Law Office Report 53, October 12, 1978


Law Office Report #53
October 12, 1978
from June [Crym]
page 3

II. Things for [crossed out name] Maria/ [circled name] Carolyn

1. Maria – in the stuff I brought back was the attached [Editor’s note: handwritten annotation: “separately attached an envelope personal to Maria”] – the rough of your affidavit. I am hoping that this was typed in final but I can’t remember so I am sending it back just in case it has to be done again. Also found the affidavit that I had typed originally from your notes that you sent us long ago; and returning that with this report in envelope – have Sarah [Harriet Tropp] and [Eugene] Chaikin go over it to see if it’s relevant and do what you have to with it. [Editor’s note: paragraph lined through, with the notation “out of date”]

2. Maria – these are notes from the discussions we had on the lawsuits which you can discuss with Sarah and Chaikin and whoever else – these are things that need to be done: Edwin Luckoo [Edward Luckhoo, Guyanese lawyer] affidavit (if possible) re being present at a meeting of Steve Katsaris w/ you; Carolyn Layton affidavit re what she talked to Steve Katsaris about when he came to visit Maria, something about the church had encouraged Maria to see him; please make a duplicate of the tape that Paula [Adams] played to [US Embassy official Richard] McCoy of Maria’s message to Steve Katsaris. These things need to be sent back to us, but I’m not sure how now that everyone has come back and the only way left is by mail… We had been expecting the affidavits to come back by way of Frances Johnson, but she left early and now we are stuck with no affidavits and court hearings coming up this month!

3. Attached is a copy of Answer to Complaint filed by our attorney [Marshall] Bentzman in the air compressor lawsuit. [Editor’s note: handwritten annotation: “Also see interrogatories sent us by plaintiff Snyder”; Court documents included at pages B5b(18b) – (18d3)]

4. I am not sure if I left a copy of this with you, attached is transcript of meeting between [Temple attorney] Charles Garry, Vee [Hollins], Florida [Johnson], Archie [Ijames], [Jim] McElvane re Medlock suit. This was in August. The significance of this is what people on this end told Charles about what happened in the session with the Medlocks and what they thought was said by Robert.

5. [Number circled] – Frank Garcia – he is Avis Garcia’s and Cleveland’s brother. He is now out of jail after having been in for about 3 years. He is on probation for 2 years. He got a job, is living in Los Angeles with his mother. He has written many times while in jail, and keeps contact now. He was cleared to come back to service. C.J. [Charles Johnson] and McElvane both say that Frank has a good attitude. He wants to transfer his probation to San Francisco where he can be closer to the church, and he wants to go overseas.

a. Can we work on getting his probation transferred to Guyana?
b. Meanwhile we can write to his p.o. [probation officer] and try to transfer him to San Francisco, where he could work on the crew with Archie if he couldn’t go over soon.

His stepdad is Richard Clark, who is overseas already.


Law Office Report #53
October 12, 1978
from June
page 4

II. Things for Maria/Carolyn

6. [Number circled] Percy Darden – attached is a copy of a letter that his probation officer in SF got which says that he has been granted by the court permission to go to South America but denied request for early termination of probation. Earlier this year Sandy [Bradshaw] and Hue [Fortson] met with his probation officer to try to get consideration of Percy going overseas on probation or getting his probation time cut. This was when Mary Darden, his companion, would not go overseas unless Percy went with her, and we had already 2 of her children overseas. After Hue and Sandy met with the p.o., Percy left the church for a while and disappeared in LA. Then he came back but Mary Darden still would not go over – till she got sick, had surgery, and finally was convinced to go over. Now Percy has brought this letter in, which, after talking with him, I find out that the judge added another technicality: he can go overseas to S.A. For one year. Percy says that doesn’t matter because his probation will be up in April 1979. I told him to get approved in writing from his probation officer that his probation will be up in April 1979 so we know what we’re dealing with. [Editor’s note: Letter included at B5b(18f)

Meanwhile I am writing this up so you know what may be coming up soon. He wants to go over now, because Mary’s over there. He still has not volunteered to help Archie, and when I asked him if he ever has time to help with the crating, he evaded it by saying his p.o. pressed him to get a job instead. Well he has not got a job until this week [handwritten insertion: “Oct 3], and all this past time he has not helped Archie. He has a job now, roofing, and asked me who to turn his money in to, so we shall wait and see. My personal recommendation would be not to press on his going over till we see him prove himself here – there’s no promise that he would shape up over there either. He’s a friend of David Gainous. Percy and Mary are not married. His probation officer is not pressing for him to go to S.A. either; she told him just to tell her when he gets ready to go. Note: he is on federal probation.

a. Should we make arrangements for him to go over now?
b. Should we wait and try to work him into Archie’s crew part time, like on weekends, or try to involve him some way since he has not helped out on his own.

7. Serena Hunt – tell Jack Beam that a beginning date as near as I can trace it is around May 1976; that’s when she signed the power of attorney. He was going to give the date to Rheavina [Rheaviana Beam] and she would figure out an average of how much care was given to her. I don’t have anything that shows when Serena moved.

8. [Number circled] Lisa Gibson – She is now 16, has a part-time job which will be full-time soon, though she will still be going to high school. Would Sarah and Chaikin and whoever there please consider the possibility of her filing for emancipation of minor status? She could live apart from her mom and pay room and board to another member. Would she have to get her dad’s consent? He’s still in Louisiana. Her mom’s sent away for copies of the


Law Office Report #53
October 12, 1978
from June
page 5

  1. Things for Maria/Carolyn

8, continued – Lisa Gibson

divorce decree – see attached. However, the divorce decree does not award custody; it refers to reciprocal support order out of Texas, initiating court being Mendocino County (??), and it also says children are in Calif, out of jurisdiction of husband’s divorce court. Does this mean that husband has no custody rights?

If parents are divorced, both parents still have to give consent to emancipation? Ask Sarah and Chaikin to look in Civil Code that I brought over to see if there’s anything in CC or CCP or Probate Code about this. Lisa has an excellent attitude, still takes names of every service, works with Vernell [Vernelle Henderson] ow needs every week. Her brother Mark has gotten himself put on court probation from a breaking and entering charge, petty theft, and put in his mom’s custody by the court for at least a year. I doubt that we were planning on her mom going anyway for a while because she plays the organ and is still part of the musical arrangements for services, but still Lisa is stuck here. Lisa does not know what her dad’s reaction would be if he had to sign a consent for her emancipation. [Editor’s note: Decree of divorce at B-5-6, (18g) – (18g1)]

9. Roseanna Dickerson, Jeross Brown, Amanda Brown, her grandchildren. I talked with Sarah and Chaikin when I was there about Roseanna. They wanted Roseanna to get the children’s dad to give consent one more time before she could come over with the grandchildren, of whom she is court appointed legal guardian. Here’s the latest: Roseanna is going to San Bernardino this week to get dad’s consent. Massadine, the oldest grandchild, has married and lives in San Bernardino so she won’t be coming. Roseanna has been collecting AFDC for Jeross and Amanda. Neither child lives with her. Jeross lives with Mary Donnell, who already receives AFDC for her own children and can’t let welfare know she has Jeross. Roseanna can’t let Jeross and Amanda go to school because they live apart from her, in other districts, in San Francisco, while she is collecting AFDC for them in Richmond. She had [a] nervous breakdown last month or almost did, because of the stream they put on her, and that is why they were moved out of her home by us and placed with others. However, it is a day by day touch and go situation; any day now, her worker could catch on to the fact that those kids are not in school. She already had to tell the worker the kids were sick. We do not understand why we have to be so careful with Roseanna. You now have Mona, with no court permission to take out of the state. You have Denise Johnson, was a dad who is out of the church. You have the Baker kids with their mom in LA. You have Nell Smart’s kids. You have Ruby Johnson’s grandchildren, Keith Newsome and 2 sisters, whose mom is in Texas. With Roseanna’s particularly touchy situation, why can’t she come over?

10. Marilyn Pursley, Cynthia Pursley – attached are copies of her divorce order and husband’s consent for Cynthia to travel outside of US with Marilyn. [Editor’s note: Referenced documents at B5b, (18h)-(18h1)]

[Editor’s note: Pages B5b(18d) – (18d3), court documents referenced in item #3 above]



Florida Smith (Johnson), 1435 Alvarado Terrace, LA, age 44, telephone (213) 387-1449
Has been member of Peoples Temple 6 years, on the council 5 years.
Is employed as Assistant Financial Manager, Markham Junior High School, has been there 5 years, part-time, 6 hours per day, $500; before that worked at Lock High School

Verlena Hollins, 1435 Alvarado Terrace, LA, age 31, telephone (213) 384-360 [last digit cut off]
Has been member of Peoples Temple 7 years, 3 years on council, knew Medlocks 2 years plus.
Employed as secretary, State of California, Division of Industrial Safety, salary $850. Before that, worked 4 years for USC as a supervisor of card catalog section.


Vee: Wade wanted to sell property and go to “promised land.” He said sell house, give me my share; she could do what she wants.

Florida: The Medlocks had concession stand at Temple. Wade was the only one who sought out counsel. Wade was usually alone when requesting counsel meeting.

McElvane: Wade said that TOS [Timothy Stoen] told him he couldn’t sell property unless they agreed or were divorced. TOS told him he couldn’t handle the divorce because both were members of the church.

The property transaction was handled before McElvane was doing any of the real estate – his sister Kay Nelson did it. Kay found out Mrs. Medlock would not agree to sell, because she’d not been in on the beginning of the counseling with Wade.

Actually Wade had never asked Mabel for a divorce; he said he had, but it never happened.

Garry:  How soon before property was sold that you had the meeting re the divorce, and Wade and Mabel were both there?

Vee – says weeks, don’t really remember

Florida says doesn’t know

McElvane – At the meeting, Mabel was upset, seemed surprised to hear of divorce, left the room not wanting to sell. Wade wanted to give his part to the church; if she didn’t want to, he’d get divorce. She didn’t want that. Mabel said to the council, “why didn’t you talk to me at the same time about selling the property; why do you just talk to Wade?[“]

We didn’t want to tell Mabel Wade wanted divorce; it was up to Wade to tell her. He’d come to council separately; at this meeting we finally found out she never knew about his wanting divorce. At that point we weren’t interested in the property because Mabel didn’t want to sell.



McElvane – The meeting with Marceline, Wade, Mabel – lasted 45 min to an hour, 3 months after Aug/Sept 1977? on a Saturday afternoon. This was first time but we let Mabel know that at the previous meeting we hadn’t known that Wade had not talked to her about divorce. She said it was Wade’s idea; he wanted his money back.

Garry – When did you first hear they wanted their money back?

Florida – thanks they were complaining before

Vee – first heard from their niece, Clara.

A.J. [Arcihe Ijames] – He and Rosie, his wife, used to stay overnight at Medlocks’ home when they came to LA every other weekend for services, always stay there. Wade would speak each time about his desire to put all assets into the church. This was over a period of about 8 or 9 months. Then, 6 to 8 months before the meeting, Archie and Rosie stopped staying at the Medlocks. One night they stayed there, and Archie put his billfold under the pillow when he slept. The wallet had church money in it, about $300-400. He forgot about it, discovered he left it when he got to church. Called Medlocks. Turned out they had gone through the billfold and Wade was angry that Archie had so much money. Wade called someone at the church and told him about the money in the wallet. He told Archie, mentioned the money in the wallet. Archie told him it was the people’s money, Wade acted like he didn’t believe it. After that, at the concession stand, they would give Archie and Rosie food from the stand, and Wade would always talk about his wife not wanting to give property.

Archie told him to give her a chance, don’t pressure her. Archie went to Jim; Jim told Archie to tell Wade to forget it, don’t worry about it. Wade had heart trouble.

Three years ago the Medlocks signed a paper, a deed, indicating their willingness to contribute property. Archie was there, Kay Nelson, and one other person Archie can’t remember who. Archie explained the procedure to them; it was in the church council room in the LA Temple. Archie recommended talking to Mabel apart from Wade so she wouldn’t be intimidated by him. Archie explained to her all needs would be met. She signed the paper, went out. Wade came in, complained re not being present when she was there. Archie explained why – he signed. Jim was conducting service while this was going on.

Wade acted offended because Archie got Mabel to sign and Wade couldn’t. Wade said they worked together to get the property and both should have been together to sign it over. The deeds signed that day were not used for the actual sale. Archie never said they’d be put out of the church.

Close to a year later, there was a larger meeting, 20 plus people were in the room; Mabel was there with Wade, and Archie remembers Vee being there, and MacElvane being there. Vee doesn’t remember being there.



A.J. – Wade said he didn’t want the property back. “I told Tim Stoen  I wanted to get a divorce so I can give you the money and she can do what she wants with hers. Wade had requested council because he said she was complaining. But in council the issue was over his being pissed because they had not signed together. He said it was not fair to sign separately, we did them dirty.

Jim was there – ask them if they wanted it back – Archie thinks this was about 2 years ago.

Wade said, No I don’t want my part back, I don’t know about Mabel, but I don’t want mine. I told you, Pastor Jones, all I have I want to go to the cause – it’s up to Mabel. I told Tim Stoen if she wouldn’t do it, I want to get a divorce so I can turn in my half and she can do what she wants with hers.

Garry – What did Jim say?

Archie – Jim said, do you want it back? He left it up to them to decide. It was not resolved at that meeting. Archie remembers, Jim said “the problem between the two of you is that it would take a death to settle this” (Vee remembers Jim saying this also.)

Garry – to Vee –  how do you interpret this? She says, Medlock has heart problem, might worry about it so much, end up with heart attack, not worth it.

Archie – Mabel said – she took up the issue on separately signing the papers. Archie told her the reason we did it separately was to keep her from feeling intimidated by Wade.

Garry – Asks if the Medlocks are senile?

Archie – Thought Mabel was very lucid.

McElvane – Nothing was signed that night. At the end, after Mabel had left the council room, she decided she wanted to sell, and told the counselors outside the room.

Kay Nelson’s husband told McElvane that Wade had told him to tell Kay please sell my house ‘cause I can’t pay the taxes.

Escrow papers were signed May 9, 1977. In the presence of McElvane and Kay; not sure if signed at the church or at Medlocks’ House.

Archie – Agrees with Garry that Jim said divorce is not the answer, only death would separate you, marriage until death do us part…

Vee doesn’t remember Wade saying he told TOS he wanted divorce, but Mac does and Archie does.

B5b(18f) Letter referenced at item 4.

B5b, (18g) – (18g1) Divorce decree referenced at item 8.

B5b, (18h)-(18h1) Documents referenced  at item 10.]