Sherman Skolnick Sounds Off!
An Interview by Kenn Thomas
The interview below is excerpted from a longer interview
appearing in Steamshovel Press #11, appearing on the newstands in
about a week. Other contents of the issue include: INSLAW Octopus
in Whitewater Currents; An Interview with Dr. Alan Cantwell
discussing AIDS as biowarfare; part three of the JFK/CIA/LSD and
Mary Pinchot Meyer story; a look at BioSphere 2; book reviews on
the current crop of conspiracy books; and much more. A single
issue of Steamshovel costs $4 plus $1 postage; subscriptions cost
$20 for four issues. Steamshovel Press, POB 23715, St. Louis, MO
Steamshovel Press editor Kenn Thomas recently had the distinct
pleasure of having dinner with legal researcher Sherman Skolnick at
his usual haunt, the River Flame restaurant off Highway 94 outside
of Chicago. Sherman Skolnick has been on the scene since his early
courtroom victories regarding the corruption of Illinois state
courts and congressional reapportionment in that state. His
research has made him a perennial figure in national politics. He
helped expose the existence of a Chicago-area assassination plot
against JFK involving a Lee Harvey Oswald. He demonstrated that
sabotage was the probable reason for a United Airlines crash that
killed the wife of E. Howard Hunt and eleven other Watergate
figures. He surfaced a great deal of information regarding
witnesses to events surrounding the Inslaw investigation. In fact,
he continually exposes interesting and under-reported details about
current political scandals on the hotline of his group, the
Citizens Committee to Clean Up the Courts (312-731-1100), which
also has helped many people with their struggles in bankruptcy
court. Sherman also produces a Chicago public access cable
television program that further documents the issues and cases he
has brought to public scrutiny. Virtually dismissed entirely by
the mainstream and often labeled a kook even by some in the
conspiracy research community, Skolnick's work has nevertheless had
a remarkable staying power and his successes in court and in the
media have earned him much respect as a champion dirt-digger and
exposer of hidden truth. This interview provided a rare opportunity
to discuss history with him, his own as well as that of the people
and events he has investigated over the years.
Q: How do you make that leap from working on local court cases to
these national things?
A: Well, for instance, I taught civic investigation for would-be
journalists and in the same building where the college was, on the
third floor was a strange outfit with no name on the door. And
they filmed or taped every talk show in the Chicago area and then
sold the tape, the film or the transcripts to certain offices in
Washington and the Pentagon. And the courier for that got to know
me and he says, "I got something for you, some documents about the
Kennedy thing." I says, "I don't have any money to go to Dallas,
don't tell me about no Kennedy thing." This was 1970. So I met
him and he gives me this pile of documents about the Chicago plot
against Kennedy, that there was a plot two and half weeks before.
So I was worried and I wrote him a $5 check for xerox expense and
on the back I put down "For the Kennedy documents, full payment."
The $5 check saved me from the rope, I tell you! Because what they
wanted me to do was to blow the cover of certain police that worked
for CIA in Chicago. And if I could they would terminate these
police. They never intended that I as a loud-mouth would get into
When I started the plan to go to courts is when I got in
trouble. Harold Weisberg says, "Skolnick, come to my goose farm."
I say, "I don't know you." He says, "Oh yeah, I'm a leading writer
of books about the Kennedy assassination." I say, "I'm not into the
Kennedy thing. I'm on the Chicago thing. I don't know nothin'
about Dealey Plaza." I never went to his goose farm.
These were all the secret documents that a black secret
service agent put together, Abraham Bolden.
Q: You got documents directly from Abraham Bolden?
A: No, not from him. I got them from this guy, this mysterious
courier that delivered the film and tapes to a secret office in the
Pentagon which he thought to be the CIA.
Q: But they originated with Bolden.
A: What I later found out was that this was the first time in the
200 year history of the National Archives that someone stole this
out of the archives. So I was planning to go to court, and luckily
I didn't go to Weisberg's thing because Weisberg, after I went to
court, threatened to sue me that I stole the documents from him.
Luckily, I had this $5 check endorsed by the one that I bought them
from, full payment for the documents. David Lifton, who was just
getting started on the west coast, I never heard of the guy, I got
a letter in the file from 1970 saying "You stole the documents from
me!" Lifton writes me from the west coast, Weisberg writes from his
goose farm, both say that I stole the documents from them and I
bought them from this strange character.
Through my late friend, James Albright, who owned the patent
for the high speed ice machine, he knew where to find Bolden at an
unlisted address on the south side. So he arranged for me to meet
with Bolden. So I went with a lady friend of mine in her car to
Q: I should say for the readers that Abraham Bolden was the first
black Secret Service agent, appointed by Kennedy, and after the
A: First black in the White House guard.
Q: ...he was apparently thrown in jail on trumped up charges.
A: So I came with my lady friend in her little red car and we sat
in front of Bolden's house and I had these documents, eleven of
them, mounted in one of those salesmen's books with the plastic
pages, under celluloid. And Bolden sits in the back and looks at
them and looks at each one and says, "I knew it. You are here to
put me back in prison. I'm on parole!" I says, "Bolden, I want to
clear you." "Like hell you do! You're part of a government effort
to put me back." And I say, "I think Mark Lane didn't do right for
you when you were down there in Springfield, Missouri. I think all
your lawyers put together have not done right for you. I am here to
clear you." "Like hell you are. You got my secret report. It's
not supposed to be out until 2039. You got it. You stole it. And
I'm going to be blamed that I gave it to you and I'm going to be
sent back to jail and you are going to get publicity and I am going
to get jail." I says, "For godssakes Abraham Bolden, I am here to
do good for you. I'm going to court and attach all these documents
and I'm going to confront the goddam government and I'm going to
put in there how they framed you." I didn't know anything about
Garrison or Dealey Plaza, I kept no clippings, I was not interested
Q: Garrison tried to do something and failed and here you're coming
to this guy saying you're going to do the same thing, take it to
the courts. If he was following the Garrison case, I could imagine
that he would not have the same faith that you had that you could
do something in the courts.
A: And so I went to court and I sued, Skolnick vs. National
Archives and Records Service and I set forth the whole thing about
Cuba, about Kennedy, about Bolden and the fact that Bolden was
framed. On the day we brought the lawsuit, one of the major 50,000
watt stations here had a good young reporter that I knew and he put
a major story out on it. He eventually was run out of Chicago.
There aren't any happy endings to any of this. Stuart Pahn. He
went into the brokerage business.
Q: What was in Bolden's report?
A: It was on the plot to kill Kennedy in Chicago by a person named
Lee Harvey Oswald and an Oswald double, Thomas Arthur Vallee, both
of whom were apprehended. Vallee was arrested on a $5 traffic rap
and the traffic ticket was suppressed and put in the National
Archives. Two blocks off the Northwest Expressway, which is now
called the Kennedy Expressway. And they were going to go through
a hairpin turn just like they ended up going in front of the Book
Depository. They found a hairpin turn in the route from the
airport to the college football game where on November 2nd Kennedy
was to go to a football game in Chicago. He didn't come, but his
route was to go through a hairpin turn where they had another guy
who was working at a CIA printing office with the window looking
right down at Kennedy. The complaining witness against Vallee was
Daniel Groth, not listed as policeman, listed as a witness. Groth
came with a machine gun, kicked in Fred Hampton's door and
assassinated people there.
Q: The Black Panthers.
A: 1969. The same guy. But no author has ever called me to ask for
copies of Bolden's documents. A day after I filed the lawsuit in
April of 1970, they tried to revoke Bolden's parole. And my friend
on a major radio station here went on the air and saved him.
Q: So Bolden was right. They came after him.
A: If it wasn't for the radio station, Bolden would have gone back
to jail. I got world-wide publicity, except in Chicago. The
Chicago press ignored it. But I also got on the crap list with
almost every assassination researcher. Sylvia Meaghre, who wrote
Accessories After The Fact, called me up and says , "Who the hell
are you? Do you know about the Dallas thing?" I says, "Not a word."
"Did you read the Warren Commission documents?" "Does not pertain
to my thing." "You're a fraud, Skolnick." I says, "I am not
investigating which way the bullets went in Dealey Plaza. I'm only
on the Chicago plot."
Q: So she took it as intruding on her turf.
A: Yeah. David Lifton writes me a letter, and I can give you a
xerox copy, "You are a fraud and you stole the documents from me."
"I don't know who the fuck you are, David Lifton!" Weisberg sends
me a thing in the form of a legal paper which he never filed,
Weisberg vs. Skolnick, he wanted damages for me stealing the eleven
documents from him. Nobody to this day has made an accurate
chapter or sub-chapter on the Bolden thing.
Q: So the researchers all converged on you even though you're
making a contribution to a case that they're supposedly trying to
help solve themselves.
A: They've all got a vested interest. Peter Dale Scott for reasons
I do not know has taken to the lecture platform and accused me of
being a fraud. As you know, when I come to the assassination
conferences, I'm the one they always want to throw out of the
place. Now why is that?
Q: Carl Oglesby still likes you, doesn't he?
A: In 1974 or '75 I was giving a speech in Boston and I met him for
a couple of hours while I was there. He lives in Cambridge. I
raised the issue about Rennie Davis, the Chicago 7 and the CIA and
I tell you, Carl almost took my crutch and wrapped it around my
throat. He says, "That's a forbidden subject. You are not asking
Q: Could you restate what you said about Rennie Davis?
A: I came out with a documented thing about all the CIA front
foundations, which I'm an expert on. I found a way to identify CIA
front foundations through 990AR, which is the foundation tax return
that's a public record. I proved that the CIA financed Rennie
Davis and the Chicago 7 to down the Democrats and put in Nixon.
And when I raised this with Oglesby, he had been a big shot with
the Students for Democratic Society, and when I was in Cambridge in
'75, he got livid. So he's got this mixed feeling about me. He's
always worried that at some public place I'm going to say something
about that and I'm going to get around to him.
Q: So Rennie Davis, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale, all on
A: Not Bobby Seale, but the others were part of the game. They
were getting money from CIA foundations. I got arrested
confronting Rennie Davis on a local TV station on a live program.
Rennie had me arrested.
Q: The Chicago police came to the defense of Rennie Davis?
A: Eighteen police, yeah. Channel 44.
Q: I didn't realize until recently that it was your work that
helped expose the story about E. Howard Hunt's role in the downing
of the airplane that killed his wife Dorothy.
A: I sued the National Transportation Safety Board and I didn't
tell them that I had their file, all the pictures, all the
documents, showing they knew it was sabotage where Dorothy Hunt and
the eleven other Watergaters died. So in front of 250 reporters
that gathered from all over the world for the re-opened air crash
hearings, I laid all the documents on the table and I says,
"Alright NTSB, now is the time to arrest me. This is your stuff.
My friend swiped it from you. What are you going to do about?
Arrest me in front all these reporters?" The Associated Press ran
a story on the A wire: "Chicago legal researcher Sherman Skolnick
presented today a heavily documented case of what he claims is
sabotage based on government documents." Only one paper in the
country ran the story even though it was on the international wire.
The Seattle Intelligencer is the only one that ran the stories.
The Tribune ran a cropped picture of me sitting at the table and
says "Skolnick has no documents to support his contention of
sabotage." CBS had a live thing closed circuit that they didn't
used on the air for their executives, because UAL Incorporated, the
parent company of United Airlines, whose flight 553 crashed,
exactly one month after Nixon's re-election. A month before they
killed Hale Boggs, from the Warren Commission. Dorothy Hunt and
the eleven Watergaters who had blackmailed two million dollars out
of the Nixon White House.
During the hearings, on the second day I was tired and told
this joke. I says, "I'm here to absolutely and categorically admit
that I have no proof whatsoever that Edward Carlson, the head of
United Airlines and Richard Nixon were on the plane with a .38 and
shot Dorothy Hunt. I admit it!" I figured it was going to be a
joke and everybody was going to laugh. The next day it comes out:
"Skolnick has no proof whatsoever." And they show this cropped
picture, I'm sitting in front of the table and I figured the
photograph was bound to show the documents. No way: they cropped to
where the documents are not shown.
Following this interview, Skolnick discussed his recent work
with the involuntary bankruptcy case of caulking contractor Joseph
Andreuccetti, which has led to his involvement with scandals of the
Clinton era. Mr. Andreucetti was present at this dinner table
discussion, as was Skolnick associate Mark Sato and another person
helped by the Citizen's Committee To Clean Up The Courts. They
explained the connection between Mr. Andreuccetti, a descendant of
Italy's House of Savoy, and over $10 billion in gold stolen from
the Italian treasury by the OSS in 1943 and now located in Building
4 of King's Point Condominium in Addison, Illinois, a western
suburb of Chicago. The story is rich with detail and suitable for
expanded treatment in a future issue of Steamshovel. It includes
charges by Inslaw informant Michael Riconoscuito that gold mesh
filters made by a company named Wirecloth Products was used as a
currency within intelligence circles. The story also suggests that
the gold was used as collateral in the early 1980s to support the
opening of the Chicago branch of the Banca Del Lavoro, long
connected to the JFK assassination, BCCI and Household
International, a successor to Nugan Hand Bank of Inslaw infamy.
From the gold as well, a $50 million contingency fund was
established by the Resolution Trust Corporation to cover
liabilities from the liquidation into Household Bank of American
Heritage Savings and Loan, the S&L that purported to lend Mr.
Andreuccetti money to finish the King's Point condos. According to
Skolnick and associates, the fund disappeared and ended up in
Little Rock to make the Madison Guaranty S&L look incompetent
instead of criminal when its financial improprieties are finally
examined closely. The Committee To Clean Up The Courts can be
reached at 9800 South Oglesby Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617.
Steamshovel Press, POB 23715, St. Louis, MO 63121.