HAROLD SMITH: ONCE A THIEF, ALWAYS A THIEF!
San Francisco, CA– Let’s go back to December 2010. I was dropped off at the San Francisco International Airport by a lovely lady on an early Saturday afternoon. My destination was Dubai, as former boxing promoter Harold “Ross Fields” Smith, convicted in the 1980s for the biggest bank swindle in U.S. history, this when he used Muhammad Ali’s name and formed a fraudulent company named Muhammad Ali Pro Sports, AKA MAPS, said he was going to give me $5K (plus all expenses) to do some consulting on a live boxing card and the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight, which he claimed promoter Bob Arum had given him the rights to air in a 15,000 seat arena in this Arab Emirates country.
HAROLD/ROSS WAS ON TOP OF BOXING WORLD
According to the FBI, Smith/Fields took in excess of $20 million dollars, although Harold once told me that the real amount was a far greater sum. After spending nearly five years in jail, Smith/Fields or Fields/Smith never got back to the point of the early 80s where he had more world champions than Arum and Don King put together. Instead, he pulled off shows in China, Indonesia, Antigua, and the Los Angeles Forum. Harold didn’t have a smooth run in his second run as a promoter with mostly failing shows, one in Macao where the Police arrested and detained him afterwards for putting on a “fixed” fight involving a Chinese national who was a MMA icon.
FEW PEOPLE WOULD EVEN TALK TO THE CROOK!
Even though he shorted people on money, Harold/Ross was such a great con man that people like myself and Rob Russen continued to take Harold’s calls. Fast forward to the early part of the 21st century, circa 2001 or so, Harold instructed me to go the San Francisco Airport for a flight to Kuwait. When I got to the airport the airline informed me that while the reservation was made and I had a boarding pass, Smith never paid for ticket, thus I didn’t go to Kuwait. In fact, it would be eight years before I ever talked to Smith/Fields again.
LET’S GO BACK TO DECEMBER 2010
In December 2010, I am at the airline counter of Arab Emirates Airlines, and there was no ticket. Again, I had a print out that Smith had sent me, but it was worthless. When I ripped into Smith/Fields in an email, he apologized, called me on the phone and in tears begged me for one more chance. The rescheduled date was now January 9, 2011. When I approached the Arab Emirates ticket counter this time they told me there was a problem with the ticket. At that point, I called the aforementioned Rob Russen, a Floridian that Harold approached to write a book on him. With Rob on the line, I went to the airline concierge who gave me a boarding pass. I asked her if the ticket was round trip and with Russen listening the woman said, “Yes, it is a round trip ticket.”
BAD FOOD, BOOZE, MAYBE THE FLU BUG!
Having gotten sick on the airplane 90 minutes after takeoff, I spent more time in the bathroom on this 18-hour flight than I did my seat. Upon arriving in Dubai, I was met by Ross Fields Jr., a likable guy who is training horses for some rich Arabs. Prior to my arrival at the Hotel Moskow, Harold had told me this entire trip was paid for as payback for screwing me over on the Kuwait trip some eight years ago. So when the hotel asked me for a credit card, Harold said, “It’s just for the nightclub and any drinks you might want to have.”
SMITH LOOKED LIKE HE WAS HOMELESS!
When I first saw Harold, I realized how much he had aged since I last saw him. But that wasn’t as much of an eye opener as was his attire. Once a flashy dresser, Smith had a brown pair of pants that were torn to the point he had to wear his shirt untucked to cover up a large hole. I knew at that point that something was amiss, I mean the guy says he is rich and has but one pair of pants and is living out of a small suitcase. After a 20-minute visit to the nightclub/bordello in the hotel, I wanted to go to bed, alone. So imagine my surprise when Smith said he was staying with me, taking a blanket and sleeping on the floor.
DUBAI IS BEAUTIFUL IN MANY WAYS
My first full day in Dubai was uneventful, I wasn’t 100 %, but I was able to leave the hotel and go around town with Harold in a cab. Our second stop was another hotel, one in which Harold had one of his stooges staying. Sitting in the lobby, I saw the manager evicting Harold’s guy. At that point Smith/Fields comes over to me and says he needs $800 US. While I first refused, Smith wore me down with a promise that he would pay me back the next morning. I went to the ATM and gave Harold $400 US, this to keep his guy from being evicted.
STARTED GETTING SICK AGAIN
I don’t know whether it was the food, influenza, or some other type of virus, but my health went south later that day. From that point forward, I spent the majority of my time in Dubai in bed. Not knowing what was happening to me health wise, I got worse. While I was asleep, Harold got my Mastercard out of my wallet and went to work with it. It appears his “stooge” had seen me enter my PIN code the day before and Harold used the card to charge the hotel room and other items.
THERE WAS NO RETURN AIRLINE TICKET!
Having been in bed for nearly five days, this included two trips to the hospital where they prescribed Valium thinking my problems were anxiety related. The only good thing I can say about Harold is that he stayed with me in the hospital both times. I was scheduled to leave on Friday, so I called the airline on Thursday to confirm my flight. It turns out, there was no return ticket and that United Arab Emirates Airlines had put me on the plane in San Francisco to avoid embarrassment as they didn’t want an international incident.
SIPPING VODKA, HAROLD SHOWED NO EMOTION AT ALL
Without a return ticket, I asked Harold, “What the **** is going on?” Harold/Ross told me he had to cancel my ticket as he didn’t think I was ready to fly on Friday, this even though I had a radio and TV show to do in San Francisco on Saturday morning. “I moved it to next week,” said Smith. Feeling like I was being held hostage, I told Smith I wanted to leave right then and there. Sipping vodka, Harold told me that wasn’t happening. Having never been in that situation before, I was perplexed on how to proceed as I pictured myself dying in the Middle East.
TOO WEAK TO KICK HIS ASS!
Raising my voice and threatening Smith/Fields did me no good, as he turned on me like a hawk on a field mouse. A few hours later he returned and said nothing. Using my Magic Jack, I called my bank and told them to approve a one way ticket from Dubai to San Francisco, the charge was $1,600 U.S. Harold/Ross then told me the hotel was holding my credit card, that the charges were in excess of what they could take from the card, $400 a day. He told me that if I wanted to leave the hotel without the police being involved, I had to come up with $300 cash. Not knowing what to do, shell shocked, freaked out and still ill, I went to the ATM and gave Harold the cash to get out of the country sans being charged with, “Defrauding an Innkeeper.”
HAROLD NEVER PAID THE HOTEL!
When I returned to the hotel to get my bags and checkout, Harold/Ross supposedly went to the front desk and paid them. Ten minutes later, I would realize it was all a scam as Smith/Fields directed me to bypass the front desk on the way out, instead taking me and my bags out through a side door the employees used. I wanted nothing more to do with Harold, as I told him I didn’t want him in the taxi, this as it pulled up on a side street to take me to the airport.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS, “I’LL WIRE YOU $5 GRAND MONDAY”
When I finally got on the plane, it was delayed 90 minutes, thus the 18 hour flight home would instead be closer to 20 hours. Still in shock over what had transpired over six days in Dubai, all I wanted to do was get the plane off the ground as I feared Harold had placed me in criminal peril by sneaking me out the side door of the hotel.
TWELVE POUNDS LIGHTER UPON LANDING!
Having completed a run the day I left San Francisco, I was 168 lbs. When I stepped on the same scale upon my returning home, it read 156, the lightest I had been in years. But the nightmare that started on January 9 continued as the Hotel Moskow was taking money out of my account for almost another week. Staying in bed and recovering, I didn’t realize how much money Smith had fleeced me out of until I went to the ATM seven days after my return.
THEN THE BULL S*IT REALLY STARTED!
Expecting the money taken to be wired to me, Smith would call me almost daily on Skype and tell me to check with Western Union. I did that for about a week and then he told me in an email that the money was coming from New Zealand, where his accountant Gerald Hampton was staying. That went on for some ten days. Then he asked for my bank information so he could send it directly to the bank. Realizing I had been taken by one of history’s greatest con-men, I reached out to Rob Russen and when he approached Harold on it, Russen was rebuffed and told to mind his own business.
LOTS OF CRYPTIC EMAILS FOLLOWED
Refusing to engage Smith in the Yahoo Chat or take his calls after spending close to another $100 calling Dubai and begging for my money, Smith started sending me these emails with messages only in the subject area. “I’ll take care of you Monday,” or “The money will be there Friday.” This went on for another two months. I knew that if I were to write about this, it would turn out like Rob Russen had said, “You’ll never get paid,” so I just bit my lip and tried to go on with my life.
TWO “BOGUS” TRIPS TO LOS ANGELES TO GET PAID!
In February, Smith/Fields told me that if I flew to L.A. that his banker would bring me the money. I called the airline before calling the taxi and was told the reservation/ticket was never paid. Here are two of the emails the L.A. Lakers travel agent Dory Lewis sent me.
10 FEB 11 – THURSDAY
AIR SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLT:789 ECONOMY
LV SAN FRANCISCO 1050A EQP: BOEING 737-700
AR LOS ANGELES 1210P NON-STOP
11 FEB 11 – FRIDAY
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLT:2487 ECONOMY
LV LOS ANGELES 940A EQP: BOEING 737 300
AR SAN FRANCISCO 1100A NON-STOP
HERE IS THE TRAVEL AGENT’S RESPONSE AFTER THE SECOND TIME
“I am waiting for payment which is supposed to be made by the end of the day. The ticket will be an e-ticket (electronic).”
Entertainment Travel Company
AFTER THREE MONTHS, I AM BRINGING IN THE DUBAI POLICE!
The Dubai Police are now awaiting an affidavit and bank statements that I will be sending them. They also told me I should notify the FBI, who know a lot about Harold seeing he was on their Top Ten Most Wanted list. Not being a snitch of sorts, Russen reiterated that I had no choice but to proceed down the path and try to get Smith/Fields prosecuted. Upon my talking to the Dubai officials, they were not enamored with the fact a convicted Felon was swindling people in their country. Although I realized that it might come to this, you have no idea how embarrassing this was for me to write.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
He tried to get Rob Russen to go to Dubai, scheduling a number of flights for the retiree, none of which were ever paid. According to Russen, he too has told Harold he wants nothing to do with him. I know that he is working on doing the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Closed Circuit or PPV next month in Dubai. As much as I despise Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who must be laughing his ass off as he reads this, if he was willing to **** me, Bob, what makes you think he won’t **** you or anybody else?