My lawyer for the corporation, Justin M. Golenbock, was the only other officer. The contracts with the fighters were assigned to my promoting corporation, which then obtained a license from the state.
At this point all was smooth. However, lurking in the background were two characters who had been promised a part of the profits of the promotion. One was Charley Black, a close and intimate friend and associate of D'Amato, who was originally promised participation because of my desire to curry favor with Cus. D'Amato had pointed out that his previous promoter, Emil Lence, had always taken care of Charley. At the time of the Harris fight Cus said that Charley would have to participate in the profits of all of Patterson's fights. It was important to get D'Amato's blessing. This guy Black was an insurance policy. Charley Black was supposed to receive 50% of the profits from the Harris fight promotion.
I felt now that since Charley's participation would be one of profit sharing rather than a straight pay-out of a weekly stipend as with Emil Lence, that the damage to me as a promoter would only be a smaller profit.
Charley Black had a friend, a lawyer whose name was Vincent J. Velella. Velella indicated that he could make available unlimited backing to any of the promotions. His price? Naturally, a piece. Its size? He wanted to be equal partners with his friend Charley and Promoter Bill. At the time I saw nothing wrong with the arrangement because the people were interested in profit sharing, not in management, direction or control of the promotion.
I felt that my position was secure because of the very natures of ray partners. How could Charley Black, for example, come out and say that he wanted to run or have a voice in the direction of Cus D'Amato's fighter? How could Charley's friend, who wanted to remain in the background, cast aside the cloak of anonymity to make his voice heard? I felt this arrangement would at no time give me any trouble. And yet I was not happy or proud of this somewhat underhanded scheme to pay off my so-called partners.
But then my partners, with Velella supplying legal counsel, formed a corporation called All-Star Sports, Inc. I refused to assign the contracts to this corporation. I had, from the outset, agreed to share the profits, but I had not visualized a formalized corporate setup.
It was against this background of dissatisfaction on my part that I received an offer from the William Zeckendorfs to come in as my full partners in this and future promotions. They offered financial backing and the substance which comes from people operating in the legitimate world of business. I was delighted and agreed to a plan whereby they would have half the profits from the promotion for putting up all the money. The Zeckendorfs were, by the way, aware that two-thirds of my profits were committed.
When I told Black and Velella of this arrangement they were unhappy, but since they were getting a gift in any case, all that happened was that they were getting a smaller gift, one-sixth each, but no longer had to put up any money. They were unhappy, but Cus was furious. At the time I didn't quite understand the reasons for his violent objections to the Zeckendorf arrangement.
D'Amato's reaction was so strong it can best be summarized by saying he wanted no more to do with me as a promoter. It was at this time that he turned to another promoter, a successor to me, one Cecil Rhodes. Had this Mr. Rhodes turned out to be anything short of what he was, I'm positive that my days and relationship with D'Amato would then have been terminated except for my contract covering the Patterson-Johansson fight. Rhodes was not a promoter of any kind except of money, other people's, and the talked-about, laughed-about match between Brian London and Floyd was odds-on never to take place. First it had been scheduled for one city and then another, first one date and then another, first one promoter and then trouble.