Q665 Transcript

Transcript prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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Side 1: Unintelligible. Sounds like a meeting of some sort, but background noise is overwhelming, Mike Prokes talks about Tim Reiterman and articles, but I can’t tell what the context is, or when it occurred.

Side 2:

Continuation of meeting for few minutes.

Segment 2: This segment is the third in a series of Channel 2 news reports from August 1977 that begins with Q 680 and continues with Q 681.

Newscaster: — San Francisco church headed by the Reverend Jim Jones. Tonight we look at church finances and where some of the money is going.

(“Oh my God,” says woman at recording end.)

Jim Clancy: Most believe in God, and most people, if they met him face to face, would do whatever he wanted them to. And most people here at the Peoples Temple in San Francisco believe that the Reverend Jim Jones was God. How did he convince them? Well, there’s a variety of means. Some of them were working miracles. Others were revelations. (Tape cut)

Apostate 1: It was just too, uh, dedicated, and I wasn’t, that uh— (tape cut) control Charles Manson had over his followers. And think about some of the statements that they’ve signed, that they would kill people. (Tape cut)

Clancy: — bring Reverend Jones, thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars in offerings from people everywhere he went. But where did the money go?

Apostate 1: I’m not at all sure what he did with all the money, uh, how he spent it, that is. I know that he had it buried in several places in Redwood Valley, cash was buried, there were uh, checking, savings accounts all over Los Angeles, San Francisco, Lake County, Ukiah, um, and he had total control of those accounts. And of course everyone uh, who was a member signed statements saying that he could take all of the money at any time and do with it whatever he wanted. Uh, there were thousands and thousands and thousands, I would even say millions of dollars, because uh, each time he would take an offering in a meeting, and there were four, five, six offerings per meeting, he would always claim that we didn’t get enough, you know, we have uh, uh, certain costs, that we gotta take of— got to take of, a family that needs feeding or whatever, and we didn’t get enough money. And you take up another offering. And there would be thousands in the offering.

Clancy: Did he have any techniques that he used uh, in order to impress people to get more money?

Apostate 2: He certainly would. He would tell people that there were some people in the audience today who, if they did not give, they would drop dead. Um, they would have a heart attack. Um, he would, um— one time he used to do hexes, one time he said that um, um, he knew someone here who wasn’t giving their money and they hadn’t um, collected the amount that he wanted, and he made a sign like this with his hands, and then went like this, and said, now the hex is on you. Um—

Clancy: What effect did it have on the people who you saw?

Apostate 2: Um, we got money. We got money, and uh, it— uh, boy, I tell you, we could get uh, twenty thousand, fifteen thousand uh, totals for weekends, with (which?) his goal.

Clancy: The Reverend Jones, shown here performing some of his miracles in exclusive photos smuggled out of the church by members, is now at his mission in Guyana, South America. It’s called an agricultural mission, and many of his followers believe it will be their refuge during an upcoming white supremacist takeover, according to former believers. Reverend Jones is reportedly forced to stay in the South American country because of a serious ear infection. Peoples Temple supporters say he wants very much to come back and answer the charges that have been leveled against him for his so-called healings. But sources inside the church have been telling different stories. They say many of the upper echelon members are preparing to leave the Temple in San Francisco and go to live in Guyana. Today, Temple workers could be seen loading crates onto three flatbed trailers for a trip that will reportedly end in Miami, where they will be transferred to a ship. This isn’t the first time such shipments have been made, but important figures in the Peoples Temple hierarchy are unavailable to us at all hours of the day and night, and they no longer return phone calls. Peoples Temple workers merely say things like, “The Reverend Michael Prokes is not here. If you have any questions, please call our attorney.” Jim Clancy, Channel 2 Action News, San Francisco.

Segment 3: cut into phone call between Prokes and attorney:

Attorney: — in this world, that, you know, whatever else is going— I mean, even if it’s all true, I wouldn’t give a shit, okay. If it were all true, I wouldn’t care. Because what he’s shown me by his (unintelligible), you know, is enough for me.

Prokes: Uh, (unintelligible), that’s quite a statement.

Attorney: No, I mean it’s true, you know?

Prokes: Uh, well, I, I agree with that, because, you know, Jim has done so many things and, and— I mean it’s been by his ex— his example that others have been willing to help the little guy who, who you don’t even hear about.

Attorney: Yes, and see, that, that’s what— I mean, look, I’ve been around a lot of quote Chri— Christians, you know, and uh, they’re quite willing to take courage if they only blah blah blah, so only if it redounds to their benefit in some way. And this is the only guy I’ve ever heard of who is willing to do the same thing where it doesn’t redound to his benefit, where it costs him out of his own pocket.

Prokes: Yeah.

Attorney: And that’s, you know, there’s gotta be something else happening. You know what I mean? And that’s, that’s what blew me away.

Prokes: Well, the, the thing that uh, that struck me when I, when I came was that uh, (struggles for words) if I saw nothing else, this would have done it for me, is people coming in, like in the wee hours of the morning, they were strung out on drugs and suicidal, had no place else to go, they would have ended up in jail, uh, just uh, or dead—

Attorney: Yeah.

Prokes: And uh, you know, they were taken in, they were put in a uh, structured program where they had immediate acceptance, but yet gradually came out of it through concern and through, through programs where they could apply their talents and abilities —

Attorney: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: — and uh, it, it, you know, would, would fill the— the vacuum that would cause them to go on drugs or commit crimes in the first place—

Attorney: Sure.

Prokes: — and, and you know, it, there, there have been uh, just countless uh, (struggles for words) this is what makes up our, our congregation, and there’s a unity here and it’s like a, a large family, and it’s — I don’t know — it’s something that’s really indescribable, you really have to live inside—

Attorney: No, I, I, I, I see, and I know what you’re talking about. And it— I guess that, that’s the thing that, that really has captured me about the whole thing, you know, it, it’s just that— I mean, you know, you want to find fault with the (unintelligible word — sounds like “Delancey”), you want to find fault with the uh, uh, you know the drug program, uh, I’m blocking, uh—

Prokes: In Marin?

Attorney: No, in, in, in the city too. Uh, uh, Synanon.

Prokes: Oh, right, right.

Attorney: Uh, you know, all the— I mean, anybody that’s doing anything heavy is going to be subject to criticism

Prokes: Okay. And they’re also going to have people who leave and can’t, and have reason why they leave—

(Talk over each other)

Attorney: — I’ve got a, I, you know, I represent a lot of junkies who, you know, of various sorts, I mean, in my criminal practice. And, you know, you’ll get some they’ll go off to Synanon or to uh, (same unintelligible word) or whatever, and you know, they come out two years later and say, Thank God, (unintelligible word) was the best thing that ever happened to me, you know, I’ve really got my head screwed on and blah blah blah, but the, the ones who split— you know, and they bust them on a new beef later, ah, no, I can’t do anything for you, schmuck, you ran away from the last program, you know, well, those motherfuckers want to beat my ass and shave my head and blah blah blah, and they’re fucking crazy, and they do this, and they do that— Okay, you know, that’s a given. Fine. They beat your ass and shave your head, you know, you’re a fucking scumbag junkie, I wish they’d done that 20 years ago and you wouldn’t have been one.

Prokes: Right. Yeah yeah.

Attorney: You know something, I, and I don’t have trouble with any of that bullshit, I mean I know that, you know, the only way you ever get people to look at themselves is to grab them by the goddamn neck and slam them up against the wall and say, look what you’re doing to yourself.

Prokes: Yeah, right.

Attorney: You know, I know sometimes that you have to grab and you have to shake.

Prokes: Takes different techniques for different people.

Attorney: Yeah. So— anyhow, you tell Jim that I just, you know, whatever, anything he needs, call me. I mean, I’m, I’m impressed with him, and I think that he’s doing really good shit. And I think everybody over there is.

Prokes: That, that means more than you know to us.

Attorney: No, I mean—

Prokes: We’ve had good support, but, you know, I mean— (Laughs) it, it, you know, you tend to lose your perspective when—

(talks over each other)

Attorney: I know. Of course you do. (Unintelligible) you get shit on from every side, you sit there thinking, is it worth— you know, what am I doing this for? I could go back to media, make a lot of money, you know, come on, what are you, crazy? You gotta sit there and, you know, live on sixty bucks a week and take abuse too? I mean, that doesn’t make any sense.

Prokes: How’s Karen?

Attorney: (Exhales) She’s doing okay. You know what she’s doing?

Prokes: Huh?

Attorney: She’s uh, Wally Manuel’s (name?) law clerk.

Prokes: Oh, really?

Attorney: Yeah. She’s heavy duty.

Prokes: Good!

Attorney: She’s heavy duty.

Prokes: Good. Please tell her our love.

Attorney: I will for sure.

Prokes: And thank you so much.

Attorney: Yeah, and listen, you know, I, I want you to know, Karen, I’m sure shares my view. I mean she was really upset when she heard about the attack. She called me up and—

Prokes: Yeah.

Attorney: You know, I mean, she was very impressed. And you know, she was also one of these people who had kind of a, you know— she’d heard that uh, I don’t know wha— you know, that up in uh, Ukiah, kids got spanked, I mean, you know who— I don’t know what the hell it was—

Prokes: Yeah.

Attorney: — but— you know, so she also had one of those, you know— that was her image and her knowledge, and after the thing with Canoop (?), she said, Jesus, you know, I mean, these are very far out people.

Prokes: Yeah. If there’s, you know, anything that uh, you’re doing that uh, that you need, you know, support, I could call them or whatever. Let us know.

Attorney: Out of sight. Out of sight. All right. I will for sure.

Prokes: We’ll be around. We’re going to pursue the government—

Attorney: I know you will. I— listen, you’ll, you’ll ride out this bullshit, you’ll be stronger for it, you know.

Prokes: (Laughs.) Thanks so much.

Attorney: Take care, Mike.

Prokes: You too.

Attorney: Bye bye.

Prokes: Bye bye.

Segment 4: Phone call between Mike Prokes and attorney Bob Gnaizda

Phone rings.

Gnaizda: Hello, Bob Gnaizda.

Prokes: Hi, Bob, Mike Prokes here.

Gnaizda: Hey, Mike. How you doing?

Prokes: Okay.

Gnaizda: Good. I been trying to get in touch with you guys.

Prokes: Oh yeah?

Gnaizda: Haven’t you got any of my messages?

Prokes: No.

Gnaizda: Oh, well, I left messages, well, actually, for Jim.

Prokes: Oh.

Gnaizda: Two or three times.

Prokes: Mainly I—

(Talks over each other)

Gnaizda: —came back from vacation.

Prokes: First of all, I wanted to give you a, a new number, because the old private line was uh, somebody got it, and we got some, some harassing calls on it.

Gnaizda: All right.

Prokes: And uh, it’s 922-9597.

Gnaizda: Okay, fine.

Prokes: And then I just wanted to bounce a couple of things off you, and see how you feel about it.

Gnaizda: Sure.

Prokes: Uh, we’re doing our own investigation of the sources that started all this —

Gnaizda: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: — and getting affidavits together to show them for what they are. They’re all been involved in uh, various kinds of like, crime, um, some of them, when they were here, tried to get us to do violence as a, you know, a, a tac- tactic, and uh, we’re making our own ammunition. I think there may have been provocateurs from the beginning.

Gnaizda: Umm.

Prokes: But uh, others of them molested their own children, they embezzled and stole from the church, even attempted blackmail.

Gnaizda: Hmm.

Prokes: We’re getting uh, affidavits to this effect together. Uh. Everyone that, that I’ve talked with — almost to the person — uh, has said, whatever you do, don’t call a press conference. Just uh, wait until, you know, the smoke dies down, and then come forth with this stuff, because this is a tactic, it’s a, uh, obviously a carefully-orchestrated smear campaign, they’re using whoever they can, somebody has brought these people together, and they have collaborated on their stories. Uh, there’s a lot of inconsistencies. And uh, and they’re saying that uh, and this is Charles Garry’s recommendation, that, you know, we, we do not uh, call a press conference either, that, uh, it— we can’t do anything but (unintelligible) that, and that we should uh, first, you know, get all our documentation together and then uh, release it.

Gnaizda: I think that’s good advice. Um — If you’re right — okay? — I, I don’t mean that if you’re right in your case, I mean just generally—

Prokes: Yeah.

Gnaizda: — uh, when you’re right, and you’re attacked, and you’ll clearly be able to demonstrate that you are right, it is always better to wait the maximum time uh, that you can afford to do. In the CRLA [California Rural Legal Assistance, a farmworkers legal representation group] case, when we were attacked — okay? — some people w— wanted me to go on the at— go on the attack against [former U.S. Senator George] Murphy and [former California Governor] Ronald Reagan.

Prokes: Mmm-hmm.

Gnaizda: — and the congressman, because they were attacking us every day.

Prokes: Mmm-hmm.

Gnaizda: For three weeks, I refused to move.

Prokes: Hmm.

Gnaizda: And uh, then I, I made one short statement — not much — just a little bit, and then I waited again, and a month later, everybody knew that Reagan and Murphy and (unintelligible name) had lied. Totally. And it was so much better—

Prokes: Mmm-hmm.

Gnaizda: — than if I had tried to defend us at the beginning.

Prokes: Mmm-hmm. See, Jim’s going through a lot of anxiety right now.

Gnaizda: Sure.

Prokes: He generally does have a, a health problem. He’s lost hearing in one of his ears.

Gnaizda: Oh, wow.

Prokes: I don’t think it’s permanent, but he’s going to have it drained soon. And uh, he, you know, naturally wants to rip into these people and call them for what they are—

(Talks over each other)

Gnaizda: Sure, I know that, and the anxiety is so high, that it’s almost worth doing anyway — okay? — to, to relieve that. But I don’t think it’s good advice to do it. That’s all. I think Garry is right.

Prokes: Yeah. That’s what everybody’s been saying, and — (Talk over each other) — I, I, I’m very — have a lot of anxiety myself, because—

Gnaizda: Sure, and— and in the interim, your people are relating to you differently — right? —

Prokes: Well, some are.

Gnaizda: Sure. What I mean by that, there’s no question that some are— are observedly and others are anyway.

Prokes: Yeah.

Gnaizda: All right? And you’re not as ki— as useful an organization while the charges hang over you, you know that.

Prokes: Yeah, yeah.

Gnaizda: Okay. But I think it’s worth it, if the time frame isn’t too long. In other words, you’re talking about another two to four weeks, right?

Prokes: Well, I don’t know. That— that’s the question.

Gnaizda: If it’s going to take six months, it’s too long.

Prokes: (Sighs.) Right. That, that’s the whole question. Um, I don’t, I, like I, I said, I think this is uh, uh, I think this is aimed to really uh, bring us down, because Jim is, is viewed — and this is something I’ve felt a long time— (tape cuts off)

Segment 5: Phone call between Mike Prokes and New York Times reporter Leslie Gelb

Prokes: Okay, sorry.

Gelb: Yeah, right. Are you taping this?

Prokes: No.

Gelb: Oh.

Prokes: Taping?

Gelb: Huh?

Prokes: (Laughs) No. Taping.

Gelb: Right. It’s kind of a long article actually, you know, it’s a whole page?

Prokes: Okay.

Gelb: With two photos.

Prokes: Okay.

Gelb: Um, so uh, okay.

[Reading]”In the poor black Fillmore district of San Francisco, the Reverend Jim Jones is revered as a good Samaritan with patrons in very high places. As pastor of the Peoples Temple, one of the largest interfaith churches in California, Jones not only claims God’s power to heal the sick, but also wields palpable clout among the city and state political leaders. The governor, lieutenant governor, mayor, sheriff and district attorney have all visited the Temple, and during the 1976 presidential campaign, Jones himself shared a platform with Rosalynn Carter. Last December, the charismatic preacher, who can muster black voters, was named chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority by Mayor George Moscone. But now George— Jones stands accused by 30 former Temple members of building his power through fear, fraud, physical beatings, the appropriation of parishioners’ property, and possible misuse of government funds. The accusations were published in two August issues of New West Magazine, which called for an investigation of the Temple’s financial and disciplinary practices. Church representatives promptly denied the charges. But in a pair of surprise moves last week, uh, Jones resigned from the Housing Authority, and District Attorney Joseph Freitas announced that he would look into the accusations. No one has yet filed a formal complaint against Jones, who Temple officials said was unreachable at the twen— church’s 27,000 acre South American farm colony in Guyana. The city’s most powerful politicians still seem solidly behind the controversial minister. Mayor Moscone said he saw— has said he saw no evidence that Jones has broken any laws, and in a recent Sunday morning sermon at the Temple, black State Assemblyman Willie Brown labeled the attacks quote a measure of the church’s effectiveness. Close of quote. Jones preaches a religious socialism that he himself it appears is the first to practice. His church, which claims 20,000 members statewide, sponsors a drug rehabilitation program, a free restaurant and medical clinic, and a legal aid service. More radically, Jones encourages his flock to give up their private property and live in low-rent apartments, leased by, by the church from the city. Jones and his wife live modestly above the Temple, where they are raising a multi-racial family of seven adopted children, plus their own son. But his social activi— activism also is expressed as politics, and on Election Day, the poor deliver for their leader. In two recent close races for mayor and district attorney, Jones’ regimented followers were considered important to the winners. According to some former church members, however, Jones power is based as much on fear as— and on fraud as on faith. His services are often held behind locked doors, and even then, Jones is protected by bodyguards. The breakaway parishioners described ritual beatings and humiliating group encounters held at all-night sessions. A former secretary to Jones reported that the preacher faked healings by displaying chicken guts as tissue he had miraculously removed from cancer patients. Others said they had been persuaded into deeding over their homes to the church, and had been talked into giving the Temple government fund— into the Tem— talked into giving the Temple government funds they received for running foster care homes. When New West first considered investigating the Peoples Temple, the editors were barraged with pleas from politicians and businessmen to kill the story. When the editors persisted, some were harassed at home by anonymous callers. Meanwhile, other local newsmen reported similar coercion, and only when (unintelligible) the pressure campaign appeared a local newspaper column, did ex-members of the Temple volunteer to tell their experiences. In separate interviews with Newsweek, former followers of Jones corroborated the W— the New West report. Mickey Touchette, 26, told how she and 11 other students slept in a crowded garage and were given a weekly dole of $2 each as members of the Temple commune. Touchette, who is white, said that Jones, who is part American Indian, told them how ugly and horrible it was to be white — that’s in quotes — and quote, not to have sex because we were all latent homosexuals. Close quote. Laura Corne— Cornelius, 52, a black woman, said that Jones promised his followers a haven in Guyana when, as he predicted, fascists took over the U.S. Quote, he said they had a plan to exterminate blacks like they did the Jews, close quote, Cornelius recalled. She also described the ritual by Temple members that dramatized a Ku Klux Klan lynching. That’s why people turned over all they had, she said. He told us the whites would take it. Others reported threats against their lives if they dared to talk to police, and said they’d been made to sign false confessions to crimes such as conspiracy against the government. Jim always said he had an in with the police, said Deanna Mertle, 38, so we thought going to the police would be suicide. Church officials have issued statements countercharging that some of the dissenters were terrorists and child molesters. Throughout the controversy, Jones has remained in the— at the Guyana farm, which the church says it funds with $150,000 annually. And some suspect that the Reverend Mr. Jones may be the first to take up permanent asylum in the Guyana haven.

Prokes: Hmm. Well— (Pause) What are the pictures?

Gelb: The pictures are a picture of him and uh, another— a picture of the church, inside the church, some activity.

Prokes: Okay.

Gelb: Now, well, how does it sound to you?

Prokes: Well, (Unintelligible) from my perspective, it doesn’t sound good, but uh—

Gelb: Doesn’t sound good?

Prokes: No. Uh—

Gelb: You mean, you don’t think that’s a fair piece of reporting?

Prokes: Well, uh, there’s just — you know, naturally, the uh, — I don’t feel it’s fair because I don’t think the things there were true that they were saying.

Gelb: Oh, well, I (talk over each other). We’re not presenting them as true—

Prokes: Yeah, yeah.

Gelb: — we’re just presenting that this is what people said.

Prokes: Yeah, right.

Gelb: You know, Newsweek is not making any charges against this church, I mean—

Prokes: Right.

Gelb: — and you know yourself that I did call up and say, if there was any way possible to talk to the Reverend—

Prokes: No, no, that’s true.

Gelb: I mean, uh, you know, I mean, it’s not like we— you didn’t get your si— chance to present your side, you know what I mean?

Prokes: Right.

Gelb: It’s not like— I mean, it’s not like we did this in an adversary or undercover-type way, uh—

Prokes: Yeah. No, I, I understand that. It’s just that, you know, when uh, you do— I mean, ju— just the fact that there’re so many people who— here, here’s a program that, you know, had kept people from uh, being on the streets or being (unintelligible word), I mean, out of all our members, we haven’t had any people in jail or committing violence, I mean, you just don’t find that anywhere, and here you have people that are being dignified who uh, are just telling these outrageous things that, that tend to discredit our work—

Gelb: Well, I think we mention that also, it says, uh, “The church, uh, which has 20— has a drug rehabilitation program, free restaurant and medical clinic, legal aid service,” um, you know, I mean—

Prokes: Yeah.

Gelb: That’s in there.

Prokes: Yeah.

Gelb: You know? Um. (Laughs). I mean that’s, you know, that’s a balanced story, and uh, um, of course, I mean, naturally, uh, you know, any publicity that’s not favorable is bad publicity—

Prokes: Yeah.

Gelb: — but, um, these people, I mean, you know, they, I mean, they got their story to tell too, right?

Prokes: Right.

Gelb: I mean, that’s, that’s what they say.

Prokes: Right. No, I was, uh— the only other thing I was going to add, is that uh, our feeling that, you know, se— see, we’re being attacked because of our consistent support of the um, uh, Caribbean socialist community—

Gelb: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: — and you know, we’ve felt that uh, these people have been brought together because— let me tell you, Mr. Gelb, this is the most unlikely conglomeration of people, they would’ve never gotten together on their own.

Gelb: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: (Laughs) We— I mean, they’re just uh, very uh— but that’s something that, that Jim said himself, about that uh, support of—

Gelb: Yeah. Well, another thing is that, you know, uh, apparently you have told uh, the people in your church uh, who are you know, still happy, you know, believers and followers and all, not to talk. So, um—

Prokes: No, that’s our attorney’s advice.

Gelb: Right, I mean, but at this— well, it’s (struggles for words)

Prokes: Well, see, you know the reason, though, don’t you?

Gelb: What’s the reason?

Prokes: Well, that, that — naturally if, you know, we’re going to pursue litigation, that would uh, affect the case.

Gelb: Umm-hmm. Umm-hmm.

Prokes: So, that’s the reason behind that. But I, I do appreciate your reading to me very much, and I— You did what you could with it.

Gelb: Yeah, I mean, I— you know, uh, I think you should get a copy tomorrow, you know, so you can look at it, uh—

Prokes: Right. Is it in the religion section?

Gelb: Yeah.

Prokes: Yeah. Okay, well, I do appreciate your taking the time to ah, read it to me.

Gelb: Okay.

Prokes: Thanks so much.

Gelb: You’re welcome.

Prokes: Take care.

Gelb: Bye bye.

Segment 5: Phone call between Mike Prokes and unknown reporter in New York

Reporter: —and we spoke before, uh, I don’t know if you recall.

Prokes: I remember, yeah.

Reporter: Listen, Mr. Prokes, we have decided, uh, now that — not us, not we, but uh, the people that —uh, uh, in our magazine have decided to do a piece on the Peoples Temple, and uh, one of the things we would be interested in um, doing is uh, is uh, perhaps uh, getting some comment from, from Reverend Jones, uh, if that is possible.

Prokes: Okay, well, I’ll try.

Reporter: I mean, in all fairness to have a balanced story, and uh, to have his point of view uh, uh, uh, um, you know, represented—

Prokes: Right.

Reporter: — uh, in, in the same amount of fairness as anyone else, you know?

Prokes: Right. Okay. Um. I, I know that he wants to, he’s uh, going through a lot of anxiety right now, because he hasn’t— he wanted to call a press conference, and everyone has advised against us, against it, including our attorney—

Reporter: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: — wha— as we prepare our case, doing all of the investigation and getting affidavits together and so forth. But uh, you know, I, I will check into it, I just— I— you know, I imagine that uh—

Reporter: Why is he going through a lot of anxiety right now?

Prokes: Well, because he ca— he can’t— he can’t be here to, you know, answer these charges.

Reporter: Umm-hmm. Well, I don’t think that um, really uh, in terms of what we’re writing, uh, is the kind of story where uh, we are making any charges against Mr. Jones himself. Do you understand what I’m saying? We are just writing the kind of story that uh, ah, sort of reflects what is happening here and of— we’ve had people who told us one side of the story, and I think um, you know, just in journalistic fairness, you’re a newsman yourself, I mean, ah, it’s always good to check with the uh, (laughs) other side, you know, and say, well, you know, look, we want to give you some— give you, you know, as much time as necessary or or uh, as much, you know— to explain your own point of view.

Prokes: Right. See, a lot of that— You have to understand the background of our people and, you know, they’re— right now they’re paranoid and upset about the media—

Reporter: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: They feel like they haven’t gotten a fair shake because uh, you know, when— this all started with the magazine who interviewed him for two hours, and they didn’t use any of it. And so, you know, he, you know, feels like he has to follow what his, his members want, and uh, right now, in— you know, it’s frustrating to me too, because I would like to answer, but I understand their uh, being upset and their paranoia

Reporter: Umm-hmm.

Prokes: — because uh, you know, it’s just— it’s just initiated, the whole thing started with that, and the tactic seemed to be to throw out hundreds of outrageous charges, get us embroiled in a, a dialogue and uh, put us on a, in a defensive posture and dignify the charges, and uh, uh, of course, with, with his problem there, he hasn’t been able to uh, you know to uh— you know the tactic was to uh, just to keep the thing going—

Reporter: Umm-hmm.

Prokes:indefinitely, and it’s a, a difficult thing to deal with, they just feel that uh—

Reporter: Umm-hmm. Right.

Prokes: And of course, the attorney uh, would, wants to uh, (unintelligible) our case, not do anything premature.

Reporter: Umm-hmm. Well, you know, in terms of the news that’s broken, I’m sure you realize that a story is a story, they don’t go away, and the media doesn’t go away, either. I mean, the media’s always there, the stories uh— the stories maybe go away, and the thing is that um uh, we are just trying now to uh, I mean balance out our story more and and um, give, you know, uh, Reverend Jones his, like— his opportunity to say, well, you know, I’m paranoid about the media but uh, you know, maybe he’ll— I’ll get a fair shake this time and um, uh, you know, and here’s, here’s my point of view uh. And uh, the people in New York uh, you know, said that we should give you another shot and, and try to uh, get this point of view and try to see what the reverend has to say about all of these things, you know?

Prokes: (Pause) Okay. Well, let me see, you know, I’m, I can’t do anything without consulting with the attorney, he’s insisted that, you know, I not get into it without consulting with him.

Reporter: Sure.

Prokes: In fact, all of the media has been referred to him.

Reporter: Yeah.

Prokes: But uh, I will do that and uh— what sort of uh, uh, deadline are you on?

Reporter: (Struggles for words) I’d like to uh, as soon as possible, you know?

Prokes: Yeah. Okay. Well. I’ll pursue it, and uh, —

Reporter: Well, can you call me back and let me know what the status is?

Prokes: Right. Ah, I don’t know if Mr. Garry is in town today and— I’ll check.

Reporter: Well, if he’s not in town, can you call me back and let— still let me know, anything that you’ve found out—

Prokes: I will.

Reporter: — so that I, I don’t, you know, sort of sit around and uh, and wait.

Prokes: Okay.

Reporter: I mean, it, is that, is that okay?

Prokes: Sure.

Reporter: I’m not trying to press you or anything like that—

Prokes: No, I understand.

Reporter: — but you know, if you find out that he’s not in town and, or something like that, just call me back and say, well, he’s not in town right now—

Prokes: Okay.

Reporter: — and that’s the way things are, okay?

Prokes: Okay.

Reporter: Okay.

Prokes: Bye bye.

End of Tape.

Tape originally posted January 1999

Originally posted on June 16th, 2013.

Last modified on April 11th, 2014.
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