If you still have Willie Wise on your Christmas card list, you might take note of his new address.
The former owner of the Cornwall/Newmarket Royals, disbarred-lawyer and city council alumnus is now a resident at the Federal Correctional Institution in Bastrop, Texas, about 30 miles from the state capital, Austin.
He had been doing his time at a prison in the San Francisco area.
Willie is doing 22 years for bilking 1,200 people out of $75 million in a Ponzi scheme that allowed him to cruise the fast lane. If he goes the distance, he will be 84 when released in November 2030.
About 1,100 convicts call the low security prison home-away-from-home. Sort of a Club Med atmosphere as U.S. federal prisons go.
Along with the stiff sentence, he was ordered to pay back millions to the investors he bilked, but folks aren’t holding their breath on that one. By most accounts, he blew through at least $50 million.
We’re not sure how Willie is spending his time – opposed to the days of spending other people’s money – but the prison offers numerous programs to prepare the cons for life on the outside. Willie could be learning to be a baker or cook.
By the way, if you’re down Texas way and want to visit Willie, visiting hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call ahead.
Tell him we all said hi.
One person who doesn’t have Willie on his Christmas card list is former Royals’ coach John Lovell. He is the Owen Sound high school teacher who put his teaching career on hold to become coach for the 1991-92 season, the team’s last in Cornwall.
Willie, who took control of the team by buying out his partners, fired Lovell and assistants Paul Fixter and Brian O’Leary minutes after the final game.
A few years ago I bumped into O’Leary at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. He is an Owen Sound councillor. He hadn’t heard about Willie’s demise. The news made his day.
Lovell got off to a bad start with Willie when he left him behind on a trip to Ottawa for the first game of the season. Willie’s orders were that the bus was to leave noon sharp. Anybody who wasn’t on the bus at the appointed hour would be left behind.
When Lovell looked at his watch at saw that it was noon, he told the driver to get the show on the road. Willie arrived 15 minutes later to find the bus had left. After that, it was all down hill.
The scary thing was that Willie thought he knew something about hockey. Legendary 67’s coach Brian Kilrea called him Willie Dumb.
The next season the Royals were in Newmarket and Lovell was coaching Guelph. After a game between Newmarket and Guelph, Willie, now team president and general manager, and Lovell had what was described as a talkative confrontation in the hallway of the Guelph arena. Willie, the class act he was/is, spit on Lovell. Not once, but twice. Hey, nobody ever accused Willie of being a class act. Clownish yes. Classy, no.
Ontario Hockey League President Dave Branch nailed Willie with a $5,000 fine and written reprimand. Willie claimed that Lovell swore at his wife. Those who witnessed the scene disputed Willie’s claim.
You can bet the league was happy to kiss Willie goodbye when he sold the club to the Ciccarelli brothers who moved it to Sarnia where it was re-branded as the Sting.
A Cornwall connection remained. Before he moved to Sarnia years earlier, George Heath was the Royals’ superb play-by-play broadcaster during the Central league era. He became the Sting’s first play-by-play man. A couple of times Heath caught himself calling them the Royals.
JULY 1961 – City police said they would not press charges against laundry coin operators who kept their establishments open on Sundays unless a complaint was received. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that under the Lord’s Day Act, coin washes could not open on Sundays. … A site west of Alexandria was chosen for the new Glengarry Memorial Hospital. … Farmers in the United Counties were worried that heavy rains in July would result in crop losses. … Cornwall high school students Ron Montroy and Allan Aubin completed a 250-mile, 12-day canoe trip through the Rideau Lakes system. They started the journey with 200 pounds of gear. … Barkley’s General Store in Avonmore opened a meat department after the purchase of Bush’s Meat Market. … Doug Carpenter was the first recipient of the Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy given to Cornwall’s outstanding junior athlete. …. A two-storey frame barn on the farm of Romeo Deschamps, Tyotown Road, was destroyed by fire. … The Cornwall Parking Authority was looking at developing off-street parking lots in the downtown core and in east Cornwall. … Carolyn Murray, 19, was crowned Stormont Dairy Princess. … Bruno Lamarche pitched a three-hitter as Cornwall Pepsi whipped Fort Covington 11-0 in a St. Lawrence Senior Baseball League game. Jack Murphy had a pair of base hits and double. Doug Carpenter had a home run and single. … In North End Fastball League action, Connie Payment tossed a three-hitter as Hodgin’s nipped Emard Lumber 1-0. Russ Harrington had three hits for the winners. … Novelist Ernest Hemingway died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Idaho home.
AROUND AND ABOUT – Thumbs up for selecting an indigenous person for the governor-general post. But the decision took a step back on the language file. The new gov-gen does not speak French. Bilingualism – French and English – is not a requirement for the job. Oddly, it is a requirement to coach Les Canadiens. The gov-gen says she will learn French ASAP. … Thoughts and prayers go out to Cornwall Sports Hall of Famer Del Bergeron who is undergoing radiation treatment at the Ottawa Hospital.
TRIVIA ANSWER .The House of Refugee – now a long-term care home – on Eleventh Street East is not a designated heritage site. It is listed as a non-designated property.
TRIVIA This popular soft drink was bottled at a plant at Pitt and Eighth streets.
QUOTED – “Conspiracy theories like Qanon make dumb people feel smart, because they think they’re privy to secret information.” ― Oliver Markus Malloy