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Authorities See Pattern of Threats, Plots : Dark Side of LaRouche Empire Surfaces

October 14, 1986|KEVIN RODERICK | Times Staff Writer

He said it required income of $225,000 a week in gross sales to keep its programs going--or $11.7 million a year.

"We are about to deploy as we have never deployed earlier," LaRouche wrote. "The purpose is not to increase the income, but to accomplish strategic political purposes. Nonetheless, the shift will create conditions in which the income problem can be mastered."

By 1984, the empire had the means to move from Manhattan to Leesburg. Companies and associates purchased more than $1 million in property, set up new businesses, bought a local country-western radio station and began to publish a community newspaper, the Loudoun County News.

It is a mystery how much money the organization takes in now. The grand jury in Boston heard testimony that a single account of Campaigner Publications Inc., which publishes some of the LaRouche literature sold in airports, handled $4.5 million in a four-month period of 1984. And the empire includes a dozen such companies and committees.

Much of what comes in stays in. The organization's own companies typeset, print and distribute all the literature, with a staff of about 250 in Leesburg.

Ballot Campaign

On the Proposition 64 campaign, much of the $200,000 spent to gather signatures was sent to California by a New York unit, Caucus Distributors Inc., and was largely paid in salary to local LaRouche candidates. LaRouche has backed candidates in scores of California races in recent years. A few have won seats on local party committees.

"They spend as little money outside the organization as they can," said Joel Bellman, a Los Angeles journalist with extensive experience on LaRouche.

Prosecutors say an alleged credit-card scam that was at the core of the Boston indictment was masterminded in Leesburg but claimed victims all over the country. The grand jury said, after a two-year investigation, that unauthorized charges were made to the credit cards of about 1,000 people who bought New Solidarity and other LaRouche publications, such as Executive Intelligence Review and Fusion magazine.

In addition, the indictment says intimidation and lies were used to pressure people to lend large sums. LaRouche operatives promised to repay the loans with generous interest, but prosecutors allege that the policy was to not repay.

Court records show that a Virgina state police agent received 22 "abusive and demanding" phone calls from LaRouche associates in the week after he posed as a potential donor at National Airport near Washington. Callers said $5,000 and more was needed to keep LaRouche out of jail and stop AIDS, the agent said.

Authorities in 10 states are investigating the pressure tactics, including charges that elderly people with sizable bank accounts have been victimized, and an increasing number of civil lawsuits against the practices are pending.

First Fidelity Bank of New Jersey recently sued the LaRouche organization, charging that the bank was used as a conduit for credit-card abuses similar to those alleged by the Boston grand jury.

A Florida bank, representing Charles H. Zimmerman, 80, a retired Bethlehem Steel executive in Florida, sued this summer after Zimmerman turned $2.6 million over to various LaRouche organizations. Zimmerman now says that he was tricked into contributing the money.

In a celebrated case within the LaRouche organization, a Pennsylvania judge awarded financial custody to the family of Lewis duPont Smith, a young adherent who had contributed some of his share of the duPont chemicals fortune to LaRouche. Smith says his family objects to his political allegiance to LaRouche. Smith now lives in Leesburg and writes articles for New Solidarity--but cannot give LaRouche any more money.

Meanwhile, LaRouche pleads that he has no idea who pays his bills--just "associates." He admits to paying no income taxes in a decade.

Early Days

In documents from the early days of the National Caucus of Labor Committees, LaRouche talks about the wide-ranging role he plays in members' lives.

He warned members in 1973 that devotion to him would involve some stress.

"In respect of the mental processes, absolutely nothing is secret; there is merely blindness. . . . In Germany I am Der Abscheulicher (the abominable one); I shall soon be regarded similarly here," he said

The beginnings of his U.S. movement in place, LaRouche wrote in a confidential message to organizers in 1973, titled, "The Politics of Male Impotence," that he had set up a European base "on the premise that our growing importance in the world would close borders to me very soon."

He also predicted seizure of world power within the decade--through curing the sexual impotence of his followers.

"The principal source of impotence, both male and female, is the mother. . . . If you are sexually impotent--as most of our members inevitably are--then you are impotent as political organizers," he wrote.

Sexual performance and motherhood were common themes in LaRouche's early essays.

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