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John H. Meier

John H. Meier

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John H. Meier is an American financier
Financier
Financier is a term for a person who handles typically large sums of money, usually involving money lending, financing projects, large-scale investing, or large-scale money management. The term is French, and derives from finance or payment...

 and business consultant now living in Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, Canada. He is noted for working as a business adviser for Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest people in the world...

 and for his behind-the-scenes involvement in events that precipitated President Richard M. Nixon's resignation. A book about his experiences, Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes
Age of Secrets
Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes is a biography on Howard Hughes personal advisor, and former U.S. Senate Candidate, John H. Meier and written by newspaper reporter Gerald Bellett...

, was written with his cooperation.

Background


John Meier was born in 1933 and raised on Long Island, New York. He worked briefly for the New York Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company
The New York Life Insurance Company is one of the largest mutual life-insurance companies in the United States, and one of the largest life insurers in the world, with about $287 billion in total assets under management, and more than $15 billion in surplus and AVR...

 before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 and sent to the war in Korea
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. Upon his honorable discharge in 1954, Meier returned to working for New York Life.

In 1959, Meier was hired in the computer division at Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft Company was a major American aerospace and defense contractor founded in 1932 by Howard Hughes in Culver City, California as a division of Hughes Tool Company...

 and two years later transferred to Hughes Dynamics, a Los Angeles-based information management subsidiary of the Hughes Tool Company."

Howard Hughes adviser



Meier was associated with Howard Hughes for 15 years and claimed to be his "right-hand man." He alleges to be one of the few in Hughes's inner circle not only to be allowed to see him, but also to have met with him regularly and shake hands with the pathologically reclusive Hughes every day. According to Robert Maheu
Robert Maheu
Robert Aime Maheu was an American businessman and lawyer, who worked for the FBI, CIA and as the chief executive of Nevada operations for the industrialist Howard Hughes.-Biography:...

, another Hughes adviser, all the reports Meier submitted to his employer were passed along by intermediaries.

Meier positioned himself as the someone closely involved in Hughes's business operations and leveraged his connections to the industrialist. One newspaper called Meier one of two "all-powerful aides who ran Howard's Nevada Empire." During his tenure with the Hughes organization, Meier was involved in a controversial mine acquisition project. He had been representing people who were selling claims to Hughes and in just two years, Meier oversaw the transfer of $20 million to purchase over 2,000 mining claims in California and Nevada – some of which were not even owned by the original sellers. Despite initial hopes that the mines would produce silver and gold, according to several geological surveys, many of them were declared "worthless." Meier alleged that Hughes was behind some of the controversy in a complex scheme he hatched in order to convince Moe Dalitz
Moe Dalitz
Morris Barney "Moe" Dalitz was a Jewish American bootlegger, racketeer, casino owner and philanthropist who was one of the major figures who helped shape Las Vegas, Nevada in the 20th century. He was often referred to as Mr...

 to sell the Stardust Casino. Afterwards it was revealed that over $5 million worth of mine claims that should have gone to Hughes had been passed through tax shelters in Switzerland.

In November 1969, Meier resigned from the Hughes organization apparently in order to focus on ecological issues, specifically how to apply technology and scientific research to environmental studies. He later established the Nevada Environmental Foundation and as a sign that his relationship with Howard Hughes continued, Meier stated that Hughes was the one financing the Foundation.

A year after Hughes death, Meier claims to have obtained secret Howard Hughes documents from Mexico, which even the CIA had apparently been unable to secure, by working with Canadian parliamentarian John Reynolds
John Reynolds (Canadian politician)
John Douglas Reynolds, PC was the Member of Parliament for the riding of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country in the Canadian House of Commons from 1997 to 2006...

. Reynolds obtained the documents from the Mexican Government because of his investigation into CIA activities in Canada.

Legal troubles


The mine claims controversy was a source of legal trouble for Meier. In the 1970s, he was indicted and arrested for tax evasion. The Hughes Tool Company was suing him for $8 million and in March 1978 was awarded a judgment of $7.9 million. That summer Meier left for Australia where he was briefly detained, but because he carried with him a diplomatic passport issued by the Kingdom of Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

 – Meier was heavily involved in the financing of infrastructure projects there – the Australian authorities released him. Avoiding return to the United States, he then went to live permanently in Vancouver (Meier had become a Canadian citizen in 1977).

Meier was eventually arrested in Canada and despite his appeals, was extradited to the United States in 1979 and charged with fraud and obstruction of justice. At this time Meier claimed to have in his possession the secret Hughes papers that would exonerate him. However, the court deemed that the papers were a forgery. Meier was sentenced to 30 months in prison, of which he served 21 months.

Watergate


Meier has been connected to the events that led to President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

With the upcoming 1972 Presidential election, Meier, working with former Vice President Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 and others, wanted to feed misinformation to Richard Nixon. In late 1971, the President's brother Donald Nixon
Donald Nixon
Francis Donald Nixon was a brother of United States President, Richard Nixon.He was the third of five children:*Harold Nixon *Richard Nixon *Donald Nixon...

, was collecting intelligence for his brother at the time and was asking Meier about the Democratic National Chairman, Larry O'Brien
Larry O'Brien
Lawrence Francis "Larry" O'Brien, Jr. was one of the United States Democratic Party's leading electoral strategists when, for more than two decades, he helped reshape American politics...

, who had worked with Meier and the Hughes Organization.

Meier told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election since they had a lot of information on Richard Nixon's illicit dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released, and that Larry O’Brien had the information(O’Brien didn’t actually have any documents but Meier wanted Nixon to think he did). Donald then called his brother and told him that Meier gave the Democrats all the Hughes information that could destroy him (Richard Nixon) and that O’Brien has it. This provided the President with the real motivation to break into O’Brien's office, as he wanted to see if anything was going to break before the election, and which led to the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon being forced to resign as President of the United States.

Meier claims to have paid a political and personal price for his involvement, which included drawing the wrath of the CIA and being framed for murder in 1981 (which he fought for years and which was resolved in 1986 as the charges were dropped.) On May 2, 1975, CIA agent Virgino Gonzalez made public an affidavit that included information on illegal activities the CIA was doing against John Meier and further illicit activities they were still planning against him.

Although he had problems with the CIA in the past, Meier had maintained a good relationship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

, and always remained on good terms with the FBI.

Environment


Starting with efforts to alleviate pollution, Meier later became involved in the nuclear disarmament movement, serving as a director of the anti-nuclear activist group Fund For Survival whose notable members included Steve Allen
Steve Allen
Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

 and actor Robert Ryan
Robert Ryan
Robert Bushnell Ryan was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains.-Early life and career:...

. When the United States Atomic Energy Commission
United States Atomic Energy Commission
The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

 (AEC) began conducting nuclear bomb tests in the Nevada desert, putting area residents at risk of radiation poisoning, Meier worked with Hughes to oppose the testing and took the AEC to task at the highest levels. Vice President Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 convinced President Lyndon Johnson to commission a presidential panel to study Meier's data on the AEC and nuclear testing.

Meier was a Special Advisor on Environment Affairs to Senator Mike Gravel
Mike Gravel
Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election....

, who credited Meier and Hughes with preventing the spread of nuclear power within the United States.

Meier served on President Nixon's Task Force on Resources and Environment and in 1970 published a book on the environment entitled Speaking for the Earth. He was also Special Advisor on Environment and Data Processing Studies in the office of Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt
Paul Laxalt
Paul Dominique Laxalt of Nevada was a former Republican District Attorney, Lieutenant Governor, Governor and U.S. Senator. In the media, the words "son of a Basque sheepherder" often accompanied his name. He was one of Ronald Reagan's closest friends in politics...

. Meier was a trustee of Nevada Essential Environmental Development Surveys Foundation, adviser to the Inter-Agency Water Pollution Control Task Force, adviser to the Rocky Mountain Center on Environment and was the founder and president of the Nevada Environmental Foundation.

Other activities


Meier has been an advisor to several U.S. Senators including Senators Hubert Humphrey and Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

. He has acted as a consultant to President Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996.-Early life and introduction to politics:...

 of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and was a credentialed diplomat of Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

.

He was a former Governor of the Bank of the South Pacific and has had managerial and executive positions with the New York Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company
The New York Life Insurance Company is one of the largest mutual life-insurance companies in the United States, and one of the largest life insurers in the world, with about $287 billion in total assets under management, and more than $15 billion in surplus and AVR...

, Remington Rand
Remington Rand
Remington Rand was an early American business machines manufacturer, best known originally as a typewriter manufacturer and in a later incarnation as the manufacturer of the UNIVAC line of mainframe computers but with antecedents in Remington Arms in the early nineteenth century. For a time, the...

, Hughes Aircraft Company, Hughes Tool Company
Hughes Tool Company
Hughes Tool Company was established in 1908 as Sharp-Hughes Tool Company when Howard R. Hughes, Sr. patented a roller cutter bit that dramatically improved the rotary drilling process for oil drilling rigs. He partnered with longtime business associate Walter Benona Sharp to manufacture and market...

, and has served as Chairman of Satellite Geophysics Ltd.

Meier served on Nevada's gaming Industry Task Force, has been VP of the Nevada Taxpayers Association, and was a Special Assistant to Governor Paul Laxalt
Paul Laxalt
Paul Dominique Laxalt of Nevada was a former Republican District Attorney, Lieutenant Governor, Governor and U.S. Senator. In the media, the words "son of a Basque sheepherder" often accompanied his name. He was one of Ronald Reagan's closest friends in politics...

. He has also served as a Director for the International Eye Foundation, and was a member of the Board of Advisors for the New York Manhattan Tribune Newspaper.

He launched a motion picture production company, Meier-Murray Productions, with fellow Hughes consultant Thomas E. Murray, Jr., which produced two films in the early 1970s.

Meier was a Member of the Child Welfare Advisory Committee (which Hughes and Governor Laxalt set up), a Member of the Impact Priority Committee, Member of the Las Vegas Council for American Society for Public Administration, Member of the Las Vegas Rotary International
Rotary International
Rotary International is an organization of service clubs known as Rotary Clubs located all over the world. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help...

 Rotary Club, Member-at-large of the Board of Directors for the Frontier Council Girl Scouts of America, Member of the League of Women Voters
League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters is an American political organization founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote...

 of the United States’ Men's Finance Advisory Committee, resided on the Board of Directors of the International Eye Foundation, Member of the American Industrial Development Council, was a Vice Chairman of the March of Dimes
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes Foundation is a United States nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.-Organization:...

, and was on the Board of Directors of the California Educational Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to the training of emotionally disturbed and brain-damaged children, whose President was Robert Sweeney and which the board of advisors included Andy Griffith
Andy Griffith
Andy Samuel Griffith is an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's epic film A Face in the Crowd before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead...

, Jim Nabors
Jim Nabors
James Thurston "Jim" Nabors is an American actor and singer. Born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, Nabors moved to Southern California because of his asthma. While working at a Santa Monica nightclub, The Horn, he was discovered by Andy Griffith and later joined The Andy Griffith Show, playing...

, and Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke
Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer with a career spanning six decades. He is the older brother of Jerry Van Dyke, and father of Barry Van Dyke...

.

Meier was also Vice President of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

A former American Legion
American Legion
The American Legion is a mutual-aid organization of veterans of the United States armed forces chartered by the United States Congress. It was founded to benefit those veterans who served during a wartime period as defined by Congress...

 Chaplain and U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 Veteran of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, Mr. Meier has also served in the US Marine Corps Reserve.

Awards

  • In a ceremony at the Washington, D.C. National Press Club (USA), he was knighted in the Sovereign Greek Order of St. Dennis of Zante

  • The covenant Christopher Columbus award, the highest decoration the Dominican Republic could bestow on a foreigner, awarded to him by President Joaquín Balaguer of the Dominican Republic

  • Cited by the government of Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

     for his contributions to the battle against pollution

  • Honored by the Counsel General of China for his outstanding leadership in the business community

  • A citation from Governor Luis A. Ferré
    Luis A. Ferré
    Don Luis Alberto Ferré Aguayo was a Puerto Rican engineer, industrialist, politician, philanthropist, and a patron of the arts. He was the third Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1973, and the founding father of the New Progressive Party which advocates for Puerto Rico...

     of Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

     for his "extraordinary assistance" to Puerto Rico on environment, gaming, and mining

  • An award from Mayor Samuel William Yorty
    Samuel William Yorty
    Losing a 1940 bid for U.S. Senator, when he ran unsuccessfully as a liberal internationalist against isolationist Republican and longtime incumbent Hiram Johnson, Yorty left politics during World War II to serve in the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater. He resumed his Assembly...

     and the city of Los Angeles for his work in the field of ecology

  • The Aerospace Man of the Year Award for the application of computer systems in understanding industrial and institutional problems

  • An Outstanding Young Man of the Year Award in the United States

  • California Governor's Award of Technical Achievement in Data Processing

  • The Las Vegas Jaycees Distinguished Service Award

  • The Las Vegas Jaycees Outstanding Man of the Year Award

External links