Village Voice magazine ran an article entitled, "The Last Days of Danny Casolaro," by James Ridgeway and Doug Vaughan on October 15, 1991 which gave a brief profile of Michael Riconosciuto's background:
"The 44yearold Riconosciuto is to put it mildly a colorful character, wilder than anything in `The Falcon and the Snowman.' He was a gifted child. When he was just 10 years old, Michael wired his parents' neighborhood with a working, private telephone system that undercut Ma Bell; in the eighth grade, he won a science fair with a model for a threedimensional sonar system. By the time he was a teenager, he had won so many science fairs with exhibits of laser technology that he was invited to be a summer research assistant at Stanford's [University] prestigious Cooper Vaper Laser Laboratory. Dr. Arthur Schalow, a Nobel laureate, remembered him: `You don't forget a 16yearold youngster who shows up with his own argon laser,' he told Casolaro."
Bobby Riconosciuto lived with Michael Riconosciuto at the time of his arrest in Washington state. Immediately upon learning of his arrest, she had fled to California with her four children, the youngest of which, Elizabeth, had been fathered by Michael.
Bobby was well situated in an exclusive suite at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Orange County, California. Her suite contained a living room and bar overlooking lush indoor tropical gardens and water fountains, marble walkways over bridgecovered ponds and a gazebo where free breakfasts were cooked and served to order.
Within the room, she had at her disposal office equipment, phones in every room, answering machines, room service and anything else she needed for herself and her children. Patrick Moriarty, Marshall Riconosciuto's business partner of 40 years, was paying the bills.
Moriarty and the Riconosciutos, father and son, had once owned Hercules Research Corporation together in Hercules, California. An old Contra Costa County newspaper article, dating back to April, 1981, gave the story of Hercules. The subheading of the article pretty much said it all, "Device Could Make Hercules a Silicon Valley."
In 1981, Hercules had developed a small electronic power supply the size of a tissue box, designed to specifically feed 30,000 volts of electricity to another device, a METC (Modular Energy Transfer Catalyzer) unit, that would cut the heating and cooling time in food processing and of making glass, metal and other products by 40 percent.
The METC unit, patented by Interprobe of Chicago, worked by electrostatically exciting air molecules by moving them through a charged field. This removed a boundary layer of molecules that inhibited the exchange of thermal energy. Hercules' highvoltage power supply was essential to the application of Interprobe's METC unit, so both companies were in the process of working out a merger in order to market both technologies as a complete system.
Admiral Henry Rankin, vice president of Interprobe, was a longtime family friend, and was very enthuiastic about incorporating the Hercules power pack with Interprobe's high voltage electrostatic technology.
Patrick Moriarty and Marshall Riconosciuto had funded research for 15 years and spent about $1 million of their own money on the project.
By 1983, things were not looking so good for Patrick Moriarty. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported in a series of articles that "fireworks magnate W. Patrick Moriarty, his business and associates spent nearly half a million dollars in the last three years to influence government decisions throughout California."
Moriarty's relationships with several key state legislators and his campaign contributions to elected officials from Anaheim to Sacramento had made him a powerful force in state and local politics. His association with the notorious Robert Ferrante, head of Consolidated Savings and Loan which failed in 1985, and who was the subject of a disorganized, onagain offagain FBI investigation, was written up in the book, "Inside Job," by (Mary Frick?).
Patrick Moriarty was described as "the manufacturer of Red Devil fireworks, who founded the Bank of Irvine. The bank failed in 1984, the victim of fraud and mismanagement, according to regulators." In 1985, Moriarty pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a case that became the biggest political scandal in California in 30 years. Over 10 prominent politicians, including one state senator, were indicted for taking bribes from Moriarty.
Though I'd spoken with her on the phone numerous times, I first met Bobby Riconosciuto facetoface on January 15th, 1992. On the day I visited her hotel suite, I hauled my Mita copy machine on a cart up to her room and we talked and made copies of documents all morning. Bobby was young, boxom and attractive in a natural, mother earth sort of way. Her long blond hair hung loosely around her shoulders, she wore no makeup, and her nose and mouth had an impish upturn that made her appear to be smiling even when she was not.
We became friends as the day progressed. Bobby confided that some of the more sensitive material was stored at Michael's hidden trailer in Trona, California.
While working at Wackenhut, Michael had anticipated a future need to have a hiding place for himself and his files in the event that things got out of control. Bobby, who had met Michael in Washington state after he left Wackenhut, had been instructed by Michael to stay away from the trailer in case she was being surveillanced.
The files and computer equipment stored there were Michael's last ace in the hole. Nevertheless, Bobby was frustrated by the slow progress of Michael's court defense, by R.J.'s lack of response to Michael's request for Witness Protection - and she had been barraged by reporters who wanted documented proof of Michael's statements.
I offered to drive her out to Trona, near Death Valley, to retrieve Michael's files and ultimately, she acquiesced. We arrived at the isolated trailer at dusk and began sorting through documents that could substantiate Michael's claim that he worked for the government.
The electricity had been shut off and as it became dark, we were forced to use flashlights. Bobby was terrified that we might get caught in that Godforsaken place. The children were cold and tired, and from sheer exhaustion, she finally offered to turn all the boxes and documents over to me to make copies at home.
We threw everything helter skelter into large plastic trash bags, dumped the bags into my Chevy van, and quickly headed back to civilization.
It is noteworthy that before we left, Bobby pointed the flashlight towards another, smaller trailer situated on a knoll overlooking the road, which she claimed contained Michael's hidden computer equipment.
It was several weeks before Michael learned that Bobby had turned the documents over to me. She never told him, nor did I. It was through Jonathan Littman, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter whom I had confided in, that Riconosciuto learned of our secret.
Upon arriving home from my trip to the desert, I had xeroxed roundtheclock for five days with help from trusted friends. The documents corroborated everything Michael had related over the phone, and more.
It was an exciting time. Boxes and boxes of documents provided me for the first time with a window into the CIA corporate structure, arms deals, drug operations, money laundering, biological technology, all the connecting tentacles of Danny Casolaro's "Octopus."
After making copies, I squeezed the originals into eight large packing boxes, sealed them tightly, and sent them back to Bobby Riconosciuto, via a friend, who gave them to Michael's father, Marshall Riconosciuto.
I later learned Marshall allegedly shipped them to Ian Stuart Spiro for safekeeping. It was not until April, 1993, that I learned what became of Spiro and the documents.
An Associated Press news story entitled, "Deaths Linked to Spy Network," published in the Merced Sun Star newspaper, outlined the death of Ian Stuart Spiro, 46, who was found dead of cyanide poisoning in the AnzaBorrego desert on November 8, 1992, one week after his wife and children were found shot to death in their Rancho Santa Fe home.
The news story, originating from the Oceanside Blade Citizen, noted that "documents and U.S. intelligence sources implicated Spiro in the IranContra armsforhostages affair and an alleged Justice Department conspiracy to pirate software from a private company and sell it to foreign intelligence agencies."
Spiro's name also appeared in Lt. Col. Oliver North's personal notebooks documenting the IranContra affair, according to the National Security Archives in Washington D.C..
Former hostage David Jacobsen told the BladeCitizen shortly after Spiro's death that Spiro helped negotiate the release of hostages in the Middle East.
After obtaining a copy of a followup BladeCitizen article dated June 3, 1993, entitled, "Spiro Probers Want to Talk to North" by Wade Booth, Stacy Finz and Michael Williams, I learned that Ian Spiro lived in Beirut, Lebanon during the 1970's and 1980's where he "made contacts with Lebanese religious leaders and the Islamic Jihad."
Greg Quarton, Spiro's brotherinlaw, told reporters at the BladeCitizen that Spiro maintained communication with Lebanese business associates until the time of his death, but investigating officers had possession of Spiro's phone bills, and as of this writing, they had not released them.
San Diego sheriff's Capt. Jim Marmack said detectives were investigating allegations by Spiro's relatives that his file cabinets and business papers were missing.
The week of the Spiro family's death, Robert Corson, a business associate of Spiro's indicted in a savings and loan scam, was found dead in an El Paso, Texas, motel room. Corson, who reportedly worked for the CIA, died of a heart attack, officials said. The BladeCitizen reported that Corson once carried money to South America in a deal to deliver covert weapons. Corson also allegedly associated with California investor Wayne Reeder who was seen at a Wackenhut/Contra meeting in Riverside county (See Chapter 10).
The newspaper article went on to say that Alan Michael May, age 50, [a former Northern California field director in Richard Nixon's presidential campaign and attorney for Nixon's brothers Donald and Edward] was found dead in his San Francisco home on June 19, 1991, four days after a newspaper story in the Napa Sentinel outlined his role in an alleged plot by Republican Party officials to bribe Iranian officials to delay the release of U.S. hostages until after President Reagan's inauguration.
Immediately after May's death, Raymond Lavas, Ted Gunderson's former forensic's expert, (and a former protege of Robert Maheu according to Michael Riconociuto) wrote a letter to one of Michael's friends, expressing his professional opinion about the death of Michael May. A copy of that letter was faxed to me and the following excerpts quickly captured my attention:
"... I don't understand why it's going to take two weeks to determine May's cause of death. Did you know that certain chemical assassination methods will have been evaporated out of the body by that time?
"Then, the cause of death would be ruled as natural, since the chemical agents are the primary cause that result in a secondary action such as heart failure, kidney or liver damage, etc.
"Some examples of these agents include BZ2, Ricin, Tropodotoxin, shellfish toxia and a variety of methlamine based neurotoxinsthat affect the central nervous system and cause failure of one or more organs in the human body.
"Some, if not most of these toxins are solvent based [DMSO] and may be introduced in minute quantities through the skin. Their effect [may] vary and some toxins take weeks to months to take effect. Others take moments to damage the nervous system, then evaporate within hours.
"Unless the body is immediately refrigerated, the toxins are quickly evaporated, leaving only one or two parts per million in quantity. Unless there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, a trained forensic expert would never detect any traces of the toxin.
"So there you have it. [Michael] May is dead and they are dragging their asses to find out how! What is next? A statement that May died of natural causes? Let me predict this now ... and we'll see. Regards, Ray."
Michael May also apparently attended briefings connected with Lawrence Livermore Labs in California according to an official listing of Lawrence Livermore employees at a "Briefings and Discussions" document obtained from Riconosciuto's files.
The document, stamped, "Official Use Only," listed Edward Teller along with nine other names, including Michael May, under the heading "Lawrence Livermore Laboratory." Other headings with names listed underneath included the Department of Energy, Department of State, Defense Nuclear Agency and Naval Research Laboratory. There were no other pages accompanying the document, so it was impossible to determine from what manual it came from.
May's name also popped up in a letter Michael Riconosciuto wrote to Dr. John Phillip Nichols at the Cabazon Indian reservation when he was being screened for security clearances to work on the Cabazon/Wackenhut joint venture.
The letter focused primarily on Al Holbert, an Israeli intelligence officer who allegedly recruited Riconosciuto into the CIA, and May's name was mentioned only once, in connection with members of "The Company." That one sentence read as follows: "Ben Kalka's relationship with Holbert and `May' will give the proper authorities the necessary auspices to come in and swiftly clean it [The Company] up."
Other portions of the letter gave a history of Riconosciuto's experience with Al Holbert (Excerpts):
" ... My problems stemmed from my association with Al C. Holbert. I first met Holbert when I was still in high school and I was led to believe that he was an `unofficial' representative of the Israeli government. I was further led to believe that his interests were not contrary to those of the United States. It was not until July of 1981 that I learned the truth about Holbert. It came directly from him to me personally in what I will call a confrontational situation.
"August of 1981 was when I first brought Holbert to your [Dr. John Nichols] attention. At that time, I still did not know much and I was still in a sort of state of shock from my `new awareness' of Holbert. I was in deep with this guy and so was Paul [Morasca].
"At first Paul thought that I was off base and overreacting and then by degrees he started to come around. Much of the incredible account of Paul's doings (money transfers, gems, weapons, drugs) were the result of his relationship to Burt and Jensen. Burt, Jensen and Kalka all met Paul through his brother Joe. I was the one who introduced Al Holbert to Paul, and Paul was the one who introduced me to Burt, Jensen and Kalka. This was in early 1967.
"I was introduced to [Al] Holbert through the Stanford crowd at the home of [name withheld] in Portola Valley, California. Interesting enough, [name withheld] is a former State Department employee ..."
" ... The realization of who and what Holbert is, and Paul's death, have taken me some time to adjust to. And that required professional help. I now have a clear idea and good perspective on what has really happened in my life.
"I am in awe of Holbert and his group's power [The Company]. During the last year, I have forced this structure to rear its ugly head in many different times and places, and in ways that can't be covered up. I have also spread far and wide what knowledge I have with the intent to first protect others involved and secondly to chisel the story in stone.
"Where it all stands now is that no matter who the group attempts to silence or what ruse they attempt to perpetrate, the truth cannot be destroyed. This is now in the hands of a competent attorney. My direct involvement is finished except to be available to answer questions.
" ... I feel that Holbert and his group represent a current national security nightmare to this country. I feel that I have been extricated from the hold of this group. But I also feel that the destruction by legal means of this group ranks in importance with my scientific and engineering skills to the overall picture.
"Ben Kalka's relationship with Holbert and May will give the proper authorities the necessary auspices to come in and swiftly clean it up. I would now like to start out where we should have been a year ago. The first point I will start with is a recap of our visit to Pickitinny Arsenal ..."
It is noteworthy that two of the people mentioned in the above letter are now dead: Paul Morasca and Michael May.
The bizarre circumstances of Morasa's death are detailed in the next few pages. Ben Kalka of The Company, is now serving time in prison for having 900 pounds of methamphetamine in his possession at time of arrest.
Through one of Michael's contacts, I managed to locate the current (1991) whereabouts of Al Holbert and confirm his identity. A letter written on "Solomon Investigations" letterhead, dated June 13, 1991, to a client requesting payment for the services of Holbert read as follows: (Excerpted) " ... I enlisted the services of my electronic countermeasures expert, A.C. Holbert, for an immediate survey and sweep of the premises. Mr. Holbert is highly regarded as the best electronics man in the [San Francisco] Bay Area and has recently worked with Israeli intelligence services in the field of electronic countermeasures. He agreed to take on this job. I have enclosed a copy of Mr. Holbert's faxed report ..."
The mystery of Al Holbert was further uncovered in a 1983 transcript in which Michael stated, "After Paul's [Morasca] death, Holbert admitted to me that he was a Soviet backed agent, and they had a home, or he had a home for me, and I could be treated like royalty, and he reiterated that offer in the latest meeting, and he said, `He was prepared to deliver some fivehundredthousand dollars cash to me us a show of good faith ..."
The transcript, originating from a series of tape recorded interviews between Michael Riconosciuto, Ted Gunderson and Robert Booth Nichols at Nichols' "007" apartment in Marina Del Ray, provided a window into the entire drug scene in California from the early 1960's through the 1980's, mostly relating to methamphetamine operations in the Bay Area. It had been typed by Ellen Nichols, Robert's wife.
Riconosciuto's relationship with Ted Gunderson dated back at least as far as 1982. Michael and Nichols dated back to 1967. In reading the transcript, it appeared that Gunderson and Nichols were interviewing Riconosciuto for recruitment into a drug/sting operation.
Riconosciuto later verified that he was, in fact, being recruited into the overseas Lebanon drug operation by Gunderson and Nichols because of his (Riconosciuto's) undercover experience in the drug trade.
It is noteworthy that Al Holbert, the Israeli intelligence agent who originally recruited Michael into the CIA, is mentioned extensively throughout the 71page transcript.
Riconosciuto's relationship with Holbert had lasted from 1966 to 1981, a span of fifteen years. Most of that time had been devoted to complex drug activities in California. In one passage, Riconosciuto stated that "Ben Kalka was one of [Al] Holbert's lieutenants. The other lieutenant with Kalka was Charlie Weinberg, who set up the Vortex Chemical Company in Berkeley, California for Holbert."
Holbert was also interested in technology. "I really confided in him. I was constantly steering him to various people in the Silicon Valley, you know, for requests that he made which were very sophisticated technical requests."
In the transcript, Ted Gunderson asked Michael, "Holbert had a technical mind for that sort of thing?"
Michael responded, "Absolutely! [He had] a firm grasp of physics, mathematics, chemistry, military hardware ..."
Gunderson asked, "Let's go back to '66 to '81, you were close to him?"
Michael: "Not on a regular basis. He would get in contact with me when he needed consultation in certain areas. I made some good money. I designed communications equipment for them. I did a lot of software development ..."
Ted: "And then he gave it to the Israelis?"
Ted: "And he admitted this?"
Mike: "Oh yeah, none of it was really classified. I did software for the analysis of radar change data. It was based on mathematical models that the Department of Defense wasn't using you know, my approach was new and different from theirs, but it wasn't connected with any of their projects, so technically it wasn't classified."
Michael developed other technology along the way and subsequently attracted the attention of Dr. John Phillip Nichols at Wackenhut/Cabazon who wanted his services. But Michael's association with Al Holbert was hindering Michael's security clearances. Through the screening process and Dr. John Nichols, Michael had learned more about Al Holbert.
Ted: "Well, how could he [Holbert] be a Soviet agent and an Israeli agent?"
Mike: "Your guess is as good as mine. I talked to Major General Peratt on that subject last May and he said, `You don't understand the ways of the world.' Regarding Al Holbert, I said, `That man has done more damage to my generation and my country [drugs] How can you people say that you're friends of the United States, when you send us a guy like that?"
Michael continued ..."You know, Holbert came to the United States and he went to work for the Treasury Department out of Philadelphia and ..."
Ted interrupted. "In what way? As an agent?"
Mike: "I don't know what the relationship was. The Treasury Department wouldn't tell me. They wouldn't comment at all except to acknowledge that, `Yes, he was involved at very high levels, giving special training.'
" ... Holbert taught courses in interrogation techniques. He taught touchkill techniques you know, with the thumbs on the temples and various scare areas like that. He moved around to a lot of different agencies. He got involved with the FBI, and he was involved with the Drug Enforcement people ..."
Ted: "He indicated to you for fifteen years [that] he was with the Israelis?"
Mike: "Israelis. Yes."
Ted: "And then you realized through Dr. Nichols that he was a Soviet?"
Riconosciuto explained that he thought it was John Ammarell at Wackenhut who had "zeroed in on Holbert."
Gunderson continued to press Riconosciuto about Holbert being a double agent. Michael responded: "Well, he was with the Soviets, but he was also with the Israelis. Holbert definitely is connected with Israeli intelligence. I mean there's no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes ... He was decorated in combat for them."
Riconosciuto further recounted a visit to Israel in April 1982. He had met a man (name unspecified) who was the assistant Secretary of Defense of Israel for a number of years and was in charge of defense production for the Israeli government. This man was a friend of Ariel Sharon and he had introduced Riconosciuto to Sharon. It was through this man and a man named "General Peratt," that Riconosciuto confirmed Holbert's position with the Israelis.
"Holbert definitely is one of their boys. I got an admission out of General Peratt that Holbert was funny, that he's a Trotskiite, and they knew about it, and I couldn't understand why they kept a guy like that around? I was told that I just didn't understand the ways of the world!"
Ted asked, "Who does Holbert report to?"
Mike: "Jean Pierre Boegner."
At this point in the transcript, Robert Booth Nichols interceded and provided Boegner's address: " ... His address in Paris is 114 Champs Elysees, Paris 8, France. That goes into my territory ..."
Mike added, "Jean Pierre reports directly to Colonel Stefan Uznanski of the Ukraine ..." Nichols noted, "I have strict files on him."
Ted asked, "And is he GRU?"
Mike answered, "No KGB."
Nichols added, "As high as you can go ..."
Ted asked, "And where is he, in the Kremlin?"
Mike answered, "No, he's in Vienna."
Nichols interjected, " ... Out of Salzberg. He has a home twenty minutes from Salzberg. His hobby is boar hunting. He has about a twenty man contingent."
Gunderson asked, "Is Boegner a Canadian?"
Nichols responded, "Boegner is French. Boegner was involved in the assassination attempt on de Gaulle. Boegner served time."
Ted: "He's KGB?"
Nichols: "Oh yeah, a Colonel."
Ted: "Okay, anything else. Anything more on Holbert that we should bring up?"
Riconosciuto noted that Holbert was very disappointed that he couldn't "turn him" (Riconosciuto) in August of 1981. Ted asked Michael if Holbert admitted at that time that he was KGB?
Michael corrected Ted, "GRU, he was GRU. He told me that he was GRU and he bragged that there were over thirtyfive thousand GRU agents active on the North American continent. And I checked with John Ammarall and with Robert Frye [executives at Wackenhut Corporation] and they told me it was about half that number.
" ... He [Holbert] wanted me to leave the United States, through Canada, and go to Israel."
Riconosciuto added, "You know, he's touched the Central Intelligence Agency, the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and various local law enforcement agencies all over the country ..."
The abovementioned transcript was mailed by one of three people to the "prosecutor" at Michael Riconosciuto's trial in Washington state where it was entered into evidence.
At that time, to Michael's knowledge, only Robert Booth Nichols, Peter Zokosky and Jonathan Littman, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, had possession of it.
I subsequently received a copy of it from Jonathan Littman, who coincidentally, I learned later, happened to be Ben Kalka's "cousin" (Kalka belonged to The Company, according to Riconosciuto, and had been arrested with 900 pounds of methamphetamine in his possession). Littman had obtained the transcript from Peter Zokosky, Robert Booth Nichols' partner.
Riconosciuto believed Littman had given the transcript to Kalka during one his visits with him at the Pleasanton prison, and Kalka had sent it on to the prosecutor at Michael's trial.
Nichols later confirmed to me that he (Nichols) had indeed interviewed Riconosciuto with Ted Gunderson in 1983 and the transcript was legitimate, though he wouldn't state the purpose of the interview.
It is significant that a passage in the 1983 transcript mentioned Michael May as "one of the top three guys in the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory management structure" who was associated with Riconosciuto.
Michael and Bobby Riconosciuto had been communicating with Jonathan Littman for months, as had Danny Casolaro before his death, and they wanted me to connect with him. At that point, Littman had written a series of indepth articles on the Cabazon Indians and Dr. John Nichols, and I hadn't been interested in talking to him ... until he wrote about the death of Michael's partner, Paul Morasca.
The article, entitled, "Bizarre Murders Puzzle Cops," published on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle on December 30, 1991, noted that the body of Paul Morasca, 31, had been found by Michael Riconosciuto. Morasca's arms had been lashed behind his back as he was hogtied with a telephone cord from his curledup legs to his neck. Police believed he died when his legs finally gave out and the cord tightened like a bowstring, drawing the noose around his neck until he slowly strangled.
Before his death, Morasca and Riconosciuto had planned a business venture with Cabazon administrator John Phillip Nichols to develop hightechnology military hardware. Morasca was also described as a "San Francisco entrepreneur suspected of being a money launderer involved in a major Northern California drug ring."
Oddly, when Riconosciuto found Morasca's body, he drove 500 miles to the Cabazon reservation and told John Nichols about the death. Nichols then called his Los Angeles attorney, who telephoned the San Francisco police.
Just three days after Morasca's death, Mary Quick, a 63yearold school teacher was shot in the face and her purse stolen as she was about to enter Fresno's American legion Post 509, where she was president of the Woman's Auxiliary.
At first, police assumed it to be a routine mugging murder, until it was discovered that her nephew, Brian Weiss, who had been living at his aunt's house in Fresno, was a business associate of Michael Riconosciuto's. (Brian Weiss was also mentioned in the abovementioned 1983 "drug transcript").
Riconosciuto explained to police that he told Paul Morasca that he had given Mary Quick a card containing secret bank account code numbers because "she had no connection to any of the principles and could be trusted." She had been instructed to give the code numbers over the phone only to Paul Morasca or Michael Riconosciuto.
It was not until I obtained Michael Riconosciuto's "desert" files that the above story affected me personally. Within one of the boxes was an envelope containing eight coded computer cards with large sums of money handwritten next to the account numbers. One card, containing ten account numbers, indicated sums of upwards of $3.5 million dollars. That was just one card of eight.
In my next conversation with Michael Riconosciuto, I inquired of him the "real" story behind Paul Morasca and Mary Quick's death. I did not reveal to him that I was in possession of his bank cards, but referred to the S.F. Chronicle newspaper story.
Michael remorsefully indicated that he had not, in fact, given any cards to Mary Quick as he had told Paul Morasca he did. Michael had kept them (and obviously hidden them at his desert trailer). Nevertheless, Morasca believed, and under torture revealed, that one of the cards was being held by Mary Quick and the rest were stored in a safe deposit box. As we know, Mary Quick died three days later.
After that conversation I immediately took the cards to a professional photographer, had closeup photographs taken of them, and returned them in a separate envelope to Bobby Riconosciuto. I never knew what she did with them.
During subsequent phone conversations, Riconosciuto often referred to his former partner, Paul Morasca. During his attempted trade into the Federal Witness Protection Program, he had made a statement which caught my attention, and which I later inquired about. While relating his background in the electronics field, he had mentioned that he once worked at Tyme Share, Inc. Chuck Evert, a longtime family friend, had reportedly been one of the founders along with Tom O'Roarke.
Noted Riconosciuto, " ... And at the time of Paul Morosca's death, the biggest loss I received was a big bag of bearer shares of original Tyme Shares stock. And that was the main reason why Paul got killed."
Riconosciuto had stressed that only the FinCen people would understand the significance of that. I later learned that the computer cards which Paul Morasca and Mary Quick had died for belonged to the Tyme Shares online financial clearing house used worldwide by banking institutions. Essentially, the cards were provided to a subscriber or "user" who rented time on the computer for conducting banking transactions.
Riconosciuto chose not to elaborate on his operation at Tyme Shares from a "jail" phone, nevertheless, I was able to decipher that he and Paul Morasca had accessed bank accounts using the computer cards in conjunction with a "password" determined by the user. Michael had created the passwords from the "pets" named in Phyllis Riconosciuto's (Michael's exwife's) diary.
He did, however, randomly discuss his background with Tyme Shares: "I developed the modem, error trapping routines for Tyme Share used on the original network. I developed the protected mode memory for the scientific data systems, SDS, Sigma 7 computers. And I developed the capital PERT, Pert Software, which was the next generation of critical path method. That's a Programmed Evaluation Review Technique that Tyme Shares, for years, was the leader in.
"And then Electronic Data Systems bought a license from them, and you know, EDS's story is legendary. Now, PROMISE is an outgrowth of PERT. The Hamiltons had a woman programmer who was selftaught and she's the one, her signature is in the code structures of PROMIS. It's just like her signature because she was out of the mainstream and did things her own way ..."
Shortly thereafter, while reviewing Riconosciuto's documents, I came across a copy of an obscure statement submitted by Riconosciuto in February 1984 to the San Francisco Grand Jury on the death of Paul Morasca. It cryptically tied Morasca to Wackenhut and appeared to have been transcribed from a tape recorded interview. The statement in its entirety read as follows:
"I first heard of Phil Porath in December of 1981. John Phillip Nichols [Cabazon administrator] told Paul Morasca and myself that we needed Phil Porath as a consultant to Recovery Technology, Inc. Porath was represented by John P. Nichols as being able to smoothly handle metals transactions for RTI on a large scale. Phil Porath was one of the contacts that John Phillip Nichols had committed to arrange for Paul as part of our deal. Paul Morasca's body was found after he failed to contact Porath for that scheduled meeting in January 1982.
"After Paul's death, JPN [John Phillip Nichols] came to me with a request. He asked me if I could recover some of Ben Kalka's LSD because he had a sale for 5 lbs. of it to someone in Romania. John Phillip Nichols claimed that this was an authorized covert intelligence operation and the proceeds would be used to purchase George Wackenhut's yacht, Top Secret.
"Military electronics equipment to be delivered to South Africa was also to be purchased according to JPN and delivered by the yacht. I went along with the program because JPN told me that the `agency' was involved through WSI. I did some checking on my own and became suspicious of JPN. Then JPN met with myself and Raoul Arana of Central Carribean Research, Inc.
"At this meeting, the details were plainly discussed by Mr. Arana. At that point, JPN directed me to have PAT (Phillip Arthur Thompson) recover [all] of Kalka's assets. I then contacted DeSilva, who had control of Kalka's assets and he agreed to release them to me. DeSilva later called the Indian reservation and gave the location of the assets which included: one bobtail semitruck with power lift gate loaded with amphetamine production chemicals; one red Datsun truck with a portable refrigerator containing the acid.
"I accompanied PAT and Steve Finley to the locations of these vehicles in the Oakland area. The keys, title and registration were with each vehicle. PAT and SF drove the vehicles off and I reported to JPN that the vehicles had been located and picked up.
"I also reported to my attorney, DW (Don Wager), the details. I contacted JPN a few days later and he complained to me that PAT had made off with everything.
" ... with George Wackenhut in Las Vegas. JPN told me that my problems would be over with if I went along with the program. Brian Weiss [Mary Quick's nephew] drove me to Palm Springs where I rented a car. JPN, myself and Brian Weiss then drove to Las Vegas.
"We arrived in Las Vegas late in the afternoon. We checked into the hotel. After we checked in, I was then introduced to Phil Porath by JPN. Porath seemed a little nervous and upset with JPN. JPN seemed desperate to have Phil Porath stall George W. on the sale of the yacht. Phil Porath seemed reluctant to go along with JPN.
"JPN, myself and Porath then went to a private section of the dining room and met with GW [George Wackenhut] and JA[John Ammarell]. During dinner, JPN outlined my situation. [Al] Holbert, [Ben] Kalka, [Richard] Knozzi, [and] the Fresno Company were covered in detail.
"A cutaway, sectioned high security lock was also shown to JA and GW [George Wackenhut]. JA said that this should be presented to his personal friend, Bud Miller, for action and that I would be contacted.
"The sale of the WH [Wackenhut] yacht then came up. Porath gave GW a story [at] JPN's prompting. GW was impatient and asked where the `South African' Thompson could be reached?I then asked GW [George Wackenhut] if he was referring to PAT [Phillip Arthur Thompson] and he said, `Yes.'
"I then demanded to know what was going on? I laid out to GW what PAT had done, including murdering PM [Paul Morasca]. JPN interrupted me and told GW that I was mistaken and it was a different PT that I was talking about. It was at that point that GW [George Wackenhut] said he had a hearing problem and the dinner broke up.
"I went immediately to make telephone calls. I spread the word that I felt my life was in danger and that JPN, WH, and PAT had conspired to kill PM [Paul Morasca]. I then went back to the dining area where I saw PP [Phil Porath] and GW [George Wackenhut] at a small twoperson table talking about the yacht deal. JPN and JA were standing up and they asked me to come to JA's room.
"At JA's room, everybody acted like nothing had happened. There we talked for an hour or so about hitech projects. JPN and I then went to PP's room and talked [about] P's missed meeting with Paul M., Bill Jensen, Burt Gardener and metal projects. We then went to bed. The next morning JPN, BW [Brian Weiss] and I drove back to Indio. At no time did JPN mention the problem that came down at dinner."
In John Connolly's SPY magazine article on Wackenhut, September 1992 issue, on page 54, a brief notation mentioned Riconosciuto's meeting in Las Vegas with George Wackenhut and John Ammarell, a Wackenhut board member and consultant to George Wackenhut. SPY contacted Ammarell regarding the meeting, and Ammarell confirmed that such a meeting did indeed take place in Las Vegas. "I don't remember any specific conversations," Ammarell said, "but I think we were there to discuss the sale of George's [Wackenhut] yacht, the Top Secret. I think Nichols said he had a potential buyer."
Wrote SPY, "So, the wealthy president of a large security company with CIA ties and one of his board members meet with a drug dealer turned electronics expert and a spook turned arms supplier and all they discuss is the sale of a boat?"
After reading the newspaper article on the death of Paul Morasca, I contacted Jonathan Littman at the San Francisco Chronicle. Littman jumped in the car and drove from San Francisco to Mariposa (near Yosemite National Park) when he learned I had obtained Michael's hidden documents.
Interestingly, when he arrived at my home he thumbed through piles of documents, but seemed to be looking for something specific. I later learned he was searching for Phyllis Riconosciuto's (Michael's first wife's) diary.
While Michael had worked at Wackenhut, Phyllis had been treated psychiatrically by the Cabazon administrator, Dr. John Phillip Nichols. Part of her treatment included writing a "diary" of her life with Michael. Michael later broke into Nichols' office at the reservation and stole the original diary before fleeing to Washington state.
The original diary was in fact included in the documents I had obtained in the desert, but I decided to withhold specific pages from Littman until I could determine what his purpose for wanting them was. An incident which I have enumerated in Chapter 10, confirmed that my instincts had been subliminally correct.
Meanwhile, I attempted to satisfy Littman with a few documents sent to me by Henry Weinstein, court reporter for the Los Angeles Times. I had contacted Weinstein to inquire if he had written anything on Robert Booth Nichols' (unrelated to Dr. John Phillip Nichols) lawsuit against the Los Angeles FBI, specifically FBI agent Thomas Gates?
Weinstein had not heard of the lawsuit, but immediately investigated at the Los Angeles courthouse. Shortly thereafter, he sent a package of documents relating not only to Nichols' lawsuit against Thomas Gates, but also relative to Nichols' corporate minutes on the facilitation of biological technology to Japanese institutes, copies of his weapons permits, and documents indicating that Eugene Giaquinto, Vice president of MCA Entertainment Division, was on the board of directors of Nichols' corporation, Meridian International Logistics.
Marvin Rudnick, now a Pasadena lawyer, once tried to prosecute MCA Corporation for organized crime involvement, but got shut down at the highest level, and the Organized Crime Strike Force was disbanned. One member of that investigative team was Richard Stavin, who talked to Danny Casolaro shortly before his death.
Eugene Giaquinto and Jack Valente played heavily in Rudnick's investigation of MCA, as did Curry Company (a subsidiary of MCA) in Yosemite National Park. Rudnick was written up in American Lawyer for his explorations through the MCA labrynth, and at some point, worked closely with Thomas Gates during his investigation of Robert Nichols. Gates and Weinstein were also well acquainted with Mariposa County government's relationship with Curry Company. (See page 2 of manuscript).
In return for sharing copies of these documents with him, I asked Littman to collaborate with me on a story concerning the government sanctioned (10 years!) methamphetamine operations at Whiskey Flats, on the Sara Priest Indian reservation in Mariposa. I was still intent on forcing the arrest of deputies involved in the meth lab at that location. (See page 3 of manuscript). Littman instructed me to put together a detailed synopsis which he would submit to the San Francisco Chronicle.