Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jun 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Page: 2, Section B
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Colin Moynihan
YIPPIE VETERAN IS IN JAIL FAR FROM THE EAST VILLAGE
It has been more than 40 years since Dana Beal came to prominence as
a theoretician for the Youth International Party, known as the
Yippies, and embarked on a long career in the world of
Since 1973, Mr. Beal and other Yippies have used a brick tenement on
Bleecker Street, just west of the East Village, as a base for
planning large-scale events, including demonstrations at national
political conventions and worldwide marches calling for the
legalization of medical marijuana, among other causes.
But Mr. Beal, 61, was far from the national stage last week when he
found himself arrested on charges of money laundering in Mattoon,
Ill., about 170 miles south of Chicago. He is being held in a county
jail in nearby Charleston, awaiting an appearance before a judge on Thursday.
Ronald Tulin, a Charleston lawyer representing Mr. Beal, said that
the police found his client with a large sum of cash, which was
sniffed by police dogs.
"They're saying the money smelled like marijuana," Mr. Tulin said.
Mick McAvoy, the first assistant state's attorney for Coles County,
said that officers from the Mattoon Police Department arrived on June
3 at a restaurant to respond to a report that two women were fighting
inside. The police determined that the women were traveling with two
men, one of them Mr. Beal, in a van parked outside, he said.
Mr. McAvoy said witnesses told the police that Mr. Beal had placed
bags beneath nearby vehicles. Mr. McAvoy said the police found two
duffel bags containing more than $150,000 in cash. At that point, Mr.
McAvoy said, a drug-sniffing dog was brought in to smell the bags.
A spokeswoman for the Coles County sheriff said that Mr. Beal was
facing a charge of money laundering. He is being held in $250,000 bail.
A. J. Weberman, a fellow Yippie who helped to popularize the practice
of garbology (searching through trash for journalistic clues), said
Mr. Beal had told friends that he was traveling with cash because he
was planning to finance a clinic. Mr. Weberman said the clinic was to
study ibogaine, a derivative of an African shrub that researchers
have said can be used to counter addiction.
Mr. Beal is a longtime advocate of ibogaine, which he says produces a
trancelike state when ingested that lasts for hours and can be used
to interrupt addiction to heroin, nicotine and alcohol.
With a bushy white moustache that makes him resemble a Civil War-era
cavalry colonel, Mr. Beal is a well-known figure in the East Village,
where he often roams the streets wearing a tan corduroy blazer and
brown leather boots. Over the past several days, friends have been
sending e-mail messages and posting notes online, trying to raise bail money.
"I'm giving the whole Internet a shout out to raise money," said
David Peel, a Yippie and musician from the East Village. "We don't
want to see Dana Beal entrenched in jail."
Mr. Beal joined the Youth International Party shortly after it was
formed in the late 1960s. While Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were
widely recognized as Yippie leaders during the fractious days of the
Democratic National Convention in 1968, Mr. Beal emerged as one of
the most visible leaders among slightly younger group members who
called themselves Zippies.
Over the years, 9 Bleecker Street has served as a meeting place,
teach-in center and editorial office. Newspapers called The Yipster
Times and Overthrow have been published there. In 1981, a bomb was
detonated outside the front door, injuring two police officers. The
bomber was never arrested.
Lately, No. 9, as it is affectionately known, has experienced a
renaissance. Mr. Beal brokered an agreement in 2004 in which a
nonprofit partnership bought the building for just over $1 million
and allowed the Yippies to continue operating there. Since then Mr.
Beal has overseen renovations. The Yippies started a museum detailing
their history inside the building in 2007 and turned the ground floor
into a cafe and performance gallery.
John Penley, a photographer from the Lower East Side who knows Mr.
Beal, said that being in possession of money that smelled like
marijuana would not necessarily be an indication of guilt for
somebody involved in Mr. Beal's sort of advocacy work.
"He raises money from all over the world," Mr. Penley said of Mr.
Beal. "And a lot of it comes from potheads."