Long John Silvers, one of the most well known fast-food seafood restaurants in America. However, well known doesn’t mean well-off. Let me ask you something, do you live near a Long John Silver’s? If so, when was the last time you’ve seen a busy Long John Silver’s? It’s probably been awhile, if ever, right? In fact, maybe recently you’ve noticed them close doors?
I’m telling you; it’s all connected. Allow me to explain.
August 18th, 1969. It’s a beautiful day in Lexington, Kentucky. Especially for Jim Patterson, who just opened up his brand-new seafood restaurant: Long John Silvers. This restaurant was ole’ Jim’s dream. His own business, owned, managed and created all by him. He was excited (who wouldn’t be?) to open his doors for business… Unfortunately for Jim, Long John Silvers would grow to be somewhat popular but would never quite take off. Even today, the original location is no longer standing and is now a hair salon. So how did Jim Patterson keep his doors open?
The Founding of the Cornbread Mafia:
The 40’s and 50’s were a wonderful time to be a moonshiner in the Southern states. The second Great War was over, and profits were booming. This was especially true for John “Johnny” Robert Boone, a moonshiner in the BlueGrass Hills of Kentucky. He was raking in profits hand-over-fist.
But it wasn’t enough.
Sometime in the late 1960’s, Johnny Boone decided he wanted to get into the Marijuana Business. So he and his buddies started growing plants and selling them to the locals. His grass ended up being more of a hit than he ever thought it would be. Thus, the Cornbread Mafia was born. Selling weed across Kentucky and operating in the Marion, Nelson, McCreery and Washington Counties, Johnny and his buddies were living the high life. However, not everything can be accounted for. As their profits grew, so did their problems. They couldn’t simply spend the money without raising suspicion. They needed some place to launder their money, make it clean so they could spend it without the police or IRS hunting them down.
Ever heard the phrase, “Don’t shit where you eat.” ? Well, Johnny Boone certainly had. He knew he had to launder their money, but he couldn’t risk doing it so close to his home operations. This was when he had learned about Long John Silvers: A newly opened seafood restaurant just one county over in Lexington City. Plus, it had the name John in it, what more could he want? So big Johnny Boone and his gang made the trek to Lexington to convince Ole’ Jim to be their money launderer. Honestly, why would he say no? It’s a win-win. Jim gets to keep his business running and make some extra cash, while Johnny and the Cornbread Mafia get to spend their hard-earned cash. With the agreement in place, both gangs entered the 70’s with optimistic hope.
The hope was well placed, it would seem. The 70’s were great for both: The Cornbread Mafia grew in size and scale, with Johnny becoming known as the “King of Pot” and the “Godfather of Grass”. They began to expand across the United States to increase their profits. This, of course, meant that LJS’s had to expand as well, in order to accommodate the much larger Empire that Johnny was growing. Things were looking great, until the 1990’s.
Johnny Boone and many of his colleagues were busted from 1987-1991 for their operation after many years of hard work by the FBI. This, however, would not stop the Cornbread Mafia, or Long John Silvers (but it would stop LJS’s parent company, Jerrico, who went under in 1999). With Boone behind bars but frustratingly silent about his operations, the Mafia was allowed to continue, albeit now they had to be much more discreet in their operations. And they continued om, using Long John Silvers as their launderer well into the present day.
Remember how I mentioned that Long John Silvers wasn’t popular when it opened? Yea so it was actually never popular. Like ever. Ever. That remained true and remains true today. It’s never especially busy but remains open and running against all odds… …until recently… You may have noticed that many Long John Silvers are closing and shuttering their doors. Maybe their unpopularness has finally caught up with them and their luck has run out? Well yes, but actually no. Many states in the past decade have begun to decriminalize Marijuana and even go so far as selling it at dispensaries. Since people can now buy grass legally, the Cornbread Mafia and their operations have begun to diminish, taking Long John Silvers with them. As they lose more and more money to legal marijuana, they have less and less to give to LJS to keep their doors up and open. Which is why there are less and less of them around nowadays. It’s all too perfect. The dates, timelines and data all match up perfectly to show that Long Jophn Silvers is, indeed, a money laundering scheme for the Cornbread Mafia of Kentucky.
“But Thawsan,” you ask me, “How does this connect to AIDS?” To which I answer: Wonderful question! See, AIDS was a growing concern in the 80’s as more and more gay men died of the horrible disease. However, Heroin addicts were also dying! Why was this? Well as you may know, they contracted the disease because they would share their drug needles. Heroin is a very dangerous drug, both to people and to the Cornbread’s profits. So it was in their interest for it to die out.
They pushed out the huge campaign, spreading the fact that Heroin gave people AIDS, which prompted many addicts and users to quit. However, they still had to get their fix. This is where the Cornbread step in. I’m sure you can piece together the rest.
Long John Silvers is a money laundering operation for the Cornbread Mafia, which is still operating despite the ringleader being in jail. However, as Marijuana is legalized more and more, their operations generate less and less profit.