By Thomas A. Nagy
Part Two in a Series
as a young lawyer among many tutored by Morris A. Shenker, Senior.
Goodman was introduced to the finer art of our illustrious legal
system by Shenker. He joined the Shenker law firm at a time when
Morris believed “a man’s word is his bond.” This axiom was
particularly important to Shenker, who knew the importance of making
deals — sometimes worth tens of thousands, sometimes worth millions of
dollars — without the potential risk of leaving a paper trail. As a
man looked another in his eyes, shook hands and gave his word as a
binding contract, the agreement was sealed. For decades before meeting
Goodman, Shenker had practiced this oath-giving. If stories about him
are true, Shenker trusted couriers to carry tens and hundreds of
thousands of dollars in cash to Meyer Lansky in Miami Beach, Florida.
Of course it was understood that breaking one’s oath had a price.
Oscar Goodman clearly grasped that when Morris Shenker asked him to
give his word on a matter of blood.
The relationship between Morris Shenker and his only grandson, Jason
Ryan Turner, was a loving bond according to Jason’s mother, Cynthia
Turner. “Morris adored Jason,” she has said. “Morris doted on Jason
during our weekly visits to his office at the top of the Dunes Hotel.”
Despite employing men meeting our common stereotype image of goons who
escorted Cynthia and Jason from the Dunes’ front door to his penthouse
office, Morris lived out the role of doting grandfather with Jason
perched on his knee behind the large man’s desk. Jason was allowed to
play with items on that desk, where Morris made decisions that
affected lives of others — who might go free and who might pay for
crimes they did not commit — and how hundreds of millions of dollars
would be distributed within the network of enterprises he controlled.
On some occasions a young Oscar Goodman was also present, playing the
role of Shenker’s personal attorney. During one such visit Morris
Shenker asked Goodman to consent to being Jason’s godfather. Always
eager to please, Goodman consented. Morris reminded the younger
attorney, “Your word is your bond.” Cynthia Turner witnessed those two
men seal that agreement with a handshake, eye to eye. Oscar Goodman
gave a blood oath to become Jason’s godfather at that time.
When Jason Turner was murdered on September 27, 2005, Goodman was the
mayor of Las Vegas. A mere eight weeks before, Jason’s grandmother,
Lila Arnett, had been senselessly killed by a series of unconscionable
“mistakes” by doctors in Health South Rehabilitation Center and
University Medical Center during a 24-hour period. Cynthia Turner had
been alternating between mourning and outrage as she absorbed the
repercussions of her mother’s untimely death. Under cover of medical
authoritarianism, Lila Arnett’s homicide by licensed doctors escaped
its proper definition. In a moral society her death and those of more
than one hundred and twenty thousand others each year would be
accurately defined as homicide. But our legal system precludes a moral
society and demands an amoral society instead.
Perhaps this is why Oscar Goodman, the lawyer, allowed eight and a
half years to pass without acknowledging the death of his godson. This
is to say, Goodman has not yet acknowledged Jason Turner’s death to
Cynthia Turner; he has yet to offer his condolences. Goodman might
have discussed the passing with Jason’s father, M. Arthur “Artie”
Shenker, Jr. In Goodman’s amoral world, being a godfather obviously
has no meaning despite having given his word, his blood oath, to
Morris A. Shenker, Sr, the man who opened doors to his present life.
Not only has Goodman been silent regarding Jason Turner’s death since
2005, he has also evaded the issue deliberately. Perhaps two years
after her son’s murder, Cynthia Turner made several attempts to enlist
Goodman’s aid to break the impasse regarding a prosecution of Jason’s
killer. During each of these attempts Mayor Goodman was evasive. He
declined to return phone calls. Finally he had his secretary pass this
message: “The mayor cannot show favoritism or use his office for
Consider the facts. Goodman gave his blood oath to the man who started
his career on its path, and who mentored him for years. Goodman
negated his oath after Morris Shenker died by doing nothing to ensure
that Jason was included in the benefits of large trusts formed by
Jason’s grandmother, Lillian Koplar Shenker, for that purpose. Goodman
has yet to offer his condolences for his godson’s death at 25 years of
age. Goodman evaded his mayoral responsibilities to ensure that
justice was done on behalf of every homicide victim in Las Vegas to
the extent reasonably possible. Goodman demonstrated bias against
prosecution of his godson’s murderer and effectively protected the
killer. The only logical explanation is that prosecution will
inevitably reveal the killer’s knowledge of and participation in a
conspiracy to murder that includes many pawns of the corrupt
“Untouchables” that rule Las Vegas.
Coming next: Some of the Untouchables involved in a cover-up of Jason’s murder.