Law Office Report 44, August 8, 1978

[Editor’s note: This report also appears in Section 97, R-1 on Terri Buford on pages R-1C-6 – R-1C-6g.]

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Law Office Report #44 • August 8, 1978 • from June [Crym] • page 1

1. Reply papers filed by TOS [Timothy O. Stoen] in answer to our complaint filed our lawsuit against him: 3 copies attached. Answer to Complaint; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of TOS; Declaration of Steven Katsaris; Declaration of Janes Cobb; Declaration of Wade and Mabel Medlock; Exhibits including TOS resume sheet, Mendocino Co. Board of Directors Resolution of Commendation to TOS, Katsaris letter to lie detector agency; complete copy of Katsaris v. P.T. lawsuit with exhibits.

These were brought to court by Pat Hallinan on the day of the hearing of our order to show cause: Charles was in Marin County still in his murder trial so he had James Pesonen of his office appear in his place for this hearing. Leona, Tim Clancy and myself arrived at the courtroom about 9:25 AM; the judge called the calendar and Pesonen walked forward to present the case when our case came up. TOS and the Mertles were out in the hall and did not come into the courtroom. Neither did Hallinan. Pesonen talked with the judge and the judge granted the injunction against Stoen, but there was a temporary technical delay because in completing the summons which showed that Stoen had been personally served, I neglected to add that he had been served with the order to show cause. He had been served with it but the court had to have proof of that, and Pesonen explained to the judge that he would have the process server (Tom Adams) provide that proof, which would have been some declaration of some sort. The judge was satisfied, and said he would grant the injunction after shown proof that Stoen had been served with the order to show cause. Pesonen left the courtroom; Leona, Tim and myself hurried after him to catch up and find out what we had to do to connect Tom with Pesonen. We caught up with him around the corner and down a long hall, and stood talking with him there. We had our backs turned and as we were talking, someone walked up to me and said, these are for you June, and plunked down in my hand summons and complaints in the Medlock and Cobb suits. I turned around and saw a woman in a wig walking away; Leona later told me it was Deanna Mertle. So we rushed over to Garry’s office, primarily to get out of there in case they would want to serve anyone else. While we were in Garry’s office, waiting for Pesonen, the court called again and it turned out that after Pesonen and ourselves had left the courtroom, Hallinan came in discovering what had happened. He explained to the judge that he had been expecting Charles Garry and didn’t realize that Pesonen was appearing for us. He submitted Stoen’s papers in reply to our complaint and of course the judge revoked his prior judgment against Stoen, continuing the whole thing until September 7.

The next day we talked with Charles about the lawsuit. He wants: (1) Gene Chaikin to carefully go through the whole thing and submit his analysis immediately to Charles. (Charles demanded that everyone there who would ordinarily analyze the attached papers come to Georgetown and do it so he would get it back faster. We made our usual protests, but realized that he just doesn’t understand how things work with us, so we went on about our business, knowing full well that we would just send these on with the reports…)

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Law Office Report #44 • August 8, 1978 • from June [Crym] • page 2

1, continued

He wants (2) Maria [Katsaris] to come back for a week at the most to be in a deposition. A deposition would involve both Charles and counsel for Stoen, and they would ask her questions, much like a cross-examination at a trial. Also, since Stoen is attorney of record for Katsaris, I’m not sure which attorney would be asking her questions for the other side, Hallinan or Stoen. The deposition cannot be held in Guyana; because it has to be done for attorneys for both sides can be present, otherwise it is not admissible in court. He said, “I need that, is it possible to get it here in my office?” He would not need her in the next 2 or 3 weeks, but soon. He would not need her to stay for the duration, but he would want her to come for the deposition. (3) he wants us to go through the papers on this side and factually analyze which is true and which is not true; i.e., when Stoen says that JJ [Jim Jones] would testify such and such, etc. He wanted to know if what Stoen says in the Answer (see page 6) about Carol Stahl was true – if she went because her daughter was really sick or if she went because we wanted her out of her [here]; in other words, did we really trying to dupe him? We said no, it was not true what Stoen said, that she really went her for her daughter. He said, if it isn’t I want to know, you can tell me, but I just want to know it straight. The feeling is here, though, that if we really let him have it straight, he would take it emotionally, and it would lead further to the existing credibility breakdown that he feels with us on this side. (4) As far as needing affidavits etc., he says he doesn’t know what he wants yet. Hallinan’s memorandum of points and authorities (page 5) talks about lack of specifics or affidavits, but Charles said he isn’t ready yet, doesn’t know what he wants in the way of affidavits, he would only repeat over and over that he wants Maria to return for a week for a deposition. We reemphasized that we would like for him to travel to Guyana himself and get the straight story. We want him to do this because every time now that we go in there, he listens less and less to strategy from us. He resents being told what to do, and told us so yesterday. He more or less resides himself to it, but with that comes an attitude of aloofness – if we get in tourlble [trouble], he can always get himself out of it, etc. Sometimes he gets really interested and involved, but as our stories change from day to day, he pulls back. Leona thinks and I would tend to agree that if he goes, one of us should go with him, because when he comes back, there would be no way for us on this end to know what he was told there. He could always continue blowharding himself through and we wouldn’t know what he had been told by people over there. This should be seriously considered and soon, because even follow patches don’t do the trick. When JJ talked to him over the phone patch and we were in the office, he was reading his mail and talking to Pat [Richartz] over the phone patch. Leona told Pat to be quiet, but Pat continued to divert Charles’ attention from Jim’s words. Also the radio gets heavy qrm [ham radio term for “human-generated interference”] in the middle of a phone patch and Charles just turns his ears off. We are all very much aware over here (Leona, McElvane, Jean [Brown], Clancy and myself) that Pat plays a major part in diverting him from concentrating on our case; when she’s around, he treats us with much less respect, as if he constantly has to put on a show for her and put us down. We end up inevitably in

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Law Office Report #44 • August 8, 1978 • from June [Crym] • page 3

arguments over a standoff, particularly about Dewitt.

It is understood that he and we do not agree about handling Dewitt, but when Pat is there, he becomes extremely emotional about the matter; when she’s not, he’s more likely to resign himself to our decision.

After he read the TOS lawsuit answer, he said is clumsily done and that he thinks TOS did it and Hallinan just put his name on top. It is not Hallinan’s style or quality. Personally, we are not impressed with Charles’ style either, because if Hallinan has submitted his Answer a week or so before the hearing rather than at the last minute at the hearing, Pesonen would have had to argue the matter in court. Even if Pesonen had been able to continue it on the theory that Charles would be best equipped to take the hearing on, the papers that Charles has submitted up to now do not support anything; they are just the complaint and the order to show cause and memorandum in support of order to show cause, and Carol Stahl’s declaration, no more affidavits, no more written evidence. Also, in regard to the 3 lawsuits, we have no written specific evidence that shows us that TOS actually was involved in the legal advice i.e. telling Katsaris  to go to Guyana to avoid conservatorship/doing Medlock property transfer/being involved with Cobb. We have telephoned statements about the Katsaris  advice, but no court affidavits. We have nothing in our papers over here that shows TOS have any part in the Medlock property transaction. We would need an affidavit submitted in court because there are no escrow papers or notes or real estate committee notes, nothing that we can find after having gone through everything here that we have to look through, that shows that in writing TOS was involved with that property transfer. Since we have the burden of proof, we are going to have to produce something along the way. As far as Cobb – the only thing I have found so far is the attached brief note, which at the top is written COBB in [Terri] Buford’s handwriting. I showed this to Garry – he wants an explanation from Buford about when this was and what part TOS had in it. Right away. But what else is there, in writing? Of course, the next conclusion is that we don’t intend to pursue any of these, and that may be the case.

We have of course not told Charles any of this; and we have not and will not talk about not pursuing the thing, but if there are going to be any supporting declarations or affidavits, they better be produced from over there soon. That’s another reason we’d like for him to go over there, as soon as possible.

Re the allegation that radio instructions were that Carol was to go over, Charles wants to know how or where TOS would’ve gotten such information if it is not true, as we say it is not true. “I am going to have to find out where he got that information.” Especially since it’s obvious now that they’re intercepting our radio communications. Re Hallinan representing Stoen – this disturbs Charles, since he has some respect for Hallinan, and he wants to know how would Stoen convince Hallinan to represent, when the Hallinans were our friends.

[Note type in margin: “Note: we do have the lie detector tests, which are good, but not enough.”]

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Law Office Report #44 • August 8, 1978 • from June [Crym] • page 4

2. Today Leona and I brought Walter Duncan into Charles [‘] office for an interview and Walter told how TOS came over to his car when he was part of a bus stop in SF. TOS told him not to go to Guyana because his passport would be confiscated and he’d never get back; and the usual stuff – up to now Walter had told Leona he would think about it when she asked him to put it down in writing. But it turned out that Walter has been a friend of Jim Herndon, Charles’ partner, for 30 years, and that Walter knew Charles. So Charles [Walter] went readily again to see Charles, and Charles put on the sell job about the project that he always does, and very carefully explained about TOS. At the end, Walter agreed without hesitation to sign an affidavit, and a copy of it is attached to this report. Charles Hunter drawn up as part of the court action and he intends to file it. Therefore, he does not want any of it published. He stressed that over and over to me after Walter left – he does not want us to send it out to anyone – he does not want us to put it over the radio. In other words, he doesn’t want to educate the other side before he gets it in the court record.

3. Re the Medlock situation – possibility of indictment of Bedford: The trouble with Charles in this case is that he reacts from a defense position – he doesn’t realize the significance of an indictment of Bedford. He says that if Bedford does get indicted, Charles will ask Leo Branden to handle the case. He wants Branden because Branden is black, has the black community in his pocket, and is a good lawyer. But he doesn’t understand that we want to head off any indictment whatsoever. He does agree that Bedford should not go to the meeting between Finklestein and the other 2. But there is some hint that Charles may not intend to meet with Finklestein at all. We were meeting with Marshall Bentzman about other matters this week and he let slip that Charles was not going to meet with Finklestein, then backtracked and said maybe he wasn’t supposed to tell us that. But when we ask Charles about it, he just says he’s still in his murder trial, he has no intention of calling Finklestein till he gets out of his murder trial, and that’s that. I asked if it was possible that they could issue an indictment before this meeting is arranged; and Charles said yes.

We are in a double bind, because if Bedford should move out of LA for safekeeping, that leaves Vee and Florida to deal with the rest of LA, and they have told Leona that they would have to go with him because it would be impossible for them to deal with it.

Also, Charles definitely does not want Bedford to take a vacation; he realizes we are considering it and considered it himself for a time, but ended up wanting Bedford to stay despite the danger of indictment because he is needed for the lawsuit against TOS.

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Law Office Report #44 • August 8, 1978 • from June [Crym] • page 5

4. Re the Dotson’s – attached is a copy of write up by Pat when she was called up by the LA DA re the Medlock’s and the Dotsons. It is mainly on the Medlocks, and I think Martha has already sent you a copy of this. What I remember about the Dotsons is this: In 1976 sometime, maybe 1977, but I think 1976, in Los Angeles, Rheaviana and LA counselors but Mr. Dotson in a rest home, far away off someplace difficult to get to, like Pasadena. He was very sick. Mrs. Dotson lived in SF communally. She was very upset because it was not easy for her to get him to visit. Eventually after a lot of discussion, Mr. Dotson was removed from the rest home and brought up north to Mrs. Dotson. This was over a long period of time. He would come to service with her I sit in the front row, with a walker.

As far as property is concerned, in 1977 she turn in papers on property she has in Texas, a lot. Have no idea of what its value is, but since it was out-of-state in those cases of out-of-state property were always next to impossible to sell, nothing happened on it and we still have her papers on the property in a file.

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[Editor’s note: Handwritten note from Terri Buford]

– Re Cobb –

I still think it advisable to proceed. Person who does it should be unknown to subject and should try to disguise voice and speak to the point. Annie Moore probably good.

I don’t think that the authorities will go to all the trouble to make a voiceprint since nothing illegal involved.

It’s rare that such a “natural” opportunity will present itself.

Terri

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CHARLES R. GARRY, ESQ.
GARRY, DREYFUS, MCTERNAN, BROTSKY, HERNDON & PESONEN, INC.
1256 Market Street at Civic Center
San Francisco, California 94102
Telephone: 864-3131

Attorneys for Plaintiffs

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
IN AND FOR THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

PEOPLES TEMPLE OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, a nonprofit corporation, et al.
Plaintiffs,

vs.

TIMOTHY OLIVER STOEN,
Defendant.

No. 740531
Declaration of Walter Duncan, Jr.

Walter Duncan, Jr. declares as follows:

That I have known Timothy Oliver Stoen, known to me as Tim Stoen, for approximately nine years. I am not a member of the Peoples Temple.

On or about July 27, 1978, on Thursday, at 3 PM, I saw Tim Stoen waiting for a bus at Fourth Street  and Bryant while I was in my car with my son, Walter Tyrone Duncan, age 19. I waved at Tim Stoen and he came over to me and said the following:

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“I understand that you are going to visit Jonestown, Guyana, along with your wife, to visit your daughter there.” I said “yes, we are.” He then said, “don’t do it, because they will take your passport away from you and you will not be able to return.” Then he went on to say that “Jim is now a changed man, he’s really mean. He’s not what he used to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has had anybody killed their or had somebody killed.”

He then said “if Jim Jones was smart, then he would return John Stoen to me and then I would get off of his back.”

I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct. I made this declaration freely and voluntarily to attorney Charles R. Garry on Sunday, August 6, 1978, at the hour approximately 12:01 PM at 1256 Market St., San Francisco, California 94102.

/s/ Walter Duncan, Jr.
Walter Duncan, Jr.

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Phone call – Mr. Ramirez, DA’s office
213-974-3667
July 24, 1978, 11:00 AM

I spoke with Ramirez who indicated he wanted to talk with Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Datson, Verlina Hollins, Florida Johnson, concerning the possible crime committed by James MacElvane and James Jones – the crime being extortion. He said he couldn’t wait until you were through with your murder case in Marin and couldn’t you get a day or two recess so he could conduct his investigation in your presence. He said he would attempt to interview these people even though I had asked him not to and said those were your wishes. He said a Crime had been committed – when I pointed out to him there was only a possibility of a crime – he said he stood corrected. He said he has been receiving letters for a month from members of PT threatening him. I told him it couldn’t have been us since we didn’t even know he existed until Friday. He refused to tell me the contents of the letters or the names of those who had written – and said “I know they are members”. I asked him how he knew and he said he wasn’t under any obligation to reveal his investigation to me. He asked for the name of the case in Marin and for the name of the judge we were before. I told him if you could stop the trial he sure had a lot of power. He went into the whole crime thing again and I said I thought it was silly to think of asking clients to give information concerning other clients. he kept referring to the Temple as a business and not a church – the business being run by Mac and Jones. I kept saying you represented this church on some occasions and some individuals within the church on others. I told him he was really interfering in a Civil litigation pending in the LA courts and he said he wasn’t. I told him there was a countersuit filed against Stoen the Medlock’s attorney and he said it was of no concern of his – I was just confusing the issues of a commission of a crime. He indicated he would go ahead and I finally got him to promise to call you tonight at 6 PM. He said he would do so before he went ahead. He suggested that you call the office and talk to just anyone on duty. I said does this mean the entire staff is aware of this case and he said “okay, I will call him.”

Clients notified not to speak to anyone through Jean Brown.

[Photocopy of business card of S. J. Ramirez]

[Pages B5b(2a) – (2i) duplicate B5b(1a) – (1i)]

Originally posted on March 23rd, 2021.

Last modified on March 28th, 2022.
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