Sunday, January 6, 2008
For those who may not be as familiar with the allosaur case and Joe Taylor, please take the time to read this post — and alert other folks who may be able to help.
Joe Taylor is a small businessman
going head-to-head with
ministries with deep pockets.Joe needs to file a court appeal immediately or he will lose a lifetime of work in the next few days. We are asking people who care about truth to send money $$$. If we all pitch in it will be enough.
We are not exaggerating in saying this is important and urgent. A legitimate court has not yet heard the case between Joe Taylor and Doug Phillips/Pete DeRosa. We do not say this to disrespect the court that ruled against Joe, but it is absolutely true that it did not hear the facts of either the case, nor did it hear the Mediation/Arbitration procedure violations. Further documentation will soon be up on the Web at Raisingthetruth.com and helpjoetaylor.com that will help you understand that what we are saying is true. But if you can help, please do so immediately!
Background: Doug Phillips and Pete DeRosa, owners of Vision Forum and Creation Expeditions respectively, made a 2002 documentary called Raising the Allosaur, in which they took credit for the discovery and excavation of an Allosaurus found by landowner Dana Forbes and dug up by veteran field paleontologist Joe Taylor and his dig team. Phillips/DeRosa’s fraudulent claims in their movie were multiplied by the removal of the allosaur from Taylor's Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum to Vision Forum property under threat of lawsuit (see first point under #4 below).
Taylor was subsequently silenced through a rule-breaking process of "Christian Mediation," so-called by Phillips and his lawyer friends, where Joe was not allowed to bring witnesses nor given an opportunity to present his evidence. Taylor, without competent legal representation, was strong-armed into an agreement that effectively finished the theft. For later speaking out about these things, Taylor was subjected to another rule-breaking “arbitration,” further silenced and fined $100,000 plus legal fees of more than $30,000. Joe now faces the prospect of having these interlopers take his museum and fossils within the next few weeks.
Joe needs an attorney to appeal these injustices
before they take place!
This will cost money.
Among the fraudulent claims made by the DeRosas, Doug Phillips and attorney, Ed Watt that Taylor has never been allowed to address are:
1. The film jacket of Phillips’ film Raising the Allosaur reads: “Q: What happens when a group of home school boys and girls travel to the badlands of Colorado with their parents in search of adventure and the hope of finding ancient treasures buried in rock? A: They make the biggest dinosaur discovery of the year. There, buried in rock, they excavate three amazing creatures, including a many-plated Stegosaur and a 120-foot Brachiosaur. Most importantly, they raise from the ground what appears to be the most complete Allosaur ever found in the history of paleontology, including the monster's giant skull complete with rows and rows of once-razor sharp teeth...."
The truth: Neither Doug Phillips or his tour group were present at either the September 2001 excavation when 12 ft. of the allosaur was excavated by Joe Taylor and his team, or the week beginning May 12, 2002 when the allosaur skull was discovered and excavated. Phillips was at the Forbes for the first time May 6-11, 2002.
Not one bone of the allosaur was excavated on Doug's May 2002 tour.
His film does not contain one photo of his homeschool group excavating the allosaur.
Joe Taylor video and photos of the dig are plentiful as are the actual people’s testimonies who were there to help him with the dig.
2. Joe had a legally binding, defacto contract with the Forbes May 2001.
In a letter dated August 29, 2001 to the Creation Studies Institute’s attorney, the Forbes state that they understood the relationship this way: "Joe Taylor would be the project director, coordinator, paleontologist. It was very important to us that he handled the dig, it still is. He is a, if not the, premiere creationist paleontologist...We felt at the time that Pete was a representative of CSI. We remember though that he indicated that if CSI was not able to back the project, maybe others would...We were not sure how the details were going to be worked out, but it seemed like it was going to be three-sided: The diggers (Joe Taylor), the backers (CSI through the efforts of Pete DeRosa and Tom Derosa), and us as landowners."
3. An exclusive contract between the Forbes and DeRosas was not signed by the DeRosas until May 17, 2002—two days after Joe and his team discovered the lower jaws and a day after they were sure the skull was attached.
In a September 18, 2003 letter to Taylor and DeRosa, the Forbes state that "...when the jackets were pulled out in the September 2001 dig, we all had the understanding that we all shared an interest in those jackets...”
In an April 12, 2004 letter sent to the “mediation,” Forbes states: "The allosaur was found and the site developed before the Forbes/DeRosa contract. As the contract only covers sites that the DeRosas have developed……,
4. After writing letters to Joe Taylor from November 2002 through February 2003, Doug Phillips was cited by Taylor ’s attorney for ethical violations for communicating with Taylor after Joe had retained counsel. Phillips is the one who threateningly advised Joe to get an attorney. Joe’s attorney was obligated by professional rules to turn Doug Phillips in for ethical violations, but to the detriment of his client he did not.
In a February 13, 2003 letter, after Phillips recommended that Joe get an attorney, he states that he refuses to recognize Taylor’s lawyer, Shannon Norris, as “that man.” Phillips concludes by instructing Norris that unless he is bringing civil charges, he is to have no further contact with Phillips and that any such violation will be ignored. The same day, February 13, Phillips communicates with Joe directly with a settlement proposal.
Communicating directly with a client after they have legal representation is a violation of Rule 4.2 of Rules of Professional Conduct. Misconduct Rule 8.4 states that it is professional misconduct to: (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; (d) Engage in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice; (g) Seek or threaten criminal charges or disciplinary charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter.
Under Rule 8.3, Reporting Professional Misconduct: (a) A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
2/18/03 email from Norris: “Well, Doug is a member of the District of Columbia bar. And lo and behold, the DC bar has the same rule as Texas, which is that a lawyer cannot talk to another lawyer’s client. Doug is in a heap of trouble.”
2/21/03 Norris email: “Phillips hired an old law school classmate of mine and we had a nice long conversation yesterday afternoon. Suffice it to say that Phillips is concerned about his license and (at least through Don) is expressing profound remorse...I've told them I cannot make a decision yet on my possible ethical obligation to report him regardless of what happens in the dispute."
9/26/04 Norris email: "As for your question the other day on why I don't file a grievance with the DC bar against Doug, my response is that I don't think that would be appropriate. For one thing, I told Don Hart that I wouldn't. I might do things differently if I had another chance, but that does not change what I told him then."
5. Christian mediation? Both Pastor Mike Rodger of San Antonio and Kent Hovind (who offered to involve John Morris in the mediation) offered to be mediators for a Christian mediation between the parties. Don Hart and Doug Phillips refused these men.
After several years of failed attempts to get DeRosa/Phillips to mediate, the Forbes cited Pete for breach of contract in early 2004. A 2/3/04 draft agreement between Forbes/ Taylor, selling the Forbes’ interest in the allosaur to Joe Taylor, states: “#6 Based on their dealings with DeRosa, Sellers and Mt. Blanco have concluded that DeRosa is in breach of his agreements and legal obligations toward them; that DeRosa's conduct has been marked by deception, fraud, bad faith, unreasonable demands, and unnecessary delay; and that DeRosa has engaged in self-dealing and other conduct that is prejudicial to their interests; and that DeRosa has no intention of honoring his agreements or in paying the debts owed to Sellers or Taylor.”
February 26, 2004: the Forbes’ attorney contacted Ed Watt, charging Pete with breach of contract.
February 27, 2004: Shannon Norris contacted Ed Watt to inform him that "Mt. Blanco is the successor to and current owner of all of the rights, title and interest of Dana and Brenda Forbes in the ‘Forbes Allosaur’ or ‘Brown Dirt Site Allosaur’ (the ‘Allosaur’) currently in your client's possession."
March 1, 2004: Norris informed Don Hart that Mt. Blanco had acquired all of the interests in the allosaur.
Peter and Mark DeRosa traveled to San Antonio the weekend of February 29, 2004 and changed the locks on the Vision Forum lab and covered the allosaur skull with plaster.
March 5, 2004: Doug Phillips ran photos of the allosaur skull before the DeRosas recast it, showing cracks on the front of the skull. One photo shows Peter DeRosa in the lab with the cracked skull posing with Doug’s son Josh Phillips by his side.
March 5, 2004: Don Hart informs Norris that Phillips refuses to co-operate with Forbes/ Taylor in collecting the allosaur, stating: "My client declines to assist Mr. Taylor in either trespassing upon property leased to Creation Expeditions or seizing property belonging to Pete DeRosa or Creation Expeditions.”
March 11, 2004: Watt informs Norris that Pete DeRosa is willing to mediate with Rick Green (a friend of Doug Phillips). The date was set for April 13, 2004.
At the mediation, Joe was not given time to present his evidence or to bring witnesses.
A 9/26/04 email from Shannon Norris: "We really were not allowed to bring witnesses to the mediation. I've never seen anyone do that, and if we'd insisted on bringing in witnesses it probably never would have happened. At the time, Joe was suffering tremendous financial and emotional trauma…”
6. While he was one of the major players in the mediation agreement, Doug Phillips never signed the document created on April 13, 2004 which in and of itself invalidates the mediation. The agreement allowed Phillips to continue to sell his video, which had no film of his group doing any actual excavation. Joe Taylor was banned from showing or selling his own film that documented the allosaur excavation with actual footage of both excavations in September of 2001 and May 2002. The mediation agreement also had a non-disparagement clause.
7. October 29, 2004, Vision Forum issued what they called a ‘need to know’ distributed letter suspending the sale of the film Raising the Allosaur and suspending Vision Forum's participation in planned events with the DeRosas and Creation Expeditions. Quote: “Over the course of 2004, a series of ethics-based issues have been brought to our attention...For the time being, however, we have suspended our participation in planned events with Creation Expeditions. Also, while we hope that the film Raising the Allosaur will again be available for distribution so that it can be a source of blessing and encouragement to others, we are at present suspending sales of the film pending a season for Creation Expeditions to appropriately address the aforementioned issues."
Those issues were never addressed.
8. Through attorney Ed Watt, the DeRosas called for a binding arbitration with Rick Green to be held on March 26, 2007. Taylor did not have legal representation for the arbitration meeting.
9. On July 10, 2007 Joe's attorney, Barbara Adams ,excitedly filed seven objections in what promised to be a text book case, to get the mediation and arbitration overturned in court. The date was set for October 15th in Lubbock, Texas, in Judge Medina's court.
10. After looking at the facts and consulting with experts in Mediation/Arbitration law, Judge Medina said the case needed to be heard.
11. DeRosa's attorney Ed Watt filed for a change of venue, claiming the case ought to be heard in Austin because the mediation and arbitration took place there. Against all reason, Watt got the case moved to the Austin area and the date moved up two weeks, leaving no time for Taylor to make arrangements or to have witnesses travel to Austin. More importantly, the Austin judge stated that the case did not need to be heard at all.
12. October 2, 2007, the Austin judge validated the bogus arbitration without considering any of the facts.
In a nutshell that is what has happened. The above scene is not an exaggeration. Subsequently, the local sheriff attached Taylor’s mastodon skull—without prior notice—which had been slated for a January 20th auction in Dallas by Heritage Auction Galleries (heritageauctiongalleries.com), Under Ed Watts interference the proceeds have now been redirected to satisfy the court-ordered fines. The money from the sale of the Mastodon Skull would have given Joe the financial clout to set all this right in a court of law.
Justice requires everyday folks like us to step up and get involved. Now is the time and this is the cause. Not only is our friend Joe Taylor’s livelihood at stake, but whether or not people can speak lies in the name of God and benefit from it.
Conversely can a person speak the truth and not have it redefined as disparagement. Joe needs our help, and we all have a duty to warn the unsuspecting of greedy and divisive men doing business within the church.
Please step up to the plate! Too many people who know about this story have done way too little to protect the general public from the fraudulent Vision Forum film, not to mention folks like Joe who are being destroyed. Scientific integrity is a victim here as well. Will you please send whatever funds you can to help Joe fight this injustice? He has just one week—until January 12th—to file an appeal. It will require $20,000-$50,000 to hire a competent appellate attorney. Please help.
Friends of Joe Taylor