firm slowed down baking operations during the 24 hours. Finally, the bakeries warned supermarket managers in advance of the big shutdown, so they could stock up. “I frankly don’t have the money to pay my employees for not working a whole day, and I certainly can’t ask them to forego a day’s pay so I won’t lose money,” explained Arthur Baird, his company’s general manager. PL L_ _J Hr What does it mean? What’s the favorite leisure activity of Americans? Maybe bowling or reading or jogging or gardening, right? Nope, it’s watching television. Forty-six percent of Americans say the lighted box is their number one fun thing, according to a new report, Social Indicators, 1976, published by the U.S. Commerce Department. That squares with the findings of another report: what’s the best-selling magazine in America? Reader’s Digest, perhaps, or Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Popular Mechanics or The Texas Observer? No, it’s TV Guide. Half a loaf The Texas AFL-CIO has endorsed the farmers’ strike, and ACORN, the community organization working in Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, has sent delegates to rally with the farmers. But Central Texas farm protesters didn’t know quite what to make of the backing they were offered late in December by two of the state’s major bread manufacturers, Mrs. Baird’s Bakeries and Butter what they claimed was a show of support for striking farmers, the bread makers The sheik of Floresville A wall plaque from a Jewish or ganization used to adorn John Connally’s Houston law office, praising the former Democrat and governor for his assistance in selling Israel bonds. Word is, however, that the plaque has come down. No doubt Connally’s passion for Israel’s cause burns in his breast as passionately as it ever did, but . . . well . .. business is business, after all, and Connally is a businessman, and Arabs, uh, have all this oil money to invest. Upshot: Connally and his law firm have taken up with the sheiks. The major relationship to date is with Saudi Arabian Sheik Ghaith Rashad Pharaon, a Harvard-educated, 37-year-old multi-millionaire investor who appears to be bullish on the Sunbelt. Over the last 12 months, with Connally’s law firm \(Vinson & Saudi businessman has made five major business investments in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Mobile and greater New Orleans. Last summer, Pharaon and another Saudi sheik, Khaled Bin Manfouz, joined Connally and his longtime crony, Frederick Erck, in cornering a controlling interest in the Main Bank of halted delivery of their products for a 24-hour period, from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 27-28. Farmers were skeptical of the move, largely because the loaf of bread \(which contains about three cents worth of mers’ gripe; too little of the consumer’s food dollar is making its way back to the farm. Too much of it, they say, is going to middlemen like the big baking concerns. They point out that bread prices, for example, are forecast to climb this year to the highest level since 1973, even though wheat growers are getting less than half of what they were paid five years ago for their harvests. Nonetheless, the protesters were grateful for the shutdown at the bakeries, taking it as a nice gesture. Imagine their surprise, however, when they learned the gesture was half-hearted at best neither Mrs. Baird’s nor Butter Krust makes full bread deliveries on Wednesdays anyway. Delivery crews get Sundays and Wednesdays off; skeleton crews only are available on those days for emergency runs should clients be sold out of bread. What’s more, neither Arye Topor Houston; Pharaon’s piece of the action came to 20 percent of the bank’s stock. Since that purchase, Connally has not been up front in any of the Saudi’s, deals, though his law firm has represented Pharaon in all of them \(Vinson & Elkins attorney Frank Van Court The sheik vaulted to national attention in December when he announced that he would buy at least 60 percent of the National Bank of Georgia, the financially troubled flag ship of Jimmy Carter’s former budget director, Bert Lance. Under attack and $6 million in debt, Lance got just what he wanted for Christmasa sugar daddy. The pending transaction caused such a press stir. that Connally was flushed out to vouch for client-partner Pharaon on national television. Banks are not the only Southern properties that Pharaon has picked up in recent months. Some time ago, he bought into the Sam P. Wallace Co., a Dallas building contracting firm that has a sizable Puerto Rican subsidiary; this fall Pharaon increased his holdings in the company to 38 percent of its stock. Next, the sheik, a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families, also has acquired a controlling share of International Systems, Inc., a Mobile, Ala., producer of modular housing. His latest deal, announced early this month by lawyer Van Court, is the purchase of half the stock of Ascantia, Inc., a New Orleans investment group that has just bought 32,000 acres of New Orleans-area swampland and a 50 percent share of the mineral rights that go with the tract. Vinson & Elkins has been in on all of this, and Sheik Pharaon’s buying spree is not over yet”He’s looking at a lot of things,” one informed source told the Observer. 10 JANUARY 20, 1978
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