Montioring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
A.V. Krebs Editor\Publisher
April 27, 2001
"THE NATURE OF WHAT’S TO COME":
FORMER DOFJ ATTORNEY, NEW YORK TIMES
AID AND ABET ADM COVERUP SCANDAL;
WHITACRE’S SON PLEADS FOR FATHER’S CLEMENCY
Dubbed the best documented corporate crime in American history the infamous Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) price fixing case is rapidly becoming also one of the U.S.’s prime examples of corporate coverup, aided and abetted by the nation’s “newspaper of record.”
In three rather poignant letters recently obtained by THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER the shameful aftermath and human tragedy that singularly marked the ADM scandal can be seen.
Although the company paid a record --- at the time --- fine of $100 million and three of its executives --- Mark Whitacre, Mick Andreas and Terrance Wilson --- were sent to prison and fined, the pervasiveness of the corporate culture of corruption and manipulation that has so characterized the company’s behavior remains relatively untold.
Whitacre, was 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. He eventually was sent to prison not only for his part in the price-fixing scandal but because he allegedly embezzled company funds.
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.
To date two books have been written about the ADM case, one being 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). Leiber’s book not only details the coverup that surrounded the ADM scandal and the company’s contempt for the public --- “the competitor is our friend, the consumer is our enemy” being the popular ADM corporate mantra --- but shows how the law was indeed prostituted by ADM.
The other book was authored by Kurt Eichenwald, a writer for the New York Times. Eichenwald’s book, The Informant, in the words of the ADM Stockholder’s Watch Committee co-founder David Hoech 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.”
In the January, 2001 issue of the American Bar Association’s Journal, attorney James H. Mutchnik authored a review ---- “Fox in the Henhouse” --- in which he heaped praise on Eichenwald's book and disregarded Lieber’s book, which documents the government cover-up. Mutchnik was a member of the Department of Justice’s legal team that helped to prosecute those involved in the price fixing of lysine and was also part of the team that negotiated settlements for those who pleaded guilty in price rigging.
“There really are two books chronicling ADM's criminal antitrust problems. However, only one of them is worth reading," wrote Mutchnik who lauded Eichenwald's book, which exhibits throughout a clear pro-government bias.
Mutchnik is now a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis. Kirkland & Ellis represented Haarmann & Reimer who pled guilty January 29, 1997 to fixing prices in citric acid. The company received a fine of $50 million to be paid off within five years. The following year A.E. Staley located next door to ADM in Decatur, Illinois purchased the citric acid business from Haarmann & Reimer. Staley is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s Tate-Lyle, of which ADM is a large shareholder.
“Surprise!” Hoech observes, “young Jimmy Mutchnik walks out of the Justice Department into Kirkland & Ellis and becomes a partner. It appears "Rats" are not only in the grain --- the Justice department breeds them!”
Following Mutchnik’s review, Lieber, a lawyer and member of the ABA, wrote the editor of the Journal the reply that appears below, but which has never to date not been printed in the legal journal.
In the second published letter below Hoech, after having written 36 unanswered letters to the New York Times’ managing editor William Keller concerning not only the veracity of Eichenwald’s reporting and his willingness to serve the interests of ADM and its Washington, D.C. influence-peddling law firm of Williams and Connolly, but the unwillingness of the Times to deal with such conduct, addresses the Times’ Board chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.
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. In addition, the Times has to date also totally ignored the news that Akre and Wilson along with five other individuals from around the world have been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest award for environmental activists.
The prize is frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize for grassroots work that aids the environment or calls attention to a significant environmental issue. The wife-husband investigative reporter team are the first journalists to ever win the award, given in six geographical categories, which includes a prize of $125,000 from the Goldman Environmental Foundation.
In the third letter printed below, Mark Whitacre’s
15-year old son --- Alexander Ryan Whitacre --- recently addressed a heartfelt
letter to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Pardon Attorney seeking clemency for
his father, who is currently serving a nine year prison term in South
JAMES B. LIEBER:
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION JOURNAL
James Mutchnik should not have been chosen to review my book
Rats in the Grain or Kurt Eichenwald's The Informant, two
radically different treatments of the ADM scandal. Eichenwald featured
Mutchnik prominently. I wrote little about him. Mutchnik appears to
have helped Eichenwald extensively. He helped me up to a point.
After I began asking questions about the government cover-up, he did not return
my calls. The cover-up is the subject of the concluding fifty pages of my
book. Eichenwald did not
write about the issue. Nor does Mutchnik mention it in his review.
One of my questions that Mutchnik refused to answer was why the
government did not search the offices of ADM Chairman Dwayne Andreas, and
President James Randall during the historic 1995 raid of the company's
headquarters. The government had surveillance tapes indicating that both
had knowledge of price fixing. Shortly after the raid, Mutchnik and other
investigators received information from a reliable source --- not Mark Whitacre,
the mole now reviled by ADM and the government --- that Dwayne Andreas had
destroyed documents. Still, he was not questioned.
In 1996, Justice made a deal with ADM in exchange for its corporate guilty plea to fixing citric acid and lysine prices. Through an unprecedented aspect of the deal, Andreas and Randall received far more than the usual grant of testimonial immunity. Instead, the government promised not to subpoena them or even to interview the pair. If Justice made a deal not to interview the leaders of a motorcycle gang under investigation, there would be a congressional probe. That's not likely in this case since ADM and the Andreases have done a masterful job of taking care of politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington.
Part of ADM's wizardry involved getting much of the investigation moved from Illinois to Washington where further deals were cut. Whitacre, the high-level mole, alleged many offenses including systematic campaign violations, technology theft, prostitution, environmental breaches, and high-level fraud through the use of bogus invoices that resulted in tax-free bonuses. The government agreed not to prosecute the allegations (though it knew some were true) and adopted ADM's position that no one above Whitacre had allowed him to embezzle. One big difference between the books is that The Informant supports this view, while Rats in the Grain presents evidence to refute it.
According to FBI records that I received only one Justice attorney from Illinois was part of the fraud investigation. That was James Mutchnik. He gathered the names of other possible witnesses/participants to the bogus bonus scam as well as the names of their attorneys. But he did not follow up with interviews or subpoenas of key figures.
Among those whom Mutchnik did not pursue was a former ADM officer who Eichenwald and I learned had stolen millions through an earlier fraud but had not even been prosecuted. Like others, I believe that if Justice had presented this information at Whitacre's sentencing then he would have been punished less harshly.
Ironically, Dwayne Andreas told the Washington Post in
1996 that he had known about Whitacre's phony invoicing since 1992.
Nevertheless, Whitacre remained employed and continued to embezzle until
1995. Only after his role as a mole came out did ADM fire and prosecute
Whitacre. He received ten years in prison. The two leaders of the
antitrust conspiracy, Vice Chairman Mick Andreas and Vice President Terry
Wilson, got three years. Over forty other executives who fixed prices did no
Prior to sentencing, the government announced that it was seeking $25 million dollar fines apiece from Mick Andreas and Terry Wilson. In order to levy such huge deterrent penalties, the judge required the prosecution to submit detailed data to the convicted executives as a matter of due process. Mutchnik played a principal role in this effort, which the court found "wholly deceptive," and weak in comparison with the hammering of the whistleblower. "The government played hard ball with Mark Whitacre and presumably could have done the same thing here," wrote Federal Judge Blanche Manning, who meted out statutory fines of only $350,000.00
ADM and other arrogant multinationals that flout justice profit mightily from the laxity of government officials. I can only hope that your readers will take Mutchnik's glib review of Rats with a grain of salt.
Signed James B. Lieber LHlawfirm@aol.com Pittsburgh, PA.
CO-FOUNDER, ADM STOCKHOLDERS WATCH COMMITTEE
ASSAILS NY TIMES IN LETTER TO PAPER’S BOARD CHAIRMAN
April 18, 2001
Mr. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.
Chairman of the Board
The New York Times Company
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Re: Kurt Eichenwald - Reporter
William Keller - Managing Editor
Dear Mr. Sulzberger:
Since September 1, 2000 I have sent thirty-five letters to William Keller. The letters bring attention to Kurt Eichenwald's unethical conduct in covering the Archer Daniels Midland Company since early 1996. Mr. Keller has never answered my letters.
In November 1996 when concern arose over Eichenwald's handling of information given to him, I called Glenn Kramon Deputy Business Editor. We spoke a couple of times, and he said Eichenwald had praised me as a great source of information for the ADM story. I was not calling for praise. I was calling to complain about Eichenwald's lying. The enclosed ADM Shareholders Watch Committee letters give you a sample of the information I was making available to the media. Also made available to Eichenwald were documents and tapes.
One set of documents and an audiotape exposed the criminal conduct of ADM's law firm Williams & Connolly, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Agriculture. These documents confirmed all three were involved in obstruction of justice. Eichenwald would not write about this after receiving the documentation and gave me numerous excuses saying it was not a story. Eichenwald's conduct makes the Times and him active participants in depriving ADM shareholders and the American people of justice by refusing to expose this crime.
Eichenwald called me on March 28, 2001 after he saw the article in the Village Voice titled "The Journalist and the Whistle-blower, New York Times' Eichenwald Called 'Dirty.'" He informed me that the Times would never let him respond to me about the letters I had written to William Keller. I wanted a response from Keller not from Eichenwald. Read enclosed "NYT Pay Per View News Letter No. 30" dated March 30, 2001. After the Village Voice article Eichenwald widely disseminated false information telling people, "We at the Times consider David Hoech a security risk." The Times' lawyer Adam Liptak has been asked when David Hoech was declared a security risk, and he has never given an answer. Eichenwald also told me that the Times had a security detail at the Plaza Hotel when he spoke at a luncheon in mid February.
I have been documenting the wrong doings of Eichenwald for the past five years and in letters to William Keller since September 1, 2000. How dare your company allow Eichenwald who betrayed me, his source, now publicly trash me with false accusations. The same tactics were used by Archer Daniels Midland against Mark Whitacre, the whistleblower. ADM was able to accomplish this with the help of Eichenwald and Williams & Connolly.
Now he is maligning me in public and actively soliciting reporters to make this a David Hoech story. The story is about Eichenwald, not David Hoech. I blew the whistle on him. In my upcoming documented book, The Lying Times, the American public will know what my wife and I have gone through at the hands of unethical lawyers from Williams & Connolly and the New York Times' award winning reporter Kurt Eichenwald.
CC: Russell T. Lewis, President and CEO
Michael Golden, Vice Chairman of the Board and Senior VP
John F. Akers, Director
Brenda C. Barnes, Director
Raul E. Cesan, Director
Richard L. Gelb, Director
Robert A. Lawrence, Director
Ellen R. Marram, Director
Charles H. Price II, Director
Henry B. Schacht, Director
Donald M. Stewart, Director
Arthur O. Sulzberger, Director
ALEXANDER RYAN WHITACRE:
LETTER TO PARDON ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. Roger Adams, Esq.
Mr. Samuel Morison, Esq.
Office of the Pardon Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
500 First Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Adams and Mr. Morison:
I am writing in support of my father’s clemency (Mark E. Whitacre --- 07543-424). My name is Alexander Ryan Whitacre and I am 15 years old.
When I was six years old, my father became an undercover agent for the FBI. I can remember the numerous times --- almost weekly --- that my father met with the FBI to turn over tapes. This went on for almost three years.
My father risked his life for the FBI. ADM threatened our family after they learned that he was the informant. Our lives were changed forever.
Nine years later, my family is still paying the price for revealing ADM’s criminal activities.
No one ever asked me what a child of an informant must endure and the toll that it takes on your life. The stress is beyond belief.
My father is a hero for what he did for the FBI --- risking his life. The FBI has never rewarded him for his efforts and sacrifices. He is also a hero in my eyes for taking responsibility for his own actions.
I beg President Bush, Attorney General Ashcroft and you to grant my dad clemency. It is time to return my dad home!
Sincerely, Alexander Ryan Whitacre.
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