...And other details from Brad's Meeting with Clint Curtis in UT.
PLUS: Clint Curtis Answers Questions from BRAD BLOG Readers!
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2005, 8:35pm PT  

Regular BRAD BLOG readers know that we took the opportunity of an invitation to interview Clint Curtis live at the Freedom Cinema Festival in Park City, UT, recently to grab a few days of vacation via roadtrip on the way there and back.

Persistent (but finally waning) headcold, exhaustion, and a welcome lack of net access kept us from documenting the event in any more than scant details until now.

Some of the most notable results from the event are now still in-progress. So we're somewhat reluctant for the moment to show our hand on several of those in-progress connections made until more tangible fruit is borne from the various leads.

Holding back information from devoted readers is not something I'm entirely comfortable with. But we've learned along the way --- especially when dealing with issues of the potential magnitude of the Clint Curtis story --- that it's smarter, when in doubt, to keep cards close to the vest in such cases, even at the risk of off-putting readers.

We don't like to do it. But it is, apparently, a necessary evil if we are both to make headway and retain our fairly well-earned reputation here for getting it right, respecting our sources, and not giving away the ship until we are damned good and ready to let the chips fall where they may.

So, with all of that said, we hope to offer more details on the nefarious plans hatched and fruitful connections made via the FCF event when the time is right. Be that a few days, weeks or months from now as things shape up. We'll see.

What we can report on for the moment is how things went in general, our impressions of Clint Curtis after having spent a fair amount of face-to-face time, and his answers to some of the questions sent in by BRAD BLOG commenters prior to the interview...

How things went in general...

Just fine thanks. The FCF itself was impressive, as quickly reported previously here and then here.

As the closing event for the festival, our interview was scheduled on the final Saturday of the Sundance Festival as folks were already heading out of town, so unfortunately the crowd was not as big as we might have liked. But even at capacity, the venue would have only held about 150 max. Therefore going in, both Curtis and myself understood that the real event would be dissemination of the taped interview later via the web or other means.

Much of the interview, by necessity, covered familiar ground to regular readers of The BRAD BLOG. But there were a few surprises that even I was unaware of until they came up during the session.

One was the revelation that Yang (YEI) offered Curtis $150,000/year to come back to his old job once they had learned that Curtis had begun working at the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT). Apparently, YEI had learned about that fact by happenstance as someone had sent them an unrelated Email from FDOT that happened to have Curtis' FDOT email address as a CC.

While Curtis says they never explained the reasons for their apparently urgent and "generous" (Curtis was previously being paid just $60,000/year when originally employed by YEI) interest in having him back under their employ, Curtis found the offer very curious.

The offer was made during a hastily scheduled phonecall with Mike Cohen (the executive secretary to YEI's CEO Mrs. Yang) doing the speaking for YEI via speaker phone on his end.

After declining their offer of $150k, they upped the offer to include a three-year guarantee for a total package of $450k.

And after Curtis declined that offer as well --- he explained to me that he simply did not want to go back to a company that he felt was "dirty" --- he claims they offered him the real deal: They would double the offer to $1 million and he wouldn't even have to show up to work in order to collect the salary!

Make of that what you will.

Between each offer, apparently, there were murmurs heard in the background, and then Cohen would come back with the next offer.

Curtis explains that he felt Tom Feeney was in the room during that call because, as Curtis clarified to me this morning: "They were saying, 'Feeney can get you a job anywhere in the country, you can have any job you want.' They were making all kinds of promises of things Feeney could do for me."

All of which lead Curtis to believe that Feeney must have been in the room at the time of the call.

As he explained to me today, his understanding was that "Feeney would get me a job anywhere in the country...Anywhere but Tallahassee."

And all of that, mind you, was before Curtis had even blown the whistle on YEI while he was at FDOT where he eventually saw the way that YEI had been padding the bill in their $8 million contract with FDOT --- which they received with "no help at all" from their longtime friend Tom Feeney who was, at the time of procurement, their corporate counsel, registered lobbyist, and Speaker of the Florida House.

Why was YEI so eager to get Curtis out of FDOT and/or out of Tallahassee all together? We still don't know directly. But much more troubling events to come in the following months --- and to be discussed on the pages soon --- would suggest that some very powerful and/or dangerous people must have had some very powerful motives to control the flow of information coming out of Tallahassee.

UPDATE 2/9/04: The following is from a report by the deceased FDOT Inspector General, Raymond Lemme. It is taken from an "Re-Interview" that Lemme conducted with Curtis on April 2, 2002. It would seem to contemporaneously corroborate the above story from Curtis, inasmuch as he didn't just pull this story out of thin air in Utah in 2004:

The details shown (the Super Walmart, etc.) match those given to me recently by Curtis. The number $175k instead of $145 is slightly different, but I believe can be excused by either an error on the part of Lemme during the interview, or a slip in Curtis' memory all these years later. In fact, tripling the $175 number for three years (as Curtis suggested they did) gives us $525k, which doubled then is just over $1 Million as Curtis reported.

The highlighting etc. was already in the document as I received it. More on the source for the above and information on the death of Raymond Lemme in an upcoming report.

The other most notable revelation from the live interview was the reception by the audience to an idea hatched over dinner the night before. An idea which is so tasty, so delightfully fun, irreverantly exciting and deliciously trouble-making that I'm actually sorry now that I brought it up in the interview at all! It might have been better to wait before giving an advanced heads-up on the notion by giving away the idea on video for all the world to know about.

That said --- and since it is one of the items that I wonder if it's best left under the radar until a later date --- I will apologetically torture you with by leaving unmentioned at least until the video is made available on the net for full disclosure.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Impressions of Clint Curtis after having spent a fair amount of face-to-face time with him...

If Clint Curtis is a huckster, or a pathological liar (as YEI is now claiming that they were able to get a "former employer" to actually say in a deposition...more on that scam in a later article), he's a damned good one. And a damned dumb one.

Perhaps it's just my lack of imagination, but for the life of me I can't figure why Curtis would want to make up the allegations he's making, give up a well-paying job because of them, risk his reputation, livelihood and life to accuse a few folks --- with demonstrably dangerous and powerful friends --- of explosively scandalous charges if there wasn't truth at the core of his claims.

Yes, as has been pointed out by some of his critics, he did self-publish a book describing many of these matters. However, anyone who knows anything about how the self-publishing book game works will realize there is not a killing to be made in the pursuit of same. And Curtis has long ago taken down all links to the book from his website, and I've yet to hear him discuss it in an interview unless asked.

So, heading to Utah, I continued to be unable to grasp why Clint Curtis would, over a series of years mind you, make the explosive charges he has made --- under penalty of imprisonment --- unless they were true. Barring that Clint Curtis is a lunatic. So far, however, I've yet to come across a friend or colleague who finds him anything but the most credible, decent and trustworthy of folk...any that he hasn't made charges of wrong-doing against in any case.

Therefore, I'd hoped upon meeting Curtis to find some reason to lose confidence in the man who I've been writing about for two months now, but had only ever spoken with via phone and/or email and for whom the only picture I had in my head was a video of the back of his as seen testifying under oath before members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at their hearings in Columbus, OH.

After several days, dinners, discussions and drives in and out of downtown Park City with both him and his girlfriend of 16 years, I was unable to find a crack in his fa硤e. And I'm usually rather good at sniffing out inconsistencies, liars and/or sociopaths. Curtis still, after quite a few hours and attempts to break him, still seems as very credible as he ever has. Which is to say, plenty.

In fact, his girlfriend still considers herself a Republican even now. And it's with no small amount of discomfort that Curtis, when asked, will now describe himself as a conservative Democrat. Always with the emphasis on conservative. That, after a lifelong sentence as a Republican. At least until he got a rotten whiff of some of the most powerful Republicans in this country anyway.

His predilections, however, still seem to fall resolutely into stereotypical "Republican" territory. He was, as photos from the event will testify, perhaps the only person in the vicinity of the entire laid-back, Hollywood-on-Winter-Vacation Sundance Festival to sport a coat and tie. And after we caught part of Angela Shelton's superb Searching for Angela Shelton documentary (described briefly in this earlier post) during which the filmmaker and film's namesake expresses a moving and angst-filled profane tirade at having sat quietly while her father and one-time molester denied anything at all had ever happened, both Curtis and his girlfriend spent most of the ride home describing how "unnecessary" they thought such language was.

Once a Republican, always a Republican, I guess. No matter how many bad apples you've seen first-hand floating to the top of the cesspool.

The questions sent in by BRAD BLOG commenters...

Before leaving, I had opened up this thread for any of our devoted readers who might have questions they'd wished me to ask of Curtis directly in the interview.

I'm sorry to report that time overtook us, as did questions from the audience, and so the hour allotted for the interview flew by too fast to get to the bulk of the questions from commenters here. There was time only at the end to get in one of the many excellent questions you guys had asked me to ask. And so I sent him my prepared, but unused, list of same so that he could at least gives a few answers to your questions via Email.

Here now then are those questions-by-you followed with answers-by-Curtis as received via Email. The bulk of them won't be in the video of the interview, but at least he was kind enough to supply a few direct answers to you all for posting here...

american woman asked:

I recently read Curtis' book. Amazing story, that. I'm convinced (as he seems to be) that the more people that know, the safer he is.

But one thing NOT covered in the book was the vote-rigging story. If you can, Brad, ask him why it is that Clint didn't mention that part of the story in his book.

Curtis replies:

Original book came out to be about 600 pages so I had to edit it in half. While I mentioned the Feeney Vote rigging program in the original draft, I didn't detail it much because before Oct of last year I didn't realize that the common sense safeguards detailed in the report I provided to the Yangs/Feeney were implemented as US voting policy. Even the most reckless programmer would know better than to allow for proprietary source code with no means of verification. While I didn't detail it that much I did reference it in the books back cover (thought I had left more in the book than I actually did). After years of reporting the incidents to the press and authorities, it was also one of the items that received the least attention. With the exception of Lemme, everyone's focus was always been on the other elements with only passing interest in the vote fraud program. Until recently, no one seemed to care.

pushcat asked:

Question for Mr Curtis, I would like to know if He knows if there is an FBI investigation going on about the vote rigging.

Curtis replies:

I have reported everything to the FBI. They have not confirmed that they are doing anything.

Robert Lockwood Mills asked:

you currently gainfully employed? If not, are you living off savings or are your activities being financed, and if the latter, by whom?

Curtis replies:

Currently a programmer for a small company. No outside financing.

If the House Judiciary Committee conducts a full investigation, do you expect to be called to testify?

Curtis replies:

I am willing to assist in any way possible.

Peggy asked:

Hi, Brad - If election reform is NOT achieved by 2006, ask Clint if America can out-hack the Bushite hackers and make the fraudulent computer counters fail totally - forcing manual paper voting. America needs to beat these thieves at their little computer tabulating games.

Curtis replies:

The system can be beat by having everyone who wants his or her vote counted to do so by filing an absentee ballot. They also need to record their vote (copy of the ballot) to a secondary party such as UN election watchers or a neutral third party. This will have two effective results. Your vote will be counted AND you will crush the election system with an overload of paper. That will send the message that the machines must either be replaced or every election will result in paper gridlock. It will also allow us the opportunity to know even prior to the election how many votes we need to produce in order to produce results.

cd asked

Please ask Clint what he knows about the Yang's own immigration status do they have a green card, U.S. citizenship? If so, how did they get it? Did they employ others from China? Do they ever go back to China? How did they get here in the first place? Did it have anything to do with Feeney?

Curtis replies:

I think they are naturalized. They made many trips to China. One was on behalf of Feeney and Jeb Bush in 2000 in order to promote the outsourcing of technical jobs from Florida to China. Don't know how or any Feeney connection about the Yang's original move to this country.

horkus asked:

Brad, please ask Clint the likelihood of Henry Nee corroborating his story. Has he tried to persuade the better half of Henry Nee to come out?

Curtis replies:

Henry is a spy. Henry is Chinese. Henry admitted to transferring military technology to the capital of Communist China at least twenty times and received only a $100 fine and has not even been deported. Why should he report on his benefactors. For him to do so would mean that he would betray his own country. Feeney might be willing to sell out his country but I don't think Henry would be. I believe spies are fairly dedicated to their cause.

There you have it. All that I can (or am willing) to discuss about the Utah event for the time being. At least until the video is made available online and/or some other promising leads move forward.

Thank you all again for both your excellent questions and your continuing support, in particular over the last coupla weeks when I've needed to recharge a few batteries even while taking care of some important business.

As promised, there is (much) more to come in this fascinating continuing saga, and undoubtedly many others we don't yet know about. So stay tuned.

Or, to wholly bastardize Casey Kasem's once popular refrain: Keep your seatbelts fastened, and keep making noise...