FoA cancels ads: Cox firing spotlights Friends of Animals’ relationship with Fish & Wildlife Service

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1997:

WASHINGTON D.C.––Friends of
Animals on August 20 fired special investigator
Carroll Cox, notifying ANIMAL PEOPLE
literally as the September edition went to
press. The edition featured two Cox investigations
in separate page one articles, with
two more items on inside pages that were
based on Cox probes.
The firing drew notice to the longtime
cooperative relationship of Friends of
Animals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service––Cox’s former employer, whom he
has sued––in outfitting African anti-poaching
forces. The African projects are among the
most publicized FoA programs.
At the October ANIMAL PEOPLE
deadline Cox said he had retained prominent
legal counsel to draft a lawsuit alleging civil
rights violations on the part of FoA, whom he
accused of acting in collusion with USFWS.


Informing ANIMAL PEOPLE o f
the Cox firing by telephone, FoA general
counsel Herman Kaufman said Cox was “acting
crazy” and refusing to leave the FoA
Washington D.C. branch office. Kaufman
then changed the subject.
THE LORD MOVES
Stating, “The Lord moves in mysterious
ways,” Kaufman went on to describe a
purported tentative settlement offer that he
said FoA had just received re the pending
FoA lawsuit against USFWS over management
of the Julia Butler Hansen National
Wildlife Refuge for the endangered
Columbian whitetailed deer––a situation
ANIMAL PEOPLE has extensively investigated
and reported on since January, initially
at the request of FoA.
As a special investigator for
USFWS in the early 1990s, Cox served mainly
under the Pacific Regional Office, which
also has jurisdiction over the Julia Butler
Hansen refuge. In addition, Cox told A N IMAL
PEOPLE last December and reiterated
in August and September, all USFWS special
investigators were supervised by one Carl
Mainen, whom Cox identified as both head of
special investigations and senior administrator
of USFWS relations with external agencies.
In the latter role, Mainen may have
had a significant part over the years relative to
the FoA African program. The FoA program
centers upon obtaining surplus military equipment
from the U.S. and France, and donating
it to the anti-poaching forces of nations
including Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal,
Gambia, Ghana, Togo, Mali, and Chad.
Currently, FoA is conducting such
an operation through USAID, a State
Department program of which FoA––along
with many other animal protection organizations––is
openly critical, because it is also in
the seventh year of a 10-year, $27 million
funding commitment to CAMPFIRE, a
Zimbabwean project which promotes elephant
hunting and international trade in tusks.
The FoA African projects have been
directly assisted by USFWS in the recent past.
The USFWS African Elephant Conservation
Act web site identifies a “funded” project
which “provided excess U.S. military vehicles
to the Tanzania Department of Wildlife for
elephant anti-poaching operations in cooperation
with Friends of Animals,” and a “cooperative
project” which “was funded with
Senegal National Parks Service and Friends of
Animals to provide anti-poaching assistance
to Niokolo-Koba National Park.”
As the January/February and March
1997 editions of ANIMAL PEOPLE e x t e nsively
reported, Cox was fired by USFWS in
1994, for allegedly accepting a bribe––the
Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage,
presented by consumer advocate Ralph Nader.
Cox had documentedly rattled senior officials
within the USFWS, National Marine
Fisheries Service, the government of Hawaii,
the Western Pacific Regional Fishery
Management Council, and The Nature
Conservancy for approximately five years
with aggressive pursuit of wildlife law
enforcement both in Hawaii and in the U.S.
Trust Territory of Palau. After USFWS fired
Cox, he filed a discrimination case against
USFWS and the Department of the Interior,
of which it is part. The substance of the case
has yet to reach court, but it remains active,
despite the loss of key witness Michael M.
Hart, a 20-year USFWS staffer, who was
found dead of an alleged suicide at his
office––leaving no note––on December 28,
1994, minutes before he was to testify for
Cox at a deposition hearing.
The FoA lawsuit against USFWS,
filed last spring in response to a USFWS plan
to boost fawn survival at the Julia Butler
Hansen refuge by killing coyotes, alleges
that cattle outcompeting deer for the available
forage is the actual reason the refuge deer
herd is in decline. The cattle outnumber deer
on the refuge by a ratio of about 10 to one.
USFWS has refused to disclose who holds the

cattle grazing leases.
According to Kaufman in the August
20 conversation, the Justice Department attorney
representing USFWS had apparently been
authorized to give FoA a suspension of the
coyote killing and a review of the nutritional
status of the refuge, which Kaufman termed,
“practically everything we had asked for.”
Kaufman told ANIMAL PEOPLE
editor Merritt Clifton not to call Cox at the
FoA Washington D.C. offices, but Clifton
immediately tried to do so. FoA staffer Bill
Dollinger twice refused to connect Clifton
with Cox, but the second time Clifton w a s
able to hear Cox in the background, explaining
in a conversational voice to two police
officers who had been summoned by FoA to
evict him that yes, they were in the right
building, even though they had not found any
sign of the disturbance they had been told was
in progress. The police officers were later
identified as Rosalyn Littlejohn and Denise
Williams of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan
Police Department Third District.
EXCLUDED
The firing followed by 24 hours a
call from Kaufman in which he both informed
ANIMAL PEOPLE that he had been asked
by FoA president Priscilla Feral to prepare to
fire Cox, and similarly hinted that a favorable
out-of-court settlement of the Julia Butler
Hansen refuge lawsuit might be pending.
Follow-up discussion with Feral the same day
elicited written allegations that Cox had not
completed assignments, of which A N I M A L
PEOPLE had long since received copies; was
not a capable writer, though he has earned
several bylines as an ANIMAL PEOPLE
guest columnist and book reviewer; and had
purportedly shown a lack of commitment to
FoA by leaving his wife, Jeannette Gardner,
at their former home in Hawaii, where she
was serving out her notice of departure to the
First Hawaiian Bank, renting their house, and
selling possessions.
Cox worked for FoA on a consulting
basis in February and March, on a contract
basis in April and May, and moved to
Washington D.C. on regular salary July 1.
On September 8, Kaufman for FoA
demanded that Cox refund the $10,000 FoA
paid him toward relocation expenses.
“I am trying not to cry,” Gardner
wrote, faxing a copy of the demand letter.
“I’ve sold furniture, knick knacks, etc., some
of which I totally regret. My house is packed
up to go and I was living on a bare minimum
of clothes and kitchenware. I gave notice on
my job and was training my replacement,
which has destroyed my career––and now this,
which speaks for itself.”
Feral further told ANIMAL PEOPLE
on August 19 that she saw little value to
FoA in Cox’s investigative work, except in
getting publicity through ANIMAL PEOPLE.
ANIMAL PEOPLE was aware of
17 specific investigations that Cox pursued
between April 1 and August 20, and had specific
documentation that at least 13 of them
were undertaken either at Feral’s specific
request or with her prior authorization.
Reached for comment on the
evening of August 20, Cox stated Feral and
Kaufman told him that morning that he would
have to immediately drop any and all legal
actions against USFWS in order to be considered
for continued employment by FoA, and
that Feral had said the record of his proceedings
against USFWS would be reviewed by
FoA foreign representative Bill Clark as a condition
of his remaining employed by FoA.
An 18-year FoA staff member,
dividing time between that position and work
for the Israeli Nature Reserve system, Clark
manages the FoA programs in Africa, maintains
liaison with USFWS and other government
agencies as regards those programs, and
has been identified by Feral as standing second
in the FoA hierarchy––although his name does
not appear in recent FoA filings of IRS Form
990 as a director, officer, or key employee.
An August 20 memo faxed to Cox
from the FoA head office in Darien,
Connecticut, a copy of which was obtained by
ANIMAL PEOPLE, required Cox to agree
that, “so long as your lawsuit(s) between you
and the Department of Interior are pending,
you will not attend meetings or interact with
any of the adverse parties in those suits.”
Taken literally, this would have
excluded Cox from any work within the entire
jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior,
including not only USFWS but also the Bureau
of Land Management, National Park Service,
and U.S. Forest Service. Encompassed as well
would be work pertaining to the Wildlife
Services branch of the USDA, formerly
known as the Animal Damage Control branch,
since much of the Wildlife Services workload
is done under contract to Interior agencies,
and/or under permits granted by USFWS.
Work pertaining to NMFS could
likewise have been proscribed, since USFWS
and NMFS share responsibility for administering
the Endangered Species Act.
Of the 17 specific assignments that
Cox pursued while with FoA, for which ANIMAL
PEOPLE has documentation, at least
11 directly involved USFWS. All of them
involved Interior departments.
The August 20 FoA memo to Cox
continued, “You will furnish me [presumably
either Feral of Kaufman] with the title, case
number and court of any actions or suits
between you and the Department of Interior,
Fish and Wildlife Service, and further disclose
to me at once, who the Plaintiffs and
Defendants are in these suits.”
At 3:22 p.m., according to the fax
header data, Cox was given a 4:15 p.m. deadline
to provide this information. Feral and
Kaufman told ANIMAL PEOPLE that they
needed the requested particulars to avoid conflicts
of interest. They did not specify the
nature of any such perceived conflicts.
Cox was apparently fired when he
did not meet the deadline. Asked to state the
specific reason for the firing, Feral faxed on
September 2, “Not for public consumption.
No further comment.”
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Since the August 20 conversation
with Kaufman, ANIMAL PEOPLE h a s
received no further information from any
source about a possible settlement of the Julia
Butler Hansen refuge lawsuit.
ANIMAL PEOPLE on August 28
asked Feral, “What exactly is the USFWS role
as regards the use of a line of credit from
USAID toward the purchase of surplus military
equipment for transfer to African wildlife
programs, which according to [the FoA magaz
i n e ] Action Line amounts to $3 million over
three years?”
Although USAID is a State Department
rather than USFWS program, the State
Department customarily consults other departments
about projects involving their expertise
and jurisdiction––e.g. the USFWS re wildlife
and international conservation law enforcement.
The reason for inquiry was an article by
Clark published in the fall 1996 editon of
Action Line, under the headline “USAID
Grants FoA $1 Million in Surplus Equipment.”
There, Clark wrote, “The U.S. Agency for
International Development has signed a letter
of agreement with Friends of Animals, providing
FoA with up to $1 million of surplus
U.S. military equipment a year for the next
three years.”
Feral on August 31 promised to disclose
full particulars both of that deal and of
the previous African Elephant Conservation
Act transactions, which directly involved
USFWS, but no such particulars have arrived.
Clark on September 1 responded to
the same question, “There is no ‘line of credit
from USAID toward the purchase of surplus
military equipment.’ Whomever told you this
does not have the facts, and is providing you
with false information. Friends of Animals
has a written agreement with USAID,” he
continued, “which provides FoA with the ability
to acquire excess U.S. government property
on an ‘as is, where is’ basis. There is no purchase.
No money changes hands. Instead,
FoA can visit certain U.S. supply bases, primarily
in Europe, and screen specific excess
property for specific project countries in
Africa. Items requested by FoA must then be
approved by both USAID in Washington D.C.
and by USAID offices in the recipient countries.
FoA must then receive the property, pay
for any refurbishing necessary, and then pay
for its shipment to the recipient countries. To
date,” Clark insisted, “USFWS has not been
involved at all with the acquisition or use of
any excess U.S. government property made
available under the terms of the USAID agreement,
although I believe we would welcome
their support in transporting some of this
equipment from Europe to Africa.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE also asked
Feral on August 28 about “purported antipoaching
[and smuggling] training for African
conservation officers, conducted by Bill Clark
in association with USFWS staffer Carl
Mainen,” understood to have been described
by Clark in his article “FOA Sponsored Blaze
Ignites Anti-Smuggling Effort,” published in
the summer 1994 edition of FoA Action Line.
Wrote Clark in that article, just after
describing the interface of wildlife poaching
and smuggling, “Carl Mainen, of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, demonstrated one
sophisticated smuggling technique in which
contraband, such as turtle shell jewelry, is
sealed in a plastic bag which is then sunk
inside a larger plastic bag filled with water and
legally-traded live tropical fish. The smuggling
theory behind this technique, he
explained, is that the traffickers believe control
authorities wouldn’t want to risk spilling
live fish in an inspection. But, he added,
there are other ways of inspecting such shipments
without risking such a spill.”
Responded Clark on September 1,
“I am unfamiliar with any Action Line a r t i c l e
which reports my conducting anti-poaching
training in association with Carl Mainen. I
have never conducted any anti-poaching training
in association with Carl Mainen, although
I would be honored to do so if the opportunity
arises in the future. However,” Clark
acknowledged, “I do know Carl Mainen, and
I respect him as a competent and very professional
wildlife law enforcement officer. He
has accomplished much in protecting wild animals
from illegal dealers and smugglers, and
was honored for this during the recent CITES
meeting in Zimbabwe.”
Reminded of the Action Line article,
Clark wrote on September 2, “Carl Mainen

provided a brief demonstration to a room full of CITES
delegates. I was an observer of that demonstration, and
did not participate in it. Nor did I plan it. FoA’s
involvement was the sponsorship of a ceremony––on a
different day and in a different place––when contraband
wildlife products, confiscated by CITES authorities in
several contries, were publicly destroyed in a single
fire. It was a different event at the same week-long
meeting.”
WE’RE PARANOID
Concluded Clark, “If paranoia motivates you
to pursue this case further, that is your option. But I
shall not involve myself further in this pointless muckraking.
Or at least I hope it is pointless. For if I learn
that you have a proverbial hidden agenda yourself, and
that you are actively sifting through the past decade of
Action Lines seeking some obscure irregularity as a
premise for launching a crusade against a legitimate and
effective animal protection organization, I will indeed
involve myself in this matter once again. But it will not
be from my present relatively tolerant and benign perspective.
I appeal to you: consider the facts and if you
have not sound reason to continue, drop the witch hunt
and accept Friends of Animals’ explanation for why
Carroll Cox was dismissed.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out to Clark on
September 3 that although we were given allegations
before the actual firing, we still do not, as yet, have
any actual explanation that “Cox was fired because
–––.” Neither had Cox himself recieved one, he said.
Also on September 3, Kaufman wrote, “It is
regretable that FoA must bear the legal cost of having
me make this one final response to you and Carroll Cox.
After all, we know full well that you are a mere vehicle,
shall we say puppet, of Cox’s charades…Cox, the ventriloquist,
is pulling your puppet strings. I wanted you
to know that we are plainly aware of this. Concerning
your repeated question with respect to why Cox is no
longer affiliated with FoA, this involves a matter that:
a) is none of your business; and b) in any case, Cox
himself knows why he is no longer an employee.
Indeed, why Cox would have you ask FoA why Cox is
no longer employed at FoA is puzzling. In any event,
why don’t you ask him about this. But then, it is Cox
who is the author of the mountain of questions in your
voluminous faxes. I guess that Cox would have to ask
himself why he is not an employee of FoA…FoA has no
duty to respond to Cox’s Alice in Wonderland fantasies,
given that none of you ‘reporters’ has any interest in
reporting the truth. In short, Cox cannot create any
obligation of FoA to waste time in responding to all of
his assorted false innuendoes.”
That wasn’t the only matter of evident concern
to Kaufman. In Kaufman’s conversations with
ANIMAL PEOPLE of August 19 and 20, and in a
third conversation of August 31, ANIMAL PEOPLE
notes record that Kaufman repeatedly intimated familiarity
with “the pleadings” in one or more of
Cox’s legal actions pertaining to USFWS,
by which term Kaufman apparently meant
something more substantial than just the filing
documents.
On August 31, Kaufman further
stated that Cox had made unsuccessful allegations
of racisim on the part of USFWS and
other entities “all the way up to the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals.”
In a follow-up fax of August 31,
ANIMAL PEOPLE asked Kaufman if he
could identify any Cox action which has
gone to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, or even
identify any Cox action which had ever been heard at
any judiciary level, since to our understanding his specific
complaints have thus far remained within the
administrative review process for the USFWS and
Department of the Interior, and are therefore not matters
of public record.
“It is laughable,” Kaufman wrote in his
September 3 letter, “when you say that I had stated that
I had seen pleadings pertaining to ‘Cox’s case vs. the
USFWS.’ Rubbish. Not only did I not say any such
thing, I do not know anything about the specifics of his
prior employment history with either the federal government
or anybody else, nor do I care about any of this,”
notwithstanding that the matter immediately preceding
Cox’s firing by FoA was the August 20 memo requesting
particulars of Cox’s legal actions concerning his
prior employment history with USFWS.
“This will be the last communication you will
receive from FoA,” Kaufman concluded.
But it wasn’t. On September 9, Kaufman
wrote, “I have been directed by FoA president Priscilla
Feral to advise you of the following: All future advertisements
of Friends of Animals in your tabloid are to be
discontinued and cancelled, effective immediately.”
Friends of Animals had been ANIMAL PEOP
L E’s third largest advertising account. FoA ads and
donations to ANIMAL PEOPLE brought in revenue of
about $5,000 a year. ANIMAL PEOPLE e d i t o r
Merritt Clifton additionally earned approximately
$1,000 a year writing freelance features for Action Line.

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