Sign of the Cult-Buster (Page 2)
The Web site reads like a private investigator's dossier. It lists Greene's
shoplifting conviction as a young college student; his hit-and-run conviction;
his physical altercation with a traffic cop; and his dispute with an old
girlfriend who called the police and had him arrested for trespassing after
an unpleasant breakup. There are even links to a sex scandal involving Greene's
long-dead father. "It's a really cheap smear job," says Greene
attorney and friend Larry Bragman. "Who else but Ford Greene could
attract that kind of nastiness, all because of a sign dispute?"
For the record, a Scientology official denies that the church had anything
to do with the Friends of San Anselmo project. "I don't want to puncture
his paranoia balloon, but the poor guy has lots of enemies, any number of
whom could have put up that Web site," says Jeff Quiros, head of the
Church of Scientology's San Francisco office. In the course of a brief interview,
Quiros referred to Greene as a "mosquito," a "pig,"
and a "pathetic individual." He insisted that he wasn't aware
of the Web site until a reporter brought it to his attention.
Records show that the Web site is registered to a Sausalito man, Allen
Long, who did not respond to interview requests for this article. But Greene
believes evidence from the site suggests Scientology involvement. The many
documents assembled there include a 1992 letter from the State Bar of California
in response to someone who had complained about Greene. As reproduced on
the Web site, the letter does not show the name of the person to whom it
was addressed. However, a copy of the letter that the bar association provided
to Greene does identify the addressee. He is none other than Eugene Ingram,
a former Los Angeles police sergeant and a longtime private investigator
for the Church of Scientology.
Ingram could not be reached for comment for this article.
Although it is possible that someone unaffiliated with Scientology could
have obtained the Ingram letter and posted it on the Web site, Greene thinks
that happenstance unlikely. Indeed, Ingram has taken an interest in Greene's
affairs over a long period of time, several of the lawyer's associates say.
Ed Caldwell remembers Ingram approaching him in the early 1990s seeking
dirt on Greene in connection with a legal matter in which both Greene and
Caldwell were involved, he says. Similarly, Robyn Kliger, who until recently
taught medical anthropology at UC Berkeley, recalls the day years ago when
a man identifying himself as Eugene Ingram showed up at her home wanting
information about Greene. "He didn't want to take no for an answer,"
she says. "On his way out, he made a point of letting me know that
he knew that both my mother and I had been involved in anti-cult activities.
It came across as sort of threatening."
Ford Greene's office is in a century-old storefront that was once a bakery;
he lives in the basement. The office is filled with the byproducts of his
unorthodox calling. Displayed in a corner is a feather necklace that was
the gift of a Tahitian prince he once helped bring out of a cult. There's
an entire room devoted to materials pertaining to the Church of Scientology;
he calls it his "Scientology War Room." There's even a stack of
"cult-buster" T-shirts lying around that he designed himself.
Greene's life -- both professional and personal -- is an extension of
the anti-cult mission he's set for himself. It's a mission born of falling
under the spell of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church as a young
college dropout -- ironically, while trying to extricate his younger sister
Catherine from the group.
After breaking free from the Unification Church, Greene joined forces
with his mother, Daphne Dibble Greene, the former chairwoman of Berkeley's
Graduate Theological Union and a leading anti-cult activist in the '70s
and '80s. An outspoken advocate for parents convinced that their children
had been brainwashed by the Moonies and other sects, she organized parental
support groups and, along with her son, testified before Congress.