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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

November 12, 2004 Edition - ANNUAL BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2004 Portland Ice Skating Society

It's that time of year again. And although we haven't got a 
present for Tonya we have got one for Tonyaphiles, namely another 
issue packed with news of our favorite skater/boxer. In this 
issue we announce a new Tonya web site, find out what happened to 
Shawn Eckardt (and no, he's not putting in for the James Bond 
role now that Brosnan's retiring), expose a previously 
undisclosed gangster connection to the Tonya/Nancy incident, and 
discover what Tonya has in common with the Governor of California 
(or "Kalivornia" as he prefers to call it), amongst other things.


First up, we are pleased to report that Tonya will soon once 
again have an official web site. Linda Lewis informs us that the 
site will probably go on-line next week. It will be located at:

Needless to say this development is long overdue, as Tonya has 
been without an official web presence since she was sold out by 
Portland cyberpimp Jim Maxey in 1999. 

We've also finally done a long-overdue update of our FAQ as well 
to include all the developments in Tonya's life in recent years:


An alert Tonyaphile has informed us that one of Tonya's dresses 
is up for auction, in this case the black one with gold trim that 
she wore in Albertville in 1992:

It's described as being in near mint condition and coming with a 
letter of authenticity signed by Tonya herself. Bidding closes on 
November 18 (US time), though it's likely to prove expensive as 
already one bid of $1000 has been received.


There's not been much news about Tonya recently, but that's about 
to change. Linda tells us that Tonya has just finished a full 
interview and photo layout for "Glamour" magazine of the UK which 
will come out in January 2005.

There's also an interesting article in Willamette Week today 
about Tonya:

Although much of it covers territory that regular followers of 
Tonya will already be familiar with, it reveals that Tonya has 
taken up archery and that her daily training routine consists of 
six miles (10 km) of running, plus a few hours of weights, 
sparring and punching-bag work.

"I have put everything behind me," she says. "Whatever I do, I do 
to the best of my ability."

"Will I ever get a fair shake?" Tonya asks. We have to wonder.

In addition to the stuff about Tonya, Gillooly and his galoots 
also get a mention. Seems he managed to wangle that assault 
charge on his previous wife down to a lesser charge and just got 
some probation. He's also found yet another woman who's a sucker 
for his BS and is currently working as a car salesman.

Would you buy a used car from this guy? Apparently some people 


More interestingly, the article also discloses what happened to 
Shawn Eckardt, Portland's portly "international man of mystery" 
who engineered the plot. It appears that like Gillooly he did the 
name-change thing and is now operating a computer networking 
company in a run-down Gresham apartment complex under the name 
Brian Sean Griffith.

His company's web site can be viewed at, 
complete with it's slogan "imagineering the future" (and if that 
doesn't just reek of clichéd late-90's dot-bomb corporate 
claptrap, what does?). Oddly enough for a computer networking 
specialist, though, there's no e-mail address on the site that we 
could find.

There's a song that reminds us of Eckardt. It's called "Something 
Big" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. It's about a guy called 
"Speedball" who lives in a seedy hotel overlooking a porno movie 
theater. He's always getting mysterious phone calls and going out 
to mysterious meetings. The chorus goes:

	and it wasn't no way to carry on,
	it wasn't no way to live,
	but he could put up with it for a little while,
	coz he was workin' on Something Big

That pretty much describes Shawn. Always "workin' on Something 
Big" rather than getting a life. We suspect that in another ten 
years he'll probably be in another seedy apartment block working 
on another "big project".

Of course, it could all be just a front for a "black op" he's 
running for the CIA...


The past few months saw the southern part of the United States 
hammered by bad weather. It seemed that no sooner than one 
hurricane left than another one came along. Which got us thinking 
- has there ever been a "Hurricane Tonya"?

Well, no. There's never been a Tonya, though there was a Tanya in 
1995. The U.S. government's National Hurricane Center explains 
all about the naming of hurricanes. There are standard lists of 
names that they recycle every few years, except in the case of 
major storms when the names get "retired" and replaced with new 
ones to avoid confusion. Tanya is due to be re-used in 2007:

And although there's no Tonya, there is a Nancy. 

We here at the Special Duties Section think it's grossly unfair 
that there's a Nancy but no Tonya. It's just another example of 
her getting ripped off by the establishment. "Tonya" would be 
such an appropriate name for a hurricane.

We suggest that Tonyaphiles lobby the NHC to have Tonya put on 
the list next time they're adopting new names.


This book by Susan Orlean, subtitled "My Encounters With 
Extraordinary People", features interviews (many of which 
appeared previously in the New Yorker magazine) with over 35 
interesting people ranging from designer Bill Blass to 15-
minutes-of-fame 80's pop star Tiffany and a 1960's girl group 
with the unfortunate name of The Shaggs. And one of the chapters, 
"Figures In A Mall" is of interest to us as it deals with Elaine 
Stamm's Tonya Harding fan club in Portland. As such it's unique 
in that it's one of the few articles about Tonya that 
concentrates on Tonyaphiles rather than Tonya herself and offers 
an interesting insight into how they handled the crisis and the 
sort of people they were.

Orlean describes how she came to write about this subject in the 
introduction to the book:

  "Writing about Tonya Harding was a different kind of challenge. 
  She had been in the news constantly after the attack on Nancy 
  Kerrigan, and it was hard to imagine that there was a story 
  left about her that hadn't already been told and retold. But I 
  had noticed that all the newspaper stories mentioned she was 
  from Portland, Oregon, which wasn't true: She was from
  the exurbs twenty miles or so outside of Portland. Because I 
  used to live in Oregon, I knew the two places were entirely 
  different, even antithetical, and I was convinced that Tonya 
  Harding made a lot more sense if you understood something about 
  where she was raised. I assumed that I wouldn't get to 
  interview her when I went out to Oregon, so I interviewed 
  people who cared about her and who lived in her town. It was a 
  little like studying animal tracks and concluding something 
  about a creature from the impression it has left behind. I 
  still wish I could have talked to her, but maybe that will be 
  another story another time."

The chapter paints an interesting word picture of Tonya, the Fan 
Club, Clackamas County, and of the people who live there, and 
Gene Saunders the church minister who helped to break the case. 
One reviewer said "Susan Orlean's profile of the Tonya Harding 
fan club in her book The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup is one of 
the best things I've ever read. I grew up near Tonya, and used to 
watch her rehearse at the local mall skating rink, and Orlean 
really nails the story of Harding and the area."

Our view: the Tonya stuff is only 11 pages, so it definitely 
isn't worth buying it for this alone unless you can pick up a 
copy cheap (or also happen to be a Tiffany fan as well as a 
Tonyaphile). But it certainly is worth checking out of the 
library. It's also available as an e-book from various sources, 
and if your library subscribes to Ebrary (or you want to set up 
an account yourself at - you can view for free and 
only get charged for printouts) you can read the relevant pages 


Most of us are aware that top level figure skating is as crooked 
as a crankshaft. There were even suggestions that Russian 
mobsters were involved in fixing the notorious Pairs result at 
the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. But now the Special Duties 
Section has been informed of a mob connection much closer to 
home, and it's one that has relevance to the famous incident of 
early 1994. In order to understand the link, however, we need to 
take a close look at the Michigan trash collection business, an 
industry where the garbage isn't the only thing that stinks 

One of the big garbage disposal businesses in the Detroit area is 
an outfit by the name of City Management Corporation, a major 
player in importing garbage from Canada for disposal. City 
Management Corp was at the time headed by one Tony Soave. Not to 
be confused of course with Tony Soprano, though it would be an 
understandable mistake since as we'll soon see, Mr. Soave has 
alot more in common with Tony Soprano than just a similar 
sounding name.

For a start, there's the company he keeps. Soave has had links to 
Detroit mob figures, including an early 1970s partnership with 
Frank Mudaro, described in 1963 U.S. Senate hearings as a section 
leader in the Detroit Mafia. Earlier, Mudaro had been a business 
partner of William "Black Bill" Tocco, one of the five ruling 
dons of the Detroit Mob. Soave has also met regularly with others 
in the trash business with dodgy backgrounds, such as John Riggi, 
an ex-labor union official alleged to be the boss of the 
DeCavalcante crime family in New Jersey. Soave himself was 
indicted and arrested in 1971 in a federal gambling conspiracy 
investigation, though his case was dismissed on a technicality 
because the wiretap was not correctly authorized.

Soave also spends quite alot of time giving out bribes - oops, we 
mean "campaign contributions" - to various local politicians. One 
of these was former Wayne County Executive Edward H. McNamara who 
is currently being investigated on bribery and corruption charges 
by the FBI. McNamara's son also works for Power Vac Service Inc, 
a company owned by Soave that was also given a lucrative road 
sweeping contract by McNamara. Such irregularities and conflicts 
of interest are not uncommon in Soave's business dealings. In 
late 1991, Soave acquired a landfill from Crawford and Otsego 
counties despite another bidder offering 50% more. He also 
brought a trash hauling business from another local body 

Then there's the nasty things that happen to his business 
competitors. Another one of his companies, Warren Waste Transfer, 
was awarded a garbage collection contract - with no competitive 
tendering - after a rival company was mysteriously firebombed in 
1991. The arsonist, a small-time punk by the name of John Pree, 
later claimed that he and his accomplice Carlo Bommarito were 
acting under orders from Detroit mob boss Vito Giacalone. 
Bommarito and his father, Francesco, a longtime associate of 
Giacalone, were later charged with arson and conspiracy. Quirino 
D'Alessandro, a crony of Warren Mayor Ronald Bonkowski and who 
has also faced illegal gambling and money laundering charges was 
fronting for Soave as head of Warren Waste Transfer.

Soave has also been connected with toxic waste dumping. A former 
CMC subsidiary, USL-City Environmental Inc, was investigated in 
1999 for illegal waste disposal. Employees claimed that large 
amounts of untreated toxic waste was routinely dumped down 

You'll realize by now that Tony Soave isn't a nice guy - indeed, 
probably more like a wiseguy. In fact, with a background like 
that there's probably only one job he's good for - a place on the 
IOC! Either way, you'd assume that he's the sort of character 
that a supposedly decent, corruption-hating organization like the 
USFSA would run a couple of hundred miles from; after all, this 
is the outfit that banned Tonya for life in the interest of 
upholding ethics and sportsmanship.

But no. Because as it turns out, CMC was in fact a sponsor of the 
1994 US figure skating championships - the same championships 
that were the scene of "the whack heard round the world" - and 
also provided the dismal security precautions for the event. This 
raises an interesting point: how much did the USFSA know of the 
questionable background of their sponsor and security people? And 
most importantly, was Tonya railroaded by the USFSA to keep this 
link out of the public gaze? Clearly it wouldn't be in CMC's best 
interest to have the security setup probed too closely.

Remarkably, this isn't the only connection the Mob has to the 
case. Recently the SDS was contacted by a local political 
candidate and anti-corruption campaigner in Detroit who 
unwittingly worked as a chemist for one of these Mob-controlled 
garbage companies in the 1980s. He claims that his mother's 
electricity meter was bugged by a guy who looks remarkably like a 
Portland PI who was instrumental in solving the Kerrigan case.

You get the impression that all of this stuff would make a 
fascinating documentary. "Fahrenheit 1/06", anybody?


What does Tonya have in common with Arnold Schwarzenegger? No, 
it's not that she's planning to enter politics, though heaven 
knows, she could probably do better than some of the real 

In order to understand the connection it's necessary to take a 
trip back in time to the mid 90's when a game known as "The Kevin 
Bacon Game" or "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" started to become 
popular amongst American university students and movie buffs and 
eventually spread to the internet.

The game was originated by three students from Albright College 
in Reading, Pennsylvania - Craig Fass, Brian Turtle and Mike 
Ginelli - during January 1994. Being winter, it was so cold that 
the students would spend alot of time indoors. During this 
period, when just about everybody else was watching the Tonya & 
Nancy saga develop "we would watch movies and drink beer all 
day," says Fass. Ginelli said they had seen Bacon's 1984 movie 
"Footloose" on TV one afternoon and later saw a commercial for 
Bacon's then current film, "The Air Up There". Impressed with the 
actor's productivity, the three film buffs speculated that Bacon 
had been in a movie with just about everyone in Hollywood, or 
that everyone in Hollywood had been in a movie with someone who 
had been in a movie with Bacon. The trio then came up with a game 
centered around the concept, which proved so fascinating that 
they ended up playing it until 5am in the morning.

The rules of the game are simple: the aim is to find a movie link 
between any named actor and Kevin Bacon in as few steps as 
possible. For instance, Debra Winger was in "Terms of Endearment" 
with Jack Nicholson, who was in "A Few Good Men" with Kevin 
Bacon. Meg Ryan was in "Sleepless in Seattle" with Tom Hanks, who 
was in "Apollo 13" with Bacon. The theory is that any Hollywood 
actor can be connected to Bacon in six or fewer steps.

Then in 1996 a bunch of computer geeks at the University of 
Virginia's computer science department took the idea a step 
further: using data from the Internet Movie Database, they 
created a program that automates the entire process and enables 
you to find the connection between any two actors. The site was 
named number 10 in a list of the best websites of 1996 by Time 
magazine. You can try it yourself at:

So, what does Portland's princess of the ring and rink have in 
common with California's new governor? Well, it turns out that 
Kevin Beard, who was a stunt double on Tonya's 1995 action movie 
"Breakaway" also did some stuntwork on 2002's Arnie flick 
"Collateral Damage". And in case you're wondering, Beard was also 
in "JFK" (1991) with Kevin Bacon. So yes, there is also a Tonya-
Kevin Bacon link.

And as for Tonya, we notice that in one of the recent articles 
she mentioned something about trying to get back into movies. 
Well, here's one film that we're sure Tonya would be very eager 
to participate in!


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