Don King's ties to organized crime date back to adolescence when he worked as a numbers runner in the Cleveland projects. His associations became a bit more devious in '91 when Sports Illustrated reported his ties to John Gotti and Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello. The article also alleged that King bribed a Cleveland judge to have his '66 second-degree murder conviction reduced to manslaughter.
According to SI, an undercover F.B.I. agent posed as a wealthy drug dealer, approached King with the hopes of laundering money through his boxing promotion company. In their first meeting, he was ushered into King's office by a capo in the Colombo crime family. The agent later met with a member of the Genovese family who said of King,"[he's] with us." King was later indicted for tax evasion but, once again, skated the charges.