WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S SECRET GOLDMINE
COLE & WHITE (1914-1917)
RUTHERFORD & KUEHN (1917-????)
Rumored to have privately claimed to have been led to it by GOD in order to financially reinvigorate his cash-strapped "ministry", Charles Taze Russell owned and operated a secret gold mining operation at Soda Springs, near Baker, in San Bernardino County, California, from sometime prior to October 1914, until his death in October 1916.
After the death of "Pastor" Russell on Halloween 1916, and at the end of the 1916-17 mining season, on March 31, 1917, the dummy "partnership" which we believed was used by "Pastor" Russell for this secret business operation was legally "dissolved". At the very same time, that official "NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP" stated that the business would be continued thereafter by, and that all previous legal obligations would be assumed by, a new partnership composed of "J. F. RUTHERFORD" and "E.W.V. KUEHN". Evidence outlined below suggests that despite the internal disheval that began inside the WatchTower Society leadership soon after "Judge" Rutherford was elected President of the WatchTower Society (which eventually led to Ernest Kuehn exiting the cult sometime around 1919-20), and despite "Judge" Rutherford being sent to federal prison in June 1918, mining operations continued at Soda Lake through 1917, 1918, and possibly into 1919.
The January 1, 1915 WATCHTOWER magazine, which would have been printed in early December 1914, with copy written in November 1914, or earlier, included this "anticipatory" and "nervous" announcement (emphasis ours):
WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY SUPPLY?
But some may say, "Did we not read between the lines in the Society's Annual Report that the financial streams were drying up? And have we not heard that thirteen [PHOTO-DRAMAS OF CREATION] have been withdrawn, ...
Our reply is that these things are so, but that we have a reason to surmise that God intends to send us in His own way further financial support, that His Message may go forth with great force throughout the whole world! With this in view, we are having all the DRAMAS overhauled and put into good order, anticipating that the funds to operate them will be in our hands shortly. ...
(Amusingly, WATCHTOWER magazine readers should have understood that Russell had DECEPTIVELY authored this blurp even before readers had received the 1914 Annual Report, since the Annual Report had just been published in the previous December 15, 1914 issue.)
Then, in the May 1, 1915 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine, Pastor Russell announced to his followers that he was drastically reducing operations at WatchTower HQ due to the sharp drop in donations (Russell's word for "gross income"). Pastor Russell further announced that 70 Bethelites had been asked to leave Brooklyn Bethel -- despite their receiving nothing but room, board, and a $10.00 or $11.00 monthly allowance. Then, Pastor Russell nearly confessed and ultimately LIED as to the source of his previous expression of faith that the financial condition of the WatchTower Society would soon improve:
When making our last Annual Report, we expressed the thought that many of the Lord's people have already invested what money they possessed, and that we would thus expect donations to be smaller than heretofore and that we would be obliged to discontinue some of the DRAMAS. Later we announced bright prospects of a full resumption. We did not tell the basis of this expectation, but will now explain:
Some Brethren informed us that they believed they were possessed of a rich gold-bearing property, that all of its proceeds were consecrated to the Lord's service, that ere long we might expect money from them in good supply, but that their names were to be kept secret. Their expectations, which were highly appreciated, were not realized. The expectation had a beneficial effect, however, in that it encouraged us to keep the work up to a high notch of speed and efficiency in every direction until the present time. Now we have gone our limit. We must conclude that it is the Lord's will that our activities be greatly curtailed, in order to bring down the expenses to a parity with the income.
No gold -- or at least no significant amount of gold -- was ever mined. Multiple reports indicate that Russell lost anywhere from$30,000.00
to $50,000.00 (about $725,000.00 to $1,250,000.00 in 2016 dollars)
at a time when Russell was in critical need of additional finances -- not less. Five or more 15' x 60' wooden buildings were constructed at Soda Springs to service the miners working in the nearby hills. The concrete foundations
of some of those buildings still exist, as does physical evidence of the miner's religious preoccupation. Most of the laborers reportedly were "Germans"
, and it is believed that some or all may have been brought to Soda Springs from Germany -- possibly due to the start of World War 1. Some German miners settled in the San Bernardino area after Russell's mining operations were abandoned, and one talked about his experience decades later.
THE BROOKLYN EAGLE
September 25, 1914
J. [F.] Rutherford Strongly Pro-German.
(Interview done after Judge Rutherford Disembarked from Mauretania.)
Some pro-German sentiment was expressed by the homecoming Brooklynites, especially by Joseph [F.] Rutherford of 10 Orange Street. Mr. Rutherford was told that dispatches about the war were meager, and he replied that it was not surprising.
"London is coloring these dispatches," he said, "and I am certain that Germany has done a great deal more than reports have credited her with. By the way, have any returning Americans protested at their treatment by the Germans?"
When he was told that the majority expressed pleasure at their treatment, he said that reports in England were otherwise.
"I was in Hamburg when war broke out and I don't believe I ever would have got out of the station there if it hadn't been for German courtesy. A man in a car there told me to come with him, and that alone got me out. The German sentiment is not military, as has been reported, but is peace-loving. There has been so much intrigue, and I was in a position to know about it, in England that I suspect and believe that the breaking of the neutrality of Belgium was only an English pretext".
This secret gold mine, along with Russell's "movie business", and possibly other Dubbs-connected investments in California, were likely the reason that Russell sent Judge Rutherford to live and work in California in mid 1915 -- to secretly keep an eye on all of Russell's West Coast business operations, while also performing "Pilgrim" visits for the WatchTower Society. However, by Summer 1916, rumors of Russell's secret gold mine were leaking beyond Russell's inner circle to the rank-n-file, whom Russell did not want to learn about such. Russell included the following "NOTICE" in the September 1, 1916 issue of his WATCHTOWER magazine in an attempt to throw off the bloodhounds:
"THIS ONE THING" THE SOCIETY DOES
Brethren write us from time to time respecting inventions, patents, mining claims, etc., desiring that THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY should join with them in the development of these -- kindly offering the principal portion of all the profits.
We greatly appreciate these kind offers, the generous hearts behind them, and the love for the Truth and its service thus manifested. But we are obliged to refuse all such offers, because the Society engages in no kind of business for profit. It confines its business transactions to financiering the Pilgrim Work, publishing the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, etc., and supplying them at cost or below cost; publishing THE WATCH TOWER, publishing the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, etc., and in the presentation, and formerly in the showing, of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.
The Society engages in no kind of mining or patent business or speculations. The money under its control comes from the Lord's consecrated people, and often represents hard-earned funds and self-sacrificing economy; it is used strictly and only for the forwarding of the Truth according to the best judgment of the executive officers.
This does not mean any unwillingness to counsel with any of the brethren in respect to their earthly affairs and interests. We are glad to give such advice as we may be able to give on every matter, temporal or spiritual, involving the interests of the Lord's consecrated saints.
Again, no gold -- or at least no significant amount of gold -- was mined during the two failed mining seasons of 1914-15 and 1915-16. By mid 1916, the question was, Would Pastor Russell throw good money after bad, and order the financing of a third mining season from Fall 1916 until Summer 1917?
In September 1916
, a series of WatchTower Conventions conveniently had been scheduled for the West Coast, which Russell's closest sycophants followed whistle stop to whistle stop via train caravan. It was during the California portion of this WatchTower Convention tour that Charles Taze Russell, Judge Rutherford
, and the balance of Russell's "true inner circle" quietly slipped off from the main crowd, traveled to Soda Springs, and conferenced as to whether to finance a third mining season. "Pastor" Russell's inner circle was deeply split on the issue, and while Russell initially was willing to give the Soda Springs gold mining operation a third season, those followers who were against financing a third mining season were slowly wearing Russell down.
While we do not know where Pastor Russell stood on the third gold mining season at the end of that September 1916 conference -- approved, delayed, or shut down -- Russell had no more returned to WatchTower HQ in late September before he planned another trip back to the gold mine in late October. Interestingly, at the same time that Russell departed Brooklyn for California, on October 16, 1916, Russell had ordered Judge Rutherford to return to Brooklyn from California. In fact, "Judge" Rutherford was at WatchTower HQ on Saturday, October 28, when Russell and Menta Sturgeon were conducting unknown business at Soda Springs.
"All day Saturday, under severe pain, in great weakness, with obstructions piling up before him every moment, he struggled with business propositions like a giant. ... Friends had disappointed him, and he wondered if the Lord were not against him in some things. -- Menta Sturgeon.
In one way or another, the stress and strain of this latest failure in a chain of failures was more than Charles Taze Russell could bear. This is not just our speculation, it was the speculation of some of Russell's closest followers at Watch Tower HQ after Russell's death only three days after conducting business at the gold mine -- on Tuesday, October 31, 1916.
Judge Rutherford left WatchTower HQ on Sunday to help conduct a Pilgrim meeting at Oakland, Maryland on Monday. Rutherford left Maryland on Tuesday to travel to Ohio, where he conducted unknown legal business for the WatchTower Society on Wednesday. (It may very well have been this business transaction which Rutherford years later boasted of saving the Society $11,000.00.) Rutherford probably had already learned of Russell's death via media reports on Wednesday morning by the time that he received A. H. MacMillan's infamous telegram that, "The Old Man is dead." Rutherford returned back to Brooklyn by Friday, where he immediately began to plot and scheme his takeover of the now leaderless WatchTower Society ***.
Obviously, there are lots of unanswered questions, such as, "Why did Russell order Rutherford to leave California and return to WatchTower HQ at the very same time that Russell and Menta Sturgeon were leaving WatchTower HQ for yet another cross-country train ride back to the Soda Springs Mine???"
If Russell, who had ZERO TOLERANCE for disobedience and disloyalty, was displeased or even angry with Rutherford, then,"Why did Russell allow Rutherford to leave WatchTower HQ on Sunday, and apparently start "working" his way back to California, while Russell was at the same time leaving Caifornia and heading back to WatchTower HQ?" "Had Russell and Rutherford planned an even more secret meeting somewhere between California and Brooklyn?" "Were Russell and Rutherford leaders of opposing WatchTower factions (as Russellites, who hate JFR, would have us believe), or were they "partners" against an opposing faction led by someone else?"
The dummy partnership used by Charles Taze Russell for the Soda Springs mining operation, but "dissolved" in March 1917 by "Judge" Rutherford, was composed of a longtime prominent WatchTower Pilgrim named James H. Cole (whom moved around so much for Russell that we have yet to determine his original home address), and another Russellite identified only as "J. White" (see "Vow").
While we do not know for a certainty whether mining operations occurred at Soda Springs during the Fall 1916 to Spring 1917 mining season, the fact that "Judge" Rutherford waited until the end of that mining season before making changes to the legal entity operating the Soda Springs Mine would seem to suggest that mining had occurred during 1916-17. More interestingly, we would like to know whether "Judge" Rutherford followed through with the apparently-being-planned 1917-18 mining season, given everything that happened to Rutherford and the WatchTower Society starting almost immediately after he took over the Soda Springs Mine. Extremely interesting is the role that such continuing plans and/or operations relating to the Soda Springs Gold Mine played in the Schism and power struggle that erupted amongst the WatchTower Society leadership in the Summer of 1917, and may have played in power struggles and schisms thereafter.
Notably, we previously had paraphrased from multiple online sources that supposedly quote from a U.S. Geological Survey report which supposedly states that the Soda Springs mine site was observed abandoned in 1917. Recently, after discovering that "Judge" Rutherford had continued the mining operation in 1917, we then dismissed that report as possibly being an observation made during the mining off-season. WELL, GUESS WHAT. We just reviewed some overlooked research collected by us more than a decade ago, and we found where that same USGS field employee stated in another report that he had NOT observed the Soda Springs mine site abandoned until DECEMBER 1919. The thing about that statement that is especially interesting is that that statement leaves open the possibility that mining occurred through the previous 1918-19 mining season, which was while Rutherford and his crew were in prison. Was that why Rutherford made a beeline to California after being released from Atlanta in April 1919, which would have been at the end of the 1918-19 mining season? Was the gold mine -- either production or failed production -- the source of Rutherford's split with Ernest Kuehn?
Now that we know that gold mining occurred at Soda Lake in 1914/15, 1915/16, probably 1916/17, likely 1917/18, and possibly 1918/19, is not such indication that claims that little or no gold had been found TYPICAL misdirection by WatchTower leaders, while in fact, SOME GOLD -- ENOUGH GOLD was being captured to encourage continued mining efforts???
The comeback to that is, if Russell and Rutherford found sufficient GOLD near Soda Lake to continue mining for 4-5 years, then why has not someone else duplicated their success during the past 100 years? There are a couple of responses to that comeback. While the Russell-Rutherford gold-mining operation used Soda Lake as its basecamp and probably for its "washing" operations, noone now knows exactly where in the Soda Mountains that the actual mining took place. Second, using "volunteer" labor can make business operations "profitable" which otherwise would not be profitable. We actually have a third-party report that states that during at least one of the mining seasons between 1914 and 1919 that SEVERAL HUNDRED people were observed working just at the Soda Lake worksite.
*** FOOTNOTE: For Jehovah's Witnesses and other readers who have NO CLUE about the REAL history of the WatchTower Society and its principal characters, Joe Rutherford, as he was known in Missouri, had an extensive background in rural Missouri Democrat Party politics that apparently extended back to his formative years. Joe Rutherford had intensely participated in not only primary and general elections, but also intra-party politics and elections. When Rutherford had been only 26 years-old, he unsuccessfully ran in the Democrat primary for a seat in the State Legislature, and four years later, Rutherford unsuccessfully ran in the Democrat primary for "Circuit Judge". In intra-party politics, Rutherford had been County Chairman of at least one Presidential campaign, and of at least one Gubernatorial campaign.
Years of firsthand involvement in dirty, crooked intra-party politics, including rigging county and state conventions and political platforms, had prepared Rutherford perfectly for pushing out the passive half-wits whom Charles Taze Russell had kept on the WatchTower Society's Board of Directors and in WatchTower Society management positions.
Joe Rutherford's past experience with rigging local intra-party elections also came in handy in 1920, when Rutherford decided to re-organize the WatchTower Society's Branch Office in Germany. After traveling to Germany, Rutherford called a meeting of the then seven German "Pilgrims" to supposedly allow them to nominate and elect a new Branch Manager of their choosing. Of course, "Boss Rutherford" had no real intention of allowing anyone to be the German Branch Manager except for the person whom Rutherford already had decided on. Pilgrims Bernhard Buchholz and Paul Balzereit (Rutherford's choice) were nominated. Rutherford had the seven German Pilgrims cast secret ballots. Rutherford then "counted" the ballots himself, and announced that Paul Balzereit had won "nearly unanimously" by a vote of 6 to 1 -- making it appear that Paul Balzereit also was "Jehovah's Choice". (Joe Rutherford had to assume that Bernhard Buchholz would vote for himself.) Days later, when the German Pilgrims began talking amongst themselves, the other five German Pilgrims discovered that each of them had voted for Bernhard Buchholz. Bernhard Buchholz actually was the winner of the election -- either by a vote of 5 to 2, or 6 to 1. NONE had the courage to confront "Judge" Rutherford.
Charles Taze Russell and the WatchTower Society were in deep business distress after the "busted" October 1914 prophecy failure, and particularly after the "busted" October 1915 prophecy failure. Even Russell himself probably assumed that his decades-old "religion business" was all but finished. The "milk cows" were "dry", and the "sheep" had been completely "fleeced". Seeing no further use for many of the dead-weights who surrounded him at Brooklyn Bethel, Russell began dismissing all but absolutely necessary staff from Watch Tower Society Headquarters -- even though the dismissed "volunteers" were receiving nothing but room, board, and a $10.00 / $11.00 monthly allowance. Even Russell's closest co-conspirator henchmen were hustling around looking for their next job.
All of this is related to readers to preface a SHOCKING FACT. Readers should further understand that this FACT does not negate anything related thus far about the financial distress of either the WatchTower Society, nor of Charles Taze Russell himself, personally. Rather, readers should attempt to reconcile the following seeming "contradiction" with everything else related on this webpage -- even the possibility that Russell may have committed suicide due to the financial distress of both himself and his empire. One last preliminary fact. Since 1898, and up until the year 2011, Russell and his followers have repeatedly made much of the fact that Russell supposedly had gradually donated all of his personal assets to the WatchTower Society, and that Russell died nearly penniless. What the WatchTower Society and Russellites never explain is that once Russell attained "Prophet" status, the elderly Russell had little need for the assets which he donated to an organization over which he also was the "dictator". As for disposable "cash", even Russell boasted of incidents where followers shoved cash and checks into his pockets. NOW, for the SHOCKING FACT. Charles Taze Russell had a small "private" safe in the "parlor" of his private quarters at WatchTower Society Headquarters. What do you suppose was found in that private safe after Russell's death? $96,000.00 in cash. Let's put that in context. In today's money, that is equivalent to $2,091,000.00 in CASH (Halfhill). Quite a nice "petty cash" fund for a 64 year old man in 1916. What do you suppose today's Jehovah's Witnesses would think and say if Benny Hinn spent all of 2013 proclaiming financial distress, and even slashed his staff and operations, and then CNN announced that Benny Hinn had just died, and$2,091,000.00 in cash was found in his private safe?
Was Charles Taze Russell just another "P.T. Barnum", or was he even something worse than that, or was Russell an innocent Prophet raised up by GOD? You be the judge.
EPILOGUE: Does anyone know to where Judge Rutherford traveled soon after Russell's funeral, and what kind of deal was undoubtedly cut to make certain that everything went smoothly with "Don Corleone's" family -- which it did, completely and absolutely. Does anyone really believe that a "payoff" did not occur? From where did the "payoff" come?
In fact, after traveling to the funeral of Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, it was reported that Maria Russell then traveled to NYC to hire an attorney to pursue any interests that she might have in assets in New York state which had belonged to Charles Taze Russell, the WatchTower Society, or the other legal entities that Russell used to hide assets from her. It is possible that Maria did the same thing before leaving Pittsburgh regarding any remaining assets in that state.
Up until now, nearly all who have studied this period of Watch Tower Society history have scratched their heads as to how someone with the personality of a rock managed to take over a religious movement founded by a bigger-than-life, charismatic CULT FIGURE??? EASY!!! Never forget the adage to, "FOLLOW THE MONEY". Rutherford was the "consigliere". Rutherford not only knew where most "all the bodies were buried", but more importantly, Rutherford knew where most all the "SKIM" had been stashed. Russell and Rutherford had kept most of that information from as many other insiders as possible. Russell died before crowning a successor. Rutherford only needed certain "captains" for a coup to succeed. With whom did Clayton Woodworth side? With whom did William Van Amburgh side? With whom did the weasel A. H. McMillan side? What happened to the "captains" like George Raymond, who had been given reign to run their own "crews", and who were now satisfied to take their "cut" and "retire" from the business? What happened to the more "moral", more "religious", and naive"captains" like Alfred Ritchie, who had never been let in on any more details/specifics than absolutely necessary, but whose "suspicions" now posed a danger. The floundering ship did not have room for everyone. Some had to go.
TO THE VICTOR BELONGS THE SPOILS
As with any "Mafia" organization, when there is a change in leadership, the "Captains" and "Soldiers" do not inherit the assets which they held in secret partnership with the former Boss. The former Boss's share goes to the new Boss -- as best as he can discover and figure such out.
In the case of the Soda Lake gold-minng operation described above, as soon as "Judge" Rutherford was elected President in early January 1917, and as soon as he had things somewhat situated at WatchTower HQ, Rutherford headed to California in mid-February 1917. There, Rutherford set in motion the legalities to take over Charles Taze Russell's interest in the Soda Lake gold mine. Rutherford thereafter scurried back to WatchTower HQ in early March 1917.
Frankly, we were not only surprised, but shocked, when we found that "Judge" Rutherford had put his personal name on this then still mostly-secret business operation (How many of you 21st century readers knew about the Soda Lake operation before you read about it here, or from one of our multiple earlier disclosures over the past decade?) Apparently, there was something going on with either Cole and/or White such that "Judge" Rutherford needed to remove them from the picture. Neither did Rutherford trust Kuehn and others enough to leave Rutherford's interest legally undocumented.
Ernest Kuehn was left behind not only to oversee the windup of the 1916-17 mining season at Soda Lake, and preparations for the upcoming 1917-18 mining season, but also to oversee the operations of Mena Film Company. In fact, Ernest Kuehn, whose background was in agricultural seeds, in Ohio, spent a large portion of 1917 in California overseeing both businesses. 1917 was an extremely hectic year at Mena Film Studios with the shooting and production of RESTITUTION, (and no expense was spared).
Researchers will note that Charles Taze Russell's name was never officially listed amongst the corporate owners of Mena Film Company, Inc. or Pyramid Film Company, Inc., nor their distribution affiliates, Perfection Advertising Company, Inc. and other yet-to-be discovered companies. However, anyone who believes that Charles Taze Russell did not have his finger in those highly desirable "pies" are simply naive, dishonest, or both -- as is anyone who believes that "Judge" Rutherford did not "inherit" Russell's secret interest in those operations. ("Pastor" Russell micro-managed everything having to do with the production of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, and Russell thoroughly enjoyed this new-fangled movie business. There is no way that Russell didn't have a financial interest in his DRAMA's "offspring".)
In 1912, Pastor Russell quietly made a significant real estate purchase in Manhattan -- near Broadway and Central Park. On 63rd Street, the builder of a large new three-story theater had gotten himself into financial troubles, and was forced to sale the partially completed property (does that sound familiar -- Hammondville). That property became Russell's "New York City Temple", where religious services were conducted along with multiple daily showings of the Photo-Drama starting in January 1914.
What received little or no publicity from Pastor Russell was the fact that Russell also purchased the adjacent 10-story mixed occupancy former hotel building, which was rented out as apartments, offices, and retail space. Typically, there were multiple straw transactions before the property was finally transferred into the hands of the People's Pulpit Association in November 1913. As all of PPA's properties, these two new properties also were fully encumbered with full mortgages to retain all financial power within Russell's hands via his total control of the WatchTower Society of Pennsylvania.
An article in the WATCHTOWER
magazine, which did not mention the purchase of the adjacent building, boasted that the theater building was "worth" nearly a half million dollars. Actually, in 1915, the assessed value of the theater building was $220,000.00, and the assessed value of the former hotel building was only $105,000.00. Those two large Manhattan properties were cashed out by Judge Rutherford
after Russell's death, in 1917, for $330,000.00 (roughly $6,250,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL)
As outlined in our CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY
, Russell's main real-estate "straw man buyer-seller", George Raymond, continued buying and selling real estate investment properties in and around Pittsburgh after "Judge" Rutherford became President in January 1917. In fact, in mid-1917, Rutherford apparently approved plans to sub-divide into 77 one-acre lots the balance of the United Cemeteries
property not already designated for cemetery purposes. Just as "advertising" was being readied for such, North Side Catholic Cemetery
stepped in and offered to purchase the entire tract, which was accepted.
ALL JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE EQUAL,
BUT SOME JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
Over the decades, the WatchTower Cult has published hundreds of "experiences" glorifying the sacrifice of common Jehovah's Witnesses around the world who have gone to jail or prison rather than violate the written and unwritten dictates set forth by the leaders of the WatchTower Cult. Going to jail or prison for sake of the beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Cult has long been considered a noble act, even a "privilege", by the vast majority of rank-n-file Jehovah's Witnesses. Over the decades, the WatchTower Cult has reinforced this mindset in its followers by never missing an opportunity to repeat a varying length account of the time when WatchTower President Joseph F. Rutherford and seven of his followers were "privileged" to have served nearly nine months in federal prison during 1918-19.
Keeping with the tradition of these two sister websites of peeling back the layers of WatchTower History, and discovering what is actually "lying" beneath the painted-on surface, we now ask this question, "Just how anxious were Judge Rutherford and his crew to 'suffer' for their beliefs?"
We discovered that just as is most of the WatchTower Cult's self-reported "history", the various attributions of bravery, faithfulness, loyalty, and other "greatnesses" heaped onto Judge Rutherford and his crew are typically "mythological".
When Judge Rutherford and his crew were jailed at time of conviction and thereafter shipped off to federal prison, they had been convicted of federal crimes, and they had no choice in the matter. However, a segment of the Rutherford imprisonment story has been overlooked. There was a point in the prosecution of Rutherford and his crew when serving time in jail was actually "optional", and Rutherford did not face up to such in the noble manner that has been portrayed over the decades by the WatchTower Cult.
When federal marshalls arrested Judge Rutherford and five other Bethelites at Brooklyn Bethel in May 1918 (Woodworth and Fisher were later arrested at their homes in Scranton), they were quickly taken before a federal judge and arraigned. All pleaded "Not Guilty". Bail was set at $5000.00 for each of the four corporate officers, with $2500.00 set for Robison and DeCecca -- totaling $25,000.00. Did Rutherford and his crew nobly accept their fate and sing hymns on their way back to jail while they waited patiently for their family or friends to arrange bail for each of them?
HECK NO!!! Joe Rutherford immediately attempted to put up all of the property which the WatchTower Cult owned in Brooklyn for bail. However, the USDC refused to accept as collateral real estate legally titled in the name of the People's Pulpit Association religious corporation.
What would Joe Rutherford do? Had this failed attempt to post "Jehovah's Property" as his bail given Joe Rutherford time to re-think such an ill-conceived decision. Would Joe Rutherford now decide to wait in jail until bail could be properly arranged?
HECK NO!!! Fully exercising his fiduciary responsibility as a corporate director and officer of a religious not-for-profit organization, Joe Rutherford right there and then decided to deed all of "Jehovah's Property" located on Columbia Heights to an individual Brooklyn Bethelite named J. F. Stevenson. Once the property no longer belonged to "Jehovah", but legally belonged to a human, it was accepted as collateral for bail of Rutherford and his crew. All that legal maneuvering must have taken hours, but it accomplished what Rutherford hoped it would accomplish. Neither Rutherford nor his five crew members had to spend that night in jail. Interestingly, Judge Rutherford either LIED to the USDC about the recorded and unrecorded mortgages mentioned in the section above, or Rutherford had removed those multiple mortgages from the People's Pulpit Association's properties by May 1918.
Just for background sake, J. F. Stevenson, who was then a 38 year-old Bethelite and occasional WatchTower Pilgrim, was the son of a prosperous Washington D.C. businessman, who coincidentally was a FreeMason (as was his brother/business partner). J. F. Stevenson was not the only WatchTower Pilgrim with FreeMason connections. Starting back in the 1890s, Charles Taze Russell had begun choosing FreeMasons as WatchTower Pilgrims and for other prominent positions. Thereafter, Pastor Russell continued to add FreeMasons to prominent positions in his "non-sectarian" religious organization. Not by coincidence, over the years, Masonic Temples across the United States began to open their doors to both occasional and regular meetings of the non-sectarian "International Bible Students Association". (Notably, in 1903, Pastor Russell presided over the funeral of a Pittsburgh area "Bible Student", and well-to-do businessman, whom also was a FreeMason. The deceased's FreeMason brothers attended the funeral en masse, and are presumed to have conducted FM rituals at the funeral and internment. Russell received a $1000.00 -- over $31,200.00 in 2016 dollars -- bequest in return.)
Most interesting is the fact that Charles Taze Russell found much support among FreeMasons
living in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Before long, meetings of the Washington D.C. "International Bible Students Association"
were being held regularly at the Washington D.C. Masonic Temple
-- either on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings, or on Sunday evenings and Thursday evenings. After a second new Masonic Temple was constructed in Washington D.C., probable/onetime FreeMasons and prominent Bible Students General William P. Hall and J.T.D. Pyles (both accompanied Russell on his infamous "world tour" that visited the Great Pyramid in 1912)
formed a new IBSA
group to meet regularly in that "New" Masonic Temple
on Sunday Mornings for "public services", while Sunday/Thursday evening IBSA
sessions continued to be held regularly at the "Old" Masonic Temple
In January 1913, Charles Taze Russell was named "Pastor" of this new "Washington Temple Congregation". In addition to himself regularly appearing to preach for the "Washington Temple Congregation", Pastor Russell also sent to Washington D.C. a steady stream of his most prominent speakers from WatchTower HQ in Brooklyn. Attendances reportedly ranged widely from 400 to 1200 persons per session -- probably depending on the local popularity of the visiting WatchTower HQ dignitary. After the "Great Disappointment of 1914", attendance fell off such that Washington D.C. Bible Students discontinued their "public" meetings at the new Masonic Temple, and returned to holding Sunday and Thursday meetings at the old Masonic Temple.
CAUTION to those researchers attempting to locate evidence that Charles Taze Russell became a FreeMason at some point during his lifetime. First, IF such did occur, it happened later on in his lifetime, when occurred Russell's 180 degree change of attitude regarding FreeMasons and FreeMasonry -- not early in his lifetime, when Russell was openly "anti-FreeMasonry". Second, IF such did occur, Russsell likely would have chosen to have been "raised" in a Lodge which could guarantee secrecy -- probably during one of his multiple trips to Scotland , and not in the United States. Third, IF such did occur, there is practically no chance that any record of such exists. There are "public" Freemasons, and then there are "private" FreeMasons. There are no publicly accessible membership records of FreeMasons who have never wanted their membership known outside Masonic circles.(For instance, prior to the 21st century, the vast majority of attorneys throughout the United States -- thus "judges" at every local, state, and federal level --were/are Freemasons. That legal/judicial influence was abundantly exercised both inside and outside the courtroom. One thing that restrained the FreeMasons' exercise of legal/judicial power from going nuclear was the large number of opposing attorneys and opposing litigants who were all FreeMasons. We personally know of one "ultimately sanctioned" FM attorney who made the "ultimate mistake" of backstabbing his own client as a favor to an opposing FM attorney and opposing FM litigant, without exercising due diligence and discovering his own client's relative's even more influential FM connections.) Naive are those persons whom publicly state that Charles Taze Russell was never a FreeMason simply because Pennsylvania FM officials sent them a letter stating that Russell was not a FreeMason. We have made multiple similar inquiries of multiple persons whom we knew for a certainty were FMs, even providing the name/names and dates of the Lodges they attended, and we received the same "no record" response. Fourth, ignorant and naive are those persons who believe that 21th century FreeMasonry is no longer proactively maneuvering FreeMasons into positions of high authority in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government of the United States.
KINEMO KIT CORPORATION
In 1919, George Driscoll and Page Noll, former "Publicity Agents" for Charles Taze Russell, who had once worked out of the offices of the by-then defunct "PASTOR RUSSELL LECTURE BUREAU" and the "I.B.S.A. RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE", along with three others, formed KINEMO KIT CORPORATION in Los Angeles, California, with the ridiculously low paid-in investment amount of $90.00. Given those facts, this corporation was obviously a post-Russell front corporation carrying on Russell-era California business activities. In fact, the October 1, 1921 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine included this "ANNOUNCEMENT":
In the August 15, 1920, issue of The Watch Tower announcement was made concerning the making of certain films to be exhibited on a miniature projecting machine suitable for use in parlors of homes, small halls, and schoolhouses, in connection with teaching the truth. Following that Brother [George] Driscoll and Brother [Joseph F.] Rutherford visited Europe, Egypt and Palestine and made a number of films. Films have also been made of the Imperial Valley (California). These pictures have been exhibited on standard projecting machines at a number of places, namely, Oklahoma City, Boston, Detroit, Buffalo, and some other places, and many of the friends have expressed themselves enthusiastically in favor of them.
As heretofore announced, the [Watch Tower] Society cannot engage in the manufacturing business; hence the manufacture and sale of the projecting machines and the film must be done by a separate corporation. Brother Driscoll is the manager of the Kinemo Kit Corporation and has put forth his best endeavors; together with others who have assisted him, to produce films and a projecting machine that would be useful in teaching the message of present truth. While the Society cannot engage in the manufacture and sale as above mentioned, yet it is the desire of the Society that every possible means for teaching the truth be employed.
The Imperial Valley film is produced for the purpose of showing fulfillment of prophecy in the reclamation of the desert land and interesting people in the truths concerning restitution. The films made in Palestine more particularly relate to the return of the Jews to that land and the rebuilding of Palestine, while those made in Egypt have reference to the Great Pyramid and the lessons it teaches. The general subject matter, of course, has the endorsement of the [Watch Tower] Society; and the effort of the Kinemo Kit Corporation to produce a satisfactory picture has the endorsement of the [Watch Tower] Society.
From this time forward the Kinemo Kit Corporation will assume all responsibility of production, handling, sale and distribution of the machines and film. The price, as we are informed by the Kinemo Kit Corporation, will be announced in the near future. All orders received heretofore by the [Watch Tower] Society, will be transmitted to the Kinemo Kit Corporation for filling. Future orders should be sent direct to the Kinemo Kit Corporation at 1842 Gordon St., Los Angeles, California.
The Kinemo Kit Corporation will continue to produce films from time to time for the purpose of teaching the message of present truth and which will be available for use upon the machines it will manufacture for sale. The price of the future films will be regulated according to the length of the story and will be duly announced by that company from time to time.
As indicated in the above article, KINEMO KIT CORPORATION and its activities had first been announced 14 months earlier, in the August 15, 1920 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine. In that article, Rutherford stated that the manufacturing output of KKC would be controlled by the WatchTower Society -- thus making it clear to readers who actually controlled this "separate corporation". It was posed that these projector outfits would be something that all WatchTower followers would want to buy for use in their homes and use in their ministry. Rutherford stated that the target cost of the projector and 4 films would be $30.00, and he solicited unpaid pre-orders be sent directly to the WatchTower Society so that they would know how many units to manufacture. Rutherford also stated that additional films would be produced at the rate of one or more a month so that his followers would have a constant monthly outlay of money for KKC product.
Apparently, some unknown problems developed, because it wasn't until two years later, in 1922, that box advertisements began to be published in THE GOLDEN AGE magazine notifying WatchTower followers that shipments of the projectors and three films would begin on August 1, 1922. Available films included the exact three topics discussed in the above 1921 WT article. Interestingly, instead of the price being $30.00 for the projector and 4 films, the price was 250% higher. Projectors were $30.00, and the three films then available were $12.50, $12.50, and $10.00 each.
JEHOVAH'S KINGDOM CORPORATION
As disclosed in our extensive FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, "Pastor" Russell's real estate holding company, UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY, LIMITED
, was dissolved in June 1916. At some point thereafter, "Pastor" Russell's successor as "President"
of the WatchTower Real Estate Tract Society, Joseph F. Rutherford
, formed a similar real estate holding company called "Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation"
. It is unclear exactly for what all types of transactions this corporation was used, but the following "NOTICE"
was quietly slipped into the January 15, 1936 edition of THE GOLDEN AGE
"The JEHOVAH'S KINGDOM CORPORATION was organized with best intentions of aiding brethren. A brief experience shows that it was not always used properly and has not had the blessing of the Lord. Its operations will be discontinued."
Interestingly, Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation can still be found to be doing business 3 1/2 years later, in 1939. In September 1939, five properties in the Binghamton, New York area were transferred from the name of Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation into the name of the WatchTower Society.
THE DAYTON CARBUR-AID COMPANY
In January 1921, Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Ohio Secretary of State for THE DAYTON CARBUR-AID COMPANY, of Dayton, Ohio. Initially, there was $10,000 capital stock. The listed shareholders were: J. L. McVay, J. F. RUTHERFORD, F. A. Schultz, H. Schultz ***, and Dr. A. P. Pottle (See "The Power of the Mind", GOLDEN AGE magazine, February 25, 1925.)
The "Carbur-Aid" was an internationally patented automotive gasoline engine after-market "add-on" device, which was touted as not only increasing the power of the engine, but particularly saving of gasoline and increasing mileage by as much as 30% to 70%. This Editor has zero mechanical/engineering knowledge, but the description of this device sounds as if this device may have worked on the same principles as do modern turbochargers and/or superchargers, and thus may have been a predecessor of those devices.
Starting only a few weeks after this company was incorporated in January 1921, advertisements for BOTH Sales Agents and mail order retail sales of this device ran regularly in the WatchTower Society's semi-monthly GOLDEN AGE (later AWAKE!) magazine. Such advertisements were headed, "WORLD'S GAS ECONOMY RECORD BROKEN". Results were "GUARANTEED". There are indications that "Bible Students" and GOLDEN AGE subscribers across the United States, and eventually internationally, rushed to purchase this product, and to sign-up as sales managers and sales agents.
Advertisements for Sales Agents and mail order retail sales were ran in newspapers across the United States, and eventually even as far away as AUSTRALIA, where this device was patented, and an Australian HQ was established in Sydney. It is thanks to a January 1927 advertisement in THE SYDNEY MAIL that we learn that the international patent rights allegedly had recently been sold to an American group of "motor car manufacturers".
*** Notably, "H. Schultz", of Cincinnati, Ohio, was the owner/operator of the RADIUM APPLIANCE SALES COMPANY, of Cincinnati, Ohio, which was the regional distributor of the "Radio-Active Pad", which was a "medical quackery" device manufactured by the Radium Appliance Company, of Los Angeles, California.
In the June 23, 1920 issue of the GOLDEN AGE (later AWAKE!) magazine, WatchTower Society President Joseph F. Rutherford stated that he had previously used and benefited from a "Radio-Active Pad". Rutherford further stated that he already had been privately recommending the product to others. Now, with this published endorsement and recommendation, "Bible Students" across the U.S. probably wanted one, too. Thereafter, later in 1920 and in 1921, the WatchTower Society ran multiple advertisements for the "Radio-Active Pad", and its' manufacturer and its' distributors, in multiple issues of the GOLDEN AGE magazine. One version of the commercial advertisement even included a testimonial written by Bethelite O. L. Sullivan.
BRANCH FOR THE BLIND INC.
PAX PUBLISHING SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND
In 1922, the Watch Tower Society founded what was referred to as its "Branch for the Blind" in Logansport, Indiana. J. F. Rutherford was listed as "President". Local "Bible Student" A. L. Ball was listed as the "Executive Secretary". The location on Spear Street was a residential home. Ownership of the structure is unknown, but after the "Blind Branch" disappeared from Logansport, the building served as the Logansport, Indiana Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses until 1957.
Interestingly, listed at this same Logansport, Indiana location also was a for-profit commercial business named Pax Publishing Society For The Blind, which was founded not before founding of the "Blind Branch", but afterwards, in 1925. A. L. Ball was BOTH "President" and "Executive Secretary". PAX published and sold a variety of Braille materials which were advertised as being manufactured on the machinery owned by the Watch Tower Society. This certainly sounds as if this later for-profit business was established to help pay the way of the Watch Tower Society's Branch Office, which served only about 54 blind "Bible Students" during the late 1920s.
"JUDGE" RUTHERFORD'S PERSONAL RADIO EMPIRE
Following are proofs of three -- probably four -- radio stations either founded, solely owned, or partially owned by "Judge" Rutherford, which have never been claimed to be owned by the WatchTower Society --then or now. SIGNIFICANTLY, just like Charles Taze Russell secretly founded an Automobile Manufacturing business only months before Jesus Christ was supposed to return in October 1914, only one decade later, in 1924, Russell's successor, Joseph F. Rutherford was secretly negotiating to found or purchase radio stations in Ohio, California, and probably Virginia, only months before Rutherford and his loyal followers were supposed to be raptured to heaven in 1925, while Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were resurrected to rule over the earth's remaining riff-raff. These two "revelations" fully demonstrate what the WatchTower organization is TRULY all about, and always has been TRULY all about.
RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION
ASSOCIATED RADIOCASTING CORPORATION
UNITED BROADCASTING COMPANY ???
RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION was a "dummy corporation" -- NOT on behalf of the WatchTower Society, but on behalf of Joseph Franklin Rutherford, personally. Radio Air Service Corporation was formed for the purchase of radio station WHK (AM), in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1925. "Judge" J. F. Rutherford's "straw purchaser" was Rutherford henchman and WatchTower Society Pilgrim and Bethelite, Matthew Arnold Howlett.
Bethelite Matthew A. Howlett was transferred from WatchTower HQ to Cleveland, Ohio, to become "President" of Radio Air Service Corporation and "General Manager" of WHK. Also given this "assignment" were Matthew Howlett's two brothers, Eric S. Howlett and Harry C. Howlett, who also moved to Cleveland to work at and help manage WHK. Eric Howlett also was a WatchTower Bethelite, who had been appearing for a couple of years or so on WBBR, while Harry Howlett was a Bethelite and Pilgrim.
After this 8+ years long money-making venture was over, Matthew Howlett and the wife whom he had married in Cleveland, in 1928, returned to WatchTower HQ, in August 1934, where he became the Manager of the WatchTower Society's radio station on Staten Island, WBBR. Matthew Howlett did NOT cease to be a WatchTower "Bethelite" (vow of poverty) during his 8+ years in Cleveland, but instead referred to that time period as his "assignment out west". M. A. Howlett was a "Bethelite" and "Pilgrim" continuously from 1917 until sometime during the 1940/50s.
Extremely interesting is the FACT that during those latter 1920s and early 1930s, while "Judge" Rutherford was using every single opportunity he could find to CONDEMN "Babylon The Great", its ministers, and its members, over every other radio station across the United States from which he could purchase air time, back at his own "for-profit" radio station in Cleveland, Ohio, "Judge" Rutherford and Matthew Howlett were doing everything they could to kowtow to "Babylon The Great", and to encourage "Babylon The Great" to use the facilities of WHK to broadcast its own supposedly "false religious" message. (This, despite the fact that Rutherford published in a Yearbook that the WatchTower Society had a contract with WHK to be its exclusive source of "biblical" content.)
Jehovah's Witnesses and others, who may be somewhat aware that the WatchTower Society once owned two small American radio stations of its own back in the 1920s-1940s (WORD in Chicago, and WBBR in NYC), which broadcast only WatchTower propaganda during limited broadcast hours, should understand that WHK was NOT one of those stations. WHK was a for-profit, public AM radio station SECRETLY OWNED by "Judge" Joseph F. Rutherford -- unbeknowst to federal government regulators and Columbia Broadcast System (CBS), which franchised WHK into its chain in 1928. This "fraud" was so successful that Matthew Howlett even served as "Secretary-Treasurer" of the National Association of Broadcasters from 1931-33.
In 1932, "Judge" Rutherford and the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER newspaper each purchased an unknown percentage of Associated Radiocasting Corporation, which was the holding company of a radio station in Columbus, Ohio -- WAIU. "Judge" Rutherford again used Matthew Howlett and his brothers as "straw men purchasers" to keep Rutherford's ownership interest a secret. Eric Howlett left WHK and went to WAIU as "Station Manager". At the same time, Rutherford sold/traded a "minority" interest in RASC to the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER newspaper -- probably in exchange for Rutherford's share of ARC.
Two years later, in 1934, Rutherford sold/traded his stock in both ARC and RASC to the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, who formed United Broadcasting Company as the new holding company.for WHK, WAIU, and two other area radio stations that they already owned all or part.
Even before we discovered Rutherford's purchase of WAIU, we had already found reasons to "suspect" that Rutherford had not completely divested himself of all financial interest in WHK in 1934. Now knowing that "Judge" Rutherford had also owned part of WAIU, there is even more reason to suspect that, besides cash, "Judge" Rutherford also had taken stock in United Broadcasting Company as unknown amount partial/full payment for his share of WHK and WAIU. Since the WatchTower Society undoubtedly managed to get hold of any UBC stock in Rutherford's hands at his death, such would explain why both the owners of UBC and the Plain Dealer seemed to kowtow to the WatchTower Society and local Jehovah's Witnesses for decades thereafter -- more so than even typical liberal media owners.
ANTON KOERBER v. JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and M. ARNOLD HOWLETT (1940-42). In 1940, Washington D.C. real estate mogul, and former WatchTower Bethelite and Pilgrim, Anton Adam Koerber, filed a lawsuit against "Judge" Rutherford and his stooge, Matthew Howlett, in which Anton Koerber alleged that he had been "Judge" Rutherford's partner in the original purchase of Radio Air Service Corporation and WHK, and that "Judge" Rutherford had cheated Koerber out of his share of both the multi-years operating profits and the proceeds from the eventual sale of the business.
Anton Koerber alleged that he had secretly furnished the original purchase price for WHK -- $10,000.00 ($140,000.00 in 2016 dollars) -- to Rutherford in exchange for 49% of the ownership. Koerber alleged that he had never, ever received any of the annual operating profits from Rutherford. Koerber alleged that it was not until 1935 that he heard about the sale of WHK in 1934. Koerber further alleged that when he approached Rutherford for his share of the operating profits, and his share of the sale proceeds, that "Judge" Rutherford both "ignored him", and became "antagonistic" towards Koerber.
More specifically, Anton Koerber alleged that "Judge" Rutherford actually had told Koerber that the purchase price for WHK was $20,000.00. Rutherford told Koerber that he would put up the other half -- $10,000.00 -- plus completely manage the operation in exchange for 51% ownership. Koerber further alleged that Rutherford had received more than $250,000.00 for WHK, in 1934. (Note that Koerber apparently did not even know that Rutherford used WHK stock to buy into WAIU in 1932, much less know that Rutherford probably received stock in UBC when Rutherford sold out his interests in WHK and WAIU in 1934.)
Curiously, Koerber's legal complaint alleged that the formation of the "joint venture" between Rutherford and Koerber had occurred in 1929. As noted above, Rutherford actually had purchased WHK in 1925. We only can speculate at this discrepancy. Maybe, "1929" was a typographical error made at Koerber's attorneys office, or a typo made at the courthouse. While it is also possible that Koerber simply may have forgotten the correct date, readers should understand that Anton A. Koerber was a highly successful real estate agent, broker, speculator, and developer, whom was experienced with sophisticated and complicated business transactions. (Try sorting out the Depression Era high-dollar federal court case MILO MANOR v. WOODARD.) If "1929" was the correct year that Rutherford approached Koerber for money, then Rutherford was an even bigger CONMAN than we thought.
Neither do we know where Koerber got the amount of $250,000.00 ($4.5 MILLION in 2016 dollars) for Rutherford's alleged proceeds from the sale of WHK. Koerber and his attorneys undoubtedly had researched the matter as best as could be done in 1940, and made their best guestimate for purposes of the initial legal complaint. In fact, the two recorded 1941 New York appellate court decisions relate to Koerber's multiple attempts thereafter to force Rutherford to provide an "accounting" for the alleged "joint venture" between Rutherford and Koerber. "Judge" Rutherford denied the existence of the "joint venture", and refused to provide that "accounting", or even submit to questioning. Koerber initially "won" that decision, but Rutherford appealed, and the decision was partially overruled in latter 1941. As a result, Rutherford never provided the necessary "accounting", and never submitted to questioning.
Then, in January 1942, "Judged" Rutherford DIED of rectal cancer. While Koerber had named Matthew Howlett as a co-defendant, Howlett was not privy to Rutherford's and Koerber's behind-the-scenes conversations and agreements pertaining to their formation of this "joint venture". While "Judged" Rutherford's death would seemed to have ended any hopes that Koerber had of proving the allegations in his lawsuit, something VERY INTERESTING occurred only three months later.
On May 1, 1942, KOERBER & BAER, which was identified as a Washington D.C. firm headed up by Anton Koerber, was named as the "grantee" of the 161 unit Morrowfield Apartments complex, which was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The listed value was $850,000.00 ($12.7 MILLION in 2016 dollars). The "grantor" was a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Fidelity Trust Company. Notably, other than this transaction, we find no further evidence of a Koerber & Baer. HHHMMM!!!!
PART 2 of our story about Anton Adam Koerber continues below. (Readers, if you do not already know what happened next, you are in for a real treat. Go read Part 2 below, and then come back here and continue down the page.)
Although we have yet to locate any statement of ownership which could prove or disprove the secret involvement of "Judge" Rutherford in the ownership of this Virginia radio station, it is EXTREMELY INTERESTING that a WATCHTOWER PILGRIM named Dr. Robert Gamble filed for a radio station to be established in Petersburg, Virginia, around the same time that "Judge" Rutherford was purchasing WHK in Cleveland. Dr. Robert Gamble was a PROMINENT "Bible Student" in Virginia and North Carolina. Gamble also was the "Chairman" of at least two major WatchTower Conventions, including one held in Washington D.C.
Notably, in April 1925, the WatchTower Society's GOLDEN AGE magazine (later AWAKE!) published an article authored by Dr. Robert Gamble, in which Gamble announced and advertised for sale a better and improved version of Albert Abram's ERA "medical device" that Gamble had invented, called the ELECTRONIC RADIO-BIOLA. That same GA issue also included a nearly half-page display advertisement from which GOLDEN AGE readers could order Robert Gamble's medical quackery.
WLBG (AM) was granted a federal license in December 1926, and went on air sometime in 1927. Interestingly, sometime around January 1931, WLBG INC. was formed as an incorporated holding company for this single radio station. Soon thereafter, WLBG INC. applied for more power and a change in its call letters to WPHR, which was granted in 1932. In 1933, Robert Gamble was killed in an automobile accident. In 1936, whomever then owned WLBG INC. sold it to the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper. Modus operandi sound familiar???
More interestingly, just as above -- in the previous sale of the two Ohio radio stations -- IF "Judge" Rutherford had a financial interest in WLBG INC. at the time that it was sold/traded to the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper, we can't help but wonder if Rutherford may have taken stock in that media holding company in full or partial exchange for his stock in WLBG INC. Not long after the acquisition of WLBG INC., the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper acquired the competing TIMES-DISPATCH. Just as in the case of the two Ohio radio stations, over the decades, these Virginia newspapers seemed to have a greater than normal affection for the various causes of the WatchTower Society and its Jehovah's Witness members. We had actually previously attempted to research possible reasons for such, and discovered that a number of JWs have been employed over the decades, including one prominent southern newspaper man. (That "southern newspaper man" was NOT Marley Cole. However, speaking of Marley Cole, does anyone know how/why Marley Cole left his career as a small-town newspaper reporter, and eventually wound up "President" of UNITED QUARRIES CORPORATION, in 1954 -- not long after he began researching his pro-WatchTower history books?)
OAKLAND EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY
EDUCATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION
With corporate names like that chosen for the ownership of a radio station, is there any doubt that these corporations also served as a "cover" for "Judge" Rutherford's next secret purchase of a commercial radio station? Like the radio stations discussed above, it was much easier to determine the time of purchase than it was to figure out when did Rutherford finally dispose of all of his ownership interest.
KFWM-AM in Oakland, California
was licensed as a commercial radio station, and went on the air for the first time in July 1925, under the ownership of the Oakland Educational Society
was devoted exclusively to religious content provided by the WatchTower Society -- Bethelites
from WatchTower HQ, and "Bible Students"
from congregations all over southern California. Part of the Oakland Educational Society
building (formerly the Pilgrim Congregational Church)
contained the equipment and outside tower for KFWM
, while the large sanctuary and other portions of the building served as Oakland's first owned "Kingdom Hall"
. Online sources refer to the Oakland Educational Society
building specifically as the "International Bible School", the "I.B.S.A. Auditorium", and the "I.B.S.A. Temple"
was Henry P. Drey, a WatchTower Pilgrim and onetime Bethelite, while the corporate "Vice-President"
was W. R. Fraser, who was a known "Bible Student". Other station employees included another WatchTower Pilgrim, Gordon R. Pollock. Readers should review all of their WatchTower history sources to understand that the WTBTS
has never, ever claimed ownership of KFWM
. The WTBTS
merely has claimed a "contractual relationship"
to provide "biblical content" for this radio station's programming, which was the "excuse" provided to the government and general public for the station's religious format, and the fact that every person connected with KFWM was also somehow connected either to the WTBTS
, or one of its local affiliates. In 1925, whom is the sole person who had the authority and ability to bring all of this together -- only "Boss" Rutherford. It is a certainty that all of these WatchTower Society personnel and local "Bible Students" served as "straw-men"
to keep "Judge" Rutherford's personal ownership of KFWM
a secret from both the general public and the government. (Click here to discover how President Henry P. Drey had "earned his bones" within the WatchTower Mafia in order to receive this prominent "secret agent" assignment. Noted that Drey's father was both a "Bible Student" and a "Freemason".)
Frankly, online ownership info pertaining to KFWM is so contradictory, sketchy, and incorrect, that we will not attempt to provide a definitive history of such (no doubt partially caused by efforts to hide Rutherford's changing ownership interests over the years). What we do know is that over the years that KFWM grew and flourished. From its founding in 1925 through 1929, for all intents and purposes, KFWM was WBBR-WEST. However, in January 1930, "Judge" Rutherford sold part of the operation to unknown parties (probably once again a local newspaper), which again resulted in the formation of a new corporate owner -- EDUCATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION. Thereafter, additional real estate, including satellite locations, were acquired, and the station's call letters were changed. Notably, however, "Bible Students" H. P. Drey and W. R. Fraser continued to run the station as corporate "President" and "VP. However, with the addition of non-JW owners, KFWM ceased being WBBR-WEST, and simply became one of many radio stations that occasionally broadcast WatchTower programming. Finally, in 1939, there was another major sale, and this one appears to have resulted in the departure of most of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" left at KFWM. But, who knows. Even after some other group took over management of the station, Rutherford may still have retained a minority interest.
GEORGE AND ELLA RICHARDSON v. OAKLAND EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY was a 1928-29 WRONGFUL DEATH lawsuit. In May 1928, William Richardson, an 18 year-old high school student who apparently was a local "Bible Student" who occasionally volunteered nights at KFWM, was electrocuted while in the radio station's generator room. Richardson somehow made contact with some of the high voltage electrical equipment. KFWM's attorneys blamed the boy's death on his own contributory negligence -- allowing exposed nails in his shoe soles to create a path to ground for electricity that escaped after Richardson's elbow brushed a piece of electrical equipment. Interestingly, the electrocution occurred while KFWM broadcast a live segment entitled, "Does Man Go to Heaven Immediately After Death?" Outcome of both this case and Richardson's landing unknown. Richardson's parents had asked for $50,000.00 in their complaint. Whatever they received by settlement or trial may have been enough to have required sale of part of Rutherford's stock in January 1930.