SANTA ANA — Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. on Wednesday called a state lawsuit filed against his affiliate group frivolous and suggested that it was the result of corruption in the California attorney general's office.
The Orange County Superior Court suit filed here Friday alleged that members of LaRouche's Fusion Energy Foundation defrauded a Laguna Hills widow with Alzheimer's disease, the degenerative mental ailment, of her $104,000 stock portfolio.
Asked about the suit while campaigning for president in Oklahoma City, LaRouche called the allegations "totally frivolous" Wednesday and accused the state attorney general's office of corruption. He didn't elaborate.
Duane Peterson, spokesman for Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp, said from San Francisco on Wednesday that there would be no comment to the LaRouche allegation.
The lawsuit said Fusion Energy Foundation members solicited a donation from Flora Whitton, 79, by telephone. Representatives of the foundation then flew from their headquarters outside Washington to accompany the widow while she took stock certificates from a safe deposit box and signed them over to the foundation in 1986, the suit alleged.
The bankrupt group supporting nuclear energy is one of several organizations affiliated with LaRouche, who has espoused conspiracy theories involving the British royal family, among others, and who is running as a third-party presidential candidate.
The suit seeks return of the money and $100,000 in damages, said Whitton's attorney, Harry E. Westover.
Whitton's court-appointed guardian, Alden Andrew, said Monday that the widow was often the target of telephone sales pitches.
"We've had to cancel more than 25 magazine subscriptions that this woman subscribed to," Andrew said. "Anytime anyone would call to sell her anything, she would buy. She was a pushover."
Andrew, who is also Whitton's accountant, said he had sought court approval to oversee her finances after finding stock certificates that he valued at $104,452 missing from her safety deposit box in October, 1987.
In place of the certificates, the box held receipts for the stock dated Aug. 13 and Aug. 14, 1986, and signed by Paul Gallagher, executive director of the Fusion Energy Foundation, the suit said.
Westover said the money represented her life savings.
LaRouche, of Leesburg, Va., has been indicted along with 12 of his aides by a federal grand jury in Boston on charges that they submitted millions of dollars worth of fraudulent charges on credit card accounts of previous contributors.
The Fusion Energy Foundation, which uses publications and airport displays to press the case for nuclear power, was one of several groups whose assets were seized by federal agents in 1987 to collect more than $21 million in penalties assessed against the LaRouche organization by federal courts.
The penalties were imposed because officials of the organizations refused to provide records sought in a criminal investigation.