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Data released in Bolles’death

The Arizona Republic reporter’s ’76 slaying is linked to his knowledge of land fraud.

The Associated Press

PHOENIX -New information links land fraud, the car-bombing slaying of an investigative reporter and a series of apparent ”mob hits” of 20 years ago, authorities say.

The Arizona Republic said today that police believe the mid-1976 bombing that killed Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles may have been hastened by Bolles’growing awareness of land fraud by Ned Warren Sr., who died in prison in 1980.

Police also now link Warren with the February 1975 slaying of accountant Ed Lazar, who was president of Warren’s Consolidated Mortgage Corp.

Bolles’chief assassin, John Harvey Adamson, told police a year ago that Warren had ordered Lazar killed, Sgt. Mike Torres, a police spokesman, told the Republic.

The Republic said Lazar was murdered by two Chicago organized crime ”hit men” one day before he was to testify to a grand jury about fraudulent real estate deals that cost thousands of investors millions of dollars.

Lazar ”was going to name Ned Warren as the godfather of land fraud in Arizona,” Torres said. ”Ned Warren was the natural suspect, but there was no one to give him up.”

Warren ultimately was convicted of fraud and bribery.

Torres said police suspect Chicago-linked gangsters also killed three other Arizonans:

• Jack West, 66, a retired lumberman who disappeared three days before Lazar was slain;

• George ”Jay” Vandermark, said to be the mastermind of a $7 million Las Vegas casino skimming operation of the mid-1970s, and;

• Emil ”Mal”Vaci, who managed the hotel from which Vandermark disappeared in September 1976.

West’s body was never found.

Vaci was slain in June 1986, presumably for fear he’d talk about Vandermark, who is presumed dead, police said. Vaci was shot in the head six times and his plastic-wrapped body was thrown into a canal.

Adamson, imprisoned for 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and testifying against two other suspects in the Bolles slaying, was released recently and has been relocated under an assumed name.

He testified he was hired by Phoenix contractor Max Dunlap and that James Robison, a Chandler plumber, detonated the bomb.

Dunlap ultimately was convicted of first-degree murder in Bolles’death and is serving a life prison sentence. Robison, whose initial conviction also was overturned, was acquitted of Bolles’murder in a 1993 retrial but is serving a five-year federal sentence for trying to have Adamson killed.

Prosecutors alleged Bolles was killed at the behest of Kemper Marley, then a Phoenix rancher and liquor magnate. Bolles had written stories about Marley said to have forced Marley to resign from the state Racing Commission.

Police still believe that scenario but now believe Bolles’knowledge of the skimming operation may have made the hit more urgent, Torres told the Republic.

Marley, who died in 1990, never was charged in Bolles’murder.

Police say Adamson wasn’t involved in the Lazar slaying and has denied killing West, to whom he reportedly owed $6,000.

Adamson testified in 1993 in the Bolles case that Warren inquired about arranging to murder Lazar, J. Fred Talley, who was Arizona real estate commissioner in the mid-1970s, and another person whose name Adamson couldn’t remember.

Talley, who issued real estate licenses to convicted felons, was suspended amid an investigation into his relationship with Warren.

Talley later retired and died of a heart attack.

Police identified the hit men who killed Lazar as Nick D’Andrea and Robert Hardin.

D’Andrea was murdered a year after he killed Lazar, Torres said. In 1982, Hardin was granted immunity by a federal grand jury to testify about 15 Mafia murders he committed and now lives under an assumed name.

Torres said police hope the passage of time will help clear up the Lazar, West and Vandermark cases.

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