden, resulting in
superficial injuries including a fractured rib. Following his alleged
night of captivity, Patel claims he was
taken to Arden's accountants and persuaded to sign a bank draft for
69,132.37.
That he assumed, was the end of the matter. Two months later,
however, Arden discovered further irregularities. On 14th February
1984, Patel claims he received a second visit from Charlie. This time
he was taken to Arden's office in Portland Place and supposedly held
prisoner for 24 hours, a period in which he claims to have been
attacked by Arden, punched in the face and stomach, showered with
coffee and water, consistently hit over the head with a 16
oz.paperweight, suffered danger from various flying missiles
including an ashtray, prevented from leaving his seat or going to the
lavatory for agonising spells in excess of 14 hours, and threatened
with the possibility of being beaten with a baseball bat and chained
up and done away with, along with his parents. The alleged presence
of another Mafia persuader and the suggestion that David Arden
alluded to Muslims chopping off the hands of thieves completed the
accountant's grim scenario.

Eventually, Patel claims, he was released, bloodied and bruised, and
warned that he must repay a further 10,000 compensation to Arden
within one month, Soon afterwards, Patel contacted solicitors and
police intervention followed.

During the two-week trial, Arden strenuously denied Patel's
allegations, flew in several
star witnesses from the States and focused considerable attention on
a separate civil action concerning Patel's alleged fraudulency of
Jet. On 19th November 1987, a jury of eight men and three women found
Arden 'Not Guilty' on all charges. At the age of 62, his character
remains unblemished by a criminal record.

(Source: The Don Arden Story from 'King Of The Universe' Fanzine in
1997 & 1998. Edited but used with permission from Jim Hoban,
Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K)

 

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