Reed Slatkin Media Resource
ron rakow 

photo from Jerilyn Lee Brandelius, "Grateful Dead Family Album" p. 112One of the most interesting names we've come across in investigating the Reed Slatkin case has been Ron Rakow.

So Who is Ron Rakow?

August 2001 update  - Read about nearly $400,000 cash found in an FBI Raid on Rakow's home.

According to trusted sources, Ron Rakow flew to Switzerland in 2001, allegedly at the behest of his "good friend" and fellow Scientologist Reed Slatkin, in order to investigate "irregularities" in Slatkin's overseas accounts. The catch? According to documents filed so far, there is some question as to whether these "Swiss accounts" existed in the first place.

As part of a last-ditch effort to fend off increasingly suspicious investors, Slatkin forged documents from a major Swiss bank to back up his story that the funds were frozen pending an investigation into possible money laundering. When investigators attempted to confirm the existence of the accounts, they came up empty handed and discovered that the account numbers themselves, as given by Slatkin, corresponded to no known Swiss accounts under his, or any other name. Slatkin presented faxes to John Poitras from an 'NAA Financial' - only none of the people involved in NAA Financial, nor NAA Financial itself, seem to exist.

So what was Rakow doing in Switzerland on behalf of Slatkin if he was simply another unknowing 'victim' of Slatkin's scam? (His partner, Denise Del Bianco, is listed as having invested $80,389.93 with Slatkin, a comparatively small amount.) Why would Reed send someone to look into Swiss accounts if he knew that any discoveries abroad could sink his whole strategy? And why, during the same time period, did Denise Del Bianco come on board with Gulf United Technology Commerce, an obscure Swiss shell corporation dedicated to 'venture capital' and 'high risk investments'?

Ron first came to our attention thanks to the unusual last name of another investor, Jay Rakow, currently Vice President and Legal Counsel at MGM. While Jay does not appear to be a Scientologist, we noted that he shared the same, somewhat unusual last name, with a Scientologist and fellow entertainment industry personality, Ron Rakow.

Ron and his ex-wife Julie are both long time Scientologists - Patrons of the IAS, according to Impact #86, with donations of $40 K each. Ron is also listed as a Patron in 1990. He has also done the Ls, a very expensive, high level Scientology course, according to Source #74.

Publicly, Ron Rakow seems to be best known for his days with the Grateful Dead, although there are differing opinions on how good a job he did while acting as the band's manager - or "manager", as he is derisively referred in this footnote to an article that appeared in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment Law & Practice (How the Grateful Dead Turned Alternative Business and Legal Strategies Into A Great American Success Story By Brian C. Drobnik, Spring 2000 Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 242-266, footnote #135):
"Under their contract with Warner Brothers, they had split revenue ten ways equally among each band member, their two roadies and their two managers. The inception of Grateful Dead Records created a straightforward arrangement between the band and Grateful Dead Records "manager" Ron Rakow (whom they had hired to direct the project). There was also a separate agreement between Rakow and Garcia for Round Records projects. This, of course, introduced jealously to utopia. However, Garcia was doing virtually all of the songwriting and arranging, with others receiving royalty cuts as "arrangers." The understanding was that Grateful Dead songs really were arranged on stage, over the course of dozens of live performances. In this sense, including a drummer as an arranger may have been more than simply a political gesture, though Scully argues otherwise."
In "Garcia: A History of an American Life," by Blair Jackson, there are differing opinions of Ron's efforts on the part of the band, with some associates lauding him for both his managerial skills, including this work, which includes the following reminiscence from Ron on his start as manager of the Dead:
"I ran into the Grateful Dead office that day and explained this vision to Jerry and McInitre at the same time, and they both seemed to love the idea. So I got a separate letter from each of them that said essentially, 'Introducing Ron Rakow. He's doing some work for us. Any help you can give him would be greatly appreciated by us.' And I used that to go around the record industry and gather data, which I then used to augment this vision I had and create a series of cash-flow charts to explain different scenarios that might come up if we had our own company."
Other recollections show off his showy hippie spirit:
Ron Rakow managed to finagle a deal whereby the band and extended family bought 16 British-made Ford Cortinas so everyone had a way to get around Marin and into the city. "He got them on time at a fleet price and they each put in like $60 a month, taken out of their paychecks," M.G. remembers. "They were pretty shitty, but they got us where we needed to go. All the cars ended up smashed and broken and in lagoons and over cliffs - there are really astonishing stories about these cars! We hit two deer with ours. It absolutely destroyed the front end of the car, but we managed to keep driving and we made it home, but then that was it. It was totaled." Rakow says he gave his own Cortina to the Black Panther Party, who later drove it into San Francisco Bay, "but Pigpen kept his for something like five years," Rakow says.
In this interview with Grateful Dead historian Gerald McNally, a less trustworthy side of Ron appears:
"The lesson they had learned from Owsley and from Kesey was basically to go for it. The lesson was about risking all for quality, and that was what led them in 1973 to start their own record company, which lasted three years and which, businesswise, was very creative---although the music they made for it was limited. The problem was that it was run by a guy named Ron Rakow, who was a shark and a hustler and eventually hustled them."
And finally, this somewhat obscure excerpt from a webpage on, of all things, coincidence:
He said that next week he was going to Santa Fe, New Mexico to meet a guy named Ron Rakow, and that Ron was going to take him to Nevada to meet a Shaman named Rolling Thunder.

She said wow, what a coincidence, because she used to date a guy named "Cadillac Ron Rakow, who was a producer for the "Grateful Dead years ago" and that Rolling Thunder was her spiritual Grandfather. Coincidence? Then when Gordon got off of the phone with an assurance that she would drop the charges, he remembered that Ron Rakow was the former husband of the lady in South Florida and that he was going to meet him in New Mexico with the daughter of that same woman in South Florida. It was his daughter as well, another coincidence? By the way, Gordon does not believe in coincidences, even though he had the round robin phone call.

As noted previously, Ron was recently hit with a lawsuit by a Santa Fe art gallery after a dispute arose over the ownership of several paintings, including a Georgia O'Keefe:
SANTA FE (AP) - A Santa Fe art gallery owner wants a judge to sort out who owns two paintings, including one by the late famed New Mexico artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, Mark Zaplin of Zaplin-Lambert Gallery asks a judge to determine the rights and interests of himself, the Gerald Peters Gallery and Ron Rakow and Denise DelBianco of Santa Barbara, Calif., in the ownership of an O'Keeffe painting, Early Spring Tree.
Denise Del Bianco, currently the paramour of the increasingly interesting Ron Rakow, is on Slatkin's 1999 client list, where she is listed as having invested $80,389.93. Although there is very little information about Denise, this report from a Swiss bank describes her as an investor in "Gulf United Technical Commerce." No further information about Gulf United is available.
Gulf United Technical Commerce Sàrl, à M o u d o n , rue Maubor get 20, nouvelle société à responsabilité limitée. Statuts du 22. 09. 2000.

But: conseil dans les domaines financier et économique sous la forme d'identification, d'analyse et d'évaluation d'opportunités d'investisse ments représentés par des valeurs mobilières publiques ou privées, y compris dans le domaine de la propriété intellectuelle, notamment concernant le capital-risque, le joint venture et les start-ups. Capital social entièrement libéré: CHF 20 000.

Associés: Paolo Corbi, de Viganello, à Moudon, pour une part de CHF 9000, gérant avec signature individuelle, et Denise Del Bianco, des USA, à Santa Barbara (USA) pour une part de CHF 11 000. Organe de publicité: FOSC.
26 septembre 2000
Translation (courtesy of Babelfish):
GULF United Technical Trades Sàrl, with M O U D O N, street Maubor get 20, new limited liability company. Statutes of the 22. 09. 2000. Drank: consulting in the fields financier and economic in the form of identification, analysis and evaluation of opportunities of invests ments represented by public or deprived transferable securities, including in the field of the intellectual property, in particular concerning the venture capital, the joint venture and the start-ups. Entirely released authorized capital: CHF 20 000. Associated: Paolo Corbi, of Viga-nello, in Moudon, for a share of CHF 9000, managing with individual signature, and Denise Del Bianco, of the USA, in Santa Barbara (the USA) for a share of CHF 11 000. Body of publicity: FOSC. September 26 2000
Could the above "Gulf United Technical Commerce" be an unwanted footprint leftover from Rakow's Switzerland trip?

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