Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Erik Davis Harp, former gambling kingpin and business partner with Jessica M. Garrison, is arrested on concealed-weapon charge near Panama City Beach

Erik Davis Harp
A man who was indicted as a ringleader in a Panama-based sports gambling ring--and once was a business associate of Alabama GOP operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison, was arrested recently in Florida.

Erik Davis Harp, 43, was arrested on March 15 near Panama City Beach, Florida, for carrying a concealed weapon (firearm). Harp has extensive ties to the University of Alabama.

Officers from the Bay County Sheriff's Office made the arrest, but it is not clear how they became aware that Harp was carrying a concealed gun. Our experience has shown that concealed-weapons charges often come after a traffic stop, with the weapon found when officers determine they have grounds to search the vehicle.

We do not yet have details on events leading to Harp's arrest. Aside from the circumstances, an obvious question or two hangs out there: Why would a man, who once helped lead a gambling ring that generated more than $20 million a month, be carrying a concealed weapon? Is this arrest a sign that Harp still is involved with activities connected to major crime families, with familiar names like Gambino and Genovese?

Harp has been a somewhat shadowy figure since coming to our attention in August 2013 after being among 30 people indicted in an investigation of illegal offshore sports gaming. Along the way, we learned that Harp and Jessica Garrison had been partners in Margaritaville LLC, which involves rental of a condominium in Orange Beach, Alabama. Harp spent a number of years in Tuscaloosa and is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he met Garrison and her ex husband, Tuscaloosa City School Board president Lee Garrison.

What has Harp been up to since smoke from the gambling case died down? That's hard to say. (The Queen's, New York, district attorney prosecuted the gambling case, and it remains unclear what, if any, punishment Harp received). Records from the weapons arrest show his address as 4000 Marriott Drive, Panama City Beach, Florida. That is home to the Marriott Legend's Edge at Bay Point.

So, Erik Harp lives full time at a Marriott Resort? That could be, but our Web research indicates he has, or did have, a number of far-flung business interests. They include:

(1) Colorado Gold and Precious Metals -- Harp is listed as the company's agent, and his address on the records is 1016 THOMAS DR. #177, Panama City Beach, FL, which is a UPS Store. The corporation appears to be affiliated with a company called Gold Rush Denver, which is at 1664 S. Broadway in the Mile High City. According to its Web site, Gold Rush has six locations in Colorado.

(2) Granite Peak Energy LLC (Dupont, WA) -- Scott Carino is listed as agent, with an address in Tacoma, Washington, and Harp is listed as manager. Records from the Washington Secretary of State show Harp's address as the UPS store in Panama City Beach. Carino also is affiliated with a family real-estate development firm called Carino and Associates.

(3) TAGG Holdings LLC -- Harp is listed as manager, with an address of the UPS store in Panama City Beach. The company started in February 2016, and Maudie Harp also is listed as a principal.

(4) Cani Investments LLC -- Harp is listed as registered agent, along with Elvia Harp. Like TAGG Holdings, this company formed in February 2016.

Speaking of investments, Harp has contributed financially to an entity that he apparently holds dear, and it's quite familiar to people across Alabama. More on that in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Oh, this makes Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange look so good. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the mugshot. What a handsome hunk of manhood!

Anonymous said...

He looks like he should be wearing a gold nugget chain and have his top buttons of his shirt unbuttoned. Maybe a cigar in hand. He looks like mob.

Anonymous said...

I don't live in Florida, so I'm not familiar with the law there, but in any Southern state, I think it would be easy for most people to get a pistol permit. So why was this guy carrying a weapon without a permit?

Hog Whisperer said...

Looks like Florida has pretty lax gun laws, as you might expect:

Florida is a "shall issue" state, and issues concealed carry licenses to both residents and non-residents. Florida recognizes licenses from any other state which recognizes Florida's license, provided the non-resident individual is a resident of the other state and is at least 21 years old[1] or may be under 21 if the applicant is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces.[2]

Florida is considered accommodating to guns, by national standards. There are 56 laws relating to owning, transporting, and using guns. Convicted felons have few rights to gun possession.[3]

Anonymous said...

This guy has to be in the dope business. No WAY he's not!

Anonymous said...

Erik once told me, in his best Brooklyn accent, "If I tell ya tomorrow's Easter, you can color your eggs tonight."

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he was on probation at the time?

legalschnauzer said...

I wondered the same thing, @1:55. Of course, one question would be: What was he on probation for? Also, what impact would this arrest have on possible probation. I still need to do some research on this story.

legalschnauzer said...

That's a great quote, @1:53. Thanks for sharing. I will have to remember that one.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't know about the dope business, @1:50, but I do know this: The gambling case was peculiar in the sense that (I'm pretty sure) such businesses are legal in Panama. And I don't think the prosecutors in Queens, NY, disputed that. They prosecuted, I believe, on the theory that gambling funds were being diverted to various forms of organized crime in NY. In other words, I think the theory was the money was obtained legally via operations in Panama, but was being used for illegal purposes in NY.

What form that organized crime took, remains unclear. But Gambino and Genovese families were mentioned in the original reports, so that hints at serious stuff.

Anonymous said...

Auburn fans should get a kick out of this. Harp is a big "Roll Tider."

Anonymous said...

This gambling ring brought in $20 million a month? Good Lawd! I'm sure none of that got stashed away off shore.

Any chance this money got hidden with the Panama Papers law firm?

Anonymous said...

Once you get involved with that kind of money, it becomes addicting, and you don't want to give it up. I suspect Mr. Harp still is involved in some highly lucrative activities that probably skirt the law.

e.a.f. said...

Certainly has a "look" about him.

Involved with Garrison you say? Gee does that surprise any of us readers?

Getting arrested in Florida on a gun charge, that is like having a "weed" store in Vancouver, B. C. and getting arrested. You have to wonder what the back story on this one is.

Perhaps this was just a charge to bring him into view on something else. :Looking forward to the rest of the story. This is so much better than T.V.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Birds of a feather flock together."

daelv said...

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