The following is an email that I sent to Ed “Golly” Gollobith’s attorney, Gale Porter. Parts which are confidential, such as the terms of a failed mediated settlement are redacted and some other parts, including those in brackets, were added to provide clarity. Also, images were not included in the email.
From: <John Kieffer>
To: <Gale Porter, Esq.>
CC: <Ed “Golly” Gollobith>, <Judy Adkins>, <Jim Peterson>
Sent: 6/24/2014 4:32:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Addressing your comment in which you wrote:
The only discord arose when Wachs reverted back into the role of the lawyer, trying to make a record of events that were not transpiring, improperly interrupting when the truth was about to emerge …
Respectfully disagree, Gale — it was you who “improperly” interrupted me on several occasions when you stopped me from completing my answers and [EllenBeth] Wachs properly objected to your interruptions. In one instance, you put your hand up at me, your palm facing me, to stop my answer like a policeman stopping traffic.
In reference to “when the truth was about to emerge,” the fact is that I told the truth throughout my deposition. In contrast, it is Ed “Golly” Gollobith who is — and has been — perpetrating a series of falsehoods.
It is his [Gollobith’s] miscalculation — a blunder in every sense of the word — that somehow he and Matt Cooper, with Joe Reinhardt‘s cooperation, could contrive a story that they supposedly knew nothing about the $18,040,92 disbursement [even though the three of them had authorized such on 9/11/11], tell the world that EllenBeth [Wachs] and I were thieves [“both have been expelled from the membership for … misappropriating the organization’s funds” – 11/6/11 email to AoF members] … and somehow we would just shrug and walk away quietly?
Unlike Mr. Gollobith, I could never get behind the wheel of an organization and set out to destroy two honorable people’s reputations, three including Rob [Curry], and recklessly drive that organization toward a cliff in a gamble fueled almost entirely up to this point by two donors’ bequeathed funds.
His gamble is the reason that we all find ourselves in litigation today.
For me, I’ve always operated from a position of trust. I never imagined for one second that — when I sat down with Gollobith, Reinhardt and Cooper at our Manhattan Ave. office, that afternoon on September 11, 2011, after the Chapter meeting, in their capacity as representatives of the FOC [Financial Oversight Committee], and reviewed with them a requested disbursement of $18,040.92 of donations made on behalf of Ms. Wachs to her legal fund — that they would conspire to deny that such a meeting ever happened. I’m sure they counted on, and still do, of how improbable it would all look to outside observers that three “nice” men would all falsely deny the same thing; thus, creating the condition of 3 people’s words versus mine.
It gives me a sick feeling just writing about this betrayal. Imagine how you would feel and what you would do if you were betrayed like that Gale.
Then if just that wasn’t enough, now Gollobith asserts “Civil Theft” [of the $18,040.92] and wants to take from me treble [“three times”] damages of $54,000 !!! [$18K x 3] … think about it: he wants to stick his hand into my wallet for my simply carrying out my responsibilities to disburse that $18K as I was tasked to do by him on 9/11/2011.
ED “GOLLY” GOLLOBITH
Not to mention that Gollobith actually assisted in that [$18K] disbursement by going to the bank with me 3 days after that 9/11/2011 FOC meeting (9/14/2011) to co-sign with me a $10K transfer from our CD to the AoF checking account (representing Todd Stiefle’s donation to EllenBeth’s legal fund):
My signature & date on left side ; “Edward J. Gollobith” signature & date on right
The above 10K was to be be added to the $8,040.92 of Paypal donations, all of which had been donated to EllenBeth prior to Sept 5, 2011, and which would total $18,040.92. This precise amount had been summed up to the penny for that 9/11/2011 FOC meeting and for which I had produced an accounting spreadsheet listing every donation, to the penny, for the FOC to review that day.
Gale, I’m sure you’ve seen that spreadsheet.
In fact, that spreadsheet was apparently audited by Gollobith’s “auditing committee” (composed of Rick O’Keefe and Sandra Smith – Gollobith’s girlfriend) who (from the spreadsheet provided me in discovery) placed those check marks on each and every donation as having occurred — as I have always held — prior to September 5, 2011, and in preparation for the Sept 11 FOC meeting.
There is not one donation making up that $18,040.92, which occurred after September 5, 2011.
Not one penny.
Mark Twain’s quote gives me some comfort at this juncture:
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
We see that quote played out throughout this dance as everyone on your side struggles to “remember” what that “truth” is supposed to be:
- Gollobith’s deposition: “September 11 FOC happened for $2K”
- Reinhardt’s Admissions: “September 4 FOC happened for the $2K”
- Amended Complaint: “September 4 FOC happened for the $2K.”
- You [Gollobith attorney Gale Porter], during my deposition [April 18, 2014], when I pulled out your client’s [Gollobith et al] Amended Complaint (which states Sept. 4 FOC happened for $2K) and pointed out to you the apparent contradiction between that and Gollobith’s assertion: “That’s a mistake“
This in contrast to what I truthfully stated during my deposition — and as I have held since both FOC meetings — 9/4/2011 & 9/11/2011 — which I requested and participated in:
- 1) Sept 4 FOC (Gollobith, Cooper, Reinhardt) — after AoF Board meeting — for purpose of authorizing $2000 disbursement for a private investigator, for which I wrote the check two days later.
- 2) Sept.11 FOC (Gollobith, Cooper, Reinhardt) — after AoF Chapter meeting — for purpose of authorizing $18,040.92 disbursement representing donations to EllenBeth received prior to September 5, and for which I wrote the check on October 18:
Mr. Ed “Golly” Gollobith has known that two FOC meetings occurred the same as I do as does Mr. Reinhardt and the late Mr. Cooper did — it is as factual as the fact that I sat with you for that deposition. You don’t have to remember whether or not you deposed me, you just know it as do deposition attendees Ed Gollobith, Judy Adkins and Nan Owens.
Moreover, I don’t have to “remember” — I know — as I stated in my deposition testimony that Gollobith had requested — prior to that 9/11 FOC meeting — that I bring with me the invoices for EllenBeth’s attorney: Larry Walters, which I did bring and did show him — and to Cooper and Reinhardt — the back pages of four of those invoices during that meeting. I know that when I handed each one to him (he was sitting next to me to my left at the card table by the book shelf) he just glanced at them, sort of shrugged and passed them along to Cooper and Reinhardt.
And Gollobith, like Reinhardt and me don’t have to “remember” anything about my showing them those invoices – they know it just like I do.
So, considering all of this in the context of events of November 6, 2011 [date of the Gollobith/Cooper led coup to purportedly remove EllenBeth and me from our AoF executive positions (acting president and president, respectively), and later that day purportedly expelled as AoF members], why would any reasonable board member in a similar situation have shut down discussions with the very people (Ms. Wachs and me) sitting in front of them who could have been asked any question concerning the $18K (and, for that matter, all of the other alleged issues concerning the election or anything else) that any board member had. Gollobith and Jim Peterson [copied in this email] know that when I asked for discussion prior to voting on the Motion to vote to Retain Officers during that board meeting (to figure out what was going on), it was Gollobith’s sidekick, Cooper, who quickly “called the question” ending/suppressing any and all discussion.
So the question is: WHY? (block & end board discussions)
Answer: because Gollobith and Cooper both knew very well that if anyone (ie: board members Steve Miles, Steve Brown., Jim Peterson, Nan Owens, Tracy Thomas etc) had blurted out anything about that $18,040.92 check (which on that day I had no clue whatsoever this was an issue given the 9/11/11 FOC meeting) it would have been “game over” for Gollobith’s, Cooper’s and Reinhardt’s little scheme.
That is a fact that Gollobith knew then and still knows now. Consider how clueless I was about their actions given Jen Hancock’s Examiner article the next day [Nov. 7, 2011]:
John Kieffer said that it was clear that the outcome of the meeting had been decided prior to the meeting and that he had no further interest in what he called “this sham of a democratic process. “As far as the allegations of financial mismanagement are concerned, John stated, “each and every transaction that I have ever made with Atheists of Florida funds has been appropriate, authorized and documented. Until these folks will tell me specifically what this is about, I will continue to be just as confused as EllenBeth, Rob [Curry] and, for that matter, everyone else in our organization.”
And the Gollobith/Cooper scheme didn’t end there. Gollobith has all along held out to his purported board members and the world that this was Tracy Thomas’ expulsion complaint — and why not: it says so right on the complaint itself written in the first person and signed by Tracy. Jen Hancock writes:
According to Ed, the decision to expel John and Ellenbeth from the organization took place after the board meeting in accordance with the bylaws of the organization. A board member [Tracy Thomas] who was particularly upset about the financial concerns the board had for which John and Ellenbeth were refusing to provide documentation, submitted a written allegation formally requesting that John and Ellenbeth be expelled.
That thing about “financial concerns” is interesting given that I had asked for discussions and that the particular board member (Tracy Thomas) along with all the rest of Mr. Gollobith’s 6 followers that day voted — like it was all choreographed in advance — in favor of Cooper’s motion to “call the question” and suppress any discussions or inquiry.
So when Tracy [Thomas] admitted in her Admissions to me that she wasn’t the author of “her” complaint, Gollobith was forced to change that story saying now, in a new day, it wasn’t Tracy’s work after all but side-kick Cooper’s.
And when Gollobith answered for AoF (Atheists of Florida, Inc.) in my interrogatory question to describe the so-called “irrefutable evidence” that there was for the allegations [leading to my and Ellebeth’s expulsion from AoF] in what now has really become ‘Cooper’s expulsion complaint,’ he answered that the charging document itself (“Tracy Thomas’ complaint” written by Cooper) was the evidence.
Seriously? In what court of law, Gale, would that sort of “evidence” sprout wings and fly? Iran? Syria? North Korea?
The more this all goes on, the more it’s looking like one of those Keystone Cops movies.
But not all that entertaining of a show, though, given that Mr. Gollobith has totally obliterated the organization that we all had enthusiastically worked so hard for, grew in membership, and gained so much momentum for our state/church separation mission: Lakeland, Cape Coral, Pinellas Park, Tampa City council, Polk County sheriff’s dept, Polk School Board — all for which Ms. Wachs and I have sacrificed much: our freedom (EllenBeth more than me — ie: two retaliatory arrests, her home searched, and a week of solitary confinement) and funds ($47,000+that I’ve paid out of my life savings to my attorney) in support of the Atheists of Florida mission.
Just think about this Gale: [in late 2011] as I was preparing to go to trial [arrest for talking and taking pics during pre-meeting Polk County School Board prayer], to potentially face over a year in prison for our cause — I’ll say it again because it is no small matter: I was willing to go to prison for our cause –Gollobith calls me a “thief” so that the prosecutor could use that against me.
Later in this ongoing saga, we find out that Gollobith met with a Polk detective to try to get EllenBeth arrested and put in jail again — over money that was donated to her.
I don’t have any publishable words to describe this sort of thing. I can only resort to my military training in which you rely on the integrity and courage of your fellow soldiers to trust that, when placed into the front lines of a battle, he will not only not place you at risk for his own self-serving goals, but trust that he’ll not leave me behind and even risk his own life to extract me from danger if necessary.
I will never leave a fallen comrade. [Soldier’s Creed]
My only mistake in all this is that projected such integrity upon Gollobith, Cooper and Reinhardt. I should have known better.
Speaking of the issue of integrity, we now discover that — after Gollobith’s promise to our Atheists of Florida members [that he would pay for all the litigation], ie: from his Oct-Dec 2012 newsletter:
Please note that due to the generosity of our President, Ed Golly, the lawsuits have not used any money so far from the funds of Atheists of Florida
— he has changed his mind (like he apparently did about his authorizing the $18K disbursement) and totally wasted that $90,000 of precious Atheists of Florida funds (almost entirely made up of funds bequeathed by two members that aren’t around to witness this tragedy) that could have funded Atheists of Florida billboards, church/state separation litigation, expanding our meetup/community throughout the state (as we were doing and growing up until 11/6/11) — all gone, apparently every penny, for his own purpose of extracting himself from his self-inflicted blunder.
And all of this could have ended — gone away — with the Mediated Settlement in September 17, 2012 that he, Jim [Peterson] (who participated), Joe Reinhardt (who was at both of my FOC meetings) and [Gollobith’s attorney] Ryan Carey had agreed to – [REDACTED] Atheists of Florida would still have $90K in the bank and all the websites … but as usual, Gollobith again changed his mind — apparently right after the mediation had ended and started sabotaging the process, before even seeing any production from me concerning financials, which were all accurate and truthful. On September 18, Gollobith wrote to Jim Peterson:
… by the time I got home last night I had serious misgivings about the settlement. Reinhardt’s stand was that we should hand over [REDACTED] … My position is we should keep the [REDACTED] … and not give them anything … I will recommend the board vote against the settlement and we proceed with our day in court. Reinhardt is not on the board
[Meaning: Reinhardt, who was no longer on Gollobith’s board, would not be permitted to vote in favor of the mediated settlement, which was contingent on his board approving it].
I think that Gollobith & company should have listened to Reinhardt; as a professional poker player, I think Reinhardt sensed, and correctly, the words of the Gambler song:
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.
JIM PETERSON & JOE REINHARDT
As you are aware, when I filed my Motion to Enforce the Settlement Agreement — which [attorney] Carey had warned Gollobith could happen, and which Judge Baumann had actually suggested I do in a previous hearing before Gollobith hired you — you slapped a Motion for Sanctions on me if I didn’t withdraw. I withdrew that Motion and all the present lawsuits — including my Defamation Complaint, filed after Gollobith reneged on the Settlement Agreement that he had signed — continue.
Looking back on all of this, if Gollobith hadn’t set out to sabotage all that work we did to strike a mediated settlement, we (everyone except you Gale) could have all been doing other things today other than wasting time and energy thinking, writing and reading about lawsuits.
Now AoF’s $90,000 is gone and things are not looking all that great for Gollobith & ‘company’ as we will inevitably end up in trial and our respective narratives will be told to a jury for them to decide who’s telling the truth here. This scenario is certain, unless someone in Gollobith’s ‘company’ grabs the wheel of this runaway bus (of course I get that everyone is at the mercy of that driver making the bus payments) and starts driving in a way other than a kamikaze pilot.
It would be refreshing to see some courage and integrity from the other side to take a stand and do what’s right, but I don’t give that thought much hope given who’s paying for the ride.
Lacking such, I understand the barrage of Motions for Summary Judgment – anything to keep the court/jury from ever hearing our opposing narratives. I, for one, do want to tell my story. In contrast, however, it seems to me that you’re not all that confident with the narrative that you’ve been dealt — and that is totally understandable. Our get together for the August 19 Hearing to have your Motions heard by the judge will be interesting and I will be prepared.
So as you can see, Gale, your implied challenge to the veracity of my deposition testimony — “when the truth was about to emerge” — struck me with just a bit more than a tinge of irony given the puppet show that your client [Ed “Golly” Gollobith] has been playing for us — and the court — for over 2 years now. And, if nothing changes, will inevitably be played for that jury, which, for that particular audience, I’ll enjoy watching.
One last quote from Abraham Lincoln:
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
For a detailed rebuttal to the allegations claimed by Mr. Gollobith and company, please see our March 2012 Newsletter Supplement at http://free2think.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1552