Maheu remembered as ‘gentle man’

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GT By staff | Robert Maheu, the man who once headed billionaire Howard Hughes’
Nevada operations, was characterized last Saturday as a kind, generous and
caring man, even though he once “wielded power beyond your
imagination.”

Mr. Maheu passed away last week in Las Vegas at the age of 90.
Funeral services were held at Saint Viator Catholic Church on Saturday.

In a eulogy delivered by longtime friend Joe Brown, Mr. Maheu
was remembered as a “loyal and faithful friend” as well as a man
dedicated to his family.

Bill Maheu remembered his dad as a doting father and
grandparent, always ready to assist those closest to him.

“He was the sounding board for the entire family,”
Bill Maheu said. “I am not only proud of what my dad accomplished, I am
proud of how he did it. He was a gentleman, and a gentle man.”

Mr. Maheu’s personal life was in stark contrast to his
professional career, which at times included the “cloak and dagger”
elements that defined his intriguing employer, Howard Hughes.

Robert Maheu grew up in Waterville, Maine, where he set out to
become a lawyer, but instead was recruited by the FBI to perform espionage work
during World War II.

After the war he founded a security investigation company. One
of his biggest clients was the CIA, which contracted Mr. Maheu to arrange for
the assassination of Fidel Castro, who overthrew the Cuban government in 1959.

The plot attempt failed and the CIA scrapped their plan after
the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

It was during this time that Mr. Maheu began consulting for
Hughes, and was later hired to his $500,000 a year position, even though the two
had never met in person.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Maheu said he “worked
for or against seven of the 10 richest men in the world,” in an early
interview with GamingToday. “There wasn’t a happy one in
the group,” he continued. “And my former boss was the poorest man I’ve
ever known.”

Poor in the sense that the price tag for success came too high.

“Success can be intoxicating and sometimes it becomes
difficult to breathe at such a high altitude.”

The result, Mr. Maheu pointed out, is often doing the
“wrong” thing, even inadvertently. “Sometimes you can lose sight
of what it takes to have a happy heart and peace of mind.”

As Howard Hughes right-hand man, Mr. Maheu experienced the
trappings of success, and its pitfalls.

“We had everything – private jets, helicopters, yachts,
unlimited expense accounts – everything. And we wielded power beyond your
imagination.

“We had the kind of power to be able to call up the Academy
Awards and request a last minute table; or call up the White House and request a
meeting with the president, and get it.

“It can be confusing; I never thought I misused my power,
but probably did inadvertently.”

After Mr. Maheu’s split with the Hughes company, he returned
to his security and consulting firm, and later wrote a book about the
“Tragic Downfall” of Hughes.

Mr. Maheu is survived by three sons, Peter, Bill and Robert; 10
grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.

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