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ALLEN'S WRENCH

Editor's note: This week, the unprecedented. We turn over the entire Letters section to just one letter: Jo Ellen Allen's response to last week's cover story. She asked that we not edit her letter, which explains any spelling or grammatical errors. See R. Scott Moxley's point-by-point response (indicated in brackets).

In the October 5-7 edition of the OC Weeklymy husband and I were maliciously and intentionally vilified by Scott Moxley in an article characterized by lies, innuendos, misinformation and vicious accusations (Moxley's "God Bless America! How a Newport Beach power couple used right-wing politics to build an empire worth absolutely nothing"). Since this is standard fare for the Weekly, I can only conclude that the serious personal anguish, embarrasment and pain this has caused is of no concern to the Weekly. In fact, I am quite sure they are rejoicing in their effort to malign yet another conservative Republican [1].

Unfortunately, neither truth nor accuracy are of concern to the Weekly. While it is true I did not respond to the e-mails sent to me by Mr. Moxley (since I was neither a party nor a witness in my husband's bankruptcy case), my husband and his attorney left several messages with both Mr. Moxley and Will Swaim, the Weekly's editor, indicating when he would be available to talk to the Weekly. Not surprisingly, the Weekly published its attack without speaking with Eddie.

I am not, and never have been, in any way involved in my husband's business, to which all of his employees will agree [2]. During the early 1990's, for a variety of reasons, including fraud committed against Eddie by businesses in Hawaii, Eddie has had financial and business difficulties, including being unable to pay back some of the loans made to his business. Finally, several years ago, he and his business were forced into bankruptcy. Plaintiffs in the case alleged he lied to them about his background in the military and in business. Recently, a judge ruled in their favor. Eddie is appealing the judgment.

Although the judge stated in his decision that Eddie does not have the rank of colonel in the Air Force, both the United States Air Force and Marine Corps list Eddie as a full colonel and continue to issue military documents and my own spousal identification card every four years with that designation [3]! The judge would not admit into the record such documentation from official military sources. Moreover, the only military records in evidence in Eddie's court case were those obtained from normal retired military personnel records housed in St. Louis, Missouri. The judge did not permit Eddie to submit for the record notorized statements from the Air Force that a portion of Eddie's military and medical records are in Washington D.C., under the jurisdiction of the executive branch of government where classified records are held. This notorized document also indicates Eddie's rank as colonel.

During the trial, a CIA official testified that there had been no recent inquiries made regarding Eddie, as Eddie had testified, and that such inquiries would be known to him. When proof was submitted that a congressional inquiry had been made on Eddie's behalf, the CIA official was dumbfounded and could not explain why he did not know of the inquiries. In addition, the official testifies that the CIA had run searches regarding Eddie both in 1964, within one month of Eddie's mission in Southeast Asia, and again in 1967, after a second mission. The official could not explain why the searches had been conducted. There is much more to this complicated case, which is why it is on appeal.

However, the Weekly chose, deliberately and maliciously, to use my husband's business difficulties to smear me and further damage Eddie's reputation. The Weekly contends that "money moved between Jo Ellen's political organizations, Eddie's office staff and the couple's personal accounts," deliberating creating a completely false impression of impropriety and possibly illegal behaviour [4]. The fact is, one room of the suite of offices in Eddie's company was donated to a non-profit organization which I headed. On occasion, when I used a conference room or another vacant office for special projects, the non-profit organization paid for the use of those rooms. The non-profit also occasionally paid for the use of the copier or copy paper. These payments were not only perfectly appropriate, but involved very small sums of money.

Eddie's company also made loans to my 1992 Assembly campaign. Those loans were legal, reported according to law, and substantially but not completely repaid. There is absolutely no impropriety whatsover.

The Weekly not only maligns me, but also falsely accuses reputable newspapers of not covering this "story" because, according to the Weekly, the Orange County Register's "editors and management often share the Allens' politics and circulate in the same social and political circles" and the Los Angeles Times'Jean Pasco is "a longtime friend of Jo Ellen's." The supposedly shared political views of The Registerand me certainly did not inhibit The Registerfrom fully covering the ugly 1992 Assembly campaign in which I was involved. Moreover, Jean Pasco and I are not, and have never been, friends and have no relationship whatsover.

I am confounded as to the Weekly'sassertion that I have listed two different dates for my birth. I was born once . . . on August 26, 1946 . . . and have never claimed any other date. If the Weekly has a document which indicates an August 8 date, I would certainly like to see it [5]. But I cannot, for the life of me, understand what the point is . . . except a feable attempt to bolster the Weekly's attack on my integrity.

The Weekly also claims that I "helped found . . . the National Council of Business Advisors" in the mid-1980's, "at the head of which she placed Eddie." I had nothing to do with founding that organization (although I would have been proud to!). The National Council was composed of CEOs of major corporations, including members of President Reagan's kitchen cabinet. Eddie was asked by them to be its president. They advised the White House on various business issues. End of story. I am not sure what Moxley's point is about the Council, but his facts are totally inaccurate [6].

In pursuit of their attempt to smear my character, Moxley and the Weeklynote that my marriage to Eddie occurred only two months after my divorce from my first husband. The implication is obvious. The fact is, I had been separated from my first husband for more than a year when I met Eddie, who, until then, was merely a acquaintance at Little League games. It was yet another year before Eddie and I were married. Moxley's innuendo concerning my moral character has created more pain than he will ever know. It is embarrasing to have to defend my honor publicly because of his vulgar insinuation [7].

The pettiness of the Weekly's attack is beyond understanding. After earning my doctorate, Moxley claims I began "insisting that people call [me] doctor." I not only do not get the point of this absurd statement, but it, like so much else in Moxley's mind, simply is untrue.

However, the remaining accusations and conclusions proffered by Moxley are not petty. They are vile and vicious. He asserts that I was "understandably mum" about my "close ties" with Steven Wagner, a "married but closeted homosexual who was later arrested and conviced of embezzling almost $4 million" from the Newport Mesa School District, and that Eddie and I moved "rent-free" into the Wagner's Santa Ana home.

The facts: We moved to Santa Ana so that I could run for the Assembly. We had two weeks to find a home. Driving through Santa Ana we spotted a lovely home with a "for rent" sign in the yard. The home was vacant. The next door neighbors had a key, showed us the home, and gave to us the phone number of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Wagner. We had never met them before the day we agreed to rent their home [8]. They were not and have never been friends. They were landlords and we paid monthly rent [9]. Later that year, we, like the general public, learned about Steven Wagner's embezzelment in the newspapers. Several months after I lost the election, we moved.

Moxley concludes that we purchased our current home "thanks to the profits from one of Eddie's most suspicious business moves" and "he began searching the country for wealthy individuals. He called them his 'big accounts.'" What this "suspicious business move" was Moxley does not mention. Nor does he note that when Eddie testifies about "big accounts," he was not talking about wealthy individuals, but large insurance agencies with which to do volume business.

Perhaps the most egregious and vulgar aspect to the Weekly's attack are the allegations about my husband and his business associate, Lucinda Herdman. Lucinda and Eddie have worked together for a number of years, often traveling together on business, as Eddie had done with other employees. The Weekly claims I was suspicious of Lucinda and launched "a freelance investigation into Herdman" through the "Republican-run Orange County district attorney's office." The inference and innuendos are obvious. Again, the facts: I did not do an "investigation." I made an inquiry on behalf of Lucinda, at her request, due to circumstances in a nasty child custody case with her former husband [10]. The circumstances regarding Lucinda's personal matters are not Moxley's or anyone else's business. Of course, in keeping with the Weekly's style of journalism which knows no bounds of privacy or decency, Moxley calls Eddie's sexual impotency a "bizarre assertion" and then notes that Lucinda remains Eddie's "business associate and travel companion." Again, the inference is obvious [11].

What Moxley does not mention is that Eddie's health problems were sustained as the result of activities in the Air Force in late 1963 which caused him to be retired with 100% medical disability [12]. Using cortisone for nearly forty years to enable him to breathe freely have had other side effects, including the one mentioned so crassly by Mr. Moxley. Medical records, both military and civilian, verify Eddie's medical conditions, although his opponents in court laughed and jeered at Eddie when he returned to court after having been hospitalized for emergency treatment to ease his breathing difficulty during the trial.

Moxley claims "it is certain that Herdman secretly accepted a job as vice president of Eddie's company for $125,000." Lucinda's employment was not a secret to anyone [13] and, contrary to what Moxley implies, Lucinda was working for Eddie long before her mother's death. In fact, Lucinda's mother assisted Lucinda in the office. Nor was Lucinda's salary a "secret." Unlike most of us whose salary is not public information, Lucinda's salary was, in fact, very public as part of the court record in the child custody case, which she won.

The Weeklyhas a reputation for cut and slash journalism. It also has a disregard for the truth and certainly an agenda of destruction. I have seen other friends castigated on its pages. I have occasionally been ridiculed. But it seems my husband's business issues have provided the perfect opportunity for the Weeklyto engage in a search and destroy mission . . . using weapons of of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and distortion. Like other victims of their yellow journalism, I find myself having to publicly defend and explain against lies and allegations based only on their own twisted and perverse motives. It hurts. It hurts deeply. But at least I know the truth and have confidence in that truth and my own integrity. That is more than Mr. Moxley, Will Swaim and their kind will ever have.

Jo Ellen Allen
Corona del Mar
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