Menlo Park: From Behind the Scenes
By John Steele
Disclaimer: This article in no way reflects the views of the parties who run this website, are solely my views and opinions, and as such I am merely sharing them with the public. – John Steele
By now many of you know that the court case has been terminated; not dismissed – but terminated. I say this because there is a difference. If the case had been just dismissed then we would have action at an appeal. But by terminating the case and forcing it shut, it basically means that they [the Court] are forcing the case closed and effectively preventing any leave for appeal. In plain language: someone wanted this case shut down and buried.
We were less than 90 days away from trial. As many of you already know, I turned in the “witness list” several weeks ago and stipulated that Don Adams [President of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Inc.] would be the first Witness I would put on the stand. That coupled with the nearly 300 page opposition to the Summary Judgment, which had a great deal of evidence attached, was enough to terrify the “powers that be” at the Watchtower.
Through this whole affair the Watchtower has only been concerned with one thing – and that is not dealing with the problem, but trying to cover it up.
To this end they have used the usual type of tactics, threats, intimidation – and ultimately money. Yes, they basically paid to have this case forced shut. The Watchtower has made payments to various agencies and parties involved in this, and this is just one of the behind the scenes things that most are not aware of.
A good example of this is the identity theft charge surrounding Jason Cobb. The evidence was clear and the police acknowledged that laws were broken, but yet they refused to make any arrests. This is because the Watchtower sent representatives to talk to the Menlo Park Police Department, and they basically threatened the police. They made it very clear that none of the defendants were to be arrested. See, if they were arrested, it would send a clear message that they had in fact broken the law and engaged in illegal activity. To present a facade that these were “innocent brothers who did nothing wrong,” they basically neutralized the Menlo Park Police Department with threats of legal action and more. Do I know this for a fact? Can I prove this? Well the answer to that is “yes” – easily. Yes, we did have a witness who was willing to come forward testify about this.
The harsh reality that many may find hard to swallow is accepting that these so-called brothers are a part of a vast network with an agenda that is “less than legal,” to say the least. They get away with this activity, and it works because as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you would never think that a brother or someone in the organization would ever be engaged in illegal activity. Sadly, what I have discovered during this situation is that the Watchtower literally breaks the law every day to further their agenda. It’s the only way they can get done what they want to do.
These were the things we would have exposed in open court and they could not allow that, so they basically bought their dismissal of the case. I know many of you right now are thinking, “Oh this guy is crazy. He is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and he does not know how we operate.”
To that I say, I was apart of this from the beginning. I know many things that have been kept from the public. Why else do you think the Watchtower insisted on a confidential order? They wanted to make sure the intimate details of this case would never be made public and would stay secret – stay hidden.
Things got to a desperate fever pitch after the Settlement Conference. We made it clear that we were not interested in any type of settlement. The settlement conference is supposed to be where both sides come together to hammer out terms to end the case. It’s “tit for tat,” to get something – you have to give something. It’s a way to compromise so that both sides are happy, thus paving the way to end the dispute. From the very start the defendants never wanted any type of compromise, and this is because all they cared about was how it looked. If they were seen making a deal it would send a clear message to the public that they in fact did something wrong. They told us we could appeal our situation and keep it in-house, which is all they wanted – so that you, the public would never know what this was really all about. We declined their “generous” offer due to the fact that we had already observed brothers lying, falsifying evidence, threatening potential witnesses, refusing to comply with court orders and more, and this is definitely not the behavior of a “Christian who is in the truth.”
It’s funny how the Watchtower refers to its way of life as “the Truth,” but I have never seen so many people working so hard to hide the truth and deny it.
Regardless, after the Settlement Conference it became painfully clear that we could not be bought, intimidated, bribed, coerced, threatened, or bullied. I suspect it was at that point that the parties from the Watchtower realized that they were very close to [going to] court – and that since you could not stop us or shut us down, they had to go around us and find other ways to put the brakes on this runaway train.
If you can’t buy the parties who are taking you to court, then the next best thing is to “buy the court.” This is what happened. I am not saying they “bought the judge” or anything like that. I am saying that someone from the Watchtower came out with a large briefcase full of money and they bought certain clerks at the courthouse.
Clerks control all the paperwork, and we learned early on that the clerks can sabotage a case faster than lighting. A good example of this was the last court date on September 1st. The plaintiffs [Jon Cobb Sr. and Walter Arlen St. Clair] had a document that was filed a month before – and the judge knew nothing about it. In fact the clerks were trying to keep the judge from ever seeing any of our briefs or motions. It was Arlen St. Clair, through a bit of smart detective work, that found out [that] all of our case files were thrown into a box and never properly filed with the court. This was done for two reasons: to make it appear as if we were not filing the proper documents in a timely fashion, and to prevent you the public from getting them. Because once a court document is filed it becomes public record that anyone can see or get copies of. This was a problem for the defendants and they regularly complained to the judge that we were putting court documents out in the public, but in fact we were not. The law says they are supposed to be available to the public once they are filed. So, Mr. Anthony Smith made an arrangement with one of the clerks to prevent our documents from being filed and this turned into an embarrassing fiasco on September 1st when the guys produced a document that was supposed to be reviewed by the judge but she never received it – let alone [having] read it. That’s when we knew for a fact the clerks were working with Smith to sabotage this case.
It’s all in the court record. I am not making anything up, anyone can do the research and get the documents for themselves and see.
Yes, there was a lot going on behind the scenes. [There were] lots of threats, lots of trickery, lots of deception – and all by the defendants and parties of the Watchtower.
The reality is the Watchtower does have a lot to hide. That became evident when we served subpoenas to them for the personnel files of the guys [the plaintiffs]. As you all know, the Watchtower refused to cooperate. I kept thinking: they’re not even being sued, so they have no reason not to cooperate – unless they have something to hide. I kept asking, why can’t they see their own [Watchtower] personnel files? It was very hard for me to accept that an organization that preaches about truth and honesty would have something to hide. But it became an obvious reality that they do.
What the Watchtower was trying to keep from being made public is that they have created this vast network for information. Wherever they have Jehovah’s Witnesses working, they use them as contacts for information. For example: say they want to know what movies you watch on Netflix. No problem! They have Witnesses who work there. Someone gets a phone call and is told to monitor the rental account of “sister so-and-so” and they begin to watch your activities online. Say they want to know who you’re talking to on the phone. No problem! They contact “brother so-and-so” who works for the phone company and they tell him to get your records. They can find out where you are at any given time cause they can use the GPS function of your cell phone and are able to keep track of you – and yes, they can also read your text messages.
We had planned to ask Bruce Raditich about that on the stand, as he was scheduled to testify. Mr. Raditich is a surveillance expert and knows all the ways to spy on someone, or eavesdrop on their phone calls – because he had been doing it to us. They have Witnesses that work at Yahoo, Hotmail, and Google and they can read your emails any time they want. It’s sick when you think about it. Yeah, it sounds very “Orwellian” – but it’s all true. They did it to all of us to try to find out what we care about. Who could they get to and intimidate to force us to stop or [find out] what our court strategy was going to be? Whenever we did research and searched for things on Google, we had to be careful because we knew there are Witnesses working at Google. Obviously, someone from within the Watchtower convinced them this was information they needed to know about in an effort to stay two steps ahead of us.
Again, I am sure you all are thinking “well, this John Steele guy is just crazy.” But remember, I was here. I had a front row seat. I know the things that they did to try to find out what we were working on or what evidence we were going after.
These were the things that would have been exposed at the trial. So it should be very obvious that the case was terminated – not because we did not have a case – but because they were terrified of what they knew we could prove because we did have a case. We were determined to expose the truth, not the Society’s version or spin on the truth. Despite “Brother” Anthony Smith tampering with potential witnesses, or instructing them to make themselves unavailable for depositions (as in the case of Mr. Bill Douglas). Or [Circuit Overseer] Paul Koehler instructing potential witnesses to “plead the 5th and not cooperate with any questions.” We were determined to forge ahead to expose this fraud. We felt that the public and nearly 7 million Jehovah’s Witnesses were owed the truth.
What’s sad is seeing people along the way who preach so diligently about “integrity” apparently not having this quality themselves. People you once respected, that later you find can be bought off from [giving] honest testimony with empty promises. We watched Mr. Bill Douglas courageously telling [Ernest] Brede that he was going to start to look for missing account money, and that if he found some impropriety he would be contacting the police. Now I understand Mr. Douglas is a supporter of Brede because he was promised an elders position if he cooperated with the defendants and not the courts. I understand loyalty, but I also understand principle and telling the truth, even if that truth is ugly. You don’t cover something up that will hurt millions of people just to keep yourself out of hock because you are too cowardly to face the things you have done.
The real problem for the Watchtower and the defendants was, of course, the bank records. The records we received were incomplete. There were Jehovah’s Witnesses working within Chase Bank who were instructed not to cooperate with the court order. Mr. Smith has been working feverishly in an effort to try to conceal the identities of the Witnesses within the banks who aided the defendants in what appears to be a complex criminal enterprise. We asked for the records, but in reality we needed only one document, and this was going to be an integral part of exposing a very complex scheme of money laundering and tax avoidance, which sadly is what appears to be happening at the Watchtower by various individuals in their official Bethel positions.
The important factor about the bank accounts is not the amount of money that goes into them, but it’s where the money goes and who gets it when they transfer it out.
It would be too complex to explain how it is done here and now. But I promise to elaborate in the future. Suffice to say, the Kingdom Hall remodeling projects appear to be a front to cover over laundering and embezzlement. Remember when Jason Cobb discovered the bank account at Chase Bank by accident. Instead of Brede and Showers just saying, “Oh yeah, we opened that account [because] we are the officers of the congregation now.” [Instead,] they denied knowing about the account. Then they ran down to the police department to file a false report against Jason [Cobb], claiming that Jason opened the account and that [it was] the plaintiffs [who] were all embezzling money from the congregation. It was important that they [the defendants] created an alibi and make it look like they had nothing to do with that account. The question you should be asking is, “Why?” Brede, Showers and Contreras did not want anyone knowing that they opened that account. That alone should make anyone suspicious of them. The answer to the riddle of the bank account, and why the defendants would deny having any knowledge of that account when they in fact opened it themselves, is what will blow your mind. I will elaborate at another time on the answer, but for now I just want to make you think about this.
There are some unresolved issues that are still being dealt with like the military is interested in having a chat with Mr. [Paul] Koehler about his fake military service. There are some other things, but I guess they will be dealt with in time. We have gotten lots of phone calls from many of you wanting to know if the guys are OK. I can tell you Jon Cobb Sr., Arlen St. Clair, and Jason Cobb are doing fine and in great spirits. Mostly they have spent the last 24 hours reflecting on the true definition of corruption.
One thing was abundantly clear throughout: Those within the Watchtower claim to be no part of this world – but they certainly found various ways to work with the world to further their ends.
Editor’s Notes: Mr. Steele, whom I’ve never met or conversed with, has been involved in this case as an assistant to the plaintiffs. He is also close to one of my anonymous contacts in Menlo Park, California. He asked that person to send me a draft of his statement about the status of the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall lawsuits. I’ve agreed to publish his original draft with only edits for spelling, missing words or punctuation, and obvious grammatical errors. My edits or additions to help with context are marked with brackets [ ]. I think this article fills in some of the gaps in our understanding about the background of this case. But more importantly, it gives us an idea as to just how seriously the Watchtower’s leadership wants to put a quick end to this scandal. Whether Don Adams and Company succeed in quashing this revolt remains to be seen, but thanks to the plaintiffs and Mr. Steele, we’ve received an education on what the Watchtower will do to get their hands on a valuable piece of real estate. In a future article, we’ll get the full story as told by the former CEO and elder, Jason Cobb. If you’ve been following the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall scandal, you’ll definitely want to read it.