RE: Montanore Mine Crime Syndicate Racketeering Investigation

January 12, 2014

 The Honorable Michael Cotter                                                                                    United States Attorney for Montana                                                                             901 Front Street, Suite 1100                                                                                         Helena, MT  59629

The Honorable Mr. Eric Holder                                                                              Attorney General of the United States                                                                          U.S. Department of Justice                                                                                               950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                                                      Washington, DC 20530-0001

U.S. Department of Justice                                                                                  Organized Crime and Gang Section, Criminal Division                                           1301 New York Ave., NW, Suite 700                                                            Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. Holder and Mr. Cotter:

I am writing to strongly encourage the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute the participants in the above-referenced criminal enterprise.  With the proposed Montanore copper and silver mine in Lincoln County, Montana, as its focal point, the Syndicate uses threats, intimidation, and violence to silence or eliminate mine opponents.  Those who commit the criminal acts are financially rewarded.  Led by Mines Management, Inc., CEO Glenn Dobbs, the organization includes members of law enforcement, state, local and Federal officials, business owners, and known criminals.  Some of the crimes committed by the Montanore Syndicate are referenced in the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.   I believe that the scope and level of criminal activity in which this corrupt organization engages should be investigated under the RICO statute.

For almost two years I have been volunteering with a small citizens’ group, Alterative One, which opposes the Montanore Mine.   Because my work involves research and investor education, I have stayed out of the limelight and avoided personal interaction with Syndicate members.   However, I have seen the lives of good people—Alternative One’s  Founders and other prominent mine opponents—shattered by these criminals.  I can no longer remain silent.

Until Alternative One arrived on the scene, Mines Management had been freely and successfully lying to investors and the public at large about a wide range of issues.  Our organization uncovered and publicized the truth about Montanore.    We detailed the environmental devastation the mine would bring about, and exposed Dobbs’ checkered past and anti -environment extremism.  The public learned about human rights abuses tied to Montanore’s leaders.  We took SEC insider trading inquiries and charges of stock price manipulation out of the shadows.  When all was said and done, more than 50,000 private citizens went on record in opposition to the mine, while fewer than 40 gave it the thumbs up.

Glenn Dobbs retaliated in a big way.  He used a hostile public forum to incite local thugs and target Alternative One members who were in attendance.  Montanore operatives utilized connections at the local newspapers to repeatedly publicize mine opponents’ addresses, publish threats, and manufacture and disseminate lies about them.  When Syndicate members damaged mine opponents’ personal property, not only did Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe refuse to investigate—he publicly bragged about it.  Bowe and other law enforcement officials also obstructed the investigation by conspiring to withhold the perpetrator’s insurance information.   The Sheriff used police dogs and random traffic stops to intimidate mine opponents.   CEO Dobbs and his crew hired local criminals and business owners to intercept and sabotage Alternative One e-mail and other electronic correspondence.   Lincoln County officials, presumably Commissioner Tony Berget and the Tax Assessor, manipulated the property tax assessment of Alternative One leader Lynne Haley.

Law enforcement and Court Officers in at least two counties, an employee of the Montana Department of Justice, Sheriff Bowe, Dobbs and a host of others conspired to interfere with multiple levels of a legal case involving Alternative One co-Founder Sam Rose.   An experienced and successful community organizer and outspoken Montanore critic, the Syndicate went all out to silence him.   Dobbs and his crew committed more than a dozen serious crimes, including multiple instances of obstruction of justice, in order to bring about the massive miscarriage of justice that ended Rose’s involvement with the anti-Montanore campaign.

In November of 2013, Montanore opponent John Cleveland was shot and critically wounded in what Sheriff Bowe is calling a hunting accident.  The sniper is a 48 year-old unemployed miner with extreme anti-environmentalist sentiments and clear ties to Montanore.  Mr. Cleveland is a private landowner whose property would be destroyed by the mine.   Dobbs and Montanore have engaged in hostile behavior toward Mr. Cleveland, and  have been investigating their options for eliminating him as an obstacle to the mine.  Bowe and his deputies manufactured and destroyed evidence.  Lincoln County Attorney Bernard Cassidy squashed further investigation and charged the sniper with a couple of misdemeanors. 

A partial list of those with involvement with the Montanore Mine Crime Syndicate includes:

Glenn Dobbs and at least a half dozen Montanore employees or contract workers;

                  Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe and at least three of his deputies

                  Employees of the U.S. Forest Service

                  Employees of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks

                  Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget

                  Former Western News Publisher Barb Swenson

                  Lincoln County Tax Assessor

                  The Lincoln County Attorney  Bernard Cassidy

                  At least one member of the Montana State Patrol

                  Court officers in Flathead County, Montana

                  At least one Lincoln County based employee of the Montana           Department of Justice

                  Local business owners and known criminals, some of whom are living under assumed names

                  Several members of the news media

 Alternative One has reviewed and documented hundreds of online posts, social media pages and messages, newspaper editorials, and other sources.  We discovered that a number of Syndicate members, major as well as role players, have ties to right wing extremist and hate groups.  Dobbs himself has been involved with some shadowy organizations.  Many of the connections between Syndicate members will provide Federal investigators with clear evidence of the commission of serious crimes.

While mine opponents were being threatened, victimized by corruption in the legal system, and shot, some of those who were hired to commit these crimes were rewarded for their efforts.  A local couple who committed crimes against mine opponents, one of whom is living under an assumed name, received financing for a highly risky business venture.  A newspaper owner who invented and published lies about Alternative One leaders and openly incited violence against them, was immediately paid off by Dobbs with a full page ad.   A local contractor who took part in the property damage incidents was rewarded with a road clearing contract.  Another local business owner and Montanore criminal, also living under an assumed name, got a contract to produce signage at a Dobbs sponsored event.  A deputy sheriff and Montanore criminal got preferential treatment in the placement of mine-related power lines near his property for breaking the law.

The crimes committed by the Montanore Mine Crime Syndicate include the following violations of Title 18 of the United States Code:

                  Section 1503, Obstruction of Justice

                  Section 1510, Obstruction of a Criminal Investigation

                  Section 1511, Obstruction of State or local law enforcement

                  Section 1512, Tampering with a witness or victim

                  Section 1513, Retaliating against a witness

Local and state law enforcement agencies cannot conduct a fair and honest investigation of Glenn Dobbs and the Montanore Mine Crime Syndicate.  In addition to his involvement in this criminal organization, Sheriff Bowe is also facing Obstruction of Justice, Tampering with Evidence and other charges in an ongoing Federal Case, Hubbard v. Sheffield, in Missoula, MT.  County Attorney Bernard Cassidy, also involved in Syndicate activities and politically connected to Sheriff Bowe and Commissioner Berget, cannot be counted on to refer the case to the Montana Attorney General.  At least one Montana Department of Justice employee is also a Montanore criminal.

A U.S. Justice Department RICO or other appropriate Federal investigation is the only way that Glenn Dobbs and the Montanore Mine Crime Syndicate can be brought to justice.

I believe that Lynne Haley of Alternative One is in a better position than I to provide you with more specific dates, times, and information regarding many of these crimes.  It is my understanding that she has been in contact with your office. 

Please review the enclosed documents.  I have outlined the direct and specific connections between certain criminals and Mines Management.  On page 13 you can see the linkage between John Cleveland’s assailant, Mike Wagner, and Montanore.   This section also includes my contact information. 

I am hopeful that your office will investigate and prosecute those who are involved in this criminal organization.

Sincerely,

Max Wolff                                                                                                                Alternative One

Overwhelming Opposition Stalls Montanore Mine Project Indefinitely

March 11, 2012 – Lincoln County MT --The troubled Montanore project, a proposed silver and copper mine located in the Kootenai National Forest near Libby, Mont., has hit another major roadblock.  Written comments from the public sector indicate massive, broad-based opposition to the environmentally destructive plan. 

MMI CEO Glenn Dobbs compared the anti-Montanore faction to “radical eco-anarchist movement[s]” and characterized critical analysis of the project as bearing ”a striking similarity to the Manifesto concocted by the psychotic eco-terrorist Ted Kaczynski.”

Alternative One obtained copies of public comments submitted to state and federal agencies that are reviewing the Montanore proposal through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The entire body of public input consists of more than 47,000 letters and documents from private citizens, government agencies, public officials, businesses and environmental organizations.  Upon a detailed review of the comments, Alternative One determined that more than 45,000 individual private citizens oppose the Montanore Mine project, while just 26 are in favor of it.

Even locals in a county where many are unemployed recognize compelling problems with the mine proposal.

The CEO of Spokane-based Mines Management, Inc., Montanore’s parent company, has attempted to cast aspersions on those who oppose the project.  In a Dec. 28, 2011, statement appearing in the Libby press, Glenn Dobbs compared the anti-Montanore faction to “radical eco-anarchist movement[s]” and characterized critical analysis of the project as bearing ”a striking similarity to the Manifesto concocted by the psychotic eco-terrorist Ted Kaczynski.”

However, the fact that citizens of all 50 states and more than 40 foreign countries including Spain, Bulgaria, Peru and Luxemburg have officially added their voices to the growing Montanore opposition places the anti-mine contingent firmly in the mainstream.

Although some of the comments are clearly inspired by the public outreach of major environmental organizations, many of these letters incorporate personally composed anti-Montanore sentiments.

Many opposing comments contain highly detailed analyses of the mine project and reflect a comprehensive understanding of Montanore’s more than 1,000 page proposal. Hydrology and geology experts have weighed in against the proposal, as have PhDs, educators, and business owners.

Points of contention common to many of the anti-mine letters include water consumption and pollution, destruction of wildlife and fish habitats, and the size and safety of the tailings impoundment. The Montanore plan would place a permanent tailings dump measuring two miles long and towering 37 stories high in the midst of the Kootenai National Forest.

All of the pro-mine commentary was submitted by residents living within 100 miles of the proposed Montanore site.  Aside from the Commissioners of an adjacent county, none of the businesses or public officials writing in support of the mine is based outside of Lincoln County, Montana.

Fully 38 percent of all letters from residents living within 100 miles of the mine site express opposition, demonstrating that even locals in a county where many are unemployed recognize compelling problems with the proposal. 

According to one Libby resident, “Temporary jobs are not a good tradeoff for forever polluted water.  I urge you to refuse Montanore permission to despoil our land and water.”

One local citizen reminds the permitting agencies that “the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and its watersheds is the gem of northwest Montana and the quality of life they provide is one major reason why so many people are willing to struggle to makes ends meet so they can stay in this area.  [Montanore] will put part of our quality of life in jeopardy.”

All of the environmental organizations that submitted comments, from Rock Creek Alliance to Earthworks, reaffirm their commitments to fighting the project both in the near and long terms. 

EPA rated the Montanore proposal “E-02,” or Environmentally Objectionable.  Comments from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers highlight major deficiencies in the mine plan and raise objections to proposed water consumption, pollution, and destruction of critical wildlife and fish habitat.

MMI and W.R. Grace: Enriching Lives Everywhere?

Advertising slogans--those catchy phrases that draw attention to a product or company—are a powerful marketing tool.   A successful slogan makes its target audience feel good, or builds desire for a specific product or service. In rare instances, a slogan can come back to haunt a company by calling attention to a negative event or failed product.  In other cases, a slogan can be so misleading that it calls into question the integrity of the company or product it promotes. 

Union Carbide:   A Hand In Things To Come

When Union Carbide affixed this slogan to its advertising and product labels, the one–time chemical manufacturing giant could not have anticipated the event which came to define and eventually destroy the company.  On December 3, 1984, the Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, leaked almost 50 tons of deadly chemical gas, killing 8,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands who lived in the impoverished city. 
                                                                                                                                                                    Prior to the Bhopal disaster, Union Carbide ran an advertisement entitled “Science helps build a new India,” which showed a thin, dark-skinned man at the wearing a turban, plowing desert ground, behind a primitive plow pulled by oxen. Two dark-skinned women wearing traditional saris watch while carrying a parasol, one balancing a large basket or jug on her head. 

Across the top of the advertisement is the hand of a white man. The hand is pouring a clear red fluid out of a chemist’s flask onto the agricultural scene below. Beneath the picture, is the Union Carbide logo and the slogan, “A hand in things to come.”

Freeport McMoRan:  Connecting The Future

Many Americans are familiar with Halliburton and Bechtel.  When we hear about these companies, we associate them with scandal, corruption and overall sinister activities.  Throughout its lengthy and sordid history, New Orleans-based Freeport McMoRan was as obscure as its slogan.   That changed dramatically in 2005 when the New York Times printed a massive story about the company that operates the world’s largest gold mine.  The article charges Freeport with spying on environmental organizers, making large payoffs to individuals in the Indonesian security forces, and polluting groundwater supplies.

Freeport turned a lovely mountain, the Grasberg -- called "Copper Mountain" because of its rich copper vein -- into a pit so large it shows on satellite photos. As they mined for copper, they found an incredible bounty of gold.   The company has been linked to plots to assassinate and overthrow world leaders.  Freeport’s involvement in Indonesian politics led to that country’s bloody invasion of East Timor.  Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor led to more than 185,000 deaths out of a total population of less than 700,000.  Connecting the Future?  Let’s hope not! 

A key player in Freeport McMoRan’s Indonesian mining operation was none other than Robert Russell, now a Director of Mines Management.  Connecting The Future?  Let’s hope not!  Support  Alternative One:  No Montanore Mine, no power lines!

Enriching Lives.  Everywhere

Now there’s a slogan for the ages.  Guess who are enriching lives…everywhere? None other than the friendly folks managing today’s….W. R. Grace & Company. 

But wait. This can’t be the same W. R. Grace that operated the vermiculite mine in Montana?  The company which almost killed every man, woman and child in Libby?  The folks who poisoned our air, water and land, and who exported their deadly products around the world for decades? 

You would think that a company which had done all of this and managed to escaped both financial -- through bankruptcy reorganization -- and criminal – through the failure of our justice system --  responsibility might keep a low profile, exhibit a little contrition or quietly go away.

 Not a chance!   Yes, O. J. Simpson of the corporate world is b-a-a-a-a-ck, meaner, cockier and fouler than ever.  In the second quarter of 2011, Grace’s $826 .4 million in sales represents a 20.6 percent over the second quarter of 2010.  They crow about supporting the National Aquarium, creating a few scholarships and sponsoring environmental workshops for teachers.

W. R. Grace describes itself as a group of good people who were going about the business of mining in Libby, none of whom had even the slightest inkling that the asbestos in the mine was deadly.  Once suspicions were raised, Grace claims, they took the lead in promoting research, protecting its workers and, ultimately, in making sure those who were sick would have access to world class health care.  Unfortunately, this revisionist version of the Libby tragedy contains not one grain of truth.  Grace covered up and tried to bury the truth for as long as they could, lied to their workers and to the community at large, pocketed as much loot as possible and skipped town.

And what do they have to say about the Libby disaster?  Grace just can’t get enough coverage of their $250 thousand annual contribution to St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.  They have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the entire story of vermiculite mining and their role in creating the one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters in history.  They treat the $250 million fine they paid to EPA as an act of charity. 

Haven’t we had enough of out-of-town mining companies posing as models of corporate responsibility while they plunder our land, air and water and treat the local residents like mining waste?  Do we really need another slickly packaged corporation…one which misleads us by claiming to specialize in mining while never having mined a single ounce of anything… posing as the Messiah and offering shaky promises of  better days for our community?  Is a company led by a hedge fund manager and a man with connections to massive international environmental and human rights crimes really what’s best for Northwest Montana?  We think not.

Mines Management:  Unearthing Life’s Key Ingredients

 What does “Unearthing Life’s Key Ingredients” have to do with transferring someone else’s money from an account in Nevis to another in Vancouver to a third one in another tax haven, charging a hefty fee, driving home and cracking open a cold beer?  Not a whole heck of a lot, but what difference does it make?  It looks good on the MMI website, and that’s what really matters.

State Worker Right To Know laws are an essential ingredient in creating and maintain the safest possible workplace.  These laws require companies which expose their workers to hazardous substances to share this information with them and to provide training, written materials.

We think this is pretty basic stuff.   Many companies, particularly those which manufacture or use hazardous chemicals, spend millions of dollars fighting Worker Right To Know laws or to weaken them significantly. 

 Mines Management, Inc. CEO Glenn Dobbs is a former member of the Washington State Legislature.  During his tenure, Mr. Dobbs cast his vote on numerous labor-related bills.  His voting record earned him a zero score from the Washington State Labor Council.  This means that Mr. Dobbs always voted against workers – every time.  Glenn Dobbs is no friend of the working men and women he would hire to run his mine.

 One of the key bills Mr. Dobbs opposed was Washington’s Worker Right To Know Law.  Glenn Dobbs does not believe workers have a right to know the dangers of hazardous substances they work with and around.  This includes people with medical conditions, pregnant women, and others who might be at an elevated level of risk. 

 In Glenn’s world, W. R. Grace would have been allowed to withhold the truth about hazards in the Libby mine.  Is this really someone who should be running a mine—especially one in Libby? 

 W. R. Grace and Mines Management.  In spite of MMI’s spin, there isn’t as much difference as they would like you to think.  The last thing we need in Northwest Montana is another Grace-like disaster.  Alternative One:  No Montanore Mine, No Power Lines.  What’s Best for Northwest Montana. 

 

Comments from international members regarding the proposed Montanore Mine:

"Another year, yet another mining fear. People seem to think that they have a legitimate right to take every particle of natural habitat away from the animals. Yet another species will become extinct if action is not taken, I don't know why we still propagate the extinct species as being the Dodo and Great Auk when we have done so much to further the extinction of animals in our own lifetime and seem to see mora of the same as a coveted goal.

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.'-Henry Havelock Ellis"

"Surely there must be a way to stop the mine taking up all that land! Once that land has gone under the mining machinery, it will never be able to be bought back, and neither will any of the animals that live there, what a terrible thing to happen, please please do something !"

"WRONG....WRONG....WRONG! STOP the GREEDY land grasping at the expense of every other living creature!"

"'The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.' - Arthur Schopenhauer"

"Animal Rights! give them what we all deserve, the right to live life naturally and with dignity. No to Montanore Minerals Corp. license to Kill!!!"

"I am so tired of big industry destroying our planet and the creatures who live here. What legacy are you leaving our children but one of rape and pillage?"

"Be smart and responsible. Do the right thing and do NOT grant Montanore Minerals Corp. a license to kill!"

"Our public lands are not to be given away to private companies who will decimate them for profit. You have no right to take this action. We are your boss, we demand that you respect our lands!"

"Public lands are not for mining companies to gut.  The Government must not allow them to mine the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness area."

"Please stop this folly."

"No wilderness should be mined so that the environment and the life that thrives in this wilderness will be sacrificed. Corporations with the greed mentality should be banned from these wild places forever, period, no discussion."

"Mining is a dirty business and leaves behind a toxic and damaged environment. We must protect our wilderness from this greedy rape of nature."

"This land is the property of the American people and we do not want it taken over and destroyed by corporate greed. It's time for our government to start acting on behalf of the other 98% of us!"

"NO to the mining interests in destroying and polluting Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. We must help protect our dwindling species before they become extinct."

"No amount of money in the world is worth the destruction of this majestic mountains and the loss of grizzly bears and Canada lynx!!"

According to the minesmanagement.com website, 

Residents of Lincoln County, because of their livelihoods, are closely linked to the natural environment and have a conservation ethic, but do not favor preservation that would prohibit development of natural resources...Using natural resources, not just protecting them for future generations, is a dominant concept of the culture of Lincoln County and other communities which strongly rely upon natural resources for individual and community survival."  

Question: Does destruction of the Libby Creek area of Kootenai National Forest constitute "development of natural resources?" We think not.

Question:  Given the county's largest employers, are we missing the integral Zen connection between healthcare, the grocery business, and the natural environment?

Question:  To which Lincoln County and to what residents does this pseudo-scientific claptrap refer?  Not our Lincoln County, and not us.

Click to read about the study.

Lincoln County:  Waltzing with Bears?

In February of this year, Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget announced that he and fellow officials Marianne Roose and Ron Downey had made the decision to dip into the Lincoln County coffers to fund a new accounting of the grizzly bear population in the region.

The city of Libby contributed as well.  At the May 2, 2011 City Council meeting, Mayor Doug Roll "announced that the County has been raising funds to fund a DNA grizzly bear analysis to help with the Montanore Mine Project and stated unless someone had an objection he would like to donate $100.00 or so from the City."

The study, reportedly now underway, will take three years to complete, with the total cost currently expected to top $1.5 million.  According to Berget, the county's ante, $50,000 for the first year, is coming out of the PILT -- Payments in Lieu of Taxes -- fund,  federal money paid to local governments to compensate for federally-held lands that do not contribute to tax revenues. 

Libby City Council Minutes: The County has been raising funds to fund a DNA grizzly bear analysis to help with the Montanore Mine Project"

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, "PILT payments help local governments carry out such vital services as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. The payments are made annually for tax-exempt Federal lands administered by the BLM, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (all agencies of the Interior Department), the U.S. Forest service (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and for Federal water projects and some military installations."

Why, then, would Lincoln County Commissioners divert a sizeable chunk of the community's limited funds to grizzly bear research?  The answer lies in the list of other contributors to the bear count.  Berget admits that some for-profit entities are contributing, including Montanore Mine Corporation as well as a timber company or two.

The underlying impetus for funding a new grizzly count  is economic.  One of the primary barriers to the approval of the Montanore project, and to logging projects in the Kootenai National Forest,  is the risk these activities pose to a threatened  grizzly population, and if a new study can eke out a few extra bears in the area, that may make it easier for Montanore and others to push through environmentally destructive plans.

The irony of Lincoln County's rush to underwrite a new grizzly count is that sources in the offices of the study coordinator, Kate Kendall, research biologist at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, predict that in all probability, few additional bears will be discovered in the Cabinet-Yaak population.  In fact, Kendall herself told the commissioners that she does not expect to find a significantly larger numbers of bears than the scant 40-45 counted just five years ago by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

What's in this project for Lincoln County Commissioners?  The pure of heart might say it's a good-faith effort to create more jobs for a county with a high rate of unemployment.  Others speculate that Berget and company might be in line for a bit of their own economic stimulus money from the corporate powers that be.

For the citizens of Lincoln County, it looks like another instance of throwing desperately-needed funding, which should be dedicated to strengthening medical and safety services and community infrastructure, down another sinkhole of victimization.