April 9th, 2002 – At the contempt hearing in the "breach of contract" case Minton revealed that he had issued two checks in the value of $ 500,000 and $ 250,000 to the attorney of the estate, Dandar, which he had not disclosed in earlier depositions. Minton now claimed in court that Dandar had asked him never to reveal these payments [Exh. No. 124]:
[ ... ] Rosen: "Would you do so. Are there any payments made by you to either Ken Dandar or his firm over and above those that 1.3 million reflected in personal checks of yours?"
Minton: "Just let me clarify one thing. The checks that you put in front of me in terms of Exhibit 1, this is a sample of those 1.3 million ... "
Q: "All of them are not there, they are just the ones we have, but beyond the 1.3 million of personal checks that you signed made out to either Ken Dandar or Dandar & Dandar for purposes of defraying the cost, the expenses of the wrongful death case, did you, sir, provide any additional monies for that purpose to either Ken Dandar or the firm of Dandar & Dandar?"
A: "Yes, I did."
Q: "Will you tell us, please, what you did?
A: "I caused two checks, one in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars to be issued to I believe it was Ken Dandar and around May of 2001 [sic] and an additional check for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars I caused to be issued to Mr. Dandar in February or early March, late February, early March time frame of this year."
Q: "And were those checks of the same kind, mainly checks drawn on your personal account and signed by you?"
A: "No, sir."
Q: "What kind of checks were these?"
A: "These were checks that were issued by Union Bank of Switzerland."
Q: "The New York office of that bank?"
A: "No, the Zurich office. They were payable - no, they were issued by the Geneva office of Union Bank of Switzerland. I think they were payable at Union Bank of Switzerland New York."
Q: "So these are in the nature of bank checks that don't have a depositor's name on it like Robert Minton, but have the name of the bank?"
Q: "And both of these checks, five hundred thousand and two hundred and fifty thousand, were made out to whom, sir?"
A: "I believe they were both made out to Ken Dandar."
Q: "Can you tell me how it came about by way of discussion with Mr. Dandar, Ken Dandar as to how you came to issue these two checks for seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars total?"
A: "Well, sometime in Springish [sic] of 2001, Mr. Dandar said, you know, he needed money to continue with the case and basically bring the case to trial and, you know, he requested that I get him some money. And, you know, and he said that he wanted to do this in such a way that it didn't appear that the money came from me. He mentioned several reasons why he didn't want it to appear to come from me. Number one, that the wrongful death case was getting to be extremely messy because of my financial contributions to the case. Secondly, that he did not wish to run this money through his trust account. That he had another means of hiding this money from the Scientologists as well as some of his employees. He mentioned specifically Michael Garko and Tom Haverty where I think Mr. Dandar was trying to, as he explained to me, trying to cut back on payments to them in order to conserve money to continue the case." Q: "Did Mr. Dandar say anything to you on the subject of whether you should or should not disclose these payments?"
A: "Yes. He said, you be known that they appear from recently as March he said, you know, that these should not you and you shouldn't - as know, I haven't revealed these payments to the Court and you shouldn't reveal them to the Court."
Q: "Now, Mr. Minton, there then came a point in May of 2001 that you were served with a duces tecum subpoena for deposition in this case which then resulted in contempt proceedings, contempt order, do you remember that?"
A: "Yes, sir."
Q: "That duces tecum subpoena, and I quote from the May 22 subpoena at paragraph one, required you to produce ‘All documents relating to payment by you or by the Lisa McPherson Trust to Ken Dandar, Thomas Dandar or the law firm.' You did not produce anything relating to these two checks you're telling us about today did you, sir?"
A: "No, I didn't."
Q: "Can you tell us why you did not produce them?"
A: "I didn't have copies of them, number one, and Mr. Dandar had asked me not to reveal that those checks came from me."
Q: "Sir, I understand you didn't have copies but as the one who caused the checks to be issued, if you wanted to get copies from the bank, you could do that, correct?"
A: "I didn't have a relationship with that particular institution."
Q: "Okay. You then appeared in this Court on October 4th of 2001 in connection with a contempt proceeding that was originally scheduled to be your sentencing before Judge Baird, right?"
A: "I believe that's right."
Q: "And at that time you advised Judge Baird that you would testify. You would testify honestly and purge yourself for the contempt, right?"
A: "Yes, sir."
Q: "As a result of that there were - a deposition of you was scheduled for a week later, October 11th and October 12th, is that correct?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "Did you again, did you have any further conversation with Ken Dandar in relation to that deposition on the subject of disclosing these checks?"
A: "Not at that time, no."
Q: "How many different times did you have conversations with Ken Dandar on the subject of not disclosing these checks?"
A: "At least six or eight times." Q: "Have you now, sir, purged yourself of that contempt by fully testifying truthfully as to the item identified in paragraph one, namely any and all payments made to Ken Dandar, Tom Dandar or the law firm?"
A: "Yes, sir, I have." [ ... ]
At the end of the hearing the Scientology attorneys announced that they had filed a motion asking for a disqualification of Kennan Dandar from the case and that they would file claims against him for abuse of process and conspiracy as well.
April 17th, 2002 - Before an upcoming hearing in the McPherson case, Robert Minton filed an affidavit, in which he recanted prior testimony. Among other things he admitted that he had made false statements during the April 9th hearing. Concerning his financial contributions to Dandar, he stated [Exh. No. 125]:
" [ ... ] 11. I have previously made statements under oath in this cause that I had paid to the Plaintiff, the ESTATE OF LISA MCPHERSON, through Kennan Dandar either $ 1,050,000 or $ 1.3 million in support of his litigation. These statements were false. In truth, I have given substantially in excess of 1.3 million. In addition to the amounts in my previous testimony, I have given Kennan Dandar two checks, one dated May 1, 2000, in the amount of $ 500,000, and another dated March 7, 2002, in the amount of $ 250,000, and I have reason to believe that an additional check for $ 100,000 given to Kennan Dandar was not discovered. [ ... ] "
April 19th, 2002 - At the next hearing in the "breach of contract" case Samuel Rosen renewed the examination of Robert Minton. On this occasion copies of the two checks to Dandar were entered into evidence [Exh. No. 126]:
[ ... ] Rosen: "Mr. Minton, last time - I just want to bring you back to something. You offered some testimony about two checks that were drawn on a Swiss bank that were given - that you gave to Mr. Dandar."
Minton: "Yes, sir, I remember that."
Q: "And when was the - what was the date or approximate date of the first of those checks, those - we'll call them Swiss checks, Swiss bank checks?"
A: "I believe I stated last time it was May 2001, but, in fact, it was May 2000."
Q: "Okay. Now could you tell ... "
A: "And the other check was March 7th, 2002."
Q: "I'm sorry. Say that again."
A: "The second check for $ 250,000 - I'm sorry. The first check was for 500,000, that was March 2000. The second check was for 250,000 and that was dated March 7th, 2002."
Q: "All right. I'll ask you to open the folder in front of you that was marked Exhibit 5, sir."
Q: "Five, yes."
A: "Yes, sir."
Q: "Would you tell the Court what that is?"
A: "That's the May 2000 check for five - May 1st, 2000 check for $ 500,000." [Exh. No. 127]
Q: "It's a check that you caused to be issued by the United Bank of Switzerland UBS and payable through Chase Manhattan?"
A: "Union Bank of Switzerland."
Q: "Certainly. Union Bank of Switzerland paid through Chase Manhattan?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "Check made out to? Who was the payee, please?"
A: "Mr. Kennan Dandar."
Q: "In the amount of $ 500,000?"
A: "That's correct." [ ... ]
Q: "Is this the first check which is a bank check drawn on the Bank of Switzerland, right?
A. That's right. [ ... ]
Q: "All right. Now, Mr. Minton, the checks that you wrote prior to this one on your own account, they had your name imprinted on them?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "And you signed them in your own hand?"
A: "I did."
Q: "And they were made out to Mr. Dandar or his firm?"
A: "I think they were all made out to Dandar & Dandar."
Q: "So if they were discovered it would be - it would be apparent from the face of the instrument who the source of the money was, namely you?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "Is there anything on the face of Exhibit which discloses who the source of the $ 500,000 is?"
A: "No one other than Union Bank of Switzerland."
Q: "Okay. Now, how did - how was this check physically delivered to Mr. Dandar?"
A: "Well, the check was sent to me by courier or something and then I brought it down to Clearwater. I was in New Hampshire at the time. I brought it down to Clearwater and called Mr. Dandar, told him I had some funds that we had talked about. And he suggested that we meet somewhere halfway in between his Tampa office and my office in downtown Clearwater. So we met at the Bombay Bicycle Club which is I think out of business now, but it was on Gulf-to-Bay just on the Tampa side of Route 19, on the Tampa side of the Clearwater Mall."
Q: "And was there anybody else present?"
A: "Well, there were other people in the Bombay Bicycle Club. It was lunch time, but we went to a small round table in the bar area so we could be completely alone because most people were eating in the lunch part of the restaurant, and I gave Mr. Dandar the check."
Q: "When I say were other people there, I meant, were any people in your group, either somebody who was accompanying you or somebody accompanying Mr. Dandar?"
A: "No, we were alone."
Q: "Okay. If I - did there come a time in February of 2002 when you issued another or caused to be issued another bank check to Mr. Dandar?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "May I ask you, sir, to open what is in front of you the folder that is marked Exhibit 6."
A: "Sorry. Just one second. Did you say February 2002?"
Q: "I'm sorry, March of 2000."
A: "It was March, yes."
Q: "March of 2002. And would you open the folder that is marked Exhibit 6, please, sir?"
A: "Just one second. Yes."
Q: "Could you tell us - tell the Court what that is."
A: "That's a check for $ 250,000 payable to Ken Dandar issued by Union Bank of Switzerland dated March 7th, 2002." [Exh. No. 128]
Q: "You ... "
A: "Drawn on Chase Manhattan Bank in New York."
Q: "And you caused that check to be drawn ... "
A: "I did."
Q: "... by Union Bank of Switzerland?"
A: "I did."
Q: "Okay. Now, prior to the delivery of this check to Mr. Dandar, were there any - was there any conversation which led up to this between you and Mr. Dandar?"
A: "Ah, yes. There were numerous conversations. Mr. Dandar came to visit me in New Hampshire in early February along with Dr. Garko for the sole purpose of, you know, soliciting funds for the case. And, you know, I had been somewhat reluctant in the past few months prior to that meeting to give money, give any further money. And so Mr. Dandar and Mr. Garko came up there to, you know, give me a sort of sales pitch on the state of the case." [ ... ]
During the cross-examination by Luke Lirot, the attorney representing Kennan Dandar, Minton then admitted of having lied during his deposition on October 11th and 12th:
[ ... ] Lirot: "The question that I'm referring to was asked on April 9th. The question referred back to the October 11th and 12th of the year 2001 asking you about your knowledge of special meetings for the addition of parties to the wrongful death suit that resulted in what I understand to be the filing of this action. And you were commenting on the amount of money that was funded to these cases and you said 1.3 million dollars and that was true at the time; isn't that correct?"
Minton: "Well, first of all, it wasn't for these cases. It was for the wrongful death case, number one. And at that time that was not true."
Q: "Based on what?"
A: "It would have been 1.8 million."
Q: "Based on what?"
A: "Based on that $ 500,000 check." [ ... ]
Q: "I have one question that I neglected to ask you earlier. You talk about two checks here in the testimony that you've given. When could you ever have been involved in a proceeding where you would ever lie about a February 2002 check?"
A: "I never said I lied about that check."
Q: "We've been talking about two checks?"
A: "Well, I had to disclose the two checks. I never said I lied about the February 2002 check or the March 2002 check."
Q: "So what you're saying is that you lied in your deposition about the 2000 ... "
A: "The $ 500,000 check."
Q: "The first check that was issued when there were no court orders in place. The very first check. Where did you lie? Where were you ever asked about that check where you didn't assert the Fifth Amendment?"
A: "I was asked how much money I had given to the Estate of Lisa McPherson and my answer was either one million and fifty thousand or one million three-hundred thousand. There were two different occasions, two different answers, neither one included the 500,000." [ ... ]
During the same hearing Kennan Dandar was examined as well. When asked about how the payment of check in March 2002 had taken place, he stated that Minton had referred to it as coming from a third party in Switzerland, the "fat man":
[ ... ] Rosen: "So did your receipt of the check of, I guess, February in any way surprise you at all?"
Dandar: "I received it in March and I was in shock. Because not only did I have this letter and it was buzzing all over the Internet, in New Hampshire in February of 2002 I sat down at the dinner table with Mr. Minton and Stacy Brooks and Dr. Garko and he said - eyeball to eyeball he said, I have no more money to give you. I say, that's okay. I appreciate all your help. That was it."
Q: "So ... "
A: "But ... "
Q: "Go ahead."
A: "He did go on and say that there is this person in Switzerland and let's just call him the Fat Man. I said, Okay. And he's upset with all the criticism on the Internet. I said, Okay. He said, if that goes away, maybe I could convince him to send you some money. I said, I have no control over the Internet. I don't get on there. I don't do these - you know, these people are all independent of me, but I'll ask and put the word out, because Bob was emotionally - I mean, just before that he was crying like a baby and I was worried about him." [ ... ]
April 24th, 2002 - In a second affidavit Minton revealed additional details in connection with the two payments to Dandar of May of 2000 and March of 2002 [Exh. No. 129]:
" [ ... ] 34. Several weeks before my deposition on May 24, 2000, I had several conversations with Mr. Dandar regarding additional funds he said he needed for the trial of the wrongful death case. He asked me for enough money to take him through the trial. He told me an additional $ 500,000 would be sufficient. He told me he had a way to hide the funds from Scientology and told me I should arrange payments in such a way that the funds could not be traced back to me. He told me he would not put these funds in his client trust account and that he had another account that Scientology could never find.
"35. Mr. Dandar also told me he did not want the money to appear to come from me because my financial involvement was making the case too messy and that he wanted to conceal the money from his employees, Dr. Garko and Tom Haverty, to justify cutting back payments to them. He told me I should never disclose these funds were from me. From this point forward, Mr. Dandar told me that he would tell his employees he was funding the litigation from his retirement account.
"36. Following these conversations with Mr. Dandar about the $ 500,000, I caused a check dated May 1, 2000 in that amount to be issued to Mr. Dandar by the Union Bank of Switzerland, payable at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. I handed this check to Mr. Dandar at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Clearwater, Florida a few days after May 1, 2000.
"37. I was later deposed about the amount of money I had provided to fund the wrongful death case. Prior to my deposition Mr. Dandar told me to ignore this check for $ 500,000 and only concentrate ‘on the checks you have written.' When asked in deposition how much money I had provided, I testified falsely and omitted this $ 500,000 check.
"38. I was also served with a deposition subpoena in the wrongful death case to produce all documents relating to my payments to Mr. Dandar or his law firm. Mr. Dandar told me not to produce this check for $ 500,000. He said that he had not disclosed this check to the Court and that I should not disclose it either. He told me that I did not have to disclose the check because I did not write it. He said the check came from ‘Fred.' Fred was Mr. Dandar's nickname for me as the source of funds that would not be traced back to me. [ ... ]
"53. Mr. Dandar called me several times prior to March 6, 2002, in a frantic state about money and asked me whether I was going to ‘come through for the case' or not. He said that we needed to talk about this seriously and as privately as possible, and in the absence of two phone encryption devices, he suggested that we both speak on our digital cell phones.
"54. Subsequently I caused to be issued a check dated March 7, 2002, in the amount of $ 250,000 payable to Ken Dandar. Mr. Dandar called me on the 15th of March to tell me my check had not been received at his office. I told him I had sent it to his PO Box. I included the check with other papers so it wouldn't be seen by his staff. I enclosed the check in an essay from Caroline Letkeman. (Caroline Letkeman had written this essay in an LMT essay contest and was paid a few thousand dollars as a prize by the LMT. In response to an inquiry from Mr. Dandar, I had advised him to use Ms. Letkeman as an expert witness.) I told Mr. Dandar that the check was inside that document, at page 23. Mr. Dandar, who was out of town, told me he sent Donna West to pick up the overnight mail pack and then Mr. Dandar called me to confirm it had been received. [ ... ] "
April 30th, 2002 - On this day later the examination of Kennan Dandar was continued. During the examination by Church of Scientology attorney Rosen, Dandar stated that Minton had told him that the May of 2000 check over $ 500,000 had come from an anonymous source in Europe [Exh. No. 130]:
[ ... ] Rosen: "How about the $ 500,000, the first check?"
Dandar: "He just called it his friends in Europe, anonymous donor, and that was it. And I said that was fine."
Q: "Anonymous lender, not anonymous donor."
A: "It's a donor or a lender depending on the outcome of the case."
Q: "So you didn't care whether or not this anonymous lender was money laundering, drug money. It might have been Al-Queda money for all you care. You took the money."
A: "Mr. Minton at that point in time had - in my mind, I respected him and trusted him, and I knew that he was a professional banker." [ ... ]
May 6th, 2002 - After the hearing in the "breach of contract" case on April 30th, the upcoming proceedings took place in the McPherson case. The hearings resumed on May 3rd and the first witness that was examined was Stacy Brooks, the former president of the LMT and Minton's girlfriend. On May 6th, during cross-examination by Luke Lirot, judge Schaeffer inquired about the two payments that the LMT had received from Andreas Heldal-Lund in Norway and from the alleged anonymous source [Exh. No. 131]:
[ ... ] The Court: [ ... ] "I noticed in reading depositions of Mr. Minton I heard that - well, let's put it this way, in reading the testimony of Mr. Dandar, Mr. Dandar indicates that this money, according to Mr. Minton, came from some third party, unknown anonymous source. And I felt that was fairly outrageous that anybody would believe you could get $ 500,000. To me, that is a huge sum of money, from somebody that nobody knew from Europe. And so as I'm reading this deposition of Mr. Minton, I see where Mr. Minton said over and over the same thing about LMT. Which is your corporation. That you got $ 300,000, because that is the money he put in, from some - I can't remember who this guy is, some fellow, apparently also an anti-Scientology person, with a German name."
The Witness: "Yes."
The Court: "Mr. Lund or something like that."
Mr. Dandar: "Andreas Heldal-Lund."
The Witness: "Yes."
The Court: "Then LMT got a $ 500,000 anonymous donor from someplace in Europe, is that true?"
The Witness: "At that time, that is ... "
The Court: "I'm asking you now, is that true?"
The Witness: "No, it's not."
The Court: "Where did the money [come] from?"
The Witness: "From Mr. Minton."
The Court: "So Mr. Minton forgot to tell us he lied about that, too. Proceed." [ ... ]
May 21st, 2002 - On the first day of Minton's testimony during the new series of proceedings in the McPherson case, he acknowledged that the two "anonymous" donations to the LMT came actually from him [Exh. No. 132]:
[ ... ] The Court: "I'm very confused because LMT got money into it, did it not, that it turned right around and stuck in your pocket?"
The Witness: "That is correct."
The Court: "There is $ 300,000 from a man in Holland [sic] that came through LMT, right?"
The Witness: "Sweden [sic], I believe."
The Court: "Sweden. I'm sorry. And the money doesn't show up as income anywhere. So, I take it, it went straight to you?"
The Witness: "That is correct."
The Court: "There was a $ 500,000 check [sic] over there you said came from some anonymous source. Is that correct?"
The Witness: "Well, at the time I said it - in my deposition I said it was from an anonymous source, it wasn't."
The Court: "It was from you, right?"
The Witness: "That is correct, your Honor. And the truth is that the money came from me."
The Court: "Right. And that went into your pocket. Why did you do that, by the way, send that money there from some foreign bank to put in your pocket?"
The Witness: "Well, the whole issue of getting money from other sources besides me into the LMT was to try to get Scientology off on a wild goose chase, basically thinking that it's either the German government or the French government who were supporting us."
By Mr. Fugate: "Who is ‘us'?" A: "The LMT."
Q: "All right."
The Court: "Well, let me see if I got this now. You got a $ 300,000 check from some man in Holland [sic] ... "
The Witness: "Yes, and ... "
The Court: "... that you put in your pocket."
The Witness: "And that money also came from me, your Honor."
The Court: "That came from you, too?"
The Witness: "Yes, it did."
The Court: "So there is $ 800,000 that you didn't tell the truth about in your deposition and you haven't recanted in your affidavit, is that right? A $ 300,000 check ... "
The Witness: "And a $ 500,000 check [sic]."
The Court: "Is that right?"
The Witness: "That is correct, your Honor."
The Court: "So those are lies you haven't bothered to tell anybody about until now, at least not me." [ ... ]