Judson Witham, Glens Falls, New York
This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building. – George Orwell, 1984
Houston – This guy is from old-line upstate New Yorker origins, looks like he just stepped out of a Washington Irving tale, and claims multi-generations of relations with a long line of “poor fellow soldiers of Christ of the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem,” the famed Knights Templar of the Crusades.
Until you get a chance to talk to the man, you don’t really grasp the burning anger that drives his need.
Judson Witham has spent years upon years making smirking, half-insulting videos in which he makes obscure references to people and places that seem so remote from the normal person’s life that one gets lost in the blur. The simple truth is, he is here to tell all comers, is he got ripped off by bankers and public officials he feels he can prove have deceived he and millions of other people to the tune of trillions of dollars raised through illicit means to finance undeclared, clandestine wars they can’t begin to pay for from the public coffers of the U.S. Treasury.
He says it all goes back to the push by the neoconservative adherents of the Reagan Administration in the pell mell headlong dash of the early 80’s to deregulate the operation of savings and loans and banks, a national policy move that made it possible for anyone, literally anyone, including mafia chieftains, arms merchants, real estate hustlers and other assorted con men, to acquire and maintain a thrift or bank, finance and “flip” marginal property developments through rigged appraisals, dummy partnerships, and quickie paper chase transactions, then borrow big and pay back slow – or not at all – from behind the impenetrable veil of corporate finance, coupled with the black ops world of no questions, no prisoners – and no-tell national security.
Bid it up, merge, buy, sell, or just flat out get cronies in the world of understaffed, de-funded and diminished-thunder bank regulatory agencies to declare the institution insolvent, take the money, and run. All this and more is fair in the New World Order.
Back in the mid-80’s, way before anyone had heard of the Resolution Trust Corporation, too-big-to-fail, or any of the rest of the teflon-coated jazz that comes with it, Witham and a partner named Andrew W. Mark invested in some lots in what is known as Pine Village, Sections 1 and 2, a development in the woods of Montgomery County near Conroe, Texas, near The Woodlands, an enclave of proud neocon fame.
What kind of place is it? Here are a couple of hints. Names of the old-time turpentine camps and logging hell towns number among them such monikers as “Point Blank,” and “Cut and Shoot.” Behold the verbiage from a federal lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department litigated during the same era.
“The evidence presented to the jury demonstrated that on or about January 10, 1983, the plaintiff was taken into custody by a Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff after an automobile accident in which plaintiff was involved as a passenger. Testimony was presented that at the time plaintiff was placed in his cell, the officer incited the other inmates to assault the plaintiff by telling an inmate to ‘take care of’ the plaintiff because he had ‘shot two little kids on a three-wheeler.’ Plaintiff was severely beaten while in the cell and sustained bodily injuries.”
At the time, Mark and Witham filled out an owner financing loan applications with Western Bank, an outfit with headquarters near the glitzy Galleria off South Post Oak Road at Westheimer, near River Oaks, a deep dish oil business refuge for black gold money, both old and new.
When the two learned they could get no assurance of a clear title due to transactions that took place prior to their financing arrangements with Western Bank, they filed suit in April, 1986, claiming deceptive trade practices and fraud. Witham estimates that liens previous to those stipulated in his sales contracts amounted to a figure “in excess of $590,000 prior to their ‘flipping’ the project for the fifth time to Clesson Land Development.” According to court papers Witham filed later, there is a judgment against a previous owner for $1,850,000. All this over two lots he acquired for $1,850 apiece and a home he built valued at $100,000.
What’s more, he was right on time for Congressional hearings into the White House’s undercover dealings with arms merchants trading airplane parts for cash to buy weapons for secret private armies in Nicaragua and Honduras, and the cocaine they used to finance their operations in order to resupply the “contras” without Congressional oversight. Neocons everywhere credit Oliver North, Richard Secord and John Singlaub with their patriotism and “stopping Communism before it reached the Mexican border.”
Did I hear someone mention the legendary exploits of Milo Minderbinder Enterprises and Catch 22?
Witham demanded clear title and $250,000 in damages.
And then lightning struck. “I went over to my friend’s house and found the door standing wide open, all his guns and valuables in plain sight, and my friend, lying face down in a pool of blood with a gunshot to his head,” Witham recalls.
A motion filed by Andrew Mark’s brother made a euphemistic reference to the event as a “suggestion of death.” His executor sought to stay with the suit.
Quizzed about what he thinks happened, Witham recalls that just days previous, his friend had accompanied agents of the government of The Phillippines to take a look at many acres of property owned by Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator deposed by Corazon Aquino. They were looking for their money, too.
What happened to the lawsuit?
The Texas Banking Commission informed the Court that Western Bank was insolvent and informed the FDIC.
Says Witham, “That wasn’t the truth. The truth was that the Western Bank declared ITSELF insolvent.”
One may believe that Witham’s verbal delivery includes the distinct impression that the letters of some of his words are CAPITALIZED.
Witham’s attorney Tim Herron got cold feet when his client refused to settle for clear title from Western Bank – and no assurance of the satisfaction of previous liens. He made a motion to withdraw in which he told the judge, “Judson Witham more recently indicated that he would be agreeable to settlement; however, he now indicates he wishes to pursue the lawsuit. Such position has put this law firm in an ethical compromise and the pursuit of such objective as espoused by Judson Witham is repugnant or imprudent, causing fundamental disagreement between this law firm and Judson Witham…”
Guy wanted out badly, and it showed in the motions he filed.
In his second request to be allowed to withdraw, he showed the judge that he had assured Witham that, “,..the FDIC would give you title to the property made the subject of this lawsuit, clear of any liens the FDIC may have on the property, However, the FDIC cannot warrant clear title beyond their own liens. It is my opinion this is a good settlement and I would propose to you that should any other liens be found on the property, I would be willing to pursue suit on your behalf…”
When the attorney walked away, the judge dismissed the suit and ordered both parties to pay their own expenses.
Only the motions and orders relating to those transactions are today extant in the Harris County District Clerk’s office. The original and amended petitions, the plaintiffs’ answer, and all other relevant papers have been destroyed – down the memory hole. Like the party officials of Ingsoc in Orwell’s classic novel about totalitarianism, the past being prelude to the future, the government controls the history of what happened. Relying upon one’s own memory is purely a matter of “doublethink.”
“At that point, my right to discovery became moot,” Witham recalls.
Nevertheless, the public may yet get a look at what went on in those heady days of the Gipper ascendant if the judge of the 334th District Court allows revisitation of the suit.
“I have learned beyond any doubt that they are not broke…These people have billions, many times over.”
He is suing for a pre-and-post judgment of $1,250,000, plus $5 million in punitive damages.
He fairly shouted a string of references to “Charlie Wilson’s War,” in which the east Texas Congressman made it easy for the CIA to funnel lots of money to the Taliban in “Operation Cyclone,” Oliver North, Richard Secord, and an obscure police-involved shooting.
Richard Carnaby, a man long regarded as an agent for CIA, died at a freeway road block after a Houston Police officer shot him. The cops trailed Carnaby for several miles after they said an officer observed him speeding.
Following the 2008 shooting, the CIA disavowed any relations with Carnaby, though his ex-wife and bride-to-be, as well as friends and family, had for many years regarded him as a spook with papers, identification, credentials, and the mementos of a career bureaucrat to prove it.
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