Sir Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck lost millions of dollars in profit from their 1960s Las Vegas residencies because their manager siphoned off the cash to pay his gambling debts, according to a new report.
The British crooners performed to packed houses in Sin City night after night during their heyday but were on a relatively small retainer of $8,000 a week.
And it’s now alleged the missing millions from their shows had been used by music mogul Gordon Mills to settle his enormous $320 million gambling debt to the casinos’ Mafia owners.
Mills’ former business partner Tony Cartwright, who is penning his memoirs, revealed the scandal to The Sun newspaper, telling the publication, “It was the biggest heist in showbiz history. Tom is still looking for his millions he thinks Gordon hid in offshore accounts.”
Cartwright claims Mills once blew $320,000 at a casino in one evening, adding, “I found him with his head in his hands. He told me he’d lost the £100,000. He borrowed another 100k and lost that too. And it was all Tom and Engelbert’s money…
“(The Mafia) were more than happy to give him credit. It meant they tied the singers in for life without them even knowing it. And Gordon had no choice but to let them do it because he owed so much money… When we were doing sell-out stadiums the Mob would say, ‘We’re taking 50 per cent of the box office’ and Gordon would agree. He had no choice. He owed them millions… Forget the Hollywood films about gangsters and Vegas. Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck were in the middle of it. And they didn’t even know it.”
Mills died of cancer in 1986.