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Missing Cryonet posts about Ted Williams and Larry Johnson discovered.

December 24 2007 at 11:07 PM
DesertRat  (Login DesertRatII)
Registered User

 
As many of you know, I love raising controversy, especially regarding the Ted Williams and Larry Johnson fiasco. For some reason this subject fascinates me. I guess it is because we all know that there is obviously more to this story then what the higher ups at Alcor have divulged. I will give you one example. Shortly after the Larry Johnson fiasco Mathew Sullivan made two posts on Cryonet. Several weeks later after Johnson apparently filed a lawsuit of his own, the posts on Cryonet vanished. If you research this you will find that during the history of Cryonet since July of 1988 there has never been a post (to my knowledge that has been deleted). This little tidbit puzzled me. What was in those posts that were deleted? Were they deleted as a result of Johnson’s legal action? Well thanks to modern day technology and some tenacity I was able to recover the posts from an archival website. If you go to Cryonet and look for post # 22350 and post #22400 you will discover that they are gone...until now.

Now ladies and gentlemen I present to you the deleted posts from Cryonet authored by Mathew Sullivan. I ask that everyone read through these two posts and give the readers of Cold Filter your assessment of why these were possibly pulled from Cryonet. Could it have been that Alcor slandered Johnson and they forced to remove these posts? And if so, luckily for Alcor, Johnson is long gone.




Message #22400
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 16:38:53 -0700
From: Mathew Sullivan <mathew@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: News Update From Alcor

This is a revision of a letter being sent out to Alcor's members regarding the controversy surrounding Larry Johnson and Ted Williams. Feel free to redistribute this document.

The issue of Sports Illustrated dated August 18th, 2003 contained a seven-page feature which mischaracterized Alcor and suggested that poor management has occurred. We want to assure you that Alcor remains diligent and conscientious in its treatment of cryopatients, and our state of readiness for future cases is excellent. Also, to the best of our knowledge, we are in full compliance with all applicable regulations.

The history of our current problem began in January of this year, when we hired a nationally certified paramedic named Larry Johnson as our new standby team leader. Mr. Johnson had impeccable credentials (which we verified) and had been active as a paramedic and a trainer for more than twenty years. He expressed sincere interest in Alcor and provided important assistance in two cryonics cases. He seemed a very valuable asset to our organization.

Unfortunately Mr. Johnson either became disenchanted with Alcor or may have
become an employee of Alcor with a preconceived agenda, we don't know. He failed to show up for work on August 11th, and we found that several items were missing, including a laptop computer that had been supplied for his use.

On the same day, several staff members and officers received phone calls from Sports Illustrated. With shock and disbelief we learned that Mr. Johnson had copied confidential documents and photographs without our knowledge or express permission, and had covertly taped personal conversations with our staff and independent contractors. He supplied all of this information to the magazine, with the intention of portraying Alcor
as negatively as possible.

Since Mr. Johnson had signed a nondisclosure agreement, we are filing a civil suit which alleges breach of contract and fiduciary duty, and conversion of property, including intellectual property. We are also acting to prevent disclosure of information that may be still in his possession. Alcor's President and CEO, Dr. Jerry Lemler, currently is undergoing chemotherapy treatments which take several days at a time. Carlos Mondragon, a director and a former president of Alcor, flew to Scottsdale on August 12th to help deal with the press and confer with our attorneys. Mr. Mondragon is well known to Alcor as an expert at crisis management and will be donating his time at least until September 7th.

Alcor has issued a press release that was quoted widely in rebuttal against some of Mr. Johnson's charges, and Mr. Mondragon ran a successful press conference and has given many radio and TV interviews.

Inspectors from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and from the City of Scottsdale have visited Alcor. While we are waiting for their official reports, we have learned informally that the inspectors found absolutely no violations.

Alcor has taken steps to assure that it maintains a state of readiness. Our operating room is fully prepared, our meds kits have been distributed to regional groups, and three experienced personnel are on call as team leaders in case of emergency.

In addition to the legal action which Alcor plans to take against Larry Johnson, some individuals may file personal suits to recover damages resulting from his violations of confidentiality. We respect the right of anyone to seek a legal remedy, but we ask that no one should harass or threaten Mr. Johnson personally.

We are absolutely confident that we will emerge from this distasteful experience stronger than before and better able to serve our members. Below, you will find quick answers to some of the questions we have been receiving.

As always, we appreciate your confidence in Alcor and your participation in our efforts to combat the threat of mortality.

Did Larry Johnson take advantage of poor security at Alcor?

We were cautious about allowing Mr. Johnson to view confidential materials, but after three months, he had earned everyone's trust. He seemed well organized, ethical, and dedicated. To carry out his job, he had to have access to patient records. However, he was not given keys to the locks which protect our patient storage units. Alcor remains very
security-conscious, with a 24-hour presence in the facility, cameras that automatically record any motion around the building or on its roof, an intrusion alarm system, several countermeasures against vandalism in the Patient Care Bay, and a rigid policy requiring that doors allowing entry from the parking lot are locked at all times. Visitors, staff, and
independent contractors must sign nondisclosure agreements.

How will Alcor replace Larry Johnson?

We hope to confirm a replacement within the next week. The employee should
have extensive prior experience in cryonics.

Sports Illustrated alleges that Alcor took, and lost, DNA samples. Is this
true?

Since DNA resides in every human cell, it would be pointless for Alcor to
extract "DNA samples" from our patients. We have never taken DNA samples.
We may take venous effluent samples during cryoprotective perfusion, for
standard lab analysis.

The report alleges that Alcor "accidentally" cracked a human head and
drilled holes in the skull. Is this correct?

No patient has ever been accidentally cracked. When a vitrified object is cooled below its "glass transition point," fractures may occur. This problem is well known and has been discussed publicly. We believe that future science will be able to repair hairline fractures. We were much more concerned, in the past, about cellular damage, and we are proud that our current vitrification protocol can virtually eliminate such damage under favorable conditions. We are now testing a new intermediate-temperature storage device which should greatly reduce the risk of fracturing, taking us a big step toward our ultimate goal of zero-injury cryopreservation. As for holes in the skull, we use a standard surgical perforator to make two small burr holes through which we monitor the surface of the brain during cryoprotective perfusion. This essential precaution provides us with early
warning if edema (swelling) starts to occur.

Has Alcor been negligent with biohazardous waste?

No. Proper hazardous waste disposal bags are used in our facility, and a hazardous waste collection agency makes pickups as required.

Is it true that Alcor is owed more than $100,000 by the heirs of Ted Williams?

Alcor still cannot comment in response to questions about an individual patient. We respect the confidentiality of our members and patients-and we are shocked and dismayed that a nationally certified paramedic would not show equal respect in his communications with the press.

Why did Larry Johnson decide to speak out against Alcor?

We cannot speculate about his motives, but we do know that he attempted to sell photographs which he had copied from Alcor files without our knowledge or express permission. Although he claimed that these pictures documented the fate of Ted Williams, in fact the photographs of surgical procedures were all taken of Alcor patients within the past nine months. We were able to stop Mr. Johnson from selling any of our photographs just a few hours after he announced their availability. He has changed his web site so that it merely appeals for "donations" from visitors.

I feel out of touch with Alcor. How can I get more news and information?

Simple! Subscribe to Alcor News, our free online news service. Go to <http://www.alcornews.org/>www.alcornews.org and click on the Archives
option to view back issues. To receive future issues, follow the instructions on the web site. We will not use your email address for any other purpose, and it will be protected from outsiders who may want to send you spam. Alcor News is your best guarantee that you will receive prompt, authoritative updates from us on all topics relevant to your Alcor membership. Please take advantage of this valuable resource.


Mathew Sullivan (mathew@xxxxxxxxx)
Director of Suspension Readiness

Alcor Life Extension Foundation
7895 E. Acoma Dr., Suite 110, Scottsdale AZ 85260-6916
Membership Information: (877) GO-ALCOR (462-5267)
Phone (480) 905-1906 FAX (480) 922-9027
info@xxxxxxxxx for general requests

http://www.alcor.org

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and has 58 patients in cryostasis. Alcor is the world's largest provider of professional cryotransport services with over 640 members who have pre-arranged for cryotransport. Alcor's Emergency CryoTransport System (ECS) is a medical-style rescue network patterned after Emergency Medical System (EMS). Alcor CryoTransport Technicians, as with EMTs and Paramedics on an ambulance, are advised by our Medical Director, Jerry Lemler MD or other physicians who are Alcor
members and/or contract physicians.

If you start everything...
you will finish nothing.




Message #22350
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 19:51:20 -0700
From: Mathew Sullivan <mathew@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Alcor Press Release

Alcor Life Extension Foundation

August 13th, 2003

For immediate release


Following the furor over the Sports Illustrated Article, Alcor Vows to Prosecute Ex-Employee Larry Johnson


Carlos Mondragon, a director and former president of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, has adamantly refuted allegations by ex-employee Larry Johnson in the current issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. "We believe that Johnson felt he was underpaid, resented the tasks he was asked to perform, and is a typical ex-employee trying to exercise a grudge and make a name for himself," Mondragon commented today. "Johnson is a nationally certified paramedic, but he deliberately violated our members' confidentiality. He taped conversations without anyone's consent or knowledge, he has removed company property, he has violated our standard nondisclosure agreement, and we have reported him to the police. We are formulating further action in consultation with our attorneys."

Jerry Lemler, MD, Alcor's president and CEO, is undergoing chemotherapy and
is not available for comment. Carlos Mondragon is acting as Alcor's spokesperson in Dr. Lemler's absence.

Alcor's privacy policy prevents it from commenting on individual cases. Every employee of Alcor is subject to a confidentiality and nondisclosure policy that coincides with our confidential obligations to our patients. Mr. Johnson signed a confidentiality agreement and he, and the individuals and entities that knowingly breached these confidential obligations, will be pursued with all legal remedies available to Alcor and its patients.

No Alcor Cryopatient has been treated negligently in the style that Johnson suggested to Sports Illustrated. "If Johnson made these statements, we believe they are knowingly false and, consequently, may be grounds for criminal prosecution and several civil actions," Mondragon stated. Cryonics was first proposed in the 1960s as a procedure to preserve the human brain and possibly also the human body in the hope that future
science will enable resuscitation. During the past decade, Alcor Life Extension Foundationhas led the field by introducing a new technique known as vitrification.
When optimally applied, vitrification can eliminate the ice damage which used to decimate brain cells in cryopatients who were treated with earlier technology.

Vitrification does involve a tradeoff which is thoroughly understood and has been communicated to all Alcor members. Instead of massive damage to millions of cells, a cryopatient is likely to experience some simple fracturing caused by thermal stress during cooling. Since the fracturing is a minor form of injury compared with ice damage, and since many people believe that future science such as nanotechnology should be capable of repairing simple fractures, Alcor believes it has made radical progress toward its ultimate goal of zero-damage preservation. To suggest that Alcor has been negligent in
allowing fractures to occur is erroneous and defamatory. The fractures are a small price to pay for reduced cell injury.

Anyone who seeks cryopreservation at Alcor must sign legal documents clearly stating that cryonics is an experimental procedure which has an unknown outcome. Alcor members are willing to accept the risks, since there is no other viable option to preserve the human brain for decades or even centuries.

"All we are doing at Alcor is honoring the wishes of our members and their families," according to Carlos Mondragon. "A person may choose to be buried, cremated, or cryopreserved after legal death. Cryopreservation provides a chance of future resuscitation, while cremation and burial offer no chance at all. Cryonics is usually chosen by people who have a strong love of life."

Regarding the allegation that Alcor created holes in a patient's skull, Mondragon states that the organization uses a perforator--a standard medical tool--to create a small opening through which the brain can be observed during cryoprotective perfusion. "Our whole purpose is to minimize injury," according to Mondragon. "If we cannot observe the brain during perfusion, we run the risk of creating capillary damage that can interfere with our protective procedures. A small perforation is trivial by comparison. It could be repaired even using today's medical technology."

Mondragon believes that Larry Johnson is well aware of these facts. He helped to teach Alcor's field procedures at a training session earlier this year, and was preparing training materials for another session in the Fall.

"Johnson signed up for cryopreservation himself, fully aware of the protocol that we use," according to Mondragon. "This is no secret. He talked about it openly in a segment for Los Angeles CBS TV news, earlier this year. You haveto wonder why he suddenly decided to denounce the procedures that he said would enable him to see the future."

Larry Johnson was hired by Alcor in January, 2003, but claimed that he had
been interested in cryonics for many years.

"I know that Johnson had some personal differences with our CEO," Mondragon
comments. "But we pledged to resolve any issues. Apparently the pledge wasn't good enough for him, and he appears to have spent several weeks trying to findways to embarrass us. Since his allegations are inaccurate and we find no instance where he has accused Alcor of any illegalities, we regard his attack as a spiteful parting shot by an employee who may have personal problems anddefinitely had an exaggerated opinion of his own worth."

Carlos Mondragon can be reached for further comment at:
480-905-1906x115


Mathew Sullivan (mathew@xxxxxxxxx)
Director of Suspension Readiness

Alcor Life Extension Foundation
7895 E. Acoma Dr., Suite 110, Scottsdale AZ 85260-6916
Membership Information: (877) GO-ALCOR (462-5267)
Phone (480) 905-1906 FAX (480) 922-9027
info@xxxxxxxxx for general requests

http://www.alcor.org

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation was founded in 1972 as a non-profit,
tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and has 58 patients in cryostasis. Alcor
is the world's largest provider of professional cryotransport services with
over 640 members who have pre-arranged for cryotransport. Alcor's Emergency
CryoTransport System (ECS) is a medical-style rescue network patterned
after Emergency Medical System (EMS). Alcor CryoTransport Technicians,
as with EMTs and Paramedics on an ambulance, are advised by our
Medical Director, Jerry Lemler MD or other physicians who are Alcor
members and/or contract physicians.


If you start everything...
you will finish nothing.

 
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Finance Department
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Such posts are archived by many people

December 25 2007, 2:30 PM 

Those who download all the CryoNet messages have the originals, as you posted.

My take on the removal of the text of these posts from the CryoNet archive is that Sullivan discussed in detail Alcor's plans to sue Johnson. Any lawyer would say you don't do that in the first place, and since Johnson also threatened later to sue Alcor, it became even more imperative for Alcor not to publically comment on it.

That makes the lawyers' jobs a lot easier, to confine the discussion to private negotiations and the court. It can get tacky having your published statements used against you, and being accused of trying to win your case in the "court of public opinion".

I don't think anything about Johnson matters any longer. What matters is Alcor's current Board. When are they going to tell us they made a mistake in accepting Ted Williams without proper funding? When are they going to assure Alcor members and prospective members that they will never rub fully-funded members' noses in that kind of doodoo again?


 
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DesertRat
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Re: Such posts are archived by many people

December 26 2007, 10:48 PM 

I honestly believe the "court of public opinion" would not lean in favor of Alcor during this case. We are the odd ones out. In the eyes of the public we are not accepted, YET. I do not know of the details, but I truly think should Johnson and Alcor have gone as far as a jury trial, Johnson wold have won. On a jury sits twelve, what do you think the odd are that their would have been at least one cryonicist? I'd say pretty damn slim.

I am very interested in whatever "taped evidence" Johnson had on Alcor. His old site www.freeted.com is still active. At the bottom of the page is an email address that I have written to a couple times. I was hoping someone would answer, but so far no luck. If there is anyone out there who reads these posts and have information about Johnson or his evidence, I would love to hear from you.

FD said:
"I don't think anything about Johnson matters any longer. What matters is Alcor's current Board. When are they going to tell us they made a mistake in accepting Ted Williams without proper funding? When are they going to assure Alcor members and prospective members that they will never rub fully-funded members' noses in that kind of doodoo again?"


I don't think Alcor will ever admit they made a mistake on the Ted Williams ordeal. Look at the egos that these self-elected board members have. Until Alcor gets control of their problem of inbreeding, the Alcor members will never know what truly goes on in Scottsdale. Personally, I think they are all morons. That is why I chose CI.



 
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Johnson and the "taped evidence"

December 27 2007, 12:13 AM 

I agree on the probability that Johnson would have won, as juries often favor the "poor injured individual" over a perceived large uncaring corporation (Alcor).

I also see some historical value to the TW & Johnson matters. Some of it might even be more current than historical. I saved the below news article over 3 years ago, and never saw a followup. Does anyone have one? There are certainly some open-ended matters in this article, related to the tapes Johnson made. Did you know of this article, DR? Perhaps you should look to the newspaper company or to the LA police for the taped info ...
---------------------------------------------

May 2, 2004

Scottsdale company's role in death probed

By Bill Bertolino, Tribune

Los Angeles homicide detectives are investigating the 1992 death of a man whose remains are frozen at Scottsdale-based Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the cryonics company known nationally for storing human bodies, including that of baseball icon Ted Williams.

At the heart of the investigation is whether or not a former Alcor employee injected a terminally ill AIDS patient with a paralytic drug to hasten his death, the Tribune has learned.

Brian Carr, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, confirmed that the death is being investigated as a result of allegations and evidence turned over by former Alcor chief operating officer Larry Johnson, who left the company in August.

"I can't really talk much about it at this point," said Carr, who works in the department's robbery and homicide division. "It's still under investigation."

Carr said he interviewed Johnson about the case.
Johnson first notified Los Angeles authorities of an "unusual homicide" through his attorney.
In a letter sent in mid-July, lawyer John A. Heer told police that Johnson had evidence that "instead of waiting for nature to take its course, one of the members of the suspension team injected the victim with a paralytic chemical which stopped the victim's heart and breathing within minutes."

Evidence Johnson and his attorney said they have turned over to investigators includes conversations Johnson secretly recorded with two men he identified as Alcor executives. The Tribune has obtained copies of the recordings.

On one recording, a man Johnson identified as Alcor senior board member and facilities engineer Hugh Hixon states he was at the scene of the AIDS patient's death when a then-Alcor employee injected the man with a drug known to have the ability to paralyze patients and stop their breathing.

The then-employee administered the injection, "and after about seven or eight minutes (the patient) quit breathing, which was entirely to be expected," Hixon states on the recording. The Tribune is withholding the name of the former employee Hixon identified because the employee could not be located for comment. Contacted Friday, Hixon said, "I'm declining comment." He referred questions to Alcor CEO Jerry Lemler, who did not return calls from the Tribune seeking comment.

On another recording, a man Johnson identified as another Alcor executive states he has knowledge of the AIDS patient's death. He said the information would "absolutely destroy" Alcor if it became public.

The executive adds: "If it came down to a court issue, you know, who's gonna say anything? Who is going to admit anything? It's deniable."

The Tribune is also withholding the identity of the executive at this time because he could not be reached for comment. The investigation into the AIDS patient's death is the latest inquiry for Alcor, a nonprofit organization in north Scottsdale that freezes human bodies and brains in liquid nitrogen, in the hope that medical breakthroughs may one day restore the dead to life.

The company has the remains of at least 58 people frozen, at a charge of about $120,000 for a full-body suspension.

Last month, Alcor received national attention for its treatment of Williams - the Hall of Fame Boston Red Sox slugger whose remains are stored at Alcor.

Sports Illustrated first reported in August that Alcor severed Williams' head, drilled holes in it, fractured the skull and misplaced DNA samples, among other allegations. Alcor has never publicly acknowledged ownership of Williams' body and has denied that his DNA is missing from the facility.

The story spawned a lawsuit by Alcor against Johnson, who supplied the magazine with the information on Williams. Among other claims in its lawsuit, Alcor charges Johnson violated a confidentiality agreement and stole company information and property.

Johnson worked for Alcor from January until Aug. 11, when he said he was fired. He has since filed a counterclaim against Alcor, charging the company falsely accused him of committing theft, fraud and breach of confidentiality. Johnson also charges the company has slandered him.

Alcor also has a contentious history with California authorities.
In 1987, the company was rocked by a scandal involving the death of Riverside, Calif., resident Dora Kent. Authorities questioned whether she was legally dead when her head was removed and frozen. The case was dropped after extensive legal wrangling.

Alcor moved its headquarters in 1994 from Riverside to Scottsdale, where the company is housed in a building in the Scottsdale Airpark. It has 12 employees.

On the audio recording between Johnson and Hixon, Hixon states that he was at the home of the AIDS patient whose death is now under investigation because he was in charge of transporting the man's body.

As the crew waited for the man to die, Hixon states they prepared a makeshift operating room inside a detached garage near the home. Alcor workers put together plastic drop cloths, lightweight wood and twine, "and we built ourselves a little operating suite in the garage," Hixon states.

The Alcor crew eventually carried the dying man down the stairs of his home, placed him on a gurney and wheeled him down the street to the garage, where they waited for him to die, Hixon states.

"We waited quite a while," Hixon states. "He was not very far away from dying."

Hixon then states that the former Alcor employee asked an assistant to prepare an injection of Metubine, a paralytic drug.

The assistant, Tanya Jones, "didn't know what it was for," Hixon states.
Later on the recording, Hixon adds: "Anyway, so the guy quit breathing. He wasn't very far from quitting breathing, but, uh, we don't like that kind of thing."

Reached on Saturday by cell phone in Southern California, Jones initially declined comment.

"Let me just find out what is going on," Jones said. "And what I can say and what I can't say, you know. It would be simple enough to either confirm or deny the presence of that someone. "I haven't thought about that case in a very, very long time."

Jones added that she took a job with Alcor on Friday after a 6 1/2-year hiatus from the company.

Hixon also indicates on the recording that a growing concern was that the Alcor team might get tied up in traffic when they had to transport the AIDS patient's remains.

"It wasn't anything that wasn't going to happen," Hixon states regarding the man's death. "And we did beat the traffic."

The other Alcor executive indicates on an audio recording that he was not at the scene but had knowledge of the circumstances that caused the AIDS patient's death. He states the AIDS patient's death occurred in 1992 in Los Angeles.

"Look, morally I have no objection to doing that sort of thing," he states. "I think Dr. (Jack) Kevorkian is a great man. But we live in a real world. We just can't do stuff like that."

The company executive states that the incident caused Alcor to sever its relationship with the employee who injected the paralytic drug.

"That's when we decided, Alcor decided, this guy is just too dangerous to have around," he states.

Johnson, who agreed to an interview with the Tribune only on the condition that the newspaper not reveal his address or publish a photo of him, said he became frightened when he learned that a former Alcor employee may have hastened the death of the AIDS patient.

He said he prompted his attorney to contact Los Angeles police. Heer said Saturday that he had several conversations with detectives in early July. Heer is also the attorney for Bobby-Jo Ferrell, Ted Williams' eldest child, who was at the heart of a family dispute last year over the handling of the former baseball star's remains.
Contact Bill Bertolino by email, or phone (480) 970-2352

 
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DesertRat
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Loose ends on Alcor "homicide"

December 27 2007, 1:20 AM 

Yes, it is most certain he would have won. I am sure given all of the consideration that must have been in this case, I am sure a nice little settlement was reached. In civil matters like this it is common to pay off the "poor injured individual" without admitting guilt. As much as Alcor would like to deny it, Johnson is a part of Alcor's history forever.

Regarding historical value, I appreciate you finding this article. I heard something about this, but never actually saw the article. I looked up the writer Bill Bertalino. He is now a senior editor. I am going to try to contact him.

Thanks FD!

 
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Finance Department
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Alcor's Inbred Board

December 27 2007, 12:31 AM 

You said "Until Alcor gets control of their problem of inbreeding, the Alcor members will never know what truly goes on in Scottsdale."

You weren't the first to say this. A former Alcor Board member once appeared here and called it "incestuous".

To me, it is not so much that they give the appearance of being the "good buddy board". It is simply that they are not elected by the membership.

The kind of power obtained from being responsible to no one, results in the kind of arrogance we see today in Alcor's board. The kind of arrogance that thinks it is quite OK to grant a "celebrity waiver" to the ordinary lowly Alcor member's obligation to be current in dues payments and suspension funding.

CI has some real credibility gaps, but I agree with you DR to the extent that I could never join an organization like Alcor with its pseudo-membership status and its "our way or the highway" self-elected board of directors.

Even there, I applaud those who are trying their best to make Alcor a better place, though I wonder how they can stand it and why they do not invest their futures in a better idea.

FD

 
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DesertRat
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FD I have a qustion

December 27 2007, 1:24 AM 

You seem well educated when it comes to business. Isn't Alcor in some type of violation because they "self-elect"? Doesn't this some how violate their 501 non-profit status?

 
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Moral violations, yes

December 27 2007, 2:02 AM 

These are mostly legal questions you raise, and I'm not a lawyer. I'd guess, though, that the most obvious violation for self-electing would be if they are violating their own bylaws, which I doubt is the case here. There could be other legal violations, of which I do not know. As to "501 non-profit status" that is an IRS designation, and another whole different body of law. I do not know, but I suspect the IRS does not care where the board comes from - just that they meet regularly and do the things non-profits do.

There are many non-profits with self-re-electing boards, and they seem to get away with it.

Then there is the related but somewhat different issue of "membership". What does being a "member" mean, if you have no rights other than ordinary customer level contracts? Nothing, IMO. That is why I say Alcor "membership" is meaningless. But a lot of companies do it, not all even non-profit. Would somebody who has access to legal databases do a search on this issue?

It would also be interesting, if an Alcor member were to sue Alcor for the ability to exercise the rights he/she thought were present upon entering said "membership". Probably a fruitless endeavor and expense, but it would certainly be interesting. And you never know. Law is often made by court decisions.

What we are probably left with is the moral right of members of anything, to have some say in the running of the operation, including electing who runs it. USA law goes way too far in some areas, yet likely neglects such a basic issue as this.

Yes, I am a business person, and the above are reasons we unfortunately often have to hire lawyers.


 
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DesertRat
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Re: Moral violations, yes

December 28 2007, 8:27 AM 

Yes FD, your feedback certainly makes sense. I agree it would be interesting if a member did raise a lawsuit, but you are right the expense might not be worth it.

 
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sirdanny
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Credibility Gap?

December 27 2007, 3:08 AM 

I guess it would be safe to assume that you are not a member or either cryonics organization at this time. You seem very outspoken with Alcor, but I was wondering about the ‘credibility gap’ you mentioned with CI.

 
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CI seems to be on the right track

December 27 2007, 4:41 AM 

Some moons ago, I had a list of concerns about CI. I published at least some of them from time to time. In reviewing it now, I see that some of them are resolved, such as

Who knows what CI's vitrification solution "VM-1" actually has in it? - the formula is now public.

Vitrification model does not allow for "whole body" - CI now will do the unvitrified portion of the body using a traditional cryopreservation solution, rather than just straight-freezing it.

Maybe they listened to me, and of course to others. Hurray for them! I wish Alcor would.

I see in reviewing my old list that I used to be concerned about CI relying on Suspended Animation, Inc. as their sole provider of standby services, because at that time less than 10 people had signed up for it, and there had been no cases using it, so I worried that the benevolent funders of SA Inc. would keep this going for how many years etc etc. That type of worry was superseded by the case of CI#81 and I won't go into all the details - you can read the back posts and archives. Now I worry that SA Inc. has pretty much settled in to providing the same totally absurd level of service that CI#81 got, and it is in their latest contract materials, and that it is still CI's sole standby provider. And no "real" cases yet; 81 was close to a freebie. And now I think it is over 40 people signed up for it, so I guess it must be like the Ted Williams thing - the more negative publicity you get, the more people sign up. Maybe that is the key to cryonics marketing - negative publicity. Maybe I should applaud Alcor's board and encourage them to take on as many celebrities as they can (collateralized by the legitimate funding of the rank and file members). Maybe I should stop rambling and digressing.

Back to CI, I think other people have concerns I myself feel are not so important, such as whether their VM-1 vitrification solution has passed all the peer reviewed tests. Or whether they are a cemetery or not.

Of more importance to me than the latter might be that their organizational model probably still needs better protection against a takeover.

Would you like to know my chief complaint about all cryonics organizations? It is that none of them have resolved the "standby" problem once and for all, by developing the capability of "remote vitrification" - that is, bringing the vitrification perfusion to the patient wherever he/she is in the field. That would remove the "double perfusion injuries" problem altogether, and IMO there is no excuse for it not being available already, considering how many years it has been in the minds of the cognoscenti.

I'm sure by now it is TMI time.

FD

 
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sirdanny
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I could be wrong

December 27 2007, 5:35 AM 

I could be wrong, but from what I understand is that once perfused, the patient should have their temperature dropped to glass transition as quickly as possible. Is this correct? Wouldn’t that make it hard to do in the field?

It was brought up earlier that you were well educated in business so I have a question. You say that one of your current concerns with CI is that they should have a better organizational model to prevent a takeover. Can you elaborate?

I know there was a big debate about the condition of perfusion of CI Patient 81 a few months back. I fully agree that the standby options for both organizations are horrendous at this point.

Anyhow, as anyways, thanks for the insightful input FD.


 
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Finance Department
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Rate of Cooldown

December 27 2007, 11:17 PM 

Whether rapid cooling is advisable or not was recently bantered about here between Melody Maxim and Steve Harris. I saw plusses and minuses on both sides.

Assuming a faster cooldown rate is a good idea, most current efforts seem to be centered around it. In fact, I hear rumorings about people actually working on the idea of shrinking the size of the current equipment used for cooldown.

Regardless of the cooldown rate, I believe that remote vitrification is the wave of the future. Easy to get there? Probably not. I'm not a technical person, though; I just have opinions. My opinion is that it is an achievable goal, and will solve a lot of problems I've been reading about that come from having two separate perfusions.


 
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Finance Department
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CI's Vulnerability to Hostile Takeover

December 27 2007, 11:18 PM 

I invite your attention to the following:

http://www.cryonics.org/By_Laws.html

Unlike Alcor, in which its members have no power to do anything at all (but the board can do anything they want), CI's members actually have the power to do just about anything they want, by vote. They can vote to change their by-laws to accommodate whatever they wish to see happen. See:

"ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS TO BY-LAWS
At any scheduled meeting of the CI membership, the Voting Members may propose and pass amendments to the corporate by-laws. These by-laws may be altered, amended or repealed by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Voting Membership present at the meeting or by an affirmative vote of a majority of the total Voting Membership, whichever is less."

It would not be that difficult for an outside group to take over CI simply by joining up enough members to get a majority. The CI front page shows only 315 funded members with contracts (and some of those do not have voting rights yet if they are Option 2 members for less than 3 years). It would not be hard for, say, a religious sect with devoted followers to gradually join CI until they get 315 of their own people in. They might even pull off a coup with only a couple of dozen, attending CI's annual meeting with a 2/3 vote. I believe I've read CI's annual meeting does not get a very large attendance of voting members.

CI would do well to keep a careful eye on any sudden surge of membership activity.

In the meantime, they need to be looking hard at this issue and finding a compromise rewording of their existing by-laws that retains member rights but also gives some layers of protection against a hostile takeover by a group whose members act like they are interested in cryonics, join up and fund their contracts, but whose true interest is something different, such as raiding CI's assets. They could still fulfill the almost unchangeable Article II (Corporate Purposes) by deciding, for example, that all future members would be straight frozen, and pocketing the difference in expense. Besides, once the 315 joined up and started doing their thing, the original 315 members would gradually go elsewhere once they see there is no future for them in CI.



 
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Robert Ettinger
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CI by-laws

December 28 2007, 3:20 PM 

Although it is always possible to change the by-laws to reduce any perceived threat of infiltration and misuse of funds, I believe the threat is minimal already, for the following reasons.

First, any attempt to subvert CI or misdirect money would run into this:
---------------------
ARTICLE IX: DELAY OF ALLEGEDLY IMPROPER ACTION
Any group comprising five percent (5%) of the members, or five members, whichever is greater, or two members of the Board of Directors, can delay any new or non-customary action by the Board or by the Officers of the corporation, on the grounds that it is not justified by the corporate purposes. Following any such petition, the Secretary shall call a meeting of the membership as soon as it is feasible. At such a meeting, a majority of the members present shall be sufficient to override the action, if a quorum is present. If a quorum is not present, the action shall be further delayed until a meeting is held at which a quorum is present or until a petition supporting the action signed by a majority of the members is presented to the Board.

No action contrary to Article II shall be authorized in any event.
-----------------------------

Note that Article II (corporate purpose) is really a broad one, and if necessary would be vigorously used by our counsel to prevent any misappropriation of funds or setting of an inappropriate agenda.

Secondly, the actual availability of funds (check writing authority) is restricted to a very small number of senior officers, and any substantial check requires two signatures. No would-be infiltrating cabal of newcomers is going to be able to subvert these people.

Thirdly, even the attempt at such infiltration would presuppose the existence of a criminal conspiracy, which is only a remote
possibility.

Robert Ettinger


 
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Finance Department
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Scary

December 29 2007, 1:20 AM 

1) The same 315 new members could show up at the special meeting under the Article IX, and form a quorum and a majority. Also, it is noted that Article IX provides a delay on actions by the Board or Officers, not by a change to the by-laws passed by a majority of the members.

2) A majority of new members with ulterior motives could change the by-laws to get themselves a majority on the board and also replace the current officers who have the check-writing privileges.

3) All of the above could be done perfectly legally; it is not a crime to conspire to do things which are legal.


 
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sirdanny
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Sounds complicated.

December 29 2007, 2:59 AM 

It sounds complicated to me, so in your opinion what could CI do to eliminate this problem?


 
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Robert Ettinger
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scenarios

December 29 2007, 1:39 PM 

Although I am not against making changes more difficult, to reduce the risk of hostile takeover, the "scary" scenarios proposed by FD are, I think, extremely far-fetched, for reasons previously given and also the following.

Delay of allegedly improper action is easy for two directors or 5% of the members. A meeting to discuss this is then called, requiring at least a month's notice, allowing plenty of opportunity to take other steps as well. If, as FD suggests, the hostiles win again at the special meeting, there can be another delay for alleged improper action, and so on. The current officers remain in physical and adminstrative control. The upshot is that we wind up in court, where the hostiles would be at a huge disadvantage. It will be easy to show that the non-customary action is inconsistent with the corporate purposes.

Also, FD suggested the hostiles could dismiss the current directors and put in their own. Not so, as I read it. Membership can dismiss a director, but to replace them out of sequence would require a change in the by-laws, which proposed change would again trigger a delay for alleged improper action. Again, the current people remain in physical and administrative control pending a court order. Also, again, any attempt by hostiles to dismiss directors could be challened by delay for alleged improper action.

Remember also that in court, under examination, the hostiles would either have to perjure themselves or admit to hostility. It doesn't compute.

Robert Ettinger

 
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Finance Department
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Delay and Another Scenario

December 29 2007, 10:55 PM 

Again, allow me to point out that CI's "delay of allegedly improper action" provision in the bylaws, as stated, applies only to director or officer actions. As I read it, it does not apply to a group of members voting in a change in the bylaws itself. Hence, they could change any section of the bylaws they wanted, except the corporate purpose one. That includes that they could change the bylaw relating to "delay of allegedly improper action".

Now here's another scenario for you: An organization of people, maybe only a few thousand in number, with a philosophical base of life extension, among other things, has a core of about 400 people with a cultish devotion to their cause. 315 or so of those people gradually join CI over a few months or years. Next thing you know, they bring changes to the bylaws enabling them to put in their own directors and officers. They would not have to change a thing about Part II of the bylaws (corporate purpose) in order to merge the focus of CI into their own organization by "cooperative efforts". This could involve making "grants" of CI assets for purposes related to CI's stated corporate purpose, which is, incidentally, pretty general and vague. Vague enough that they could also decide, for example, that straight freezes are enough for CI patients to qualify as cryopreservation. That would be much less expensive and provide more funding for the most likely hefty salaries of those in charge at that point.

Yea, far-fetched you say. I hope so. I kinda like CI and considering the alternatives, do indeed hope it stays around, and gets stronger. My point in bringing this up (apart from answering sirdanny's question) is to suggest (1) be aware of sudden large increases in membership and (2) find ways to give more protection to the status quo, in the bylaws, while at the same time preserving members' rights as CI is to be commended for doing now. One thing might be to change the "delay" bylaw to also include changes made by member vote, so that it actually does what you mistakenly now think it does.

FD

 
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Robert
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more on delay

December 30 2007, 11:00 AM 

On the narrow point of "delay of improper action" applying only to CI officer or director action, rather than member resolutions, I believe FD overlooks the practicalities. A resolution or a by-law has no practical effect until the directors or/and officers implement it. If the current board and officers believed a resolution or by-law change undercut our basic mission, they would simply refuse to implement it and at the same time invoke the delay rule. Again, the net effect would be litigation and a court order. Courts, even courts unsympathetic to cryonics, will almost certainly understand the precedents. If all the current officers and directors and senior members, including our well credentialed scientific advisors, testify that the proposed action subverts our basic mission, the court is almost certain to throw out the hostiles' effort.

I believe that a member, or even the whole collective membership, can only do two things if the officers and directors refuse to recognize a new by-law as legitimate. One, they can go to court. Two, they can try suasion. In the blatant case projected by FD, I don't believe either would work.

Again, I don't object to piling on safeguards. And the advice to be on the lookout for sudden or suspicious accumulation of new members, is unnecessary.

One further point. As far as I recall, there is no requirement that CI accept every applicant member. In fact, we have at times refused membership to an applicant. Perhaps we should include in the membership application a disclaimer of any such connection or intention as FD fears.

Robert Ettinger

 
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