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|Charges of Dirty
Tricks at WMX - Part 1
The following testimony was given by Joseph Lauricella, regarding a suit against someone accused of stealing computer files. Mr. Lauricella testifies that he was paid by WMX, the giant waste handling firm, and a WMX subsidiary - called Rail-Cycle - to create a fake environmental organization, buy the stolen computer files, and attempt to discredit a company opposed to a huge WMX landfill project in Cadiz, California. The proposed operation would handle the garbage of Los Angeles and would become the world's largest dump. Cadiz Land Company says it would jeopardize a precious ground water resource.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
No. CIV 97-1286
CADIZ LAND COMPANY, INC., et al.,
CYNTHIA EISENBERGER, individual,
SWORN STATEMENT OF
JOSEPH ERNEST LAURICELLA
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
AUGUST 1, 1997
CERTIFIED SHORTHAND REPORTERS
300 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California 94104
REPORTED BY: JANET T. OREB, CSR NO. 5198
FILE NO.: 9713729
Sworn Statement of JOSEPH ERNEST LAURICELLA, Volume I, taken on behalf
of Plaintiff, at Valley Medical Center, 751 S. Bascom Avenue, San Jose,
California, commencing at 12:17 p.m., Friday, August 1, 1997, before
Janet T. Oreb, CSR No. 5198.
A P P E A R A N C E S:
FOR THE PLAINTIFF:
MILLER & HOLGUIN
BY: DEBORAH A. KLAR, ESQ.
1801 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067-3122
JOSEPH ERNEST LAURICELLA,
having first been duly sworn, was
examined and testified as follows:
BY MS. KLAR:
Q. Mr. Lauricella, you are here today to give a sworn statement;
A. That's correct.
Q. And you are doing this on a voluntary basis?
A. That's correct.
Q. Mr. Lauricella, have you every been known by any other name?
A. Several times through my lifetime I've been known by a lot of names.
One of them is Tony T-o-n-y, last Bergschneider,
Q. And is it correct, Mr. Lauricella, in May of 1995 you were hired as a
consultant by Rail-Cycle under the alias of Tony Bergschneider?
A. That's correct.
Q. And let me show you a document that I'd like the reporter to mark as
Lauricella Exhibit A, which appears to be a copy of an agreement between
Tony Bergschneider and Rail-Cycle dated May 18, 1995.
(Exhibit(s) indexed: Exhibit A)
Q. Have you seen this document before -- prior to today?
A. This is a copy of my consulting agreement with Rail-Cycle dated May
18, 1995. It has my signature on it and was accepted by myself and also
Stu Clark as board director of Rail-Cycle. And it's dated in my
handwriting on 5-18-95, or my handwriting as Tony Bergschneider.
Q. And did your responsibilities for Rail-Cycle exceed the
responsibilities described in Exhibit A?
Q. And is it correct that in connection with your arrangement with
Rail-Cycle you worked closely with Stu Clark?
A. Stu Clark through Glen Odell. I mean I worked with Stu Clark, with
Stu Clark and Glen Odell. My direct supervisor would have been Glen
Odell who then reported directly to Stu Clark. I worked because it's
such a close organization anyway, I worked with those two, but the chain
of command would have been myself, Glen Odell and then Stu Clark.
Q. Now, can you generally describe what you were hired by Rail-Cycle to
A. Well, generally it boils down to one thing which was to get the
landfill project out in Cadiz, California, in by all means. In other
words, whatever it took to get that project passed by the board of
supervisors, to get it passed by the planning commission, to get it
okayed by the locals and, you know, to get them feeling food about the
project. All warm and fuzzy about it, to get the people in 29 Palms, in
the area surrounding it feeling good about it. Our main hindrance was
Cadiz Land Company to make sure they didn't form a stumbling block into
getting the project in.
Q. So part of what you were engaged to do was to destroy the interests
of Cadiz in the project?
A. Yeah. The idea was -- I think as Glen put it, the idea was if Cadiz
stood in our way, which, of course, it was doing at the time, Cadiz Land
Company, to make sure that the Cadiz Land Company went down the tubes,
Submarine it, that was the idea.
Q. Now, back in May of 1995 there was an organization meeting as I
understand it of a group called FACE, F-A-C-E.
Q. How did that meeting come about?
A. Okay. We have a little problem with dates because unless I have the
actual hard copies, I'm real bad with dates to give you an exact date,
which is what happened. I can tell you how we did the -- how the FACE
environmental group was formed.
Q. That's fine.
A. I can't tell you the exact date of it because -- the way it was
formed is that Glen Odell, geez, who else was it, Stu Clark, there was
one other person involved which I had in my files, decided that we
needed a group out there, in the Cadiz area that could kind of like
beard for Rail-Cycle when it came to the meetings and everything, but it
was decided that with the group out there none of the people could write
the speeches that needed to go in front of the board of supervisors, it
couldn't come from the company, it had to come from them, so we got
together and formed this company, I mean this group, FACE Environmental
-- actually FACE Environmental Coalition, and named them, the people,
the locals in Cadiz and Amboy as the head of something in name only and
we used it to push Rail-Cycle's own agenda.
Q. Did you have conversations with anyone from Rail-Cycle regarding why
you needed a beard for the organization?
A. Oh, because the reason we needed, it would look really good in the
newspaper to have a group out there that was supposedly environmentally
sensitive to the issues surrounding the Cadiz area and the Amboy area and to
face it and go up in front of the board of supervisors, look like the locals
who wanted the landfill project in as opposed to having the company come
forward and say, hey, team, we want this, we want this landfill. What you got
now is this group of people, the only people that live out there, saying since
they're the only people living out there and it's their property and their
area, they want the landfill. It's
kind of hard to argue with, if you think about it. It was a pretty good
idea for Rail-Cycle to come up with it.
Q. And who at Rail-Cycle came up with that idea?
A. That was done by Stu Clark, Glen Odell, it was also done by their
attorneys, they were involved with it, and I can't give you the exact
names. I know that when the FACE Environmental Coalition or a group like
FACE Environmental. The name wasn't important. We could have called it
anything. But it was decided by a group of people at the home office in
Irvine. All the people that were involved, along with their advertising
people, I mean everybody that was involved. In fact, it even went as far
as getting involved with the people in the County, the different county
people. In the Planning Department. They all kind of had like little
inputs into it and that's how that came about. Because it was easier --
it was easier for the company to write -- to write what the community
wanted and have it come from the community than it was to have it come from
the company. The community wanted this. In reality the company -- I mean the
company wrote everything that FACE ever did.
Q. The company you mean --
A. Meaning Rail-Cycle.
Q. -- is Rail-Cycle?
A. Actually -- Rail-Cycle, actually, Waste Management.
Q. Now, how do you know that -- how do you know who was involved in this
idea, did somebody tell you or did you attend meetings?
A. No. I attended meetings. I was personally there when conversations
were decided on how the group was going to be formed, who was going to be the
chairman, who was going to be the assistant chairman. I was there
when we sent down -- when the company sent down computers for the FACE
Environmental Coalition to use. I was there when we sent down fax
machines that I picked up from the office and delivered down there.
Everything from the office that we used, which at that point in time was being
rented by Waste Management of Rail-Cycle, was -- you know, it was used. Every
bit of money that the group spent for traveling expenses was - was, you know,
came from Waste Management. Or Rail-Cycle.
Q. Now, did you ever attend a meeting at which anyone from the county
was present where the idea about this group was discussed?
A. Well, I think that what ended up happening, I think -- not I think. I
know what happened. The group was actually formed -- it wasn't really
formed all that formally by the company. Everybody had their input of
what they wanted. We didn't sit down -- I know we didn't sit down and
say, okay, today we're going to do this this way and A is going to B and
B is going to C. It was kind of developed over a period of a couple of
weeks, and I did attend meetings that dealt with the group kind of
getting larger or more defined. In other words, the group had been named
and then I did -- I went to meetings that were involved with the board
of supervisor members that would define the group and how the group
should react to certain things, so the group kind of evolved. It started
out as small and then it was defined.
Q. And who from the board of supervisors was present at those meetings?
A. Well, let's see, I was there one time when Turoci was there. And that
was after -- actually after meetings -- one of the meetings where the
public was invited and that kind of thing where the group FACE spoke
out. And it was kind of a chuckle between Glen and I, and Stu really
wasn't involved -- well, he was involved, but it that meeting he was off
doing his own things and it was kind of a chuckle of how intelligent it
was or how smart it was that Glen and I and Turoci were laughing about
it had gotten this group together to -- to face off against Cadiz Land
Company because it got -- it was a big joke about how the media fell in
love with the group. We were the media darlings there for about four or
five months, in fact, even longer than that.
Q. Was anyone other than -- any other member of the board of supervisors
there other than Turoci?
A. Turoci was the only one. You know, a lot of people were kind of
around after those meetings would happen there, and I can't give you
exact -- somebody said exactly this or exactly that. I can tell you what
the general conversation was.
Ms. Klar: You want to eat? Let's -- Mr. Lauricella's lunch has arrived.
He's going to eat for a moment and we'll go off the record and we'll
come back on.
Ms. Klar: Let me have the reporter mark as Lauricella Exhibit Number 2 a
transcript of a hearing held at San Bernardino County Government Center
May 16, 1995.
(Exhibit[s] indexed: Exhibit B.)
Q. By Ms Klar: Mr. Lauricella, did you attend the hearing that is the
subject of Exhibit B on May 16, 1995?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And can you tell me why you attended that hearing?
A. I attended this meeting as a speaker on behalf of the FACE
Environmental Coalition and I gave a speech that was written for me,
actually, written by Waste Management and by Glen Odell and the people up at
Rail-Cycle. And I read the speech as though it were written by myself when I
didn't write it. And also there were other people inside that I know because I
handed them the speeches that read the speeches like they were literally their
speeches, but they were written by Waste Management, i.e., Rail-Cycle, to be
put into the record of the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors meeting on May
Q. Was the purpose of that meeting to oppose the water project or was it
to support the landfill project?
A. Actually, I think what this meeting was to -- this was to shoot down
Cadiz Land Company, basically, and to shoot down the water project and to tell
the people at San Bernardino County that a new group had been formed out
there, i.e., FACE Environmental Coalition, which didn't effect -- keep the
people who were out in that area as a group and to -- and as one party, a
united front against Cadiz Land Company, but in reality this whole thing was
written for and done up by Waste
Management. I know because I handed the speeches to the people and we went
over them in the bus on the way down, the bus that Waste Management paid for.
And I went through the speeches with these people. And I know when I talk in
here, if you read this thing, it looks like I've been in town for years,
talking about -- you know, talking about how I'd been in town. I think I had
been there for not even two weeks or so. But the
speech made it sound like I had been there for years and years. And so
it was written in the record as though -- those people put it together.
I don't know if half the people understood what they were reading when
they were reading it. They just read the words.
Q. Was one of the people present at that meeting Jake Marti?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. And do you know if Mr. Mart knew that the speeches that were
presented at that meeting were prepared by members of Waste Management or
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And is that because you told him?
A. Because I told him because he was there when they came over to us by fax.
And he was there when they came over to us by fax. And he was there when they
were -- because we had to change some things around with -- to deal with --
there were numbers that had to be changed about the amount of people because
Waste Management didn't have the right amount of people when we were doing the
text, we changed a few of those things, it was sent back to Waste Management.
And we were given on copy when we were on the bus, and then we were given a
copy to practice, and we practiced giving speeches on the way in.
Q. So people were practicing their speeches on the bus?
Q. Now, Mr. Marti has testified that members of the community invited
Glen Odell to the first meeting of the FACE coalition because of concern
in the community about the water project. Is that true?
A. Well, I mean, yeah, it's true because that's what they believed they
did. Okay. You have to remember this, that most of the people up there,
didn't really realize what they were doing when they were doing it. Like
the speeches we just went through, they didn't think they were doing
anything wrong. They thought they were doing what was correct. They
really thought that they were having a meeting out there, inviting Glen
Odell. Except they didn't realize that I put the meeting together
myself. I was already working for Glen Odell at that point in time, so I
put the meeting together and made them think that they were doing it
themselves, and so the people up there -- you know, other than a few
people out there, and I don't want to go into it. Most of those people
are good-hearted people. I want to make that known. They really didn't
do it because they thought they were doing anything wrong. They really
believed because we made them believe. I made them believe. I lied and
did everything else I could possibly do from what Glen and the company told me
to do to make those people believe. Glen used to get a big kick out of it. He
thought that was real funny. In fact he thought it was real funny because we
were screwing -- we're taking people that have
been helped by Cadiz Land Company a lot longer, and turning them around
just because you had some slick guy in there -- and I don't mean to say
that I was slick, but I went in there and turned those people around and
had them crapping on Cadiz Land Company, and Cadiz Landfill helped them
out a lot longer than anything that Rail-Cycle had done, but because we
made them believe that -- we made them believe our own reality and
because they believed it, that's why they went and did the stuff they
did. I want to get off my soap box.
Q. Let me show you a document that was marked in litigation Plaintiff's
Exhibit 1 from Don Riddle to Larry Rowe, and let me ask you if you've
seen this document before together with the Resolution of the FACE
Environmental Coalition that's appended to the letter.
A. Well, that's an easy one. First of all, this fax that you're seeing
right here that you have probably seen a lot came off of my computer.
The reason I can tell that is they are half cut off. For some reason the
computer that I got from the office had a problem. This is my fax sheet.
In other words, I'm the one that sent it to Larry Rowe, General Manager.
The letter is a letter that was given to me which is dated May 26, 1995,
Mr. Larry Rowe, General Manager, Mojave Water Agency, regarding Cadiz
Land Company. And what it is, it's a letter telling Rowe or explaining
to Rowe that there is a new group out there called FACE Environmental
Coalition, it's a grass roots organization, blab, blab, blab, that sort
of thing, along with a resolution of FACE Environmental Coalition. This
letter was done up directly by Glen Odell. As a matter of fact, I was
supposed to have changed some of this around, but because we had to get it out
to him so quickly, we sent if off with just -- with Glen Odell's
kind of way of writing, his style without changing -- colloquializing,
making it sound like it was coming from the people, misspelling some of the
words in it or doing some type of things to it.
And the other thing, the Resolution of the FACE Environmental Coalition
Water Use in Fenner, Amboy, Cadiz and Essex Area, which is dated June
24, 1995, is also a resolution that was done from Glen. This was done on
my computer, so I rewrote this. And this one right here it appears that
they came directly off of Glen's computer. This is no my typeset.
A. It's not my type. So this was probably send directly from -- in fact,
I know it was. It was sent directly from the Irvine offices. I blacked
out the top of it and recopied it and sent it back out again.
(Off the record.)
Q. By Ms. Klar: After the group was formed were officers of the group
appointed in name at least?
A. In name. I think the way this thing worked out we held meetings
because Glen said that we had to have meetings to make it official. He
was real specific about how we had to do this thing. We had meetings,
and we named people to the different positions, but in reality nobody
ever did anything. It was just myself doing the paperwork, sending it
off and doing the press releases for the group and I would go over and
get the people, who gave time as a chairman to sign whatever needed to
be signed. In fact, if you see some of the paperwork, it's my signature
scribbled on stuff. That's why we showed Marti at the end, because he
wasn't doing anything and he was easy to get ahold of and he knew
exactly what was going on.
I think they tried -- a couple of times they had a couple of meeting
where they would go and talk, and that's where we would supply free
food, and if you dealt with people at Cadiz you'd understand the free
food was a big draw. I think everybody pretty much knew that. They knew
Q. It would be fair to characterize it as a puppet organization?
A. Yeah. It was Rail-Cycle. I mean, it was real funny. I remember one of
the people that were against the project stood out in front of this
saying this is a puppet organization for Rail-Cycle, and there was a big
deal about that. In fact, I think you guys did that. And we vehemently
denied it in print. And I'm thinking to myself during this whole thing,
all this crap is ruining my life, but people bought it.
Q. And Mr. Odell knew that these allegations were being made that it was a
puppet organization and he condoned the vehement denials of that?
A. He not only condoned it, he would write the speeches that we used to fight
back on it. You got to remember anything that Rail-Cycle did in
connection with FACE Environmental or anything that we did against Cadiz Land
Company or with that board of supervisors or anything that I did went, we went
to Glen Odell, and they went through a group of people. Glen Odell didn't okay
it -- he okayed it, but it was always Stu Clark, it was always the attorneys
in the office, it was everybody. Everybody had to agree to the thing, it was
like a group thing.
Q. And how do you know that?
A. Because I was there at times when it was done or I would be told, we
need to bring this before legal, and we have to wait for a couple of
days, or, listen, I need to fly that by Stu before we do that. It was
pretty much with everything that's what happened.
Q. Now, after you had this meeting in May that's the subject of Exhibit
B when was the next sort of big event that you recall occurring in
connection with FACE?
A. You're going to love this because I can't remember dates. There was
so many other big events, I can't remember date of that.
Q. Tell me when you took your first trip to Hyder.
A. Oh, Hyder.
Q. Do you remember when that was in relation to the meeting?
A. If I had my computer and everything I could bring this stuff up and
give you the exact dates. I don't have the exact dates. I can tell you
what happened there.
Q. Okay. Before we get to that, Mr. Marti has testified that he was your
driver. Is that a fair characterization?
A. Sure. I guess that would be a fair characterization, yeah.
Q. And he said that you had an agreement with him pursuant to which you
got 35 cents a mile from Rail-Cycle and he got 30 cents of that 35
A. He's full of crap. He's not telling the truth, but basically I paid
him, but I mean he wasn't paid anywhere near the miles that -- he would
drive -- he would just drive and I paid for most of the car that he was
driving. I paid for the repair of that car. I paid for the windshield of
that car. I paid for the registration on that vehicle. I paid for the
insurance on that vehicle.
Q. Now, did you bill Rail-Cycle for mileage?
Q. And did they instruct you to inflate your mileage?
A. Well, yeah, because I had to pay myself, I had to pay Marti out of it
and Marti always got a good whack of it because we used his account to
cash the checks and he was always broke, plus it was his way of getting
paid. He kept saying that he wouldn't be the head of FACE Environmental
unless he was getting something out of it, so he was getting something
out of it in the way of money. He was probably the only one.
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