Law Office Report 46, August 8, 1978

[Editor’s note: There are three copies of the following Law Office report. Since the third copy has annotations, it is the one that has been transcribed. The first two copies have the same original text, but without annotations.]


Law Office Report #46
August [8], 1978
from June [Crym]
page 1

  1. Apostolic Corp. – We had received the notice from the Franchise Tax Board asking about 1977 tax return, and Mildred said talk to [attorney Marshall] Bentzman about it. He said: he recommends that the president of the corporation close the bank accounts, withdraw the $, and dissolved the corporation formally. He said that the 1977 income tax return should be filed. There might be a qualified allowable excuse for the delay in that the records are not here. But he says this should not be neglected – it should be result and taken care of soon. He said we should anticipate an IRS inquiry also, like the Franchise Tax Board notice, since no tax returns were filed. There is a double penalty – for not filing, which is the stiffer one; and for not paying tax. In the mail this week from Maria in Georgetown I received back checks we get sent over for endorsement which are refunds from US Treasury and Franchise Tax Board – copies attached – with the note that a letter needs to be written asking that these checks be reissued in the name of the president of the corporation, because it has been dissolved, and include the corporate resolution. That’s fine and dandy, but there is no corporate resolution, and if there were one, it would have to be drawn up over there since the corporate officers are over there. As far as considering the solution, Sarah and Chet studied this for weeks last year. As far as filing the 1977 return, you have all the records over there, so someone over there is going to have to deal with this. [Annotation in form of handwritten marginal note by Eugene Chaikin: “We filed a ‘first & final’ return iun 1976, did no business in 1977. The corp has not functioned since spring 1976. Tell B[entzman] that & see what he says.”] [Annotation on checks at B56(8e), likely by Harriet Tropp: “A letter needs to be written asking that these checks be reissued in the name of the president of the corporation because it has been dissolved. Include corp. resolution.”] [Editor’s note: See pages B5b(8e) – (8j) on PDF for paperwork related to this item.]
  2. Air compressor suit – attached is copy of complaint filed against Peoples Temple by Snyder. Bentzman is having law student research the complaint to see if it’s worth our time and investment re fighting back. He thinks $1000 in legal fees is a longshot and estimates not more than $500. Snyder’s attorney called Charles Garry, who told him that Bentzman would accept service for us and asked that he send Bentzman the papers. Bentzman is holding the complaint and acknowledgment of service, and will not accept service until he is sure that it is worth pursuing. Once he accepts service, that sets the time running; if he finds it is not worth pursuing legally, and he doesn’t accept service and we instead ignore and let Snyder have the compressor, then we don’t get stuck with paying Snyder’s legal fees. So says Bentzman. [Annotation in form of handwritten marginal note by Eugene Chaikin: “O.K.”] [Editor’s note: See pages B5b(8k) – (8o4) on PDF for paperwork related to this item.]
  3. Willits fuel tank – it occurs to me, and I bet you have probably been trying to tell us this – even if Peters tried to sue for the contract $ – who would he sue? The tanks along to Danny Kutulas. [Annotation by Eugene Chaikin: “Right!”] The payments stopped on the rental when Danny went overseas. There is no proof that we own the tanks; we never did, they were always owned by Danny. The assignment from Danny to Janaros was never finalized so for public record, Danny is the owner. PR wise, we come out rotten, but we don’t have to pay anything. Peters is stuck with the tanks. I would agree that we should leave this one alone for good. [Annotation under paragraph by Eugene Chaikin: “Good!” Additional note by Harriet Tropp “Hooray!”]


Law Office report #46
August 8, 1978
from June
page 2

  1. Janaro/ranch tax audit – Bentzman recommends that Claire put in writing in a letter to Franchise Tax Board that her husband who deals with the bookwork is out of the country, that he has the records and is working on putting them together, and they want any further information, shifting forward their questions on to him in the mail. She should request some more months extension of time to get the stuff together. This will be done. The question is, is Richard or Harold or someone working on this??? Are we going to get anything back? It’s been months now with no explanation. [Annotation in form of handwritten marginal note by Eugene Chaikin: “See Tish [Leroy]”; additional note by Harriet Tropp: “Could you please send the original records not the copies”]
  2. IRS audit of PT – Bentzman has received nothing further from them. He will continue to send in his monthly letters itemizing PT harassment. He plans to write FCC on our behalf under FOIA looking into Senator Goldwater inquiry – he thinks that attorney writing for us would get better results than we writing as individuals. We gave him the attached affidavit of Tom and Hattie as evidence of the post office stopping our mail. [Editor’s note: See pages B5b(q) – (q1) below for affidavit.]
  3. Attached is a report written by Bonnie Beck last week concerning the status of selling RWV [Redwood Valley] properties. No. 1 and 2 concern the church and parsonage; no. 3 is the ranch. The whole thing speaks for itself. [Editor’s note: See pages B5b(p) below for report.]

[Second] 6. Attached is copy of letter I sent to Henry Gross, attorney for Washington Sanders’ nephew, who said he would do court appearance and paperwork for us to terminate conservatorship of Washington. We figure will send the bill to the nephew. After Washington’s overseas, of course.

  1. Attached is copy of letter received from Press Democrat lawyer asking for extension of time in which to print retraction. The time’s up; they have not printed retraction yet. They did print an article but it was not on the editorial page and it was not in retraction of the first – it was sort of a disclaimer of the reward advertisement we ran in the paper. Charles told us today he had heard nothing further from PD; he would not call them till next week. He said he would call their attorneys then if no article yet.
  2. Attached is copy of letter sent to Skip Roberts asking for details re investigation to be sent to Charles. He had me sign it for him.
  3. Attached is copy of Charles’ letter to [Guyana minister Vibert] Mingo re Gordon Lindsay. You may already have a copy; I’m sending just in case.
  4. Attached is copy of telegram sent by Charles last week to LA District Attorney. Instructions received over radio tonight to send another one.
  5. Jewel Runnels and Jossie Chamblis, communal seniors, received notices and applications for food stamps. The policy up to now has been not to take food stamps. Should this be changed? I would say no, [Annotation by Eugene Chaikin: word circled, initial E.] myself, since we supply all of their food, and Jossie is extremely difficult person to deal with, as far as what she tells people. Jewel would not be so difficult, but in terms of time, I don’t think it would be worth the hassle with welfare. James would like an answer on this.


Law Office Report #46
August 8, 1978
from June
page 3

  1. Frank Garcia, Avis’s brother, gets out of jail this month, and will be on parole. He plans to stay with his mother in LA till he can arrange to be transferred to SF and stay with a member here. Avis should write to him.
  2. Vincent Lopez – I received the affidavit from Chet, but 8R1 [ham radio] had not notarized it. So it has to be returned to 8R1 and hopefully they will notarize it and return it to me. The hearing is September 20. Herndon will need to have it well before that so that he can submit it to the court. [Annotation under paragraph by Eugene Chaikin: “get copy to H[arriet] for approval”]
  3. Attached is an interesting article about Don Warden, attorney for the Oliver parents. In this past Sunday’s Examiner.
  4. Ulich and Berneda Richmond, see law office report #32, item 3, for reference. Last week Ulich came by the church late at night and left a letter, which says: “will you please help us; we need your help bad; Friday 7/21/78 the American Savings and Loan Co. will foreclose on our house. We give to the cause this home when Father was here in the body. But he told the board last night to let us stay in it. We paid the Note every month until 2/1/78 and we couldn’t pay because we lost our business. Enclosed you will find the letter Hud’s [likely, Housing and Urban Development] turned us down and American Savings called this morning and told us they had got this same letter from Hud, and give us until Friday to have the back notes or they will foreclose. Father told us before he left soon as he sell that place him and the family would loan us $4000, but we would be happy if you all just loan us $1254.97. That will pay the late charges too…” This is the first any of us here have heard mention of any promise of $4000. [Annotation under paragraph by Harriet Tropp: “We never did”; note by Eugene Chaikin: “I don’tknow what to do with them”; note by Harriet “They’ll probably sue us.”]
  5. When we talked to Charles about transferring title on properties to his firm’s name, (see law office report #35, item 9), he asked for the attached agreement to be drawn up. Later the decision was not to put the property in the firm’s name, and he said he would not be necessary to draw up the agreement. But later after that when we again got directions to talk about putting property in his name, (the ranch), he said he didn’t want any deeds tying up the property in his firm’s name because they didn’t want to tangle with capital gains tax, and instead he would only take a promissory note and mortgage. Following is the wording of the agreement that he proposed in the first place, which we figure he will want again if we push for putting the property in firm name. We didn’t press it yet because obviously we want to record the deed in his firm name to escape the threat of attachment. “This agreement for employment between GDB… and Peoples Temple it is for the purpose of securing the heavy deluge of legal work. It is contemplated that fees will be in excess of $400,000. It is necessary that these completed fees be secured. Therefore, PT agrees the mortgage or give security of the above amount.” [Annotation under paragraph by Eugene Chaikin: “I don’t like this! E.”]


Law Office Report #46
August 8, 1978
from June
page 4

  1. James and Irene Edwards, refund from SF Water Department – please have both of them sign the attached original letter from the Water Department and return it to us as soon as possible in the mail.
  2. Richard Parr & Donna Stanfield – about 2 weeks ago Richard Parr asked me if people ask for their deeds back, do we return them? Considering the source, I said, yes, of course. This week he came to me and asked for his deed back and Donna Stanfield’s; then he had Donna Stanfield come to me and asked for her. deed back personally. We stalled for a couple of days. I had no problem with returning his; he had given us a deed written in handwriting, with no property description, no date and no notary, and it was written by him. So he was being returned his own rough draft deed. But Donna Stanfield’s deed was an official grant deed, notarized by James, in which she deeded her property over to Peoples Temple and named the grantee and the grantor. It was never recorded, and I didn’t want to give it to her now because she could always take it in and record it and we would be stuck with her property, which is in Moss Beach. But then Mildred suggested we talk to Charles. Well, Charles doesn’t like to deal with small stuff like this so I asked Bentzman, who suggested I just line through the deed where it says PT and write VOID on the face of the deed – no recorder’s office would accept it that way. Simple… So I did it and returned both to Parr. Don’t know why Parr wants his papers back; he also asked for and received his passport last week from James. I talk to Mrs. Stanfield; it turned out she had already sold her house anyway.

[Editor’s note: Pages B5b(8e) – (8j) relate to Item 1 in report.]

[Editor’s note: Pages B5b(8k) – (8o4) relate to Item 2 in report.]


[Editor’s note: Report referenced in item 6 in report.]


RE: Status on selling of RV properties

FROM: Bonnie

#1 and #2 are comments made to me from Bill Haycock, the realtor, on several occasions over the past few months. He also made the comments in front of Mac [Jim McElvane], Claire [Janaro], etc.

#1. There is a deed restriction on the church property stating that it cannot be used for any profit-making venture. Thus the doctors who are interested in buying it for a health club-spa could not, etc., etc.

Bill asked why with all the lawyers and real estate people we had, we had not gotten rid of the deed restriction before we sold off the other properties in the subdivision (Rita’s, the Annex, the lots, etc.). He said that we would have needed only one more non-PT signature to get it off the books then and that would have enabled us to sell the land for whatever we wanted. I told him that TOS [Tim Stoen] had talked about the deed restriction and that he said he would take care of it. But obviously he never did. [Additional handwritten note: “a strategy idea – not for [illegible word], actually never happened”]

Bill did go to at least one of the present owners of land in that subdivision to see if he would sign to get rid of the restriction. The owner said no, that he didn’t care but he did not want his neighbors upset with him. Bill is pessimistic about the others signing. I am guessing that since Bill wants the commission money, he would have pursued it further if he thought it would have worked. But, I also do not know what Mac told him to do about it. (See below for explanation re deed restriction, signatures, etc.

#2. Bill stated there is a 40 foot right-of-way requirement now on the books that we would have to provide for the parsonage if we do a lot split. He said that we would have to buy land from the guy who owns what was Rita’s place, and if the guys would sell, it would cost about $7000. Again he made reference to why we hadn’t done something about it before, i.e. not deciding that land needed when we sold the place, etc.

#3. On the recent ranch deal with the Carringtons, Mac called Bill at 2 AM with the counter-offer. Bill talked with the Carringtons 5 times by 10 AM. He told Claire that Carringtons refused our offer and were not going to counter back. He then, without consultation, approval, etc. asked Carrington to resubmit at the original 230,000. To me this is not only bad business to go on your own and not check with your client, but it is also downright stupid to ask him to resubmit less than 8 hrs after the original counter was made to him. Shows us in a weak position of wanting to sell, etc., etc. Also could wreck any strategy that involved us waiting him out, etc.

Estimation of deed restriction bit:

  1. When the original subdivision was made, the owners of the entire land stated in the deeds that none of the lots could be used for profit-making ventures.
  2. To get rid of that restriction, according to Haycock, simply needed a majority of the current owners of the lots to say that they wanted it off their deeds.
  3. The point was that at one time we owned enough of the lots that we would only have needed one more person to agree with us to get rid of the restriction (I am guessing that since we had 5 lots in the subdivision, there are a total of ten lots).
  4. But now, we own only one lot and will need five more non-PT people/owners to sign.

B5b(8q) – (8q1)

[Editor’s note: Affidavit referenced in item 5 in report.]


State of California
City and County of San Francisco

Tom Adams and Hattie Newell, being duly sworn, hereby depose and say:

On July 18, 1978 around 1:30 PM we went to the Station A branch of the US Post Office, located at Steiner Street off Geary Blvd. in San Francisco, California.

We talk with Mrs. Evelyn Cameron, a postal clerk in the station. When we identified ourselves as members of Peoples Temple, she told us “you guys (meaning Peoples Temple) were investigated by every agency there was,” namely the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; the California Department of Motor Vehicles; the Sonoma County Postal Inspector, and others. She explained that when she came to that branch in October 1977 to begin work, her supervisor mapped out “a whole special procedure” required in handling Peoples Temple mail. She told us that at that time she complained to the supervisor that this wasn’t right. She said she was from New York and she believes in privacy, and that people’s business is their own. She had wanted to transfer mail from certain post office boxes at the station which she knew were inactive and formerly rented by Peoples Temple members (PO Box 15384, in the name of Maria Katsaris and also used by Rev. Jim Jones and Mrs. Marceline Jones; and PO Box 15247, used by Mary Black), to an active Peoples Temple post office box, so that the Temple members would continue to receive their mail that had been directed to the formerly active boxes. Her supervisor, she said, prohibited her from doing so, telling her that it was against regulations, that regulations would not allow transferring mail from one post office box to another because a mail recipient might not want his or her name traced. Mrs. Cameron in this instance was speaking specifically of mail that came addressed two Rev. Jim Jones, Mrs. Marceline Jones, Peoples Temple Christian Church, Maria Katsaris (then church financial secretary), and a church member by the name of Mary Black. Mrs. Cameron told us that she complained to the supervisor about the procedure at the time because she did not like returning all the mail which wasn’t too good for the church and its pastor. She told us that it is the duty and trust of the US government to keep people’s business off the streets.

She said that when she first came to work there in October 1977, the California Department of Motor Vehicles had been investigating Peoples Temple, because it was said many different people were transferring their cars into Eugene B. Chaikin’s name.

[Page 2 of affidavit]

If a person handled a certain number of cars per month, it was her understanding, he would be required by law to have a dealership license. She also told us that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare had directed the employees at Station A not to send any HEW checks which were to be forwarded to Guyana, South America, but to return them to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Executed this [blank space] day of July, 1978 at San Francisco, California.

/s/ Hattie Newell
/s/ Elton R. Adams

Subscribed and sworn to before me, a Notary Public in and for said State.

Christine Kice
[notary seal]


[Editor’s note: Letter referenced in item 6 (second time) in report.]

Eugene Chaikin, Attorney-at-Law
Post Office Box 15156
San Francisco, California 94115
Phone 415 931-9107

July 31, 1978

Mr. Henry Gross
68 Post
San Francisco, California

Re: Conservatorship of Washington Sanders

Dear Mr. Gross:

This confirms our telephone conversation of Friday, July 28, 1978 concerning the conservatorship of Mr. Washington Sanders.

Enclosed is the First and Final Account and Report of the conservator, David Garrison, which he has signed and Mr. Chaikin has also approved and signed. Mr. Chaikin is presently out of the country and unable to handle the court appearance in this action.

Since Mr. Sanders has expressed a will to travel to the agricultural project in Guyana, South America, and since his present conservator will remain in the States for some time to come to handle business affairs, in considering the fact that Mr. Sanders’s estate is minimal, consisting of Veterans Administration benefits of $10 per month and SSA of $296 per month, we would agree with your suggestion that the conservatorship be terminated, on the grounds that Mr. Sanders will soon be residing out of the country out of the court’s jurisdiction.

If you need any further papers to proceed with the termination, please contact me; I am available during the day at 781-5500. Since Mr. Sanders receives Veterans’ benefits, the Veterans Administration will need to be included in the notices. No inventory and appraisement has ever been filed in this action; I’m not sure if that is still required at this late date, but if there is any additional paperwork I can help with, please let me know.

Mr. Sanders is doing very well; his needs are always well taken care of and he is looking forward to his trip. Enclosed for your own information is some material about the agricultural project, which is regarded not only as an exciting work project for young people but also an ideal retirement spot for seniors. I’m sure Charles [Garry] can feel you can on the wonders of the place, as he traveled there last year and has not yet stopped talking about it.

Thank you very much for your help.

/s/ June Crym
June Crym, Secretary for Eugene Chaikin

B5b(8s) – (8t)

[Editor’s note: Letter and article referenced in item 7 in report.]

[Letterhead for law firm of Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleston & Tatum, San Francisco]

July 27, 1978

Charles R. Garry, Esq.
Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan, Brotsky, Herndon & Pesonen, Inc.
1256 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94102

Dear Mr. Garry:

This letter will serve to confirm my oral advice to your office on June 25 that this office represents The Santa Rosa Press Democrat with respect to your demand for retraction and apology, and any other matters which were the subject of your letter directed to the client under date of July 3, 1978.

This will also confirm our conversation of June 24 and your agreement to extend the time within which The Santa Rosa Press Democrat must reply to your demand for retraction as set forth in Civil Code section 48 (a) (2). We understand that, pursuant to your extension of seven days, we have to and including Wednesday, August 2, 1978, to comply with the provisions of the section cited above.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Joseph P. Russoniello
Joseph P. Russoniello

[Article from Santa Rosa Press Democrat of August 1, 1978, appears as B5b(8t)


[Editor’s note: Letter referenced in item 8 in report.]

[Letterhead for law firm of Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan, Brotsky, Herndon & Pesonen, Inc., San Francisco]

July 29, 1978

Mr. Skip Roberts
Director of Criminal Investigation
c/o Police Headquarters
Eve Leary
Kingston, Georgetown
Guyana, South America

Dear Mr. Roberts:

I am attorney for Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ in the United States. My client has informed me that your office is conducting an investigation enter the complaints filed regarding Deborah Layton a.k.a. Deborah Blakey.

I would appreciate your sharing with me the current status of the case, in order that I might discuss its ramifications with my clients here. You may check with Maria Katsaris, Tim Carter or Debbie Touchette at the Peoples Temple headquarters in Georgetown, phone #71924, for verification. Thank you for any assistance you might provide.

/s/ Charles R. Garry
Charles R. Garry


[Editor’s note: Letter referenced in item 9 in report.]

[Letterhead for law firm of Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan, Brotsky, Herndon & Pesonen, Inc., San Francisco]

July 19, 1978

Honorable Minister of Home Affairs
Vibert Mingo
Public Buildings
Brickdam, Georgetown
South America

Re: Gordon Lindsay – Bureau Chief
Los Angeles News Agency
8273 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90046

Dear Minister Mingo:

As you perhaps know, I am counsel for the People’s Temple, and I understand that you are interested in information that I obtained through the statements made to me by Mr. Lindsay that he was in a plane that had a reconnaissance over Jonestown, which is in the Northwest region of Guyana. He told me that he was able to see all of the projects in detail by virtue of the fact that he flew over Jonestown.

Since he did not tell me that he was telling this to me in confidence, I feel free to be able to transmit this information to you. I do not have any further information regarding this matter. However, if you feel that the matter should be further delved into, you are free to use the address that I have indicated about to make further communications.

On behalf of my clients I want to thank you for all the courtesies that have been extended to them, and if there is anything further that you wish for me, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Charles R. Garry
Charles R. Garry


[Editor’s note: Teletype referenced in item 10 in report.]

[Mailgram for law firm of Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan, Brotsky, Herndon & Pesonen, Inc., San Francisco]

This mailgram is a confirmation copy of the following message:

John K. Van De Kamp, District Attorney, Los Angeles County
Attn S. J. Ramirez
210 West Temple St
Los Angeles CA

I tried to get you at 640 I am in a murder trial and I will call you when I have a breather my clients are highly indignant and denied any complicity.

Charles R. Garry
1256 Market St San Francisco, CA 94102

B5b(8x) (8 pages)

[Editor’s note: Article referenced in item 14 in report.]

B5b(8y) – (8y2)

[Editor’s note: Article referenced in item 17 in report.]

[Letterhead of San Francisco Water Department]

June 16, 1978

Name: James Edwards
Address: 2708 21st St.
City: San Francisco, CA 94110
Re: A/C # 052-3310-2
Serv. Add. 2708 21st St.

Our records show a credit from your closed account for service to the above address.

If you will confirm your present mailing address by signing and returning this letter, we will transfer the credit to your open account, if you have one, or we will be pleased to send you a check.

Very truly yours,
San Francisco Water Department
Consumer Accounts

[Editor’s note: B5b(6a) – (6y) Duplicates B5b(8a) – (8y)]

[Editor’s note: B5b(7a) – (7y) Duplicates B5b(8a) – (8y)]