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Quick Fact – Tainted v. Pure Money

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Selig Zoo archway


Gambler Tony Cornero Stralla offered to donate a day’s worth of revenue from his Southern California casino boat, the Rex, to Zoo Park at 3800 Mission Road in Los Angeles.

The attraction, then owned/operated by the California Zoological Society and formerly the Selig Zoo, was teetering on bankruptcy and its animals were facing starvation.

However, the group refused Cornero Stralla’s offer on the grounds it was “inadvisable to mix gambling with pennies contributed by school children” (Nevada State Journal, Oct. 14, 1938). Indeed, youths were donating what they could to save the zoo.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons/University of California—Los Angeles Library, Los Angeles Times photographic archive

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