[Editor’s notes: The participants in this interview are identified by their initials: J.M. for Joseph Mazor; D.F. for Donald Freed; P.R. for Pat Richartz; and M.L. for Mark Lane.
[This tape was transcribed with loose punctuation and spelling, and has been edited for clarity.
[The first 18 pages of a second draft of this transcript – likely the preliminary draft – appears at S-1-G-11(A) – G-11(U). Fifteen pages from at least three other drafts – and which have been rearranged into sequential order – appear at S-1-G-8(a) – G-10(c). Two copies of the final third of the transcript appear beginning at R-1-D-6.]
INTERVIEW WITH JOSEPH A. MAZOR AND DONALD FREED, WITH PAT RICHARTZ AND MARK LANE
D.F. The principal investors in this are concerned with two things. They like the idea of a controversy in a real life story, in a real foreign country and a real large group of people, and the colorful idea. They are afraid of an errors and omissions insurance policy becoming difficult when there is so much litigation around an issue.
M.L. Do you know about errors and omissions insurance policies?
J.M. I carry it, yeah.
M.L. For films? They are hard to get in films unless–
J.M. No. No. Just for (inaudible).
(A knock at the door.)
M.L. We had this problem with Executive Action and for the King film. If they think anyone can sue them or will sue them, then they are reluctant to issue a policy. And if you don’t get a policy, you don’t have a film. And so the idea here is to clarify everything in advance so that both sides are presented, and so the insurance company will feel free to issue a policy. Because in the controversy, both sides must agree in what is fair.
D.F. It is much more difficult than writing a book for instance. It is a hundred years more primitive with films, for some reason. I have written books that said things that couldn’t be said in the film, even though the law is clear on libel and so forth. If an idea seems lucrative enough, such as Executive Action, which grossed $30 million, they were prepared to change names, change facts – change anything in order to make it. And they are in this one, too. But they are a concerned group of investors – and all of them are – and they would prefer, naturally, to have everyone’s help and cooperation and so forth.
With the Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry, although we have been involved mainly in the Martin Luther King case and in the John F. Kennedy
case, because we do have this Freedom of Information movement that has brought in hosts of help and volunteers, so we have done some study. We have sent someone to Jonestown. And we have researched it in the way we think that is a very strong beginning on the kind of dramatic script that they want. We know in advance that they know that–
P.R. Where did this come from?
D.F. That was prepared by the Peoples Temple.
P.R. Here in San Francisco? This was given to your film group?
D.F. Well, I don’t know. It was given to me by the [Paul] Jarrico office.
(Interruption for eating lunch.)
D.F. Mr. Mazor, I don’t know if you know any of the Graham Greene novels, but they definitely [have] that dimension, and that is beautiful Guyana, lush topics, etc., etc. But. Intrigue. The files that have been developed – and I want to be very frank, I don’t want to play poker – so far go back in the case of one principal to Berlin, the border between West and East Germany in the early sixties, and Rotary International, and through some research firms and down to today and a lot of money being spent and a lot of “derring-do” going on in Georgetown, sniping – and you told us about the extraordinary story of someone with a rifle across from your office – and gunfire in the jungles of Jonestown–
P.R. Did I miss something about gunfire–
D.F. Well, just before you came in, Joseph was saying–
M.L. He had nothing to do with the Temple, he was just a fringe nut that had read some of the newspaper stuff and got up on the roof – not a Temple member.
D.F. The Guyanese government has cooperated to some extent, and they believe– Of course, they have their own reasons, and they see the footprints of the Central
Intelligence Agency, and they are willing to help me out. We are not going to court, this is for a film. So, you can take what I am saying in context. We have to develop the research that justifies a theatrical motion picture with a normal amount of dramatization and poetic license. Normal, but not pathological. And let me pause right here and get your reaction. Let me say, the reason these are letters of understanding rather than contracts is because Jarrico wants to leave open every possibility in terms of– For instance, in the King case, there are several people who have contracts who are working, playing themselves, who are principals. For instance, it is conceivable that you could be a resource person for a film on a totally anonymous basis. And that would be true of the Garry office as it would be true of the Mazor office. And it would necessarily have nothing to do with any public stance or, conversely, in the case of Mr. Mazor, who is a principal, your part could exist as a part, a person (an actor or yourself) could play that part. You could have credit and appear very much in front, you could appear in press conferences, etc. In other words, there is a range of possibilities for both offices here. All we are concerned with is the fundament– the bottom, that is that we are proceeding with cooperation in a fair and honest way. I may have my personal opinions, but there are two sides, and my private opinion has nothing to do with the film audience. They want to see a good film with the dramatic conflict.
The direction we are going in is that people have personal political and/or religious grievances. They become manipulated by an intelligence agency because of the group they are pushing against. Because of their identity, both in this country and in a foreign country, and their politics, so that although there are personal factors, charismatic factors, very human sexual factors in some instances, that a couple of the intriguers (and that is the way it will be in the play) become the pawns,
money begins to flow, and a certain amount of psychological warfare begins to develop. And this sort of war breaks out between this very large group on the one hand, Jonestown, and a very small group of people on the other hand. But the small group is getting help.
Now, somewhere along the line comes a sort of independent investigator like yourself, Joseph Mazor, and who may be an ambiguous figure and either becomes a hero or what have you. But it is that kind of story. In other words, there are hundreds of stories that we have been researching. There are disaffected members of the Peoples Temple, and everyone has their own story. We’re not getting into any of that. We want to subsume the personal, except for perhaps the Stoen story. Subsume the rest of them into an aggrieved group of concerned families.
J.M. OK, I’ve got some questions right now, and I’ve got to get them out. Because I don’t know how Pat feels about this thing, you work the other side of this thing from Garry’s office. One of the problems that we have is that, when we bring up Stoen, and I don’t think Pat’s office knows about him yet, but we just collected on Stoen’s bonds at the insurance companies. Notary bonds for fraud and forgery.
J.M. My clients.
M.L. Against Stoen?
J.M. Yes, against Stoen for fraud and forgery. This ought to make Garry very happy. Nobody knows it because it just happened.
D.F. That’s a bombshell.
P.R. Who are your clients, or can’t you tell me?
J.M. Well, [Al and Jeannie] Mills and [Marvin] Swinney.
M.L. I don’t know any of them. Can you give some background to the uninitiated?
J.M. Mills are the ones that got me involved in the mess in the first place. Swinneys came along later. Both of them had lost property, and both had
got out of the Temple. They both gave affidavits to us on the basis that they had not signed the trust deeds. Which were sold by the Peoples Temple. Timothy O. Stoen had notarized those trust deeds, and Timothy O. Stoen is a notary public, as well as an attorney-at-law. So we went after their bond. I think I told Charles Garry I was going after the bond. This was last year. This was probably when you got in trouble up in Soledad, you were off in August because you have been abused (?) were being harassed (?) at Soledad.
P.R. That’s true.
J.M. OK. Same time you were investigating me you were supposedly sick (??) (This part is hard to discern.) [question marks in original]
P.R. I was never sick.
J.M. The problem is, you have Stoen’s bond sitting out there. You have something you may not be aware of. I have no objections at this moment to say yes, I’d cooperate with you, and I doubt your office would have too much problem saying you would cooperate from your side. But our problem is this: We have some legal problems which are pending. Stoen is not my client, and I could give a damn, and neither are the Mills for that matter. Because I canned the Mills when they took Stoen back home. When Stoen came back from Guyana in January of 1978, they took him into their home and let him live there. I said, “Wait a minute, what are you doing here? First of all you’re telling me that’s the bad guy, and now you’re telling me he’s not so bad.” And I can’t work that way.
M.L. So who do you represent, Mr. Mazor?
J.M. I’m not representing anyone now, but I did collect the bond for those two people, because the land was in the mill as of last July or August.
M.L. What was the bond?
M.L. Does that interfere with Stoen’s ability to practice law?
J.M. Oh, you’d better believe it. Because the minute the bond papers came
through last week, when the bonding company was paid off, we took it to the State Bar.
M.L. Paid off means what?
J.M. They– All notaries in this state must post a bond. For their liability.
M.L. So when they pay off the $5000.00, they are actually saying that Stoen was involved in a crime.
J.M. They are admitting as an insurance company that Stoen did illegal and unlawful acts by signing and notarizing documents which he knew to be false.
M.L. So you then went to the Bar Association.
J.M. Then we took that piece of material and went to the State Bar Association, and the State Bar is now getting ready for an in-depth investigation for suspension or disbarment of Stoen.
M.L. Well, then you are getting more “tea” all the time with this operation. Not less. How is this a problem? It sounds like a great opportunity.
J.M. Well, it’s only a problem between Charlie’s office and ours. They represent the Peoples Temple. I represent none at this point, except the people of the State in the sense that there has been a wrong committed and I carried it through because I got my nose in it in the beginning. I had to carry it out. But you do have a certain liability here that has to be established. I don’t know who you are talking about making martyrs out of in the drama, if anyone. But you better be careful, because it is unfolding day by day.
D.F. Joseph, let me say this. I agree with Mark. It seems to me this gives us maneuverability I did not know we had. Because you are virtually a free agent because we are not interested in anybody’s ancillary story. We are interested in Stoen. I would like to brainstorm with you. You have a reputation of being a very resourceful, skillful strategist. Here is a man who travels to countries all over the world. A man who is spending a lot of money flying around to meetings and organizing people. A man who
went to American University and for Rotary International staged a provocation in Germany. A man who, when you dig beneath all the Christ and all the socialism and all the humanism, you find a hardcore ideologue. Who is this man?
J.M. Well, I’ll tell you this. He got a lot of his dough out of Venezuela.
P.R. Out of Venezuela? From what source in Venezuela?
J.M. My understanding, and I won’t go any farther than that, though I know where he got it, is that he picked it up from a very nice right wing group in South America. In Venezuela. From the Internacional Banco de Venezuela.
M.L. Let me ask you, Joseph, do you think that it is possibly an organization which fronts for an American Intelligence operation?
J.M. Timothy Stoen has a record at Interpol, sizable, going back to 1958 and 1959.
D.F. And Rotary International, if I am correct, Joe, at that time, was notorious for providing cover for youth activities.
J.M. They still do.
M.L. Why would a right wing group in Venezuela give a damn about the Peoples [Temple] Church in the United States? Unless it was–
J.M. Well, OK. Everybody has their own feelings, position and thoughts on the matter. My feeling has always been a couple of things Jones said a long time ago at Peoples Temple in Mendocino, Ukiah. He was very upset that his people didn’t put him in for mayor of Ukiah. He was very upset that his people did not put him into a better political position there. And looking at Jones now, a man who expounds a very socialistic attitude and socialistic point of view. Nevertheless he picks the one country, the one country which in 1961 was overthrown by 700 adults. The only government in South America to be overthrown by 700 adults – Guyana. He goes into Guyana, one espousing a very socialistic attitude, but going in with a very right wing, Hitlerism type of situation. And he stated to two of the people who I talked to that his sole desire is to take
over Guyana. Now, you take that with a grain of salt or any way you want to, but the thing is you are saying, “Why, why, why??”
M.L. What intrigues me now, based upon the investigation I have done, is why anyone in Venezuela would care about the Peoples Church, whether it was in the US or in Guyana.
J.M. I don’t think they give a damn about the Peoples Church, I think they care about the government of Guyana. The government of Guyana is an interesting government. It has a black president, a Chinese vice president with direct connections into Peking.
D.F. Who threw out the CIA?
J.M. Right. I sat in Washington, the foreign desk for 6 days beating my chest and wearing sackcloth and doing everything else I could do to get somebody on the desk to do something with McCarthy– whoever the consul in Guyana was [Richard McCoy]. We were trying to establish at that time– I talked to the consul and was getting nowhere.
P.R. You mean the American consul?
P.R. [J.M.] Yes, McCoy. I had talked to McCoy on the phone several times, I had mounted up a $500 phone bill and I got nowhere. So I went to try and establish some sort of line of communication to get this thing. I went to Washington, I went to the Guyanan Embassy. And tried to establish between them and our foreign office, our State Department, some sort of triangular communicational level that we could start talking about what children were in Guyana. What children, what were their ages, who were they, and were they in fact US citizens? And were in fact they under state welfare? Because there is still a matter of public health audits going on. The health department is still auditing the Temple. In my last calculation they have something like $4 million worth of money was missing. Well, this is money– typical of it would be one of the foster parent homes up in Mendocino in 1975 had 10 children in it, each child being paid by the counties of Contra Costa, Alameda, and Mendocino, were paying on the average
$250 – $300 per month to keep the child in the foster home. All of those checks, totaling 10 children, say $3000.00 per month, was going into the Temple coffers, being endorsed by Eugene Chaikin, put in the Temple offices, paid into the Temple money, and all that person running the foster home got was $600 a month, to run those kids.
M.L. That is certainly a very serious charge.
J.M. We got problems there, because they are still auditing. And they are very, very uptight about it.
D.F. Let me bring you back to the dramatic line here. He has hired this man Hughes who works, and is very well known in Georgetown, as liaison for all the big corporations. And, as you say correctly, the CIA which Burnham, the President, was the CIA’s man for many years. And then he kicks them out. Now this is the story line. He hires Hughes, he hires lawyers here.
M.L. He is spending a lot of money.
D.F. He is spending a fortune.
J.M. Sure he is.
M.L. You can see where the Peoples Temple money comes from, whether it comes properly or improperly. We can trace the amount of money, the large amount of money going in there.
J.M. Well, I’ve got almost 7 million.
M.L. Is that right?
J.M. Yes, we’ve got money traced from properties and so forth which total almost 7 million dollars.
M.L. Well, we can see where basically where a lot of money is going to Peoples Temple, it is an organization which reaches out and is getting property–
J.M. Well, if you’ve got 500 members, and 250 of those members all own property and they turn the property over – say, $30,000 per property – you got a lot of money.
M.L. That is no great mystery, no great intrigue about how they get money,
we can see how the money is flowing. What I would like to know, because it is a little more mysterious, I think, is how does the money flow into Stoen? Because Stoen has spent a lot of money. How much would you say he has spent? Your guess, over the past couple years.
J.M. Half a mil.
D.F. Half a mil?
M.L. Well, he’s not making anything off his law practice.
J.M. He’s not making anything off his law practice.
M.L. Where is he getting it?
J.M. Not coming from the United States. It is coming from Venezuela.
M.L. But is it coming to Venezuela from the US?
J.M. It may well be. I don’t know. I know where he is drawing money back from. Because I happen to have looked at the bank account.
M.L. Which is what?
J.M. Well, the money he has been getting has been coming in from the Banco something or other from Venezuela.
J.M. No, I can’t– I looked at it like 6 months ago.
M.L. Was it substantial?
J.M. Yeah, 5, 10, 15,000 a crack.
M.L. And how many cracks?
J.M. Well, we saw six checks.
M.L. $5, $10, $15 [thousand] each?
J.M. Yeah. That’s good money. That’s your year’s salary, at least it’s mine.
D.F. Well, you know, Mark, this follows our research that Rotary International is in every country. And over the years he has had that conduit of Rotary International and lately– let me run a few names and see if this fits in the research. Does Eureka Research Associates– we know that he is working with them and we know they do high resolution photography and
they do overflight. We know there have been overflights down there.
J.M. Well, overflights is nothing. I did an overflight.
M.L. You did a overflight over Jonestown?
J.M. Yeah, sure. Back last year with a Cessna.
D.F. But you didn’t send the mercenaries in, I take it.
J.M. No comment.
D.F. Or did Stoen? Well, because I want to, you know, that would be a very dramatic scene. He also worked for the Campus Crusade for Christ, which you know, spends a fortune in propaganda.
D.F. Now some of these names may overlap, just tell me. Some of this started with a man with intelligence connections by the name of [Lester] Kinsolving. A few years ago. Then a man named Hatfield pick up the ball at one point and has gone on to E. Lansing, which is the police training school for CIA, as you know, at Michigan State. And a man named [George] Klineman seems to play a part. Now, am I mentioning names that get into your area or Stoen’s area?
J.M. Oh, I guess a little of both.
D.F. But at any rate, you are not working with them so we can still continue to talk as far as Stoen goes. Now let me ask you this, Joe. I have seen the medical tests, the blood tests and so forth, and the various tests which I can only describe in general terms about the child.
J.M. The child belongs to Jim Jones.
J.M. It was conceived in the back of a bus. That came from Grace [Stoen]. OK?
M.L. She told you that?
J.M. Yes, I had her in my office one day and she laid it out.
D.F. Stoen has changed his story three or four times.
J.M. Well, Stoen has got to do the best he can. I have no use for Stoen, very frankly, only because I hate to see an attorney as a thief. I hate to see any thieves, but I have a lot of respect for good ones and I have none for bad ones.
D.F. Joe, are the blackmailing because of sexual manners (?) [question mark in original]
J.M. I don’t know.
D.F. We have some information on transvestite stuff.
J.M. OK, you got some information on that. And how about that– I can’t even think of his damn name [Chris Lewis], the bodyguard Jones brought out of the CYA [California Youth Authority]– the murderer. They find him dead back here on Mission Street. The guy beat up five people that I know of. The guy threatened me last year, you know. Came to my apartment, called me and said, “This is the Rev. Jim Jones. I’d like to meet with you.” I said, “You know my address, come on over.” I met him at the door with a 357 Magnum. And he left.
P.R. Jim Jones wasn’t even in the country.
J.M. No, he was in South America.
D.F. It was somebody else.
J.M. Sure, we knew it was.
D.F. Well, that murder is very suspicious, don’t you think?
J.M. That murder was suspicious, but so was the Head, Michael Head’s murder very suspicious. That one is causing a lot of problems. [Editor’s note: The name was John Head.]
P.R. Who is Michael Head?
J.M. Michael Head is a young boy who Cordell, Harold Cordell, and somebody else, Stoen or somebody else, went to his house. He was a mentally disturbed young boy. They brought him into the Temple, they took his $18,000.00 he had just gotten as welfare benefit or Social Security benefit, and they took him to LA. Three days later he jumped off a six story building. There is only one problem. The body that they did the autopsy on wasn’t that of Michael Head.
P.R. That the LAPD–
J.M. Wasn’t Michael Head.
D.F. Was Stoen still with the Temple at that time?
J.M. Yes, he was. It wasn’t Michael Head.
D.F. Joe, this becomes critical in both dramatic and informational terms, at the moment of his turnaround. From everything we can find, he’s coming out in the paper saying Jim Jones is the greatest man I ever knew.
M.L. Stoen is saying this?
D.F. Stoen. Saying I am going to sue New West Magazine and so forth. Then Chris Lewis is murdered. Then Stoen dramatically changes his position.
J.M. OK. January Stoen came back from Guyana. At that time–
P.R. January of this year?
J.M. Yes, 1978. December or January, right around there. I found out about it– I can tell by the correspondence that I have the exact minute. He came back to the US– Now we had taken the testimony of one of the employees who had admitted that in the past nine years she had forged 2000 powers of attorney, which Stoen had notarized.
M.L. So we’re pretty close to a record on the thing.
J.M. Yeah, I think that’s a pretty good record. We’ve taken her testimony and she had been given immunity from prosecution, and that’s what started the ball going with the notary situation. Stoen came back somewhere around the first of January of this year and he immediately went to live with the Mills. Now, I got in touch with the Mills, and I said, “Now what the hell are you doing here, first you are saying he’s a bad guy, and now you’re saying he is a good guy. Your credibility looks like shit. Really looks bad. You’re expecting us to work for you, but you are not helping us. Now, I want to talk to this turkey and I want to talk to him right now. Otherwise I am going to go after him.” “Well, you can’t go after him, he’s a nice guy, you shouldn’t do this–” I said, “Hey, you got your choice. Either I am going to talk to him or I am going to go after him. One way or the other.” Now I can get him immunity from prosecution from the Secretary of
State’s office, providing he is willing to cooperate with the local government officials in finding out what is going on, namely Bob Graham in the committee in the DA’s office that was still investigating the various aspects in the case. The answer I got back a couple of days later was, no, he’s busy writing this book and he couldn’t be bothered. So we just proceeded and burned him.
M.L. In two instances.
M.L. But you have 2000 others?
J.M. We got a lot more than that. Tish [Leroy]– There were two women who worked in the office in Mendocino County. We have two things going.
M.L. Let me ask you, Joe, were these are related to Peoples Temple?
J.M. All related to Peoples Temple.
M.L. They have 2000 powers of attorney?
J.M. More than that. We’ve got two different things going here, two items. In the office where Stoen and Chaikin work together, they had two women working there: Tish LeRoy and Neva Sly. It was Neva’s job to send out the news bulletins, to do this and to do that, and also to forge all the names on all the powers of attorney.
M.L. You mean, none were real?
J.M. No. Well, maybe one or two, but she forged 2000 in nine years.
P.R. Did she keep a count?
J.M. Yeah, she kept a pretty good record. OK, now these forgeries were basically on elderly people which the Temple took into their rest homes, and these powers of attorney, basically, were for Social Security, SDI (SSI) and all the other governmental subsidy checks to be transferred to the Temple coffers. Tish Leroy’s job was to forge trust deeds and grant deeds.
M.L. Breakdown of responsibility.
J.M. Right, breakdown of responsibility. Now. On one of the great deeds, particularly the Swinney’s, Tish Leroy admitted – Neva Sly watched her
do it – so we have firsthand knowledge of seeing it being done – and Tish Leroy admitted to the Swinneys that she had done it. What she did was she had taken their signature card, their little membership card, Xeroxed it, cut it out, and laid it over a grand deed and shot another copy. Chaikin, being an attorney in Mendocino and having a good reputation, took it in and filed the Xerox grant deed. He never filed the original with the title company, and the title company bought it. And then the thing was sold to an innocent third party.
M.L. If you can see the line–
J.M. Well, you can’t see the line, but we had it examined by one of the crime labs. And on top of that–
M.L. And they verified that?
J.M. They admitted it.
P.R. So there was never an original grant deed?
J.M. Then Stoen made a call–
M.L. And Stoen was the notary on that?
D.F. And they were acting as Stoen’s agents.
J.M. Oh yes.
M.L. Let me ask this, because it may get too complicated to do a film or not. So it can be resolved so we have a clear line of conflict, because now it’s like there are so many different parties. Do you think that Stoen was doing this for the Peoples Temple, or do you think Stoen was doing this to destroy or sabotage the Peoples Temple?
J.M. I think at the time he was doing it for the Temple. The money went into the Temple coffers.
M.L. Well, I am sure that’s true. But if you have got this guy going back to the Berlin wall in the fifties, associated as he is with the American intelligence at that time, and then the ideas later on to destroy the Temple, is it possible he is in deep cover, setting up a whole series of things
which even the Temple didn’t know about at that time?
J.M. Very possible.
M.L. You say it’s possible that he was doing this as an–
J.M. Well, I look at Stoen at one of two ways. Either Stoen set the Temple up or Stoen is a second Lee Harvey Oswald.
M.L. He’s the one we’re looking for.
J.M. You know what I am speaking of. Do you know what I am speaking of ?
J.M. Mentally unbalanced. To his political and desired views. He switches–
M.L. Sounds more like Earl Mark (?) [question mark in original] to me?
D.F. Sounds like both. You say at this time we found out that Stoen was trying to advocate violence in terms of dynamiting in Washington, he wanted the Peoples Temple to arm, he wanted to start a cadre–
J.M. Peoples Temple did arm. They got automatic rifles and automatic weapons illegally in Mendocino County. Peoples Temple did have weaponry. They do have weaponry. Up until last year they had–
M.L. How much of this do you think would be attributed to Stoen?
J.M. I don’t know. I really can’t tell you. At the time, and I have to admit to Pat because we have been on the backs of the wrong sides of the fence with each other – but at the time when we got into it, I felt we really had the Peoples Temple as the bad guy. And the Stoens, and the Mills and the Swinneys and everybody out here is the good guy.
M.L. The victims.
J.M. Yeah. Now, my last letter to Bob Gillametes at the Secretary of State’s office was that they’re all wearing black hats, and if you can find one that is wearing a white hat, grab him and hide him. Because you don’t know who’s the bad guy in this thing.
D.F. Well, you know, with our research began, it was very much the same story as what you are saying. And as we went along, we found out that every [last line partially cut off] Stoen was always the middleman.
J.M. What about what’s-his-name death off the car, off the railroad track? Joyce Cable Shaw’s husband? Can’t think of his name. [Bob Houston]
P.R. I know who you are referring to, was somebody his father [Sam Houston]?
J.M. Yeah, big article in the paper [Tim] Reiterman wrote.
P.R. Article in the paper about he was working two jobs and was overworked.
J.M. Right, he was going to break from the Temple, he was one of the Temple hierarchies. He wasn’t of Stoen’s category, but he was one of the blue-collar hierarchy who kept the masses going. And he started to break from the Temple, and two weeks later – he was a brakeman on a train – and two weeks later he ended up under the wheels. And the entire episode is very, very suspicious only because his brakeman’s glove and his brakeman’s lanterns were sitting on the brake wheel of a boxcar, and they say he fell off the car. Well, how do you fall off the car and leave these two items sitting right up there? You don’t. You’re working and the train is moving. A, you got the lantern in your hand, and B you got the glove on because you are swinging on the car. Southern Pacific is still investigating it.
M.L. What year was this?
P.R. Yes, I think that’s correct.
J.M. Anyway, I got documentation on that, including the pictures.
D.F. Well, the basic question comes down to – we know what Stoen was in the early sixties, we know he’s been spending huge sums of money now, and he is doing something for somebody. The middle period, when he is the activist, when he is talking Comm– Here’s the thing that is suspicious, Joe. Here’s the thing that is suspicious, Joe. You see, you can put it down to mental imbalance, switching sides, all kinds of ambivalence and so forth, if it weren’t for one thing. This guy is talking about communist revolution and explosives and guns and arming and so forth – and yet the man, both before and after this episode, is a hard-core right-wing ideologue.
J.M. Well, I’ll buy that, but there is two or three things I can’t buy. Things that bother me with that type of a theory, saying that he’s the one that is really agitating the situation.
M.L. Or setting them up.
J.M. Yeah, or setting them up. A black minister in this town held a caucus of other black ministers in November of 1976. And the next day Jim Jones, allegedly personally, called him on the phone and said, “If you do it again, I am going to kill you.” That black minister went to the District Attorney’s office and reported it. The particular DA’s representing the person who was involved walked out the door, went to the press room across the hallway, looked around and stuck his hand in, saw Mike Prokes sitting there and said, “Hey Mike, who is Jim Jones?” Because nobody knew Jim Jones. Mike said he is a very nice guy, upstanding guy, don’t bother with him, very good, what do you want to know for? The next day there were 25 letters condemning the District Attorney’s office for investigating Jim Jones hand-delivered to Jerry Weinstein at the DA’s office.
P.R. Was that before Tim Stoen became a member of the DA’s office?
J.M. Yeah. That was before. That bothers me.
M.L. Excuse me, Pat. It goes two ways. One is, the Peoples Temple could be using terribly counterproductive methods, or they could be being set up again by somebody who pretended to be–
J.M. Well, these are the types of things–
D.F. You’ve hit on a nerve here. We’ve found out that the Peoples Temple, in a rather crude way, organizes all kinds of letter writing campaigns and so forth and so on, trying to protect their image, and especially when they are under the gun. But, there is something they have not done and yet everybody who has touched Peoples Temple gets threatening phone calls on their life. D.A.’s get them, newspaper people get them, and so forth. It’s these phone calls which in a large number of cases have aggravated people to say, well,
I am going to look into the Peoples Temple, I am not going to stand for this intimidation. And then they start and Peoples Temple responds with letters saying this minister said this and–
J.M. Sure, 50,000 handbills handed out here on New Year’s Eve down here on Market Street: “Special Agent for Interpol attacks Jim Jones.”
D.F. They do go to strong propaganda plates. But these threatening phone calls appear in a pattern as I see it, every one has not only not helped them but has turned another agency or newspaper onto them.
P.R. You mean against them.
D.F. Against them. So when you tell that story, it fits exactly into pattern.
J.M. Well, I am not going to discount the possibility.
M.L. This minister, was he a black minister. Does he know it was Jim Jones? Does he know the voice?
J.M. Yeah, he knew it was Jim Jones. The problem was, you know, when Jones first came into the– You know, Jones’ history is kind of weird. He was in LA, set up the Peoples Temple in LA, Peoples Temple Inc., of Los Angeles, and it fell apart. He never got it off the ground. The corporation went into suspension for failure to pay the State Franchise Tax Board. And then you get to Mendocino and Ukiah. Once he was up in Ukiah, he started over again. When he moved down here, he came down as an individual and utilized some of the local churches before he actually started his own thing down here. And all the Black ministers knew it, and they also knew he was taking away their money. Because let’s face it, these Black ministers in this town are very, very wealthy, and they are very uptight when somebody becomes an interloper and starts taking their subsistence away.
M.L. Is that what the caucus was about?
J.M. You better believe it. Rev. Robinson was forced to sell his $280,000.00 home over here in – where does Charlie Gains live? – over here in, that
nice area behind Youth Authority, he was forced to sell his home and three of his Cadillacs and one of his Lincolns because his congregation was disappearing and his plate was getting thin. And they didn’t like that.
M.L. So that’s what the caucus was about?
J.M. Sure, they were very uptight about that.
(Tape turns over to side #2 here.)
J.M. Harold Cordell – all the rest of them. I got eight different people.
M.L. You got tapes of Stoen threatening somebody?
J.M. You better believe it. Offering a bribe. Swinney. Offering a $10,000.00 bribe, which Jones paid.
M.L. A bribe to do what?
J.M. To get out of town.
M.L. Rather than what?
J.M. Well, the bribe was something like this. Swinneys left the Temple, their son was in Guyana. Swinney wanted his son back. Jones told him, “No, you can’t have him back, he’s happy down here.” Swinney’s mother was also in Guyana. Swinney got very upset about it, they decided hey, we’re going to get out of here. Swinney sent his wife Mary Jane down to the registrar’s office in Ukiah to get the papers on the house, because he was going to put his property up for sale. She came back and said, “Hey, we don’t own that property, the Peoples Temple owns that property.” OK? Forgery? Temple? They didn’t know it. Swinney gets on the phone and starts making telephone calls. He calls Jim Jones and says, “Look, you SOB, I want my money. I want my house back.” Jones puts Stoen on to him. Stoen says, “Look, if you ever want to see your child again, you’ll take $10,000 that we’re going to give you and get out of town.” Swinney’s mother is on the phone and Harold Cordell and a few others, all threatening, and I got eight or nine tapes, eight or nine hours worth of tapes on these various telephone calls. Swinney took the $10,000.00 from Jones. And went to South Carolina.
M.L. When you say that Jones put him on to Stoen, did he say, here’s Stoen right now?
J.M. No, Stoen called him the next day.
M.L. So it could have been separate.
J.M. I don’t think it was separate operation.
M.L. Well, I am just saying it could have been a separate operation –
J.M. I don’t think so.
D.F. We don’t know what Stoen told Jones as to why they settled or how they settled.
J.M. The tapes pretty well speak for themselves that there was more than just Stoen involved in this thing, and there was bribery going on in this thing without question. Those are the tapes I turned over to the DA’s office last year.
P.R. The DA’s office here in San Francisco?
D.F. Now Joe, I’ve heard some tapes – Stoen didn’t know he was being taped – but he was advocating violence. And Jones and others clearly heard on the tape are talking him out of it. And playing it down, and talking against it.
J.M. I can’t explain that any more then I can explain how Jones gets made chairman of the Housing Authorities in San Francisco, and he brings in Mike Prokes’ wife and Carol somebody [Carolyn Layton], I can’t think of her name. And now we’ve got an audit going on and I am willing to bet you that when they get done they are going to come up at least $200,000 short because that’s the information I have, and it’s all going to be attributed to the Peoples Temple. And damn it, Tim Stoen was nowhere near the Housing Authority and couldn’t get his hand on it at all. And Carolyn Layton and Jim Jones and Mike Prokes’ wife, whatever her name is, were the only people involved in that operation. And if they are short, and I believe they will be, you’ve got a totally separate operation from the voting fraud situation that sits over here with Jones. I mean, with Stoen. Because Stoen was put in as
voting fraud man, and we do have documentation where Jones moved twenty-eight people into a single dwelling prior to Moscone’s election so that they could all vote. They were all Ukiah residents. [Editor’s note: It is unclear if Joe Mazor if referring to one or two women, since Carolyn Layton was Mike Prokes’ legal wife.]
M.L. Is that right? How do you know Stoen did that?
J.M. Because we talked to the people. Stoen told them to do it.
M.L. They didn’t actually move them, did they?
J.M. No, they didn’t actually physically move in, they didn’t move bodies.
M.L. They change their residences?
D.F. You see, as the storyline develops in this, I want to reassure you, there is no attempt to whitewash, as I see it going–
M.L. The storyline at this point is in a great deal of confusion.
D.F. Well, except that, you know the Elmer Gantry story.
M.L. Who is the hero, Don?
D.F. Well, it’s an American popular story. And I think Jones is going to be shown as a very charismatic and contradictory figure in the Elmer Gantry sense, and some healing is going to be – you know, there is going to be healing – and there’s communism and healing and capitalism and so forth and so on.
J.M. Are you saying healing or phony healing?
D.F. Well, at least dramatic scenes at the Temple. Now all of that– the audience can draw their own conclusion when all is said and done. That’s fairly, as Mark says, even the money, whether it’s legal or illegal, whether it’s the Father Divine-Elmer Gantry approach, that’s fairly obvious and frontally enough doesn’t hurt a film because people like to see– they even like to see Dillinger. I mean, they like to see The Sting, and in this case if they feel it has a good end or a good goal or a good cause – and we sent people down to Jonestown for that reason. To make sure that the goal was what was presented. We are not talking about the methods. Because, they are fairly contradictory. Stoen, though, appears – he does appear to be crazy – but he also
appears, as is so often the case, you know, the false argument rages is someone crazy or are they an agent? But that’s a false argument.
M.L. As if they are mutually exclusive groups.
D.F. Because the case is often that the unstable person is very available, as you probably –
J.M. I have a friend that is crazier than a bedbug.
D.F. And they can be played upon. Now–
M.L. I can see a lot of confusion around Jones, and I don’t think that is a big problem. it may be a problem for an errors and omissions policy.
D.F. Unless Jones gives us permission–
M.L. But I see a straighter line for Stoen, especially if in fact he knows it’s not his child. And that’s one of the emotional things he is raising – he is saying it’s his child.
J.M. Yeah, he’s saying it’s his child, though he knows it is not. And also, I know the attorney who went into that whole thing originally. Originally Grace Stoen went into court to get custody of the child when Tim Stoen was still in Guyana. And she went in and her affidavits which are on file with the court are much different than what Stoen’s testimony is. And this attorney had to step out, because he fell on his face.
D.F. Stoen changed his story.
M.L. Stoen is– in a sense, Stoen is the most interesting character in the whole thing. Don’t you think?
J.M. Well, as I see it, I only, from my point of view, I see Jones as somebody who I could give a damn less if somebody gave their house to Jones or not, because I told these people who came to me if you were an adult over 21 and dumb enough to let your kids stand up there in front of a congregation and get their butt beat, and not say anything, then you deserve anything that happens to you. Because as an adult you are able to pick up your kid and pick up your family and get the hell out of there if you don’t like it. I see Jones as kind of a “crackpot” down the line, and I always [last line cut off]
has got a lot of little kids down there. That I want accounted for. Because I got at least 4 of them that belong to the county. And not to parents. They are wards of the state, they are wards of the county. They do not belong to parents or guardians.
P.R. Which children?
J.M. Oh, I can’t think of them right off, but one of them is the Valencia boy [Vincent Lopez]. That was the one I wrote Charlie about and said I want the child back, and Charlie said the child isn’t around and I don’t know where he is.
M.L. Seems to me that one of the major problems between you and Garry firm is Stoen, who just doesn’t seem to be a problem at this point. And I’m not sure they recognize this at that point. And maybe there is even a way to resolve some of those problems.
J.M. It’s so funny, because I received a letter this morning which I can’t disclose at this time, but I was thinking driving down here that I ought to call Charlie and ask him if he wanted to know that Stoen’s bond got pulled. I was even thinking of calling him.
M.L. It seems to me that you both have the same enemy, at least. At this point being Stoen. And maybe some things in common.
P.R. The only reason I asked about the children is that there was once an accusation the two minor children who were wards of the court were in Guyana and whetr they really were was apparently the mother had come and taken the children who had not been awarded the children. And she had them in the Mission District.
J.M. No, I know that one. That’s the Petit case. I called Charlie and asked him where the children were and he said they were in the Mission District, but that was not true. The mother had been driven out to the airport by Harold Cordell and they were getting on the airplane when I snatched the momma and two kids.
P.R. Oh, is that right?
J.M. Yes, and that’s why I didn’t have any more use for Charlie, because
somebody was telling it all wrong. You see, the Temple had kept those kids in the Temple and told the mother if you want those children you are going to go to Guyana with them. And so, we picked them up at the airport, both momma and the kids, and I told Harold to go jump in a lake. And I brought them back to the guardian, which was the Mills. And that’s when Charlie and I got off on a bad foot together, because I was writing him [a] letter up to then and saying, “Dear Charlie, where is– Where is Johnny Smith– We are interested in Johnny Smith– Do you know where Johnny Smith is?” I was even calling him on the phone rather than going the hassle of playing private investigator. Who needs it? If you know where Johnny is and you tell me, we’ll all know.
M.L. Makes it easier that way.
M.L. You know, it seems to me the one major problem will be the errors and omissions policy. We’ll never get Stoen’s script. We’ll portray him as he appears to be. Unless he’s really that crazy. So I think what we have to do is get some agreement from the two parties that are represented here about Stoen, and see if we can go with that.
J.M. Well, I have no problem on Stoen. My problem is very simply this. I cannot have a full agreement on Jones because the last time I was in South America, I was there, and I really didn’t get a chance to view the scenery, I had to leave very quickly. The Kaituma River is very swift. But, uh, the river raft was very rough going across.
M.L. I don’t think we really have to have an agreement about Jones–
J.M. Jones is a problem that I really can’t agree with anybody on.
M.L. Well, this film can present two sides of Jones – as you see him and as the Peoples Temple sees him. Obviously it is going to be different and it is going to be a sort of an Elmer Gantry. You can see Elmer Gantry and walk out saying is he a crackpot, is he a healer or whatever. Or some of each. But I think hopefully, as Jarrico gets permission, as he appears to have already, it will just be taken from you both. Stoen, on the other
hand, will never agree to anything, I am sure, so we’re going to have to get some kind of agreement about him.
J.M. Well, I don’t know what Pat’s position is, whether she will speak for Charlie or not, but I’ll tell you this, I have no problem with Charlie and Stoen. Because it’s only because of an alignment trip (?) [question mark in original] and a few other things that have stopped me from calling them or writing them a note. And just saying, I know you got a lawsuit against Stoen. You might be interested in knowing that they jacked his bond off of him.
M.L. Well, I am sure he would be very interested in that.
J.M. Because I have no axe to grind with Garry on at all. At time I have an axe to grind with everybody in the whole case.
D.F. How about that for the working title of the film?
P.R. When were you last in that area?
J.M. Last year.
P.R. And you were on a raft?
J.M. Well, Charlie made the news announcement.
P.R. About the raft?
J.M. Didn’t Charlie make a nice news announcement? Somebody tried to shoot my client yesterday?
P.R. Yes, but not on a rubber raft.
J.M. No, Jones was at the compound.
P.R. That’s true, he did make an announcement like that. There was [a] shot fired.
J.M. I know, I was flying back at the time it happened.
J.M. I was on the airplane at the time it happened
M.L. Did you have the feeling Stoen was trying to use you in any way?
J.M. No, I have never talk to Tim Stoen.
P.R. But you have talked to Grace Stoen.
J.M. Yes, but then she was living with somebody else, she wasn’t living with Timothy. I have never talk to Tim Stoen, because as far as I was concerned, Tim Stoen was always as dirty as Jones was.
D.F. And maybe a lot worse.
J.M. And maybe a lot worse, but nonetheless he was no angel. The only time I made an offer to talk to him on my side was January of this year when he came back to the US and then I wanted him because I wanted to know what was going on and we felt that if– Furthermore, I understand he is going to open a law office at 300 Montgomery [in San Francisco], and he’s going to do this, and he’s going to do that. And I am saying what the hell have we got here. You know, all of a sudden I come back and I’m a nice guy now. I was a bad guy yesterday and I’m a good guy today.
M.L. Yeah, happens to me all the time.
D.F. Mark, I know your time is limited.
M.L. I have a television program in LA.
D.F. Let me tell you this, I think that the Jarrico office is going to be probably swayed by your assessment. How would you sum up as a main problem, as a main kind of information that blends both dramatic and legal here?
M.L. I don’t see a problem here with the Jones thing. I think that the Jones thing, story, should be presented to see (inaudible) what Jonestown is. And in terms of what Jones is, I think it should be a blend of what you say he is and what Peoples Temple people say he is. As he comes out. If it were anything else, it would be boring. Where’s the sense in it? The thing about Elmer Gantry– So I think that’s fine. What you have said today provides really good balance for what Peoples Temple says, and what the booklet says. I see as the outstanding problem the role of Stoen. It is extremely interesting and I think should run through this whole operation
and I think you have to see him along with 2000 illegal notarizations, or however many there were– 2000 is a lot of powers of attorney! I haven’t seen 2000 in over 27 years of practicing law.
J.M. Well, it was so funny because the investigator from the Secretary of State’s office was sitting in my office and this particular client was sitting there and she had given her – I had given her her rights and he gave her immunity – and he said now, how long have you been with the Temple? And she said 9 years. And he said now in those nine years have you ever been called upon by anyone to forge. And he [she] said yes. And he said who called upon you to do this job? Tim Stoen or Eugene Chaikin. I see, and what did you forge? And then the next statement was how many of these have you forged, two or three? Oh no, I think we forced about 2000 over the nine year period. He said, would you say that again. And she said, 2000. He said, I don’t believe this. He walked out of the office and went back to Sacramento and called me the next day, and he said, Is she for real?
M.L. Now you see, that’s a scene you can show, if you can document it.
J.M. Oh, you can document it. Bob would be very willing to document it.
M.L. You have the transcript?
D.F. Well, Mark, what about Venezuela?
M.L. Let me first say about this, the person Stoen while both sides here have a similar line for Stoen, it’s got to be documented. This guy is a lawyer and he will sue.
J.M. Good, we can document it.
M.L. So that’s one thing I think is absolutely essential. Would be extremely helpful, that kind of documentation. But Venezuela, I don’t know. You cannot say this guy is getting funds from Venezuela or anything like that unless you can prove it, because the implication is that he is being paid to do something.
J.M. Well, proving it is not hard to do. I can document it. But it is illegal as hell once it is documented, as you well know.
P.R. Why? Because you go into his bank account?
M.L. Oh, he didn’t show you his bank account?
J.M. Oh no.
D.F. How about information and belief? He is a private investigator.
M.L. Well, there are other ways. One can file an action of some kind. Discovery is normal.
J.M. Normal discovery you’ve got no problem, I’m just saying.
P.R. Normal discovery it is in the process of one of Charlie’s lawsuits.
M.L. But that discovery would have to be based upon information which you would provide.
J.M. Oh, well, that’s no problem.
M.L. That could be subrose (?) [Editor’s note: question mark in original; likely “sub rosa”], it does not have to come up (your name). You can ask the person did you ever get money from Venezuela, answer yes or no, but you are going to have to confront him with something. So I think that’s where you can work together. In order to have everything about Stoen and Venezuela and everything else. And if that can become documented, I think he then becomes a very important figure we use through this whole story.
D.F. Because that takes us back to Guyana now, just as you said. It has nothing to do with San Francisco. They are on the outs, they are on the down trend here anyway, they are not powerful anymore.
M.L. And do the people in Guyana believe, do the government circles believe that Jones wants to take over the country?
J.M. They do.
M.L. Well, that would be interesting. Important.
P.R. Doesn’t that frighten them? They really believe that?
J.M. They can’t like it a lot, if you’re in the government.
D.F. Maybe the opposition figures they are going to use Jonestown.
M.L. What is his relationship there? Does he have any? With [Cheddi] Jagan?
J.M. Well, I’ll tell you. I’m not sure anymore. Because I haven’t been
following it that close. To me Chaikin is right alongside of Stoen. If both were in a bag, you wouldn’t know which was which.
D.F. You were saying Jagan.
M.L. Yes, Cheddi Jagan was the opposition leader in Guyana. I know him, because I met him many, many years ago on Fire Island (?) [question mark in original]in New York and spent a lot of time with him, and found him a very charming, a very interesting guy. But he’s the left. Forbes [Burnham] was with CIA.
J.M. Now last year, I found that the President of Guyana went to either Stanford or UCLA several years ago, and at the same time there was an attorney over in the East Bay who was a very good friend of his. And I talked to the attorney, and I said, “Look, we are trying to get these children back, we are having no luck through the proper channels, what can I do?” He said, well, a very good friend of this gentleman is Idi Amin.
M.L. Close to whose?
J.M. Close to the president of Guyana.
M.L. Is that right?
J.M. So I made an attempt to get Idi Amin to intercede to the president of Guyana.
M.L. Did you go to Uganda to talk to him?
M.L. That was a good decision. That was wise.
J.M. I asked Idi Amin to intercede with the President of Guyana in order to get this mess squared away. He says he called him.
P.R. Idi Amin said he called the president of Guyana.
J.M. Whether he did or not I don’t know. Of course that was another little trip that we made.
M.L. You appealed to one of the leading humanitarians of the world on behalf of the children.
J.M. Yes, everybody laughed at me when I did it, but I said what the hell have we got to lose but a few hundred dollars in phone bills and travel
expenses. We’ll see what we can do. We also went to the United Nations and pounded on a few doors at the UN trying to find out how much sanction we could pull into one of the UN committees and say, hey, what’s going on down there?
M.L. It seems to me that’s a theme that’s not going to be resolved.
P.R. Can I ask a question? For all of your stuff, travel expenses, who paid for all that? Or can’t you answer that?
J.M. Out of my pocket.
P.R. You paid for that?
J.M. To total to date, we have in our trust account $5000.00 which came in from Stoen’s bond. And this morning, for your information, I received a letter from the bonding company– I sent– I got the bond in with the papers to send both to the Mills and to the Swinneys, release of all claim letters.
M.L. Is that $5000.00 each?
J.M. No, $2500.00 a piece. The total bond up to the first of this year was $5000.00 on this state [Editor’s note: Likely, “date”].
M.L. Now suppose somebody else has a claim, they can’t pick it up?
P.R. Kiss off.
M.L. Stoen’s in trouble.
J.M. So what I did, I sent the papers off. This morning I got a letter from the bonding company saying that the Mills had contacted the bonding company saying they no longer had a claim against Stoen. Well, that puts the Mills in a very bad position because I have their affidavits on file where they said that–
P.R. That Stoen–
J.M. So somebody is in a world of trouble.
M.L. So the Swinneys get the full five, then?
J.M. Well, I don’t know, I need a part of it, too.
M.L. I mean, the Swinneys will still receive their half?
M.L. I gotta leave. Could I see you for just a minute, would you call a taxi for me?
P.R. I was just confused, you have an agreement with them to foot the bill until you recovered the money?
J.M. Well, you’ve got to remember one thing, Pat, when these people came to me, the Mills, the Swinneys, actually 13 different people came–
P.R. The Olivers–
J.M. Yes, all these different people. None of them had any money. Because they had lost everything they had. They had given everything to the Temple. The Mills had well over $100,000 in property. They had the Redwood [Valley] property, they had the Willits property, and then they had a piece of property in the East Bay.
D.F. Were they self-starters when they came to you, Joe, or had Stoen organized them?
J.M. Well, at that time Stoen was still in the Temple – he was still in the DA’s office. In my investigation, the New West article came out in April.
J.M. Or May.
P.R. It came out in June or July.
J.M. OK, June then.
P.R. Because we weren’t even in the case until just before or just after the New West article. And that was in the summer, a year ago this summer.
J.M. The way I got into it was the investigator in the DA’s office ask Mike Prokes who Jim Jones was, then the letters came in, the investigator got hauled into the DA’s office and was told by Tim Stoen: “If you proceed on this, I am going to fire you.” So he called me on the phone.
P.R. Tim Stoen or the investigator?
J.M. No, the investigator. And said, hey, who in the hell is the Peoples Temple? Who is Jim Jones? I said I don’t know, I never heard of them either. But I’ll make a few calls and find out. And I did. Now that was way back
in November, December 1976. Way back. And I got a dossier started on Jones back then. And that dossier included Indiana, getting run out on the rail, the little odds and ends, the potential rape and that.
P.R. Potential rape?
J.M. Yeah, a man accused Jones of raping his wife. I passed that on to the DA and said that’s who he is. Now that’s it, the end. Boom.
P.R. Did the DA’s office pay you for that?
J.M. No. The next thing that happened, I got a call from New West magazine, and that was in April. Saying that there was going to be an article on Peoples Temple coming out in New West and we want to sit down and discuss it; and I said, no, you put out your article and then come and see me.
M.L. Where did they get the facts for it?
J.M. Well, I know where they got the facts, they interviewed the Mills. That’s where most of the facts came from, because the first one was all the pictures that Al Mills had taken as the photographer for Peoples Temple. Now, I’ve got those pictures.
D.F. Oh yeah, I’ve got a note on that. Do you think that they were legitimate when they were taking– Did [David] Conn and all these things – all these people – and then turn around later, do you think that was all legitimate?
J.M. What’s that? I’m not following you.
D.F. The Mertles, and all these people. Do you think it was really an honest turnaround?
D.F. Cause the Mertles have a funny background.
J.M. No, it was not an honest turnaround. The Mertles are the Mills, we are talking about the same ones. They changed their name.
D.F. Well, they have had right-wing connections for years.
J.M. Oh yeah, it’s the weirdest mess in the world over there.
M.L. So they’re the ones– the Mertles are the ones–
J.M. Mertles, Mills, it doesn’t make any difference. Same people.
M.L. So they’re the ones that are trying to stall off now. Oh!
P.R. And they have right wing connections too?
D.F. Oh, yeah.
M.L. What kind of groups?
D.F. Oh, John Birch, etc. etc. How did they pretend to be communists all these years and take pictures?
M.L. It was the left wing of the John Birch Society.
D.F. And handle paperwork and everything?
J.M. Well, Al Mills was the photographer for the Temple. Now, one of the pictures – a bunch other pictures he took – was with Jones down in Guyana. And Jones wanted to have some publicity for here. So they went over to the Port Kaituma agricultural station and took pictures of Pork Kaituma. Jones had Al lay down on the ground, prone, and shoot pictures Jones, who was on his knees, 10, 15 yards away in some small, hybrid corn, so it looks like the corn was up around Jones’ neck when actually the corn was only about so high. Because Al, when he got done, took another picture standing up, and you can see how much the corn was.
P.R. What was the purpose of that?
J.M. That was for publicity when they first started taking people down to Guyana to show people what a nice, marvelous paradise it was.
M.L. It was a premature picture, that’s the way it would have looked in 4 months.
D.F. Now, where does Conn come into this? Who goes to Dennis Banks and says I will keep you from being extradited if you’ll denounce Jones. I will put you in touch with the Treasury Department.
P.R. That was David Conn.
J.M. David is a funny character.
M.L. No shortage of them here, is there?
J.M. No, you’ve got a whole box full of them.
M.L. Nobody is going to believe it, that’s all.
J.M. Conn has had Washington connections for years. Conn worked for the Treasury Department as an informant.
M.L. Did he turn in IRS things if people did not pay their taxes?
J.M. Uh-huh [yes].
P.R. Didn’t he worked for Standard Oil out here?
M.L. Did he work for anybody else in Washington besides IRS?
J.M. Yes. There used to be an old committee called the–
P.R. House Un-American Activities Committee?
J.M. Yes, the Un-American Activities Committee.
M.L. He worked for that?
D.F. Well, then he must have been an agent when he was in the Peoples Temple. Of course he was. So were the Mertles.
D.F. Of course. The research jumps off the page. Absolutely.
M.L. I have to go – I want to talk to you about LA. (To Don)
(They leave the room.)
P.R. Shall we turn off that?
D.F. No, just continue and chat.
P.R. I am getting more and more confused.
J.M. You’ve been working on the case for a while, haven’t you?
P.R. Oh yeah, but the problem is, we never talked with any of the people you have talked with – Mills/Mertles, the David Conns.
J.M. They talk to Charlie.
P.R. The only time the Mills ever talked to Charlie was in relationship to setting up the phone patch, to Guyana. We have never discussed any of the cases with them at all, Joe.
J.M. See, I am a free agent in this, and my feeling is, I have reached the point now where
I am just playing with the case. I’ve got extra time, and I am just playing, because as far as I am concerned, it’s a big bag of worms. And as far as I am concerned, Jones is as guilty as Stoen as are Mills as everybody else is.
P.R. Guilty of what?
P.R. Whatever you want to call it.
J.M. Whatever you want to call it. Because I can’t understand how adults would get themselves in that position in the first place. And my sole concern is the children, really, because we do have children down there who are unaccounted for.
P.R. Well, I’m not sure what children you are referring to that are not accounted for.
J.M. Well, there’s four of them that I know of, that are county wards. I don’t know if the money is still flowing or what the story is. If the money is still flowing into the Peoples Temple coffers from the county– for those four children, it shouldn’t be, because they belong in foster homes in the United States.
P.R. Which are the children? Can you tell me?
J.M. I can’t because I don’t remember their names. I would give them to you.
P.R. You can give them to me.
J.M. Oh yeah, one of them is that boy Michael Valencia or Michael Valesquez or something like this. [Editor’s note: The child referred to in the ensuing exchanges is Vincent Lopez, who was the only child in active foster case who died in Guyana. He was a ward of Walter “Smitty” Jones, who married Grace Stoen after their departure from Peoples Temple in July 1976. Lopez was 15 at the time of his death.]
P.R. But he’s a teenager, isn’t that the one you are talking about?
J.M. It makes no difference if he is a teenager or not.
P.R. Yeah, I know, but I am just trying to get an idea, get the children straight. Is the child you are talking about the one who is the ward of the man who is living with Grace Stoen?
J.M. Right. That’s the one who comes to mind right off hand. Now that child belongs to the County of Alameda. He is a ward of Alameda County, and as far
as I am concerned, I’m concerned that Alameda gave jurisdiction for their child to be down there. According to court records, there is no jurisdiction for that child to be down there. According to the court records there is no jurisdiction.
M.L. Good to meet you, we’ll be talking to you. Really good to meet you. It’s very interesting, and I think we have something here. I would really like to hear what scenes you think would be really exciting, especially from your brief time in Jonestown.
D.F. Under dark of night.
J.M. Under dark of night, right.
(Mark Lane leaves.)
J.M. We did a lot of surveillance of the Temple.
D.F. Did you know about that Senator Stennis thing? You know, at first that mystified me. But I think I understand that now. At first I thought what’s with Mississippi, with the Army and everything, and it wasn’t the Temple, obviously, it was the woman. It was the woman from Mississippi, a black mayor [Unita Blackwell]. And this is the old Un-American HUAC and the whole thing.
P.R. Oh, you mean that–
D.F. So at first I thought that was a big lead, but it wasn’t even a lead at all. It doesn’t even fit into the film, because she could have been talking anywhere, and they would have been there.
P.R. I figured that out, too, Mark– or Don.
D.F. Well, Mark is very confident that, very optimistic and very impressed with you and I think it would be something to think about whether you play yourself or see someone playing you. But I do think this point is good about– I think that when we talk about Conn, Mertle and Stoen, maybe one or two others, there is a clear pattern that runs at cross purposes to the stated philosophy an Elmer Gantry operation though it may have been, Father
Divine, though it may have been– these people, both before and after, seem to have been working on another agenda, and I think the poetic license of that can be abstracted. Now what kind of scenes would you see as humorous, tragic, whatever. What kind of scenes do you see would be effective?
J.M. I’m no movie man, I don’t know anything about this kind of garbage. I’m trying to think back about what we did. We spent several days sitting on top of a bus, several nights sitting on top of a bus. In the Temple parking lot.
P.R. You did?
J.M. With a 16mm camera. We spent several days sitting across the street from the Temple photographing everybody who came in and out. It didn’t do us any good. We spent– I think, the only thing I can remember that had any real, I guess that appealed to me because of the City– I don’t know how much of your business is surveillance but ours is all surveillance. I am leaving for Hawaii tomorrow evening. I am going to be bringing a child back who was abducted by a grandmother. It just so happens that her son is a member of the Hawaiian Mafia, so we are going to sit out and do surveillance. It is a normal thing for us. The only thing that was a tearjerker in the whole damn thing was when I brought the Petit kids back. That the Mills hadn’t seen for two years. And we had a reunion in the office, and here’s Mr. and Mrs. Mills, Mertle, whoever you want to call them, and these two little children.
P.R. Where are the children now?
J.M. With the Mertles. Here are these two little kids because my secretary had them and washed them and got them cleaned up and got some clean clothes on them and brought them in the office – and here’s these two little kids, and Mr. and Mrs. Mills going completely bananas over the two kids coming back. In the little son of a bitch taking my sugar tongs on the way out the door.
P.R. Who is that?
J.M. The little boy took the sugar tongs off the thing and stuck them in his pocket and when we got them to the elevator to go home, Al had them both up against the wall and was shaking them both down and found the sugar tongs. The kid is a thief. Whew, it’s gone! But I think that is the only funny thing that happened out of a year of work. The rest of it was just drudgery. You know. We had a lot of meetings, a lot of film footage.
P.R. Film footage – were you thinking of making a film?
J.M. No. CBS – Bill Schechner lived in my living [room] for three weeks. He left his camera there for two days and just came back and used it. It was ridiculous. This was August, September of last year.
P.R. Right. [Jim] Clancy was there, too, I suppose. From Channel 2.
J.M. No. No. I take it back, you’re right. Clancy was there. Reiterman was there. Marshall Kilduff was there.
D.F. What about the media in this thing, Joe, did they all just jump on the bandwagon on this thing.
J.M. The only guy that has really been a super investigative reporter, regardless of what he writes, has been Reiterman. He followed the case. He hasn’t given it up after the initial thing. I have to give credit on that – whether he writes in favor of the Temple or against the Temple, the point is at least he has consistently followed the case on. I get a call from him once a month. Where the rest of them, hey, it’s old news. The things that you may not know that are going on: One, there is an investigation pending right now in the District Attorney’s office in Fresno against Jones and Stoen. Maybe not Jones as much as Stoen and other parties for fraud and embezzlement. I’m sorry, extortion, not embezzlement.
P.R. In Fresno? Why in Fresno?
J.M. Hey, I walked into the DA’s office the other day and into the investigator’s office to see somebody, and I saw one of the investigators
who says, oh, I want you to meet somebody so I got his card at the office. Investigator up at Fresno, he’s investigating the Peoples Temple case. We had coffee. And all he would tell me is that they had just interviewed Tim Stoen and it was a command performance. And that there was an extortion and fraud case they were building in Fresno.
D.F. What does Stoen normally – no matter how aggrieved he was – because it isn’t his kid and he doesn’t give a damn about the kid, neither does his wife– It seems to me if we’re talking about a carrot and a stick, and that’s true, he’s getting money to spend on lawsuits and stuff, but he’s not about to personally go around buying Cadillacs– He’s hurting himself by pursuing this. And I have to think he is under some kind of–
P.R. Governmental orders?
D.F.… Some kind of orders, because this isn’t doing him any good. The bigger the scandal gets, the more he is going to eventually get caught up in it.
J.M. Oh, sure.
D.F. He either was an– acted as an agent for Jones or was a self-starter. One or the other, it doesn’t matter legally.
P.R. It doesn’t matter legally as long as he was the lawyer for the Temple, though.
D.F. These leaflets that he is passing out – about totalitarian this and that – those are the same language, word for word, he was using 15 years ago in Germany.
J.M. Who wrote the article that they published, Pat? Last year, the brochure?
P.R. I don’t know, I have no idea.
J.M. I framed it and hung it on my wall.
P.R. You mean that leaflet, probably someone from the Temple, I don’t know.
J.M. I had to frame that, I’ve got it hanging on my wall.
P.R. I didn’t, if you’re asking.
J.M. [1st word cut off] I wondered if it came out of Charles’ mind, that looks like something
a Garry would write. It was too professional for those idiots over there.
P.R. No. I don’t believe so. I’ll ask him, but I don’t believe he’s ever written anything of theirs.
D.F. He’s cracked down on some of the leaflets, hasn’t he?
P.R. Uh-huh [Yes].
J.M. Well, that one was a riot, if you read it. It was funny.
D.F. I know he felt some of their leaflets should be– I think that’s why they turned to me. I wrote a book in New Haven years ago when Charles was working on a case there. He stayed at our house and we got to be good friends. And I think, when this film thing came up, I was just lucky and I called him and I think that’s why he convinced Jones that he should cooperate, and sign the– Now speaking of these letters of agreement on this stuff, we have two approaches. One, Mark referred to before he left, if you remember, about a four-part series he did in Europe; it’s all over Europe, but it was initiated in France by Jean-Claude Charlier. And it was the highest rating in the history of French television. It was on the Kennedy case. And there is interest there in doing the Jonestown story. That would be documentary, however. The money is much less in a documentary in the beginning. However, when you have worldwide distribution, television sales, and the whole industry in a way, it comes in, it mounts up. The other way is the Jarrico approach, if they can get the errors and omissions. For a documentary, they don’t need errors and omissions because they only put on film the people who are talking. The theatrical, however, you are personifying people. And although occasionally a person like yourself could play yourself, the rest can’t, and it has to be actors and you have to have them sign off. Not so in a book. I could write a book saying it looks like this and that, and so forth, but not on a film. Would this interest you, if they went ahead– Let’s take the theatrical first. If they went ahead with the theatrical, would this fall in your normal purview of interest in negotiating a salary to negotiate the various steps of these things–
You know, there’s one set of money when you do the script, there’s another set of money when you get the financing, there’s another when it’s on the first day of filming, another on the last day of filming. Another when the film is released. These step deals are peculiar to the film industry, not, certainly, to contract law. Would this be something either in your own name or something as a private investigator with attorney-client privilege–
J.M. What attorney-client privilege?
D.F. Your investigator-client privilege
J.M. I don’t have one. We don’t have an investigator-client privilege in this state.
P.R. You do if you are working with an attorney.
J.M. Yeah, but only if you’re working with an attorney, Pat.
D.F. Well, that could be arranged.
J.M. But I have none working as myself.
D.F. But with Mark working as part of the team–
J.M. Ah! Then I’d have a client product. Then there would be an attorney product.
D.F. And even failing that, Charles possibly.
J.M. Well, I don’t know about that.
D.F. Well, I think he would like to see the story told.
J.M. I don’t know how far Charlie and I would get.
D.F. All right, all things being equal, would it be of interest to you to structure a deal in such a way that you were protected, and obviously us, and you negotiated?
J.M. I’m totally open to anything. I don’t know where we are. The closest I ever came–
D.F. It could be left at this, and I would say thanks a million, and you’ve helped us tremendously, and if there is ever anything we can do for you in terms of investigation– That kind of thing. Great. But, I would like to take the next step, and I don’t have to tell you that film deals are very [last line cut off]
let me move over to the documentary – and let me tell you how it would be different. In the documentary, they would be interested in your appearing. They might be slightly interested – this is off the record – but mainly interested in your walking here and you flew there according to the map– Maybe even flying over Jonestown.
J.M. Never again.
D.F. Would you talk with Charlier, if he were prepared to make you a firm offer? And not substantively, but just talked with him in terms of what you would want and so forth?
J.M. Sure, I don’t care. You gotta realize my position, see. You call me, you asked me to come up, I didn’t know–
D.F. I am sorry to have been so secret about it–
(End of tape #1, side #2.)
[Editor’s note: The second half of the taped conversation involves three of the principals from the first half – Joe Mazor, Don Freed and Pat Richartz – as well as Ingrid, identified as “I,” Freed’s secretary. Mark Lane, who appears in the first tape, is absent here.]
Tape 2, Side one
M: Uh, now the closest I’ve ever gotten to this business, my father was in the theater for years.
F: Oh yeah.
M: Yeah, he was George Givett the Greek ambassador of goodwill. He used to play the College Inn and he played the professor. I think the biggest role he ever had was he played the professor and music teacher on the Benny Goodman story. Now that’s the closest I’ve ever been to your line of work, and that’s the closest I’ve ever thought of getting, so I don’t know anything about this. I look at it the same way as I look at any job. (Pause) Yes, uhh–
M [F]: Well, you know in this day of investigative journalism and freedom of information, you’re getting closer and closer– well, on the one hand “All the President’s Men” as a series of newspaper stories in the Washington Post and the next minute it’s a 100 million dollar movie.
M: That’s right.
F: “Executive Action” I think broke the ice. In these films in fact are becoming [blank space] the public has a tremendous appetite. Well, even Hal Lipset was, as you know, a thinly disguised– A big film was made up here a few years ago, “The Conversation.” The investigator and the investigative journalist and private investigators are becoming a new kind of hero, because the public wants to know. And so more and more these real-life – the so-called docudramas for television. And so Jerricho [Jarrico], he’s doing the Brando series, that I told you, for television; the others are theatrical, but increasingly the line has disappeared. This could very well turn into a TV film, a theatrical film for TV and perhaps European release, as well as just a theatrical film. Well, uh, I know Mark was impressed and we will certainly give a very positive report and I think we’ve simplified things. I mean I knew when I saw the Mertles’ background and Conn and with this other guy, Kleinman [George Klineman], I knew that these people were not communists. And they weren’t– Also they weren’t in the sense of Jones uh, they weren’t fundamentalist uh, evangelical Christians in that sense. They were true believers all right, and they could make that true belief fit neatly in a situation of true belief, like the Peoples Temple. But I know that there was uh– not where Stoen was, is weird, he’s very weird, he’s very strange, he’s very sick. But I also think
he’s very vulnerable and I think he’s– personally he hasn’t changed since he was a student. His leaflets haven’t changed. And he has used Rotary International (it’s in 122 different countries) as cover and I’m willing to bet – I don’t know that we need to do this for the film – but I’m willing to bet that Venezuela and Rotary International turn out to be his cover in terms of some of his travels.
M: He did a lot of traveling, a tremendous amount of [blank space] traveling.
F: He even said he was opening an office in Manhattan, New York, as well as here. He announced that.
M: Yeah, well he’s got um– The only thing that bothers me about Mr. Stoen right now is that the idiot’s practicing law.
M: You know, even good CIA agents when they get burned, that’s the end of it, they get it and they go. He doesn’t even have the conscience to accept the fact that he’s been taken to the cleaners, you know, I don’t know. He’s not particularly my kind of guy.
F: No, everything he touches. Well, Pat, I’ve mainly been concentrating on talking to Joe, because I figured I would be having dinner with Charles later, but is there anything– do you see any major problems that uh–
P: No, I don’t see any problems at all, that Charles would have.
F: And I see no problem if we would either the root [route] either of documentary or theatrical. And I think Charles would work with Joe, don’t you.
F: And Mark can be in as an independent representing the film company. He’s an old friend of Charles, gets along with Joe.
P: Yeah, if it’s okay with him.
F: I mean if we need two new entities, there would be Mark and Charles.
P: Yes. No, I see no problem whatsoever.
F: I’d like to keep all of this kind of confidential so that the producers don’t get hit with some of the newspaper stories and all about the film until they announce it. They feel very strongly about that.
P: The filmmakers feel that way?
F: Well, I mean we should all– If we talk to anyone it should be absolutely off the record, if we have to talk to someone to get information.
M: I don’t have any reason for not giving any.
F: Hello. Yes. Yes sir. It turns out I don’t believe were going to need it. No, I’m in conference but we’re going to be done in a few minutes, and I think I’m gonna– we may have dinner up in the room and then I’m going to fly out. Not at all, you’ve been very kind. Thank you very much.
Ingrid: What kind of cigarettes are these?
P: (laughs) Ones that just fell on the floor.
I: They are really bad, are they not, no nicotine?
P: No nicotine, no, they are herbal cigarettes.
I: I’d rather give up smoking.
P: Well, if you have to smoke, they won’t hurt you. They stink though, that’s one problem.
I: They smell a little like marijuana.
P: They do, but they’re obviously not because you buy a whole pack for 85 cents in health food stores.
I: Is that how much they cost?
P: Yeah. Something like that. I got them at a health food store I go to on Solano in Berkeley.
I: Do you actually smoke these?
P: Do I actually? Well of course I do, you saw me.
I: I thought I saw you steal one of mine.
P: No, I didn’t. I can’t smoke that other kind anymore because they’re too strong. The idea behind it was to quit smoking and I never smoked that much anyway, so those served the purpose. I do just socially and that’s it.
F: Joe, I’m going to be traveling on the King case, and if that’s all right with you, uh, Ingrid might give you a call or keep in touch as to what’s happening, so I can kind of keep you in the picture, even though weeks tend go by on these things, but uh, in fact what I like to do now if it fits everyone’s schedule is work with Ingrid and type up some notes and begin to prepare a report for them. And uh– We can work in the other room, you all just chat. Would you like some coffee or something?
P: It’s kind of cold.
M: Yeah, I think a little hot coffee would be fine.
F: Sure, by all means.
P: I would prefer tea, if you’re going to reorder.
F: I’ll order a pot of both.
P: Because coffee doesn’t really sit too well with me.
P: Why don’t you take the rest of the stuff, if you’re moving, Don.
F: I will.
P: Did you talk to Charles today, Don, did he say when he might be coming over?
F: No, would you call him?
P: Well, when do you want him over here?
F: Let’s have dinner about uh, 6:00, uh–
Small chatter about dinner obliterated by dishes being stacked on tray
P: So was your agreement with the Mertles, the Mills-Mertles, I always get–
M: I don’t know what you want to call them.
P: Whatever you want to call them, it was just to collect– How were ever to be paid?
M: The agreement was, we were to be paid out of the bond. Nobody knew exactly where we were when we started this thing.
P: Oh, then the bond that you just recovered, right?
P: But you spent more than $5000.
M: Oh, I [blank space]. I got involved in this thing on the basis of what he originally called the– The Millses filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the Peoples Temple.
P: In San Francisco.
M: Yeah, you know that.
P: Well, no one was ever served.
M: Oh yeah, they were, uh, uh, Jones was served, by publication I believe. No, wait a minute, you’re right, nobody was ever served.
P: No one was served to the best of my knowledge.
M: Yeah, you’re right, nobody was served. The situation with something like this, we took the case on, on the basis of getting back or at least seeing at first what was going on. Because you gotta remember, if you think back way last year, the article comes out, everybody’s throwing charges at everybody, no one knows where anybody is.
Uh, we took the Mertles’ case on, solely to kind of see where things were. Well, the first thing we end up doing was getting the kids back. The Petit children. That was really the first thing that happened. Plus we got the–
P: Except they weren’t ever really gone, they–
M: No, but they weren’t in their custody or control. And then there was the matter of various allegations coming up as we run along between– Okay, I can’t even think of all the names, but Christ, we had 13 or 14 people that came in to see us. And they all had–
P: The Concerned Relatives group.
M: Yeah, right, this group and that group, this person and that person. So by the time we were finished, we had about 14 people who were involved in this uh, you know, in some sort of a loss.
M: Okay, the next step was that if in fact the property was illegally taken from these various people through fraud and forgery, then you’re looking at a recovery on the property through the title insurance. So our original situation with the Mills was that we would take the entire case on a percentile. Then we said look, you better, you know, for your legal rights, you go see an attorney. So they went over and saw Dan Dannenburg and they retained Dan Dannenburg.
P: Is he in the East Bay?
M: No, he’s right here, 1700 California, uh, beautiful old Victorian on California and Franklin.
M: So they retained Dannenburg and they filed the one million dollar, million and a half, 2 million lawsuit against Jones, the Temple, Mrs. Jones, uh, Stoen, they listed everybody and their aunts and uncles as defendants. And Dannenburg then retained me, ‘cause that’s the only way he could retain me, [to] get the information. So he retained me. And therefore he got access to the information we had in our file.
P: I see.
M: So basically what was going to happen, if we’d gotten back the Redwood [Valley] property for the Mertles. That was valued at $40,000. We got back Swinney’s property or the title insurance had paid off. That was $40,000, so that was $80,000. Then you figure whatever the lawsuit would bring, plus the bond which was the first step in getting everything else done, you had to go after the bond. We were looking at a sizable fee
when we were done. In other words, I’d have cleared my expenses and my fee without any problem. I ended up with ten grand, probably, $15,000, which would have more than covered my expenses. Well, what happened was–
P: Wouldn’t have covered your fee.
M: Well, not quite, but you know, I wouldn’t have worked out of my pocket anyway. It would have been, I would have been paid that way. Anyway, what happened, was that everything went along; we started the bond procedure. And that takes time. Everything went along until January.
P: When Stoen returned.
M: When Stoen returned. And the first thing that happened was, the Millses wouldn’t let me talk to Stoen. And I told Mrs. Mills that at the time, well, if that’s the way you want it, our relationship has turned.
F: Conflict of interest.
M: Yeah, on their part more than on mine. I was working with– I had already bought in.
P: You were working on an understanding, right?
M: Yeah, and I had already brought into the case the Secretary of State’s office. And I’d already brought in the District Attorney’s people on certain issues. And I felt that–
F: They’re using you, as an instrument in getting someone out.
M: How can I go ahead and represent these people as an investigator much less from a legal point of view, I can’t, but you either, no attorney could, if he were– if I were an attorney I could not represent them in that position. As an investigator I damn well can’t represent them either in that position, because I can’t cope with the problems that are the underlying problems. And I got a hard enough job trying to go down and get kids back, you know, and find out what’s going on. So when I stopped that relationship, I notified them in writing that the relationship was terminated, however there’s nothing I can do about the bond situation, it’s already in progress. And there’s nothing I will do about it because I still represent the Swinneys. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t just cut you out. So it’s going to happen, you know, and if it does happen, that’s it. Then they went to Dannenburg and dropped their lawsuit.
P: Oh, that lawsuit’s been dropped?
P: Why was it dropped? Because it involved Tim Stoen?
M: Because it involved Tim Stoen.
P: I see.
M: But then they dropped the lawsuit, so all I had left was the Swinneys. Well, that’s fine. The bond comes through, uh, I have to be fair with them. The bonding company sends me the check and says, do what do you want with it, you know, disperse it any way you see fit. So I felt both pieces of property were valued at $40,000.
P: So you just split it.
M: So I just said hey, right down the center, half to the Swinneys, half to the Mills, and I wrote Mills a letter and I said here it is, now remember, you owe me some money. So you sign the papers and send them on back because hey, I’m going to keep half, I’m going to keep the money. Because you owe it to me. Now, you’re either going to just sign it over to me, or your right, claim and interest or I’m going to sue you for it. And I sent the Swinneys their papers and I said here it is, now we can proceed to the title company which is the next step. And tell the title company, hey, you blew it, why don’t you take care the Swinneys. Well, this morning, I received in the mail a letter, as I said, from the bond company saying that the Mills had sent– written them a letter saying they had no cause to uh–
P: Sue Tim Stoen.
M: No cause to go against Tim Stoen. And the bond company is now saying what are you going to now do with the $2500, which is basically their money.
F: But – a device on the Mertles’ part in the first place in collusion with Stoen. That’s how it started and then–
M: It does sound that way.
F: Does Conn come into this too?
M: Yeah, Conn it is very, very close with the Mertles.
F: Yeah, right.
M: Very close.
F: And Conn is linked to Klineman.
M: And Conn has also been on the phone to me once every two weeks for the past six months.
P: About what?
M: Whatever he could think about to call. You know, it’s like the bad penny, you probably got one in your office that uh, how’s my lawsuit going for 29.95, because they didn’t return the shoes or something. That’s what it is.
P: Well, that seems strange that Conn would contact you, even though the Mertles don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore, doesn’t it?
M: Conn is a strange character, see, Conn is– Conn is, I don’t, I can’t [missing word?] you, Pat, because I don’t know about these people. I’ve said so here 3 or 4 times. As far as I’m concerned they all wear black hats, they’re all crazy.
P: It seems to me that if he is in close to the Mertles, and the Mertles don’t want you to do anything against Stoen, it seems strange that he’d still be calling you, to do something.
M: He may be calling me to find out what I’m doing.
P: Oh, you mean as a plant, right?
M: Well, I don’t know a plant, but hi, how’s it going, what’s happening kind of a thing.
P: Right, to see what you’re doing, I see.
F: Well, let me ask you this, Joe, you know Conn, you not only know the type, you know the man and his background. Did you– do you– you can speak a little differently to him than you could to some of the others, have you ever leveled with him as to what’s really going on?
F: He knows your–
M: I’ve never leveled to Conn what’s going on; I’ve never leveled to anybody except one or two people and that’s Swinneys. And only with the aspect of what the Swinneys’ case is. ‘Cause that’s all they’re interested in. They have their son back, they’re living in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, somewhere back there. They got $2500 coming out back there, their half of the bond minus my fees for collecting out of what I’ve done for them. And we’re now going to the title company and saying, hey guys, you blew it. You know. You guaranteed a title to an innocent third party without ever seeing the real grant deed, and since you never did that, you know, that’s what your buyer pays title insurance for, is to guarantee it.
And since you never did that, that’s what your buyer pays title insurance for, is to guarantee–
P.R. Who brought the grant deed to the title company? Tim Stoen?
J.M. Oh, Gene Chaikin.
J.M. He filed it. Cordell took it and Chaikin filed it. Cordell filed it at the request of Chaikin. If you look at the top of the grant deed, it says it was recorded by Cordell at the request of Eugene Chaikin, attorney-at-law, notarized by Timothy Stoen. That’s a real cute piece of paper.
P.R. Well, Tim Stoen at that time was legal counsel, and Chaikin was assisting him, I believe.
D.F. Mr. Stoen’s the man.
J.M. Stoen’s the man, you know.
P.R. You see, Stoen was always chief counsel for the Temple, and in fact when he came back last year and started speaking out against the Temple, the Temple was totally confused because they thought he was still their attorney. I mean, that he was still an attorney for them.
J.M. Well, I think the Temple has got a good suit against him.
P.R. They were just completely confused. Hey, what’s going on here? You are our attorney, and how can you be saying that against us when you are our attorney– It just didn’t make sense.
D.F. I think what we come back to, and I think what the film will come back to is a minister – I won’t mention his name, but I had a long talk with him in Georgetown – and he said, you know the Temple– it was a very close call, you know the government almost fell. And he’s a friend of Peoples Temple, this particular minister – he’s going to cooperate with us, I think. And he hinted – he did everything but say CIA.
P.R. The government almost fell when? Recently?
D.F. No, sometime in this last period. The situation was this. The CIA was in the labor unions there, and they backed Burnham against Jagan.
Then Burnham kicked them out. And of course that’s your death warrant. And now, the Peoples Temple is pretty strong. I’ve seen the reports, I’ve talked to our agents over there, it’s big, it’s thriving, it’s happy and so forth. And I have the feeling that Stoen overplayed his hand and I don’t think it’s in his interest, and at some point now he is going to reach the point of diminishing returns. We might talk to him. What would be your advice, Joe? My feeling is, maybe when we are ready to go–
P.R. That you should talk to Stoen?
D.F. We might talk to him and say, look, we are ready to do the story – you can get out in front of it and be John Dean, or you can go down with it. What do you think he would say? Do you think he would turn?
J.M. I am writing my book. Don’t bother me. Look, we offered him–
P.R. Do you really think he is writing a book?
P.R. That’s just baloney.
J.M. Look, we offered him immunity.
P.R. Who’s we?
J.M. Secretary of State’s office.
D.F. Then it’s patently not the child.
J.M. Right, we offered him immunity. I called him on the phone. We talked to Mills. I had Bob Gillametes ready to grant him total immunity, if he were just to get out in front and lay it all on the line.
P.R. Well, maybe he can’t lay it all on the line.
J.M. He can’t, of course not.
P.R. Because he was the person who did it all to begin with.
J.M. Right, but you got to remember, Pat, at the time we are talking about, which was last September or October –
D.F. He was blowing a line about how he hated them–
J.M. He was blowing a line, he’s saying, hey, these people are no good. He comes back to the United States now, in January. And he is shacked up with
D.F. To be the government witness–
J.M. Yeah, right. Yeah, the government is interested in the welfare money that went to these various foster homes; the government is interested in the money that’s been going in from SDI and all these things, and the Social Security to the elderly people. It is interested in all this stuff, and there’s two or three independent investigations going on, and here you have a prime candidate witness sitting right there, who can tell you where all this money is and how all these checks were handled, and say, yes, all right, Jim Jones put the power of God in me and I notarized this document. I know it was wrong, but he was going to get immunity for all those notaries, so what he was going to do was be able to say anything he wanted to say. To say, yep, Tish Leroy under my instructions signed this grant deed, forged the names of so-and-so–
D.F. He could say anything.
P.R. Well, why do you think he wouldn’t do it?
D.F. Because it’s obvious why. He can’t reveal his own role.
J.M. He couldn’t do it.
D.F. Because his own role has nothing to do with what he would get immunity for. What he can’t get immunity for is operating as an agent in terms of his credibility.
P.R. You mean an international agent?
D.F. Well, an agent who is working– who has worked in a number of places.
J.M. Yeah. See, he could get immunity without any problem for his notary acts. They’d be willing to give it to him, they had a long discussion, I understand, and I wasn’t there, but I understand through good sources they had a good half-day discussion on how much immunity they would grant him, and they granted him total immunity. For everything. You know.
P.R. Including acting as an agent?
J.M. No, they can’t. But any criminal act which he might have done within the State of California.
D.F. Right, he’s not afraid of any criminal acts.
J.M. See. And they said they would give him total immunity, right down the line, everything out.
D.F. That’s fascinating, that’s a great scene.
J.M. And he’s not going to take it. He’s writing his book. That’s his stock and trade answer. “I’m writing my book.” So what have you got left? So I’ve got no choice. What’s $5000.00 when you’re into that much of a case? I had no choice. Because I was very willing to say, to hell with the bond, I got bigger fish to fry. Let’s see what Stoen has to say. Let’s just drop the bond issue, set Stoen down, and let’s have a John Dean type situation and see where we are. The problem lay with, we couldn’t get Stoen to sit down, so I said, to hell with you, pal. We’ll go get the bond. If you won’t cooperate. You see, it’s been my policy, my theory, Pat, that the man went to Guyana, regardless of what he did, regardless of his black hat-white hat, whatever he was, whatever Jones is, it doesn’t matter. The man went to Guyana–
P.R. Meaning Stoen.
J.M. Yeah. In the name of the Peoples Temple. He comes back in the name of Timothy Stoen and he walks down on Montgomery Street and sets up an office and says, it’s all over, I’m a good guy now. I’m nice and clean, I got a nice clean shirt on and I’m a new guy. And that’s it. And it’s my feeling that you just can’t do that. That’s a no-no.
P.R. Unless you got some other protection.
J.M. Unless you clean up your act. He owes somebody something. Whether it’s your people, my people, the government. He owes somebody an explanation for what the hell he’s been doing. And if he isn’t willing to give me that explanation, or you, or the government, or Bob Gillametes, or whoever the hell,
or Bob Graham, it doesn’t matter. Then I am going to go after him.
D.F. I think we’ve broken the case, Joe. I really do. You put the fine point on it. When you’re offered immunity, carte blanche, a Nixon pardon, and you can’t take it, and you’re going to have to stand the heat, and he knows that as he pushes these suits, he is going to get caught up in it, he’s going to be– it’s not like he’s got any choice.
P.R. But why is he pushing these crazy suits?
D.F. Look, it’s not like he’s saying, I am going to write my book and I don’t want to have anything to do with it. That would be a logical answer. But he is not writing his book, he is pushing his suits.
J.M. Yeah, that’d be great if he sat back and wrote his book.
P.R. Well, why is he pushing his suits?
D.F. Obviously, somebody has made him a proposition that he couldn’t refuse.
P.R. Who’s the someone?
D.F. It’s someone– someone’s got him. He owes something. They’ve got him. You don’t have to be an expert in this business to know that if a man on the one hand has a vendetta and wants to get out, get away, step aside from it and pursue the vendetta and be clean himself and be protected, that’s the dream offer. Now if you can’t take that and you’re still going to pursue the vendetta and you’re going to go down with them all, it means a suicide. He’s a kamikaze. He’s going to go down with them all. It doesn’t matter to him obviously whether he turns out to be or to go to state prison to be branded as a felon, what he can’t be branded as is an agent.
P.R. But he didn’t bargain for that, to go down. Or to go to state prison, did he?
J.M. Well now, Pat, wait a minute. Nobody bargained for it in the beginning. But the point is, it’s the old story. When you start the game, you don’t know what the players are going to do. Nobody knew, when they started the game, that I was coming in the picture. I sure didn’t know Charlie was going to represent the Temple.
P.R. Neither did Charles.
J.M. Neither did I know that I was going to represent the Mills or the Swinneys. How in the hell could Stoen know who was going to get into the picture? At that time?
D.F. That’s right. And besides, Joe, he is the type they just burn.
J.M. Who knew last year, last January 1977, who knew the Bob Graham was going to have an employee by the name of Larry Lawrence.
D.F. We could find out the sexual stuff on him, God knows. You can tell by the letter he wrote John in the first place, he’s not all there.
J.M. No, he’s dingy as hell.
D.F. And he’s made to order. They’ve had him since he was a student off and on.
P.R. You mean the CIA.
J.M. Yeah, well somebody’s had him.
D.F. Well, it’s CIA. Because Rotary International doesn’t work for the FBI, they work for the CIA.
P.R. They have to, don’t they?
J.M. Well, the FBI doesn’t have him, I’ll guarantee that.
P.R. How do you know that, Joe?
D.F. Joe’s contacts are better with the FBI than the CIA.
J.M. No, yeah, they are, much better. Thank you. I got myself burned with the CIA myself. So they don’t like me that much. The John Dean tapes burned me. See, we did the Dean tapes. On the Senate subcommittee.
P.R. Your firm?
J.M. Me personally. And there was a lot of crap going on, you see, because they have private meetings and private hearings prior to the televised hearings.
D.F. You should write your book.
J.M. No way. Well, they had the private hearings and what they were doing, they were using the PSE [Psychological Stress Evaluator]. And they were determining whether Dean was telling the truth. And on his truthful issues, that was the determination of whether
or not they were going to let Dean testify publicly, on the Ervin committee [Senate Watergate Committee, chaired by Sam Ervin]. And of course, Dean started out with this crap with what’s his name, General [missing name] from the CIA and having gone over there and having him in [John] Ehrlichman’s office, you know, and nobody really liked that too well, because, hey that’s true, baby, so go ahead, Sam, give him understand, Sam! Lowell Weiker was sitting there saying, are you sure? I’m saying, I’m positive it’s true. And so, you know, no problem, get him out there on the table. And say, now, what next happened. And well, General so-and-so arrived at the Oval Office and boom boom boom and all the guys in the CIA in the back row are going, oh God, here it goes, you know. And had I said at the time, because Dean’s counsel was sitting there, and had I said it at the time, hey, he’s not truthful on that issue, they would have said no, don’t talk about that, let’s only talk about the truthful points. Because they had to build from Dean to get to the other people. Like Alexander Butterfield. They had to build from Dean to get to Butterfield so they could get the tapes and evidence. Now they knew about those damn tapes, months before Butterfield actually got on the stand. And Lowell Weiker’s little act about “what tapes?” That was all stage play. They knew about it three months before in the informal hearings. The problem was, they had to get Dean through so they could get Butterfield on, or they had lost the chain of evidence. It’s just like in a criminal trial, you have got to have evidence going. But the FBI situation is simple. Off the record–
D.F. The Mertles are more the FBI types.
J.M. No, there are a couple of ex-agents working here in the City, who check real fast, find out if Stoen had any connection with the Feds, with the FBI. Nothing. No connection.
D.F. ‘Cause I was concerned that he was CIA.
P.R. Do you think he is CIA?
P.R. What do you think he is, nuts?
J.M. No, I equate Stoen with Lee Harvey Oswald. Only to the extent that Oswald had changing political – so says Mark Lane – desires. First he went to Russia, and he really didn’t like it there, too well, so then he went to Cuba, and that wasn’t good taste, and then he went somewhere else, and that wasn’t good either. But all three of them used him while he was around. That’s how I see Stoen. Stoen did his little bit in ‘58 and ‘59, and ‘60 at the Berlin Wall. And that really didn’t give Stoen the satisfaction he really craved. Cause he’s kinky; he’s kinky as hell. So then he went and tried something else, and that really didn’t work either. And then he went and did something else, and that really wasn’t it either. And then he up and went and joined with a couple of people from the Fourth Reich of South America, and that really wasn’t the greatest. But they had money, and that he needed. And, of course, you’ve got to remember, the thing that always bothered me about Jones, why, why pick a country– you say you’re a socialist, why pick a country that is setting dead off in the highest right wing area of the world. There’s more Nazis, what we call Nazis and right wing extremists per capita mile in South America than any other country in the world. So why would Jones go to South America? That bothers me, and it does so today.
P.R. Unless he’s a right winger, is that what you are saying?
J.M. Well, he’s espousing socialism up here, but yet he wants to be run for mayor and he wants to be run for governor and he wants his Temple people put him on the ballot for the governorship and everything else. And when that doesn’t work, he picks himself a hole – and really one of only few socialist countries in South America. You’ve got to remember that nearly every other country in South America is either dictatorship or neo-Nazi dictatorship. And Guyana was overthrown in 1963 by 700 adults. The whole government was toppled by 700 angry adults. So you look at it, and you say, what the hell is going on with Jones, let alone with Stoen?
D.F. Sure, he constitutes a threat for Venezuela’s full of Nazis.
P.R. So Jones constitutes a threat to the Nazis?
D.F. Well, what you have is a connection – it’s hard to put a fine point on these things – but when you talk about– Rotary International is a cover, as all kinds of people use it as fronts; and the money goes back and forth, the CIA works with all kinds of people in these countries. It works with the right wing elements against the Communists, naturally.
P.R. I can understand that.
D.F. I think Joe’s biography is a good one of Stoen. I would add that the common denominator in all of these big flip-flops is Rotary International. And Rotary International, like the Red Cross and the International Monetary Fund – the Establishment – these are the old families that belong to the OSS, join the diplomatic service, Red Cross and Rotary and so on. And they are the service cut-outs of all kinds of people. Now the people change wildly, with the common denominator is that it always serves in a given situation, what we would call stabilizing the government or destabilizing– In other words, anti-Communism is your common denominator.
P.R. Let me ask you another question. Why does Stoen have as his attorney in San Francisco a well-known person on the left?
D.F. Well, I don’t think he is being forthcoming with him.
P.R. That person represents him to today.
J.M. Who is it now?
P.R. Patrick Hallinan.
J.M. Oh, OK. All right.
P.R. He represented him a year ago, and when we filed the restraining order on him, proceeding with the suits, because he was talking about times when he was the Temple attorney, and how can you sue the Temple when you were the person to advise them to do whatever they did? And so we filed a restraining order in San Francisco. That was the suit you are talking about. A Temporary Restraining Order. Hallinan represents him on that. He does.
J.M. I know, but let’s take it a step further, Pat. Wait a minute. Let’s go all the way back to the start. Grace Stoen hires Jeff Haas.
P.R. Who I’ve never heard of in my entire life.
J.M. Nobody has.
P.R. Who is it?
J.M. Jeffrey Haas was a young counsel trying to make a name for himself.
P.R. OK. You know, there is a very famous left-wing attorney named Jeffrey Haas who comes out of Chicago, but he’s not the same person.
J.M. Not the same guy. Haas and I had it out immediately because you’re going to sit here and– First of all I knew Haas wasn’t going to get anywhere going into the Superior Court in San Francisco to get orders for Guyana. And all he was doing was wasting Grace’s money. OK?
P.R. Where did her money come from?
J.M. Well, her money belonged to Walter Jones. Walter Jones is the guy who was living with Grace Stoen. Jones is the guardian of that kid we were talking about [Vincent Lopez].
P.R. Well, where did Walter Jones get the money?
J.M. He gets a lot of money. He’s a high-priced, high paid welder, and he was making about $400 – $500 per week. I checked him out. He was making big money up here. He’s really working– does a specialized type of welding which is in high demand and he gets the money for it. So, he was giving Grace the money for it, to pay for Haas to represent her and get the kid. And Haas was going into the Superior Court to get orders.
P.R. Why did she want the kid? She never–
J.M. It’s her child.
P.R. Well, she’s never wanted–
J.M. OK, look. Without getting into desires one way or the other– What ended up happening was that I went in with Haas, and we really had it out. I said, look, you’re not getting anywhere, wasting your money here. Let’s get momma and put her on an airplane and go down to Guyana with momma– And this was early in the game, remember. Get down there with the orders
and just momma and the birth certificate, and let’s walk him down there and let’s go over to Port Kaituma and let’s get the kid. Hey, I want the child. Bingo. Give me my son. To hell with everything. That’s my baby. Screw you, Jim Jones. Screw you, Tim Stoen. That’s my kid. I’m the mother. There’s the birth certificate. Grab the kid. Have McCoy with us from the consul, grab the kid, get on the plane, go back to Georgetown, come home, and to hell with it. And if everybody wanted to fight later, fight later. That’s the simple way of doing it. Haas wouldn’t buy it. He went into court, and Hallinan refused to represent him.
P.R. Refused to represent Tim Stoen in court.
P.R. But he’s representing him now.
J.M. But he refused to represent him on the custody battle.
J.M. I don’t know. But of course, the outcome of it was that Haas that Walter Jones to go get a loan of some $8000 to $10,000. And Haas got on the airplane to go to Guyana with these orders which he finally acquired here in San Francisco.
P.R. That was in cooperation with Tim Stoen. And Tim and Grace went there together to Guyana–
J.M. Yes. Right.
D.F. And retained Hughes in Guyana.
P.R. Did you go with them that time?
J.M. I’ve never gone with Haas. I told Haas to stick it in his ear. Because it was a weird situation from the get-go. My feeling back then was–
D.F. They wanted the lawsuit, not the child.
J.M. Yeah, yeah. If you want the child, I’ve picked up children all over this world.
D.F. I can see you are sincere. This was your whole thing, to get the child back from these areas–
J.M. I want an accounting. I can take you back to correspondence that I wrote
to Charlie way, way back. I called Charlie on the phone when I first got retained this deal, and I said, look, I will send you– And I wrote him a letter confirming it, and I still got the letter– a letter on each and every person. And if you will be kind enough just to tell me where the child is. OK? That’s all, because I’ve got these nuts coming in the door and, hey, if the kid went down there with the parents’ permission, I don’t want to spin my wheels up here arguing about who’s got the right of custody. Or if one of the parents is down there and the other parent is up here, I’m not going to get involved in that. I just want an accounting of the children. And that was the whole deal. My only concern, and to this day–
(end of side #1, tape #2)
J.M. But last year, during the real crux of this mess, there were allegations floating back and forth about children everywhere from the age of 3 to the age of 16. And that’s a wide span. And they were: A) United States citizens; B) were they getting proper medical attention? Educational attention? And were they in fact there with permission of guardian, parent, whoever? And in many cases there were wards of the court, and so did the court know they were there? Now, that was my sole interest in this case. What developed out of it was that Timothy Stoen, because of his action encounter-reaction to me, one, in January of this year when I tried to interview him and when the State [Department] people tried to interview him, I got pissed at his action. But my only action against Jones has ever been the children. I could give a damn less whether Jones had those people rolling in the aisles in his Temple, whether they stood up there and took their clothes off and let him beat them – I don’t care what they did. If they were adults–
P.R. But that’s not exactly true, Joe, because you went after Jones [another draft transcribes name as “Stoen”] on the signature thing.
J.M. I went after Jones [Stoen] on the signature thing because he was a byproduct of the situation. I didn’t go in the thing after Stoen. I went in the thing after children.
D.F. And I think that’s the line for the play, the screenplay. It is clear you are an expert, you have done this– you’re going to Hawaii for another one now. And wouldn’t it make sense – isn’t it logical – if you have a choice of bringing your own civil suit as against having the government bring a suit, and you’re the witness and you don’t have to pay any money and you get immunity thrown into the bargain, well, anyone would choose that. But he said no, and he pursues his own civil suits.
P.R. He’s going to lose on every one of those.
D.F. And if he won, he’d lose. He’d go to state prison if he won.
J.M. Sure, he’s going to lose. Regardless of what Charlie and I have had against each other in the past, or arguments or confrontations or whatever, when I saw the stuff Stoen was putting out, I knew that Charlie had the suit. Because you are going to win on one issue, alone, and that is the client confidentiality issue. If you lose on everything else, your gotta win on that. Because no court in this country is going to allow that to happen.
P.R. Right. Not only do you win on attorney-client violation, you win on a State Bar level, because he can’t do that.
J.M. You’re never going to make the State Bar level, because I’m going to beat you. I’m going to have him disbarred before you get to court.
P.R. Well, how the hell did I know that? All I’m saying is that if you win on attorney-client privilege, you also win on the State Bar level. The State Bar will not allow him to advise a client one minute and then sue the client on the advice that he made.
J.M. You win on the State Bar issue just on the forgeries and the fraud.
P.R. Of course, I know that.
D.F. He could have avoided all that and had the government prosecute the Peoples Temple.
J.M. I talked to the State Bar at the same time I was trying to get him to talk to us. And the most the State Bar probably would have done at that time was probably have sanctioned him and suspended him. Which is no big thing. A year’s suspension. It happens to everybody– Some of the best attorneys we have in the City have been suspended from time to time for various infractions.
P.R. Not Charles, though, so far.
J.M. What the problem is, now you’re talking– that was before the insurance company said, here’s the money. Now the insurance says here’s the money. Now you don’t have any longer just a suspendable act; now you have a disbarable act. And the day after I got the check, I was in the State Bar office. That’s how fast I was sitting there. Because I am not about ready to let
this guy out on the street to practice law.
P.R. He’s not practicing law anyway, at this point, Joe.
J.M. Well, my feelings may be a little different than yours. You see, you’re looking at it from the client position. And I was looking at it from the fact that this klutz comes back to the United States, refuses to give us testimony about anything, and goes out and sets up a law practice. And I’m not down there watching what he is doing–
P.R. Oh, I agree with you. I don’t think he should be allowed to practice, either.
J.M. As far as I’m concerned, he’s an attorney, and he’s hung out a shingle that says he’s an attorney, and that means that some klutz out there is going to walk in and say, gee, you’re an attorney? I need some help. And get messed over. And that I wasn’t going to let happen. And that’s why I went after him. The only reason. He was a by-product.
D.F. He’s not interested in the child.
J.M. And the only interest I still have with Jones is the children.
P.R. Could I ask him just one other question? He was talking about two investigations that were going on–
D.F. I just want to say one thing about the children, because I am impressed with your sincerity on this subject. As I told you, we had some people go there and I went there.
J.M. So did I, for a quick visit.
D.F. There were transportation difficulties, and I had to stay there about three and a half days.
J.M. Was the river full?
D.F. I went down on the river, I flew out. I worked with in learning theory with children, and if there is one thing I couldn’t be fooled on, it’s that, for children at that age. And I spent a great deal of time looking at the medical– I didn’t look at the agricultural, I don’t know anything about chickens and pigs. What I do know something about the medical and educational
and there was one teacher for every seven children. And those children are in a superb set-up. Superb. Now, they were pretty frank with me, there, Joe. They knew I would find out, they knew Mark and I, and they knew there was no sense in hiding anything. They even talked about these spankings and so forth. They said, interestingly enough, Stoen had been a big part of this. In the days when they had done this. The period when they felt besieged and the talk of violence came up. They played a tape and talked and so forth. And I thought they were frank. And it was just as well they were, because I am a friend of Charles’, but I never heard of Jim Jones, and I’m not part of their Temple.
J.M. OK, let me tell you a couple of things that bother me still. I have a letter from McCoy. I finally forced McCoy, I badgered him enough, and he finally went up to the Temple, which is about 400 miles, as you know, from Georgetown. And–
P.R. You mean he went to the interior, not to the Temple.
J.M. No, he went to the interior in Guyana, and went in– and he wrote in the letter, there’s no question in my mind that they set up knowing I was coming. And I didn’t see the real situation. Now that’s coming from the embassy. From the consulate in Guyana. That’s the first thing that bothers me.
D.F. But I allow for that.
J.M. OK, that’s the first thing that bothers me. The second thing that has bothered me is that so many of these people have tried to contact their families down there and they have been stopped. Now, we have affidavits, maybe 6, 8, a dozen, I don’t know, of people who went to your office, or went to the Temple itself here and wanted to talk to their children, their mothers, their fathers, their aunts, their uncles, their grandmothers. And were told no.
[P.R.] Not at the office they weren’t, Joe. And in fact everybody who came to the office talked to those people. That includes that guy out there from Lafayette whose daughter is there [likely Carolyn Looman], it includes somebody or other connected with Mertles/Mills. Everybody who came to the office talked as soon as they could.
J.M. Well, we’ve got affidavits, and then there’s a tape recording of the telephone conversations between Swinneys and members of the Temple. Which we had first. In other words, you have to look at this in a chain. First we got the telephone conversations, which are absolutely ridiculous.
P.R. You mean the Swinney-Stoen–
J.M. Yeah, the Swinney-Stoen, Cordell conversations. Which are absolutely sickened. They sound like a bunch of fanatics all on drugs. That’s what it sounds like. “We’ll come and kill you tomorrow.” Yeah, that’s what it sounds like.
P.R. Did they actually say that?
J.M. “We’re going to kill the child. You want him back, you can’t have him because we are going to kill him.” Now that’s the conversations I hear. Then, I have these people coming to me who have gone to the Temple and who have gone to your offices and they say to me, I can’t talk to my mother. I can’t talk to my son. I can’t get through. They won’t let me talk to my brother. You know. And then, on top of all of that, I have McCoy’s letter saying I went up and obviously they have showed me what they want me to see. So now I have three things in a chain, and by that time I am saying to myself–
P.R. Except I know for a fact, Joe, that assuming there were people that came to our office, which there were – that if they came to you after they came to our office and said they weren’t put in touch with their relatives, that’s an out and out lie.
J.M. Well, that may be. But you’ve got to remember, Pat, that I can only go on what people are saying.
P.R. I have seen the letters come through the office. And they have all made patches.
J.M. Now what about these letters that are censored.
P.R. There aren’t any letters that are censored.
J.M. Well, I’ve got a batch of them that are censored over at my office.
P.R. That have words crossed out?
P.R. Those are made up, I am sure. You mean somebody wrote a letter and somebody else crossed out words?
D.F. From Jonestown here?
P.R. That’s phony.
J.M. Jonestown to the Temple.
D.F. He’s not talking about the letters from the Garry office, he’s talking about letters emanating from Latin America that were censored.
P.R. That were sent to the Temple? Who were they from?
J.M. They were from relatives down there.
P.R. That sent letters to the Temple–
J.M. I’ve got one of them in my office that I can think of right off the top of my head.
P.R. And who censored them?
J.M. I’m not sure; the letter was written– was allegedly written in Guyana. It was delivered to the person, the mother here in San Francisco. She was called on the phone and told you can come down, we have a letter here from your son. And she had to pick the letter up at the Temple.
P.R. Was that Neva Sly?
P.R. And there were words crossed out?
P.R. I am sure she crossed the words out herself. Why would– I mean, take it from this position–
J.M. I don’t know.
P.R. Why would somebody from Guyana send a censored letter here and then give it out? That’s crazy. That’s like making a case against yourself.
J.M. I don’t know.
J.M. Pat, I don’t know why you would do it, but on the other hand I don’t understand why McCoy tells me that he was only shown what– I don’t understand something else that happened. I don’t understand why these people sound like raving maniacs on the tape recordings. I don’t understand that either.
D.F. I think McCoy might have been protecting– Now, whenever you go someplace you are going to see an attempt to build up the image a little bit, you’re going to see what they want you to see. You’ve got to allow room for that. Now, what I did, I took the tour and the singing and the cultural evening and the wonderful food and all these things, and the kitchen, when I talked to people and so forth– But I spent hours watching the kids. Not questioning them verbally, watching them. And I am a teacher, and I can’t be fooled. I cannot be fooled. And the reason I am dwelling on this for the moment is, without defending anything else, because that is one area I am an expert in, and I can see that you are sincerely anxious about the fate of these children. And I heard some of the stories, I got all the other stuff before I went there: barbed wire and all these things, and so forth.
P.R. Is there any barbed wire there?
D.F. No, there isn’t.
J.M. Well, there was.
D.F. Was there?
J.M. Uh-huh [yes]. Last year there was.
D.F. Well, there isn’t now. I didn’t want to get into any film, despite my friendship with Charles, where I was going to get burned later. And anyone can lie to an attorney, too.
J.M. You better believe it. And to an investigator.
D.F. Yes, and so I was– They were frank with me, admitting all kinds of mistakes they had made. Stupid mistakes. What I tried to keep in balance was, is there some connection between means and ends. Is Jonestown really a kind of Resurrection City? PR on the side, what are the real dynamics of it?
And in talking to the old people and watching the kids, it is my opinion, that most of the people in Jonestown, maybe 99%, if they were not in Jonestown, would be one way or another dead. I mean either physically dead or addicted or prostitutes, pimps, state prison, suicide, mental institutions, hospitals. You know, they have a group ego there, and it wouldn’t be everybody’s choice to live, it wouldn’t be our style to live that way, but the people I saw are working and turning out fantastic things there in industry and all the other things. I have oral histories from about 100 people. Everybody’s story – incest, victims, you name it. It’s Dostoyevskyian.
J.M. Were they incest, or were they incest only from the point– You see, now I’ve got affidavits, I’ve got documents which these people signed in the Temple here saying they committed incest. And then I have affidavits from the same person saying they were forced to sign it.
J.M. By Jones and by Chaikin and by Stoen. I’ve got affidavits, and I have got the originals.
D.F. Setting aside the incest, the others–
J.M. Well, rape, armed robbery, murder–
D.F. Well, I talked to some of those young kids, and I believe they were material for state prison.
J.M. Well, maybe they were, but I am talking about the run-of-the-mill– I’ve got the same type of affidavits sitting here, and the original and the copies of something else, and I am saying to myself, what the hell is going on here?
D.F. I think you take person A and put them in Jonestown, and they are one thing. You take them out and they are something else. In my opinion there, you have got the social equivalent of the raising of the dead.
And I talked to some of the young people. Not the old black people, and you have some of the religious element there, the young people who are very atheistic and so forth. Vietnam vets, strung out on drugs, these people were lost. They are zealots, now, there is no question about it; they are true believers. It is not an uncommon phenomenon. The question is, is it in good faith? Is it– and I saw three delegations while I was there from different countries, and from Georgetown, too. Education, medicine, and so forth. They are treating the Amerindians with medical care. They are bringing in Amerindian and Guyanese orphans for the educational and so forth. For a social scientist, it is like an El Dorado, it is an extraordinary thing. Now, that isn’t to say that it is a utopia of strong, autonomous individuals who volitionally all say we are going to work together and create a new society. You have a little of that. But you have an awful lot of people who were tremendously heavily burdened emotionally and physically and legally. And put them together and it’s dynamite. I mean, they are carving out that jungle. Now, that isn’t to say– and I still go back to my Elmer Gantry description which I think is viable for American film, because the combination of saint and conman is an old archetype.
J.M. My question still lies, how did they get there? How did they get put in the position to have to go? Did they have to go? Were they forced to go?
D.F. They believe there, you know it’s like the Chinese, they believed in Jonestown. I talked to all kinds of people there. They have an apocalyptic, sort of millenarian position that there’s going to be an atomic war, that the US may go fascist, and that they want to make a model of survival. And they are ambitious with lots of (inaudible), and I agree with you, they are going to be a threat to– You know, Latin America, you just read Agee’s diary [Philip Agee, author of Inside the Company: A CIA Diary] and two people have a discussion on a street corner, Cuba is in the wings. I think, if Guyana does grow stronger, and if Somoza goes in Nicaragua and the dominoes start to fall, I mean, I think you put
your finger on it when you talked about– The whole thing is a pretext. The whole legal situation, the kids, all that is at the human level, right here. The bigger picture, Stoen and others, could care less about.
J.M. OK, my only position still holds. I would like to know if those people were forced down there by false affidavits. I am interested for my own knowledge. Did Jones really have these people sign these damning documents and then hold them against them as a threat to force them to go? Now, that is a two-edged cutting sword, Pat. Once I know that, I also know how to judge the Mills, and the Swinneys and the other people, see. That sort of cuts two ways.
D.F. Let me ask you something–
P.R. Well, I can tell you this–
D.F. Excuse me for interrupting, but Pat, I think I may see daylight here. Your position was direct action in the first place – the children are being held, let’s go get them. How would you, I mean, would you have the audacity to go with a colleague or whatever, Charles or whatever, the ground rules there being no one looking over your shoulder, you interview anyone you want to interview whose cases come under your purview, your expenses paid, etc. etc. And satisfy yourself?
D.F. ‘Course, I don’t know if I can bring this about, but I can certainly try.
J.M. Look, here are my concerns, besides the children, though I am interested in the children primarily. I put a year’s worth of work into these kids, and I want to know where they are. But I am concerned, were these people really forced into signing these affidavits in San Francisco and in Mendocino which were subsequently used as a hammer to force them to go to Guyana. That’s number one.
D.F. That is a Scientology question, too.
J.M. Right. Ron Hubbard, here we go.
P.R. Let me just say this. The affidavits that you are talking about, where
somebody says they committed a crime or whatever–
J.M. You’ve never seen them? Well, I’ve got them and you’re welcome to look at them. Number two, I am interested to know, and I would like to know, and of course you are outside the jurisdiction in Guyana – these people are outside the jurisdiction of our government – but I’d like to know really did Carol [Carolyn] Layton– not Carol Layton but Tish Leroy, who’s down there.
P.R. Tish Leroy is down where?
J.M. In Guyana.
P.R. In Guyana? Oh, I thought she was interviewed by the Secretary of State.
J.M. No, Neva Sly was.
P.R. Oh, Neva Sly was the only one who was. So you just simply have Neva Sly’s word, who could be lying.
J.M. Oh, sure, the Pope can lie, too. Uh, what I am saying is the second issue I am interested in is did Tish Leroy really honestly forge those documents? Those grant deeds. If she did, she’s outside the jurisdiction, nobody’s going to hurt her. But then if she really did, then we have a hell of a case against Tim Stoen because that’s the other affidavit I need to prove that Stoen really did this.
P.R. What if it was somebody else, what if it was Tim Stoen– I don’t know.
J.M. Everybody says that it is Tish Leroy. The Swinneys tell me that Tish Leroy told him she did it, to their particular trust deed. Neva Sly says she watched her do it. Now, if we are going to give any credibility to Neva Sly’s testimony, which has already been taken, that she forged 2000 powers of attorney over nine years for Tim Stoen, it definitely would be very helpful to have Tish Leroy say on the other hand, I forged 500 trust deeds under the auspices of Tim Stoen. She can get the same immunity from prosecution–
P.R. If she should ever want to return–
J.M. If she should ever want to return, as Neva Sly got, and she’s outside the jurisdiction of the state anyway. But that affidavit would be extremely
helpful to me in substantiating exactly how bad a guy Tim Stoen really is. And of course, I am lastly and most interested, are there any children down there, or anybody, but particularly children, who don’t want to be there. Especially those for that I keep telling you about, the Lopez boy, his name is Vincent Lopez.
P.R. That’s right, that’s the one that–
D.F. Let me ask you this, Joe, our office, on this script, based on my meeting with you and some other work we are doing, they are sending an agent back to Jonestown. Suppose I, after you leave today, submit a request which states that you would at least talk on the telephone with a Peoples Temple agent to negotiate the ground rules for your own investigation to satisfy your questions.
J.M. Because I’ll tell you very frankly, if I find the answers to my questions, I’ll be the first one – and I’ve got a better in right now with Tim Reiterman than Charlie does – I’ll be the first one to go to Tim and lay down the whole thing I saw down there. Because as far as I am concerned, those are issues that are predominant in my mind. And that will also pretty will substantiate our position. Let’s just take it a step further for a moment. Let us assume that Tish Leroy did in fact forge these things under the auspices of Tim Stoen. Which I really believe Neva Sly is telling the truth. And I’ll tell you why I believe it. Because she took a polygraph. And she passed it. Only one issue: “Did you forge powers of attorney?” “Yes, I did.” “Did you do it on your own?” “No, I did not.” “Did Eugene Chaikin order you to do it?” “No, he did not.” “Did Timothy Stoen order you to do it?” “Yes, he did.”
P.R. Was she asked if Jim Jones knew anything about that?
J.M. Yes, she was, and she said no, no, she wasn’t asked that. She was asked, “Did Jim Jones order you to forge any powers of attorney?”
And she said, “No, he didn’t,” and she was clean. No, truth versus lie test which we gave her on the PSE, which is an exact duplicate test, which was say: “Is your name Pat – yes; Is your name Pat – no.” She came up clean again. So I’m going to have to believe her.
P.R. That she forged signatures.
J.M. And that Timothy Stoen ordered her to do it. Now, on that basis I would love to be able to ask Tish Leroy the same test and have Tish Leroy say to me, Timothy Stoen did it, because now we’re going to take it back a step further. Now were going to say, OK, if Jones did not know that these powers of attorney were being signed, or forged, and all he knew was that the Temple coffers were getting full, but he really didn’t give a damn where the money was coming from and he didn’t pay, now you’ve got Elmer Gantry again. And, he is then not a party to the fraud and the extortion. I do two things. A, if we find that the Swinneys are innocent bystanders, and they may well be, as opposed to Mertles, then one, we are going to at least resolve an issue here in the United States with regard to the Swinneys right to their property that was taken from them. Which would be very helpful. Two, we’re also going to be able to put together, because the next step will be, me doing a sub rosa PSE on Deanna Mertle. That’ll be the next step, because I want to see what her connection is – what they were doing all those years.
P.R. Now, Deanna Mertle has a daughter, isn’t that correct, or there is a younger woman connected with the Mertles.
J.M. Yeah, well, there’s about, at one time, in ’76, they had twelve people in that house. So I’m not too sure.
P.R. Well, all I know is that one time one of the Mertles came over to the office and wanted to talk to somebody in Guyana, and she was allowed to do that, and then she turned around and said that she was never allowed to talk to anybody. Which was absolute bullshit, and it happened in the office. And then she walked out and said it never happened.
J.M. Fine, if it did happen, fine. But just remember I take a position, remember, Pat, you represent Charlie’s interest and you represent Jones’ interest. I don’t represent anybody’s. I could give a damn less about Swinney and the whole rest of them because all I’m interested in is if, hey, if Jim Jones is a good guy, we’ll paint a white hat on him and make him look good. If Jim Jones is a bad guy, fine. If Stoen’s a bad guy, fine.
D.F. We know that Stoen won’t speak with anyone, but I believe that the Peoples Temple should. I am going to recommend it strongly.
J.M. ‘Cause I’m more than willing to look at it with an open eye, providing they tell me–
D.F. (Talks to Ingrid) I think I see a way that– it may not have anything to do with making a film but it may cause a whole lot of people less grief. Especially I am impressed with your sincerity on the matter of the children.
J.M. So that’s my feeling.
D.F. (Ingrid leaves, D.F. says goodbye.)
J.M. Oh, I’d better give you a number that you can reach me at. 415-583-9119. Utilize that one, the other one goes through a service. That one you’ll get my secretary. (They exchange cards.)
D.F. God, it would be nice if into the bargain we could add some of these questions and find out where we should focus our energy in this damn thing. It doesn’t matter for the film, but in a human sense, it might make the film a lot easier if this whole thing is clarified.
J.M. What I see in answering two or three of these questions, the children question I’ve got to answer for my own feelings. Answering the Tish Leroy question will make a big difference with regard to what Tim Stoen’s position is.
D.F. Yeah, he might finally make that choice between, if they’re hanging him out to dry and he’s facing a big, big fall, he might come clean. That would clarify the film, then we’d have no problem.
J.M. No, I don’t think you would have any problems with that, because you see,
one more affidavit supportive to Stoen’s forgeries will in fact cause the DA’s office to jump on his back.
P.R. Well, you said earlier he was being investigated in Fresno, which is a total mystery to me.
J.M. OK, there is a district attorney, for there was a week ago, a district attorney’s representative up here a week ago, I have his card, and they are doing an investigation and they had Stoen in there on command performance. As I say, I don’t really know what the investigation is entailing, except the Temple, and I think it is directed at Stoen. But I’m not sure. However, you might want to tell Charlie about it because there is an investigation now ongoing in Fresno.
P.R. Fresno, that’s a complete mystery to me; I didn’t even know that the Temple had any dealings in Fresno. But, maybe they did.
J.M. Well, they might have had somebody living in Fresno, who had dealings.
P.R. That’s Charlie’s hometown, practically. He’s from Selma. But that was years, that was centuries ago.
J.M. I don’t know.
D.F. If you’re ever in Los Angeles, please give me a call, I’d like to give you dinner, we could have a little party together or something. Have you talk to some ex-researchers on Watergate. They would love to hear those stories.
J.M. I just did the Nixon tapes the first of the year. For NBC. Did Tricky Dick cause the 18 minute gap, or didn’t he? And–
P.R. Of course he did, creep [likely CRP, Committee to Re-elect the President].
J.M. Well, he didn’t do it personally. But he ordered it done. Talk about errors and omissions. You know who got a little upset when I had to get on TV and the guy sticks the microphone at me and said, “Dick cause that?” “No, but he knows who did it.”
P.R. Do we have to sign anything today?
D.F. No. Ah, you both can keep the letter if you want.
J.M. I’d like a copy of it.
D.F. Right. Absolutely.
J.M. I’d like to have a copy. Do I get a copy of Jim Jones’ letter?
D.F. I think, yes.
P.R. Then you want me to type something up?
D.F. I do, Pat, I want to type out what Ingrid didn’t finish, and I want to type up the idea of Joe going to Jonestown.
J.M. You and I ought to get together. I think maybe I can talk to Charlie, if he feels like it. See where we are. We’ve been fighting for year, maybe we ought to get together and see what’s going on. Because, obviously, you are working for them, I am working for nobody. I’m just out there and I’ve got some things that are starting to gel now, and of course the bond issue– We need a copy of the check, the letter from the bonding company, whatever good that is. Obviously it will be some good for your case.
P.R. Oh, for sure, for sure. OK, fine, nice to have met you.
J.M. Nice meeting you.
D.F. A pleasure, Joe, and we’ll meet again. If I can ever be of any help in the LA area–
J.M. Well, I’ve got a pretty good guy down there.
(Pause, as Mazor leaves.)
D.F. It is September 5, 3:45, 1978. This includes side B of tape #2 of the discussion with Joseph Mazor.