Montioring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
A.V. Krebs Editor\Publisher
April 9, 2001
ADM STOCKHOLDERS WATCH COMMITTEE CHARGES
“THE INFORMANT” AUTHOR KURT EICHENWALD,
“PAPER OF RECORD” NEW YORK TIMES
CONSPIRED WITH WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY, DOFJ
TO COVER UP SCANDAL-RIDDEN ADM ACTIVITIES
Challenging not only the veracity of his reporting and his willingness to serve the interests of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and its Washington, D.C. influence-peddling law firm of Williams and Connolly, but the unwillingness of his employer to deal with such conduct, author Kurt Eichenwald and the New York Times have become the subject of scathing allegations since the recent publication of his book “The Informant.”
In a series of some to date 33 documented letters --- all unanswered ---- to the Times Managing Editor William Keller, ADM Shareholders Watch Committee co-founder David Hoech has accused Eichenwald of “unethical conduct” and the Times’ “actions and inactions” as just “another example of a `Corporate Predator’ that will do whatever it takes to make a buck.”
Eichenwald’s book which advertises itself as “a true story,” purports to describe how “the FBI was ready to take down America’s most politically powerful corporation. But there was one thing they didn’t count on. THE INFORMANT” Curiously nowhere on the book’s cover, its dust jacket, or in the full-page advertisements for the book that appeared in the Times is “America’s most politically powerful corporation” mentioned by name.
Rather the book’s main focus centers around the story of Mark Whitacre, the former ADM executive who acted as an FBI mole for three years uncovering a vast international corporate conspiracy led by ADM to fix the price of lysine, a feed additive for livestock and poultry, and his often unaccountable conduct throughout the legal battles that followed the exposure of the company’s illegal activities.
As Hoech notes in his Letter #5: “Having dealt with Eichenwald for over five years concerning the ADM saga, I know he marches to a different drummer than most of the reporters I have worked with, and I assume the Times knows this also. When Eichenwald tells me that he controls what is printed in the Times concerning Archer Daniels Midland, I can now believe him.”
GREED VS GREED
Unlike the authoritative and well-documented "Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland The Supermarket to the World" by James B. Lieber (Four Walls, Eight Windows Press, New York: 2000), Eichenwald’s book, in Hoech’s words, simply seeks to depict Whitacre as a “freak” while giving “protection to ADM, Williams & Connolly and the Justice Department who were all involved in covering up the criminal activity of the Andreas crime family who still run ADM.”
“After Whitacre exposed ADM,” Lieber writes, “the media mobbed the story, touting it as a David and Goliath parable. After the exposer was exposed, the press drifted away. Good versus evil inside a multinational corporation was front-page news. Greed versus greed was buried in the business section, if it made the paper at all.
“In a tabloid culture,” he notes, “trials of gruesome crimes generate the most news. Searing tragedies for those involved, they become gladiatorial spectacles for the rest of us. But bloodless while collar trials say more about the way the world works, and it is my my personal bias that it makes sense to pay more attention to them.”
Clearly Hoech agrees, for as Lieber notes Hoech has not let the story die. Rather in the years since the FBI raided ADM’s headquarters in Decatur, Illinois on June 27, 1995, Hoech has maintained constant contact with reporters from The New York Times (including Eichenwald), Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, the Decatur Herald-Review, Bloomberg News Service and a number of other free-lance journalists including this editor.
As Lieber points out: “He supplied them with leads that they often followed and sometimes with ADM or government documents, including tape transcripts. Some reporters questioned his motivation, and at times his sanity, but most kept coming back for more. Hoech never let the case get out of the news or relaxed pressure on ADM.”
As Hoech himself exclaims “the law prostituted brings chaos and chaos brings on dictatorship. Democracy functions best when people stand up. That’s all I’m doing. People call me and say you don’t know who you are up against. I say Dwayne [Dwayne O. Andreas, former ADM CEO, Board Chairman and a major political party funder] doesn’t know what he’s up against.”
Various charges have been flung at Hoech and his wife Carole, editor of the Shareholders Watch Newsletter, but the Hoechs have been charged with no crimes, nor have their examined financial and tax records indicated anything untoward. When Lieber asked Hoech why the couple have turned their lives upside down over ADM, Hoech responds, “because Dwayne’s no better than a street pimp. He and his people in Washington think the masses are asses.”
Indeed, as one reads through Lieber’s book, one sees not only the contempt for the public --- “the competitor is our friend, the consumer is our enemy” was the popular ADM mantra --- but where the law was indeed prostituted in the ADM case for "Rats In The Grain" is a story of a corporate culture of corruption and manipulation.
PAY PER VIEW
How that corporate culture can be all pervasive, even in the court room, seemed of little interest to Eichenwald. For example, aside from his being identified in a photo of U.S. Department of Justice officials being presented a special award for their work in the ADM case, Joel Klein, the DofJ Antitrust head and the man who oversaw the entire case against ADM and its executives, is not mentioned once throughout Eichenwald’s 606-page book.
In his Letter #4 to the Times’ Keller, Hoech repeats a charge he makes throughout his correspondence with the paper concerning Eichenwald.
“As co-founder of the Archer Daniels Midland Shareholders Watch Committee I have been actively involved in exposing the corruption at ADM for over five years. I also have exposed Williams & Connolly, the Washington D.C. law firm who represents ADM, and various people at the Department of Justice who have been involved in the subversion of justice in the handling of the criminal activities of ADM and the Andreas crime family.
“We have gone out of our way both in time and expense to supply the reporters and writers covering this story. Many newspapers chose not to publish the material, but they didn't turn around and use the material to write a book. The Times, which considers itself the "newspaper of record," has crossed the line in allowing Eichenwald to report on ADM and to also write a book at the same time. We supplied documents and information to Eichenwald to be reported in the New York Times, not to be used in his book. His distortion and omission of documented information that he obtained from our group leads us to believe he was compromised.”
Throughout his “Pay Per View” letter writing campaign, which began on September 1, 2000, Hoech has not received from the paper a single answer. Only recently he has learned, from Eichenwald, that he is now considered a “security risk.”
He recounts his conversation in Letter #30 with Eichenwald telling him:
“For the last few months the Times has been, I believe, of the incorrect impression you sometimes use language far too inflammatory for your own good, and they are under the impression you are a security risk."
Once again, Hoech notes, I am hearing about being a security risk. "He said the way the Times deals with security risks is ignoring them. I have been under instructions to ignore you. I haven't been able ever to say anything to you." Eichenwald continued.
Eichenwald went on to say that "he was one of the only journalists in the country who uncovers corporate crime, and these letters will hurt him in winning over cooperation from witnesses." He also said he told the Times, "What is very funny is if I don't get to respond to David Hoech, all he is going to do is think I am hiding. All he is going to do is think his letters are cutting to the quick, and I am standing here all a quiver."
At the recent Antitrust Institute meeting at the Plaza Hotel in New York, Eichenwald was a luncheon guest speaker. He said, "he thought it was ridiculous, but the Times imposed all these security measures at the Plaza Hotel." He said, "I told the Times that Hoech is not a threat. You write words that make you sound like a threat, but you're not."
“If Eichenwald told the Times that I am not a threat,” Hoech asked, “then who decided that I was? I was getting tired of his pontificating and decided to end the conversation. I did tell him that he had betrayed my confidence, as I was one of his greatest sources. He had bragged about me to Glenn Kramon [Deputy Business Editor at the Times], yet he would not protect me and funneled information back to Williams & Connolly.” Hoech, unlike in Lieber’s book, is not mentioned in Eichenwald’s acknowledgments.
DOFJ “CARRYING WATER” FOR WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY
In Letter #23 Hoech again accuses Eichenwald of being a “less than honorable reporter” when he tells Keller:
“Shame on Eichenwald for constantly abusing Whitacre and publicly repeating that Whitacre is losing his mind. Less than a month ago I spoke with Richard Kurth, one of the attorneys for Whitacre during this period, who said they just took it for granted that Eichenwald was working for Williams & Connolly. It sure does appear that way, as he refused to write a story about Williams & Connolly who falsely accused me of taking $2.5 million dollars and filed court documents stating $2.5 million was missing when it was not. Eichenwald knew all the money was accounted for, as the Federal prosecutor Donald Mackay told him so at Whitacre's sentencing.”
On March 4, 1998, the day of the sentencing of Whitacre, prosecutor MacKay told reporters that all the money Whitacre allegedly embezzled while working at ADM was all accounted for, but a month later Williams & Connolly said $2.5 million was missing while seeking to subpoena from Hoech’s Florida bank all of his personal and business records, without limitation, because it believed that the stolen money “might be sitting in (or might be moved through) Hoech’s bank account.”
Challenged by Hoech’s lawyer, John R. Kelso , to put up or shut up DofJ Fraud Trial Attorney James J. Nixon replied, “Concerning the relationship between your client and Mr. Whitacre, although the government has no evidence that Mr. Hoech engaged in any illegal monetary transactions with Mr. Whitacre, the government cannot confirm whether or not Mr. Hoech received any fraudulent proceeds.”
In "Rats In The Grain" Lieber writes: "Previously, an ADM attorney had confessed to Kelso that Hoech's propaganda had stung the corporation. But the retaliatory strike was brazen for two reasons. First, as they later admitted, neither ADM nor its lawyers had any basis for suggesting that Hoech took any money. Ordinarily, recklessly and falsely accusing a person of a crime is slanderous, but by using its high-priced legal guns to make the slur in court, ADM achieved immunity from a defamation suit. ADM's goal plainly was to harm Hoech's reputation in his backyard by making him seem like a thief."
Hoech, in a February 3, 1999 letter to then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, charged “again your department was carrying water for Williams & Connolly as they have been since early July, 1995. If $2.5 million were missing Whitacre would never have gotten a plea agreement. The lies your department has told to assist Williams & Connolly in their reign of terror to silence the voice of the shareholders is criminal.”
Shortly after the FBI raided ADM’s offices the company accused Whitacre of embezzling over $9.5 million from the company by means of bogus invoices and off-shore accounts and filed suit in Switzerland seeking to recover the funds. Whitacre meanwhile claimed that ADM President Jim Randall had approved all the payments as “special bonuses,” with the first one timed approximately at the same time Mick Andreas first insisted that he meet and work with Terrance W. Wilson on the lysine price fixing matter.
Andreas and Wilson were convicted of conspiring to fix the $650 million annual global market in lysine, ordered to pay a $350,000 fine and ultimately sentenced to serve in prison three years and two years and nine months respectively. Andreas was vice chairman of ADM, “Supermarkup to the World,” and Wilson was president of the company’s corn processing division.
Evidence of what Whitacre termed “special bonuses” probably will never be found since it is reported that Randall made a personal visit to the ADM comptroller soon after the FBI raid and requested specific invoices be pulled. It was also a few weeks after Whitacre had been exposed that ADM “discovered” evidence of his illegal money transfers “almost by blind luck,” despite what was purported to be a tightly audited corporate comptroller’s office and internal audits.
At the same time Dwayne Andreas, upon learning that Whitacre had been an FBI mole, declared “Mark Whitacre will regret the day he was born.” Later, however, in a taped interview with the Washington Post’s Peter Carlson in mid-1996 Andreas said he had known about Whitacre’s alleged embezzlements as “early as 1992” but didn’t say anything “because he wanted to get the money back.” Yet, in March, 1995 Andreas circulated a Dain Bosworth report favorable to the company in which Whitacre was mentioned as the next ADM president.
Curiously, two years later colleague farm columnist Alan Guebert reported that in May, 1997 the Swiss lawsuit against Whitacre by ADM was quietly dropped.
DOING BUSINESS WITH THE DEVIL
Among Hoech’s most serious charges was that Eichenwald refused to report in the Times and covered up the fact that ADM was allowed to keep a $85 million business with the USDA as part of a “side agreement” as part of the $100 million guilty plea agreement.
Both documents and audio tape that implicates Williams & Connolly, DofJ’s Joel Klein and a select Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) committee, in obstruction of justice in the coverup have been presented to United States District Court Judge Ruben Castillo.
The new evidence presented to the court had its genesis and relates to comments made at an April 18, 1999 town meeting on "Concentration And Monopoly In Agriculture" held in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hosting the event were Senators Paul Wellstone (Dem-Minnesota), Tom Harkin (Dem.-Iowa, and Tom Daschle (Dem.-South Dakota). Special guests included Klein, and Michael Dunn, Assistant Secretary, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Packers & Stockyards Programs. In attendance were over 800 farmers and farm groups from numerous surrounding states.
Klein was asked at the meeting if he was the person who supervised and signed off on the ADM plea agreement, and he confirmed that he was. He was also asked how the Justice Department calculated the enormity of such a fine, and he gave an explanation.
Dunn was asked why the USDA would let ADM keep its contracts worth $85 million and on the other hand fine ADM only $100 million dollars. Dunn replied that ADM wanted to keep this business, and this was part of the plea agreement. Dunn not only made it known that Klein was involved in the decision, but went into detail on how this deal was done with the Justice Department concerning ADM being allowed to keep USDA business.
Yet, the plea agreement signed October 15, 1996 makes no mention of this part of the deal.
It is an automatic three-year disbarment from government contracts when a company is convicted or pleads guilty to a criminal offense. During the same month that the Justice Department signed off on the ADM plea agreement Sun-Diamond Growers of California was automatically disbarred for three years after they were convicted of illegal gratuities to former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and illegal campaign contributions made to Espy's brother. The ban included all of Sun-Diamond's cooperatives and dozens of its top executives.
Critics of the entire DofJ and USDA “arrangement” point out that although the Department of Justice felt it was inappropriate for it to comment, they certainly did not feel their involvement with the USDA in corporate governance matters at ADM was appropriate when they reached the aforementioned agreement.
In presenting the new evidence of the details in the plea agreement to Judge Castillo, Hoech notes that in August of 1996 “a prominent lawyer from Washington D.C. told me that this case involves a bigger coverup than Watergate. This coverup involves the Department of Justice, FBI, USDA, CIA, FDA, EPA and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.”
In his Letter #25 to Keller, Hoech notes:
“Once again may I remind you that I have kept impeccable records concerning my conversations with Eichenwald. Once again Eichenwald is covering for Williams & Connolly. All of Dunn's conversations in St. Paul were on audio tape, yet he refused to write about this in the Times. On the other hand, if Whitacre had lied, Eichenwald would have had it on the front page of the Times.
“Eichenwald did write in his book that Anne K. Bingaman supervised the plea agreement with ADM, which is a total lie. I received a letter from Joel Klein after giving material to Attorney General Janet Reno. The letter was written on Bingaman's stationery and typed "Sincerely, Anne K. Bingaman", but had Joel Klein's signature. Bill Clinton did not want anything to go wrong with this deal, so Klein, former White House counsel, was put in charge. Just ask Anne K. Bingaman, and she will confirm this. You do not see Bingaman's picture in Eichenwald's book, but you do see Joel Klein's. This past August after Eichenwald's book went to press he called and wanted a copy of that letter. I know he wanted it to give to Williams & Connolly.
“Eichenwald knew I had presented to Federal Judge Castillo, the presiding judge in this case, all the documents, audio tape and information that proves Aubrey Daniel knowingly lied in court documents. Klein was in bed with Daniel in the construction of the false plea agreement. Also, ADM' s comptroller Steven Mills stood before Judge Castillo and made false statements under the direction of Daniel. Dan Glickman, Secretary of the USDA under Clinton, just received his payday for allowing ADM to keep the USDA business. Robert Strauss, ADM board member and Dwayne Andreas' good friend, gave Glickman a job with his firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. This law firm also was involved in ADM being allowed to keep the USDA business.“
It was the politically powerful law firm of Williams & Connolly who not only represented ADM unsuccessfully in its price fixing suit, but it also represented President Bill Clinton in his 1999 impeachment trail before the U.S. Senate. Williams & Connolly, including Clinton's personal attorney David Kendall, has likewise been one among several attorneys representing FOX Television interests battling investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson in their suit against their former employer Rupert Murdoch's FOX 13 TV station in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The couple charged that they were fired for refusing to broadcast state-ments which they considered to be untrue about bovine growth hormone (rBGH), manufactured by Monsanto, a major FOX advertiser. A six-person jury eventually awarded $425,000 in damages to Akre after finding enough evidence that proved FOX took retaliatory personnel action against her because she threatened to blow the whistle to the Federal Communicat-ions Commission that FOX Television pressured the husband-and-wife team to broadcast “a false, distorted or slanted news report.” Efforts by Williams & Connolly attorney’s to set aside the jury’s verdict have three times been unsuccessful
The link between the ADM scandal and the Akre-Wilson lawsuit is not only Williams & Connolly, but also that the New York Times has steadfastly refused to publish any news stories regarding the latter’s suit and Akre’s damage award.
WHITACRE: JUST A WINDOW TO LET US LOOK AT ADM
Throughout Hoech’s “33 Pay Per View” letters he calls to the attention of the Times managing editor repeated instances of Eichenwald’s “unethical conduct.” They included among others:
* “In early summer of 1996 Eichenwald had the information that Thomas Frankel [former ADM treasurer] had embezzled millions of dollars from ADM with the Andreas’s knowledge. If he had written the story at that time, it would have informed the stockholders of all the fraud Whitacre was talking about at ADM which would have rid the company of the Andreas Crime Family and prevented the stock from falling to less than $9. . . . He took time in January, 1997 to write an article that really creamed Whitacre, yet he couldn’t report on ADM shareholders being ripped off of millions with the sanction of the CEO Dwayne Andreas.” (Letter #1)
* “On April 29, 1999 The Orlando Sentinel’s columnist Charley Reese wrote, `Is little Elian just a pawn in an international business scheme’ . . . Someone had sent him a copy of our [ADM Shareholder’s Watch Committee] letter dated April 3, 1999 titled `Is Elian Gonzalez ADM’s Sugar Baby?’ The letter detailed ADM’s involvement from 1995 beginning with Fidel Castro and Dwayne Andreas’ dinner meeting in New York City. I had given all this information to Eichenwald and asked him to let the American people know why the Justice Department was abusing the rule of law in Elian’s case. When I said that possibly this story doesn’t fall under his jurisdiction at the Times and I should contact someone else, Eichenwald replied that he controlled what was published in the Times concerning ADM . . . “ (Letter #15)
* “ . . . ADM lost a U.S. Supreme Court attempt to keep almost 200 secretly recorded tapes out of the hands of companies suing the grain processor for rigging prices in high fructose corn sweetener. James R. Randall, at the time the president of ADM, is recorded on over 100 tapes telling Mark Whitacre, the government's cooperating witness, about ADM's power and describing a lot of illegal activities that took place before Whitacre became employed at ADM. . . . .
“It seems quite strange that the Times did not report about the 200 tapes being turned over to the plaintiffs' attorneys suing the producers of high fructose corn syrup. The tapes certainly would make one wonder how James R. Randall and Dwayne Andreas got blanket immunity for a host of crimes both were involved in.
“Randall tells how Dwayne stayed in Europe during Watergate so he would not have to testify and how he keeps a lot of money overseas in case he has to leave the country and can't return. He told Whitacre how Dwayne had begged Michael to quit using cocaine, and Randall referred to Michael as the "cocaine kid." As president of the company we believe it was Randall's duty to get medical help for Michael Andreas' drug problem rather then let him continue to work. Randall also bragged how ADM was able run overloaded trucks on the streets of Decatur without ever being arrested. This is the same ADM that just asked and received a big discount on their annual tax bill depriving the schools of much needed funds.” (Letter #14)
* “Mr. Yamada, an executive of Ajinomoto Company and indicted conspirator in price fixing in lysine, was not extradited by the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has never said why. The Japanese government spokesman stated that the U.S. never requested his extradition. Our sources in Japan said that Yamada attended meetings at ADM’s headquarters in Decatur and that James R. Randall, the president of ADM, was also at the meetings. Yamada has said that if James Randall and Dwayne Andreas, the chairman, are indicted for price fixing like he was, then he would be on the next plane to the United States. On FBI tapes recorded at ADM, Randall said to Yamada, “The customer is our enemy, and the competitor is our friend.” Dwayne Andreas, the head of the Andreas Crime Family, and James Randall, a “made man,” were given a free ride. “ (Letter #33)
* “ADM received the largest fine from a foreign governmental body in the history of the United States when the European Competition Commission fined it $45 million for price fixing activities. That illegal activity occurred during the period when G. Allen Andreas was the head of ADM’s European operations. G. Allen presently is the CEO of ADM. Eichenwald did not write about this even though he knew this was a landmark ruling.” (Letter #33)
* “The ADM story has never been about Mark Whitacre. Whitacre was just the window that let us look into ADM. Your paper, the Justice Department, Williams & Connolly and others have worked overtime to close that window and put Whitacre's face on it. For over five years we have dedicated our lives to expose this company, because they are destroying our food safety, our overseas' markets, and American agriculture. I promise you that the world will know before the year is out what took place and about those who strive to suppress the truth.” (Letter #21)
“MEDIOCRE HIGH-SCHOOL PULP”
Not only has Eichenwald’s integrity as a Times reporter come under fire, but the style of “The Informant” has also received its share of criticism.
An Amazon.com review, posted December 12, 2000 written by Hal Kass of Annapolis, Maryland titled "Mediocre High-School Pulp." observed: "Poorly written, disjointed, odd mixture of non-fiction and poorly disguised fiction. I am amazed at some of the other reviews. The story is basically intriguing and exciting and promises much. It delivers almost nothing. Gaping holes in information, most questions unanswered and/or un-addressed. A shoddy job by a third-rate hack of what might well have been a dynamite example of investigative journalism."
Likewise "Rats in the Grain" author Lieber, in an unpublished letter to the editor to the New York Times, wrote:
“Bryan Burrough could not have more than paged around in `Rats in the Grain' before offering his dismissive three paragraph review in your September 16, 2000 issue. Burrough, however, lavished substantial space and praise on `The Informant’ by New York Times' reporter Kurt Eichenwald.
“Burrough and Eichenwald are peers in the New York financial press. They also write similarly, specializing in reconstructing conversations and scenes at which they were not present. Already, some of the `The Informant's’ characters have begun to quibble about quotes attributed to them. But that wouldn't interest Burrough.
“`Rats in the Grain' weaves history, politics, law, analysis, and personal profiles into an argument that ADM, a notorious special interest, received special justice. My aim was to write a muckraking educational document that could be relied on by the common reader as well as in the classroom and voting booth.
“Burrough singles out the book because I synopsized rather than reprinted the transcript of an audio tape that captured ADM executives' sexual chatter about women in the office. Eichenwald carried the dialogue verbatim but changed the women's names. However, due to their physical descriptions and the listing of their jobs and bosses, it will not be difficult to identify them in Decatur. My editor and I chose not to run the dialogue. The women had nothing to do with corporate law breaking and did not deserve to be disgraced. To Burrough the infotainment value of the transcript outweighed these concerns . . . .”
Similarly , the L.A. Lawyer magazine’s review of "Rats In The Grain" states: "Those who wanted more than the media gave them about the ADM price-fixing scandal and trials can get a full account in this book."
In Letter #4 Hoech writes: “ I don't know if you are aware that Lieber had a book deal with Simon & Schuster, and the book deal was canceled even after he was complimented on the material submitted. Eichenwald told me that he knew Lieber was going to lose his book deal after Eichenwald spoke with Lieber's editor. I sure would like to know what that conversation was all about. He had said before there is only going to be one book on this story, and it looks like he tried. "Rats In The Grain" contains facts that should have been reported in the Times, and these same facts were also omitted from Eichenwald's book.”
In the September 21 Decatur Herald & Review article "Books capture ADM scandal" Brian Shepard, the Decatur-based FBI agent who spearheaded the investigation, singled out Eichenwald in that "several quotes used in Eichenwald's book, particularly those that were reconstructed based on the recollection of others, were off the mark. 'He quoted me on one page using a profanity that I never said,' Shepard said. 'I know I didn't say that.'" Many others who are quoted in Eichenwald's book, Hoech relates, are saying the same thing. “Mark Whitacre spoke via phone from prison and said he is shocked how Eichenwald distorted the truth and omitted some of the most important points.”
As an example of Eichenwald’s treatment of subject matter in his book, Hoech points out to the writer's New York Times boss in Letter #3: “On page 477 of Eichenwald’s book he writes about the prostitutes in Eddyville, Iowa, hired by ADM to obtain information from Aijinomoto.
“He quotes an FBI agent, "I can see it now," one agent chuckled. "Some bimbo’s humping away with a Japanese guy who barely speaks English, and she blurts out, `Is Pepsi-Cola a big customer?’ Aijinomoto produces lysine an animal feed additive in Eddyville, and Pepsi sure isn’t buying any. No agent will confirm that this conversation ever took place.
“It is very sad lawyers played the race card in the defense of Michael Andreas and Terry Wilson during the criminal price fixing trial in Chicago. The Judge warned them more than once as they referred to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and used the phrase "Yellow Peril.” . . . For Eichenwald to use such an untruthful quote to infer the prostitutes were in Eddyville to speak with the Japanese would leave the Japanese wives to believe their husbands were bedding down with prostitutes in Iowa, which is a total fabrication. Those prostitutes were dealing with the American employees, and he knew the truth.”
In his widely read October 1, 2000 “Farm and Food File” national syndicated column Alan Guebert also voices his skepticism regarding some of the “facts’ used in Eichenwald’s book:
“For instance, just six pages into the book --- written in a breathless, fly-on-the-wall style --- Mark Whitacre, the FBI informant inside ADM, `was driving west on Interstate 36, away from downtown Decatur,’ writes Eichenwald. Whitacre may have been driving, but it wasn't on Interstate 36. There is no Interstate 36 near Decatur. In fact, there's no Interstate 36 in Illinois.
“In another of the book's many scenes, Eichenwald writes, `In the center of Decatur, a train slowly pulled into the station . . . carrying a team of prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Chicago office.’ The date is sometime in late 1994. According to an Amtrak official in Springfield, Illinois, Decatur has not had passenger train service since the mid-1980s.
“The errors of fact are troublesome because the author is peddling this book as the `true story’ of the ADM scandal. . . . .
“What else in `The Informant’ is not accurate? The book often refers to ADM as a `grain producer.’ Processor, yes; producer, no. It claims Hubert Humphrey, a long-time friend of ADM boss Dwayne Andreas, lost the 1968 presidential election in a `rout.’ Humphrey lost the election by less than 1 percent of the popular vote. It describes lysine, the animal feed ingredient at the heart of the price-fixing scandal, as `just the product needed by giant meat companies like Tyson and Holly Farms,’ in 1992. Holly Farms was bought and integrated into Tyson Foods in 1989, long before ADM produced one ounce of lysine.
“Even more troublesome than Eichenwald's literary license,” Guebert continues, “is his liberal flair for the dramatic. From the book's opening scene to its last, the author writes as if he has one eye on the facts --- when two certainly would have served readers more fully --- and the other on Hollywood. All it lacks for a movie-of-the-week deal is a suggested list of actors to play the main roles.
“Wearily, the drama often turns into melodrama. For instance, `The Informant's’ last page places ADM boss Dwayne Andreas and daughter Sandy at a Florida airport waiving good-bye to ADM board members after all had attended a farewell tribute to the now-dethroned Soybean King.
“Writes Eichenwald: `The emotional moment was proving to be too much for her (Sandy). Tears filled her eyes. “Oh Dad,”’ she said. `Andreas opened his arms and clutched his daughter. Together, they stood near the car, both sobbing with an overwhelming sadness.’
“Oh Dad? Oh, brother,” Guebert concludes, “What did they do next, take Interstate 36 --- or the train --- back to Decatur?”
ON THE SCANDAL THAT IS ADM
For additional information on the ADM scandal THE AGRIBUSINESS
EXAMINER readers can enter “ADM” in the Corporate Agribusiness Research
Project’s search engine on its web site http://www.ea1.com/CARP/
Contact the ADM Shareholders Watch Committee for copies of their “Pay Per View” letters at RCB52@hotmail.com
Read “Bad Feelings Brewing Between Authors of ADM Books. The Case of the Deleted Addressee,” Corporate Crime Reporter, March 19, 2001; “Interview With James Lieber, Lieber & Hammer, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Corporate Crime Reporter, July 24, 2000; “Interview With John Connor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana,” Corporate Crime Reporter, June 22, 1998; “Archer Daniels Midland: Price-Fixer To The World” by John M. Connor, Staff Paper 97-4, April, 1997, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; “Archer Daniels Midland: A Case Study of Corruption in the Ag\Food Sector,” Presented by Nicholas E. Hollis, President, The Agribusiness Council, April 28, 1998 before the Economic Crime Summit, Hyatt Regency Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, and "Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland The Supermarket to the World" by James B. Lieber (Four Walls, Eight Windows Press, New York: 2000)
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the Internet. The CARP web site features: THE AGBIZ TILLER, THE
AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER and "Between the Furrows."
THE AGBIZ TILLER, the progeny of the one-time printed
newsletter, now becomes an
on-line news feature of the Project. In-depth essays dealing with corporate agribusiness
activities are posted here periodically.
In "Between the Furrows," besides a modern search engine, there
is a wide range of
pages designed to inform and educate readers on the inner workings of corporate
agribusiness. In addition to CARP's "Mission Statement," "Overview" and the Project
director's "Publication Background," the viewer will find a helpful "Fact Miners" page
which is an effort to assist the reader in the necessary art of researching corporations; a
page of "Quotable Quotes" pertaining to agribusiness and corporate power; a "Links"
page which allow the reader to survey various useful public interest, government and
corporate web sites; a "Feedback" page for reader input, and a page where readers can
order directly the editor's "The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness."
The CARP web site was designed and produced by ElectricArrow of
Simply by clicking on either of the addresses below all the
aforementioned features and
information are yours to enjoy, study, absorb and sow.