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Will the Top Skeptic "Amazing Randi" Be Federally Indicted in Florida?

Opinion by Consumer Advocate  Tim Bolen 

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

 

It's looking good for that.  Hooray.  I'll explain below.

I have absolutely no use for the group that describes themselves as "Skeptics."  The group, made up, I believe, of life's flotsam and jetsam, inhabits the internet after a minimal training at some skeptic conference teaching them how to be even nastier, sleazier, human beings than they were before they found the organized clutter based out of Amherst, New York.  This group is reinforced by a five foot tall moron who calls himself "The Amazing Randi." 

Randi, in his megalomania, has actually, magically I guess, created himself as an arbiter of all things, even publicly offering the occasional "Million Dollar Challenge," setting up (laugh here) parameters in his challenge which allow him, and him alone, to change those parameters as he goes along, eliminating, of course, the possibility of anyone being able to collect on the so-called million.  Don't be surprised - this gambit is a cornerstone of this form of skepticism.

More, Randi, astoundingly, actually found someone to fund, and help him set up (get ready to choke with laughter) the "James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)".  Before you laugh too loudly I want you to take a look at an attached document called an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990.  JREF reported, in 2010, a total income of $999,971.00 and a Total Asset claim of $1,736,101.  Click here to see the available JREF Form 990.

Under the JREF Form 990 Summary Section - Box One, asking for the organization's mission, JREF answers "To promote critical thinking and investigate claims of the paranormal."

All of the Form 990 for JREF is not available to the public.  One section called the Form Schedule B, a list of, with addresses and amounts, of contributors who individually contribute over $5,000 is not there.  So, recently, I sent an email to James Randi asking:

"I've been busy, or I would have contacted you before.  But, now that I have you - could you send me a copy of your JREF IRS Form 990 Schedule B for calendar years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010?  That info would be helpful for my series on you.  We've discussed the issue of your funding sources before, as I recall (something to do with Stephen Barrett needing money)."

Randi was rude in his response to my polite inquiry.  He said:

""Timmie": It's difficult to believe that you - whoever you are - can be so deluded...  But I've dealt with woo-woos before, so I shouldn't be surprised.  Be sure to scan the index of my next book.  You won't be there..."


Why would I want to see his Form 990 Schedule Bs for five years?   Well (raise your eyebrows here), JREF took in $368,445 in ANONYMOUS contributions in 2010.  Huh?  Multiply that by the six years I was asking for and we get a total of $2,216,670, allegedly, "To promote critical thinking and investigate claims of the paranormal?"

Who in the world would give a basically uneducated mini-twerp like James Randi $2,216,670 to promote critical thinking or investigate the paranormal?  Or for any reason?  More, Randi takes a $195,000, per year, salary out of this organization.

Now you see why I want to see those Schedule Bs.  What's REALLY going on here?

It gets BETTER, and BETTER...

The Center For Inquiry, Inc (CFI), based in Amherst, New York shows on their Form 990 that they took in $5,242,304 in Total 2009 Income, and they had, that year, Total Assets of $3,017,144.  Their Schedule B ANONYMOUS contributions totaled $2,318,652.

More, CFI claimed that they received, in 2009, in addition to their anonymous contributions, a so-called "Management Fee Income" of $2,458,156.  What do you suppose they managed?  And who paid them to manage it?  Maybe they manage Wikipedia health care articles?  How about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) bringing skeptic, including Stephen Barrett's, articles to the first page of Google?

All of this income, they claim on their form 990 Mission line is for the purpose of "Held world congress and training session, conducted seminars, and secured grant for library expansion." 

Note that they never said what the "world congress" was for, what the "training sessions" trained people to do, what the "conducted seminars" were for, nor mentioned what "the library" was for.

More - and you are going to love this part - I found more than one CFI non-profit corporation based at the same New York address.  I found, in addition to CFI, the "Center For Inquiry Development Fund,"  and the "Center For Inquiry Holding Corporation."  You can look at sample of their Form 990's by clicking on their blue-highlighted name.  In short, the Amherst operation apparently brings in about seven million dollars a year.

Pretty good take in for "skepticism" don't you think?  Or is there something else going on here?

(Start to smile even more)  Then I found a few more "Center For Inquiry" separate non-profit corporations not based in New York, but in North Carolina.  At first I though they might not be related, but then I looked closer.  Reading the Form 990's for the "Center For Inquiry - Based learning Inc." I found (and I do not believe in coincidence) that it is based in Durham, North Carolina just a few miles from where Stephen Barrett, of quackwatch.com infamy relocated a few years ago.  Hmmm....  Their claimed mission states "CIBL exists to foster, support, and promote the teaching of science in North Carolina to increase the proportion of students who exceed state and national standards CIBL helps teachers prepare students to think as scientists critically, creatively, and independently."

Then I found the "Corp. for Inquiry Inc.. Dba Cape Fear Center for Inquiry Inc.. " a charter school primarily funded by government grant but, (and I do not believe in coincidence) is just a few miles, also, from Stephen Barrett's new residence in North Carolina.  More, the Executive Director's name is "Lori C. Barrett."  Hmmm...

Do you suppose they get their textbooks from the Amherst, New York "library?"

You can overview this situation by clicking here.

One last interesting thing on this connection.  Someone, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, had confronted Stephen Barrett at his North Carolina residence recently.  It seems that Barrett had an article this person didn't like on one of his websites.  This person provided me with some unexpected information.  Unexpected, because, after all, Barrett claims that he hasn't worked as an MD since 1993.  The info?  Barrett's home in Pittsboro, North Carolina, a 4,365 square foot house, with a basement under it of the same size, is valued, currently at $813,960.00.

   Account Details for BARRETT STEPHEN BARRETT JUDITH N

 

 

Property Owner

 

BARRETT STEPHEN

BARRETT JUDITH N

Owner's Mailing Address

 

287 FEARRINGTON POST

PITTSBORO, NC 27312-0000

Property Location Address

 

287 STONEVIEW

 

Administrative Data

 

Parcel ID No.

0080369

PIN

9774 02 77 7822

 

 

Owner ID

1246426

 

 

Tax District

107 - NORTH CHATHAM FIRE DIST

 

 

Land Use Code/Desc

 

 

 

Subdiv Code/Desc

 

Neighborhood

1374S

Administrative Data

 

Legal Desc

N3-18-287

Deed Year

2005

Deed Bk/Pg

1188 / 0526

Plat Bk/Pg

2003 / 0057

Sales Information

Grantor

FITCH CREATIONS INC

 

 

Sold Date

2005-06-28

Sold Amount $

175,000

Valuation Information

 

 

Market Value $

813,960

 

 

Market Value - Land and all permanent improvements, if any, effective valuation date January 1, 2009, date of County’s most recent General Reappraisal

 

 

Assessed Value $

813,960

 

 

But let's get back to the "Amazing Randi..."

I have already done two articles on this subject. You can refresh your memory of those by going up to the box on the right top of this article and clicking on each of the titles.  The information below is a follow up on those two, so to speak.

James Randi had sent me an email indicating he was upset with my articles so far.  I responded with:

"I take it the Federal Investigators in the "what's-his-name" investigation are alarming you with questions related to my articles, right?  Have a nice day..."

Well, it looks to me like that's exactly what happened, and more.  It looks like the Broward County Sun-Sentinel followed the same trail. In my first article "US Federal Agents Arrest Top "Skeptic..." I had said:

There's one more video you might want to watch.  James Randi has bragged about it for years.  In it he brags that he, James Randi, "made" Jose Luis Alverez, when he was still a teenager, using him in his stage acts, and making him into "Carlos."  I think that the Federal Prosecutors, and the Grand Jury that indicted the man who claims to be Jose Luis Alvarez, need to see this video. 

Maybe new charges would be filed - something like "conspiring to..." or "aiding and abetting..." against James Randi?  Click here.

The Broward County Sun-Sentinel has done three SUPERB articles on this subject.  You will find links to the one  called  "Celebrated South Florida artist Jose Alvarez accused of identity theft" and the other '"The Amazing' Randi, renowned supernatural investigator, immersed in mystery about partner's alleged ID theft." by clicking on the titles.

 Click on the third article titled "Jailed mystery artist? He once was 'Amazing' Randi's assistant – under a different name."

Below I will give you some interesting excerpts:

"Before artist Jose Alvarez traveled the world with famed magician and professional skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi, he was Deyvi Pena, a young man from Venezuela with a student visa to study at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Mystery has shrouded Alvarez's true identity since he was arrested under the name "John Doe" at Randi's Plantation home on Sept. 8. The legal predicament swirling around Alvarez also raised questions in skeptic circles and beyond: How much is known by Randi, whose very reputation as a truth-seeker may now be jeopardized?...

...Because authorities consider Alvarez to be a man without identity, he has been held for weeks without bond in the Broward Main Jail.

Alvarez is accused of obtaining the fraudulent passport before he and Randi traveled to the Sydney Opera House in Australia in early 1988 to pull off the "Carlos" hoax. Onstage, Alvarez pretended to channel the spirit of an ancient seer in contact with other worlds.

Afterward, Randi and Alvarez revealed it was all a charade designed to show how easily people could be duped by false mystics and psychics. Randi has capitalized on the "Carlos" performances to further his legacy as a debunker of those who profess to have paranormal powers...

..Randi won a $272,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 1986, and one of the first things he did with the money was hire an assistant – Pena.

A reporter profiling Randi for the Toronto Star caught up with the magician at LaGuardia Airport in New York in August 1986:

"A few feet behind him, David Pena, a young man of about 20, struggles with three large suitcases," the reporter wrote....

...Last week, Randi called Saje out of the blue and asked him to speak to Alvarez's attorneys.

"He did not try to tell me what to say," Saje said, adding that Randi told him, "Tell them what you know, let it come out. This thing is a big enough mess. We don't need other people in trouble.'"...
 

...Among Randi's New Jersey-New York circle of friends in the mid-'80s was Kenneth Hari, an artist and portraitist. He, too, identified the photograph of "Carlos" as the man he knew as David Pena. He remembers Pena telling him he needed to find a new identity.

"He did not have legal identification," Hari recalled.

Alvarez, or "John Doe" as he is known in federal court papers, is charged with making a false statement to renew his passport in 2008, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He also is charged with aggravated identity theft, which automatically tacks two years onto any other prison term.

If Alvarez strikes a plea agreement (to reveal Randi's role?), prosecutors likely wouldn't seek a lengthy sentence. If Alvarez is in this country illegally, he could face deportation.

 

It turns out that the man we've called "what's-his-name," Randi's live-in-lover, arrested September 8th, 2011, at the home he shared with James Randi in Paradise, Florida, on charges of Federal "Identity Theft" was actually, at one time, employed by Randi under the name David (Deyvi) Pena.

Could James Randi be the next to be indicted?  Cross your fingers...

 

Stay tuned. 

Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate

 
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