Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

d) OIG findings regarding allegations of
drug distribution or use and moonshine

We did not find credible evidence to support the allegations of drug use or distribution at the Roundup. Neither the substance of the allegations nor the credibility of the persons who made them survived close scrutiny. In interviews of hundreds of attendees, no one reported observing illegal drug use or distribution at any of the sixteen Roundups. Many of these same witnesses, however, had reported other improper conduct, including incidents of racism about which we had no previous knowledge. Such reports enhanced the credibility of their denials concerning drug use or distribution.

Furthermore, many of these witnesses questioned the plausibility of the local Ocoee residents' stories. A number of interviewees contended that it would be irrational for anyone, whether an officer or a civilian, to offer drugs or to openly indulge in drug use in front of hundreds of law enforcement officers who could not be safely predicted to ignore, and therefore condone, the violation of laws they are sworn to enforce. Many interviewees thought it was unbelievable that someone would openly use drugs in a large gathering of police officers.

With respect to the local man who alleged there was cocaine distribution and use in the campground, neither his story nor his personal credibility withstood serious examination. First, it does not seem plausible that someone would go to a gathering of police officers with the expectation of exchanging sex for drugs. The man provided no reason why he believed that drugs would be present at this gathering, let alone that he could obtain some. Nor does it make sense that police officers would unquestioningly offer cocaine to total strangers. Also, he offered no explanation why he would knowingly take cocaine from and ingest it in front of people he believed to be police officers.

Second, in addition to the facial implausibility of his story, the witness suffered from numerous other credibility problems. He told us he has seventy-three arrests and three misdemeanor convictions. He admitted that he had been ejected from a subsequent Roundup and told never to return. [ / He claimed it was because he had a gun. Other witnesses said it was because he had tried to sell drugs at Grumpy's to some Roundup attendees. ] Several local residents told us this experience had caused this man to openly express his hatred of the Roundup and the people who attend it.

Finally, because of our concerns about his credibility, we asked this witness to submit to a polygraph examination and he agreed. An OIG polygraph examiner interviewed him in preparation for a polygraph examination on his claims of illegal conduct at the Roundup. [ / As will be discussed in the next section, this same witness claimed to have witnessed a gang rape at a subsequent Roundup. We sent a polygraph examiner to polygraph the witness regarding both allegations. ] Shortly before the examination was to start, the man began to ask what would happen if he failed the examination and then began to give reasons why he might fail it. He claimed that, before entering the campground the night of the alleged incident, he had consumed between one-half and one gallon of 100-proof "screwdrivers" and had smoked two marijuana joints. The polygrapher reported that the witness began to appear very nervous and became upset at the prospect of being polygraphed. Because his credibility had been badly damaged and because a deterioration in his emotional state precluded accurate polygraphy, no polygraph was administered to the witness.

In light of the facial implausibility of the witness's claim, his obvious motive to fabricate a claim against Roundup participants, and the substantial questions regarding his credibility, we do not find credible evidence that he was given cocaine at a Roundup.

Similarly, Affiant A's story and her credibility raised substantial doubts. First, we could not corroborate any of the details of her story, or the central allegation that a drug enforcement officer had offered her drugs. Her story is difficult to accept at face value. She alleged that a law enforcement officer, in a place crowded with law enforcement officers, approached a complete stranger and openly offered her illegal substances. This person had no guarantees that Affiant A was not in law enforcement herself or that she would not report any such offer to any of the large number of police officers in the bar. He also had no guarantee that these other officers would neither overhear such an offer nor observe any such activity if it were to take place just outside Grumpy's. Again, while we do not suggest that no police officers ever cross the line into drug activity, they do not generally do so under such circumstances.

Second, the more we spoke to this witness the more inconsistent and less believable her story became. In several interviews and sworn affidavits in July and August, she stated she had no information that the person worked for any specific agency. Several months later, she began to insist that he worked for DEA. [ / Despite her latest claim that the man worked for DEA, even if the incident happened as she claimed, it would be far from certain that this person was even in law enforcement, let alone, a DEA agent. He wore no clothing nor possessed any object which would indicate that he was in fact a law enforcement officer. This is particularly significant because during the Roundup, Grumpy's had a policy that any law enforcement personnel who wore some type of clothing indicating they were in law enforcement or the shirt or hat from the Roundup were given a discount. Thus, everyone from the Roundup tended to wear their shirts or hats or something to save money on the cover charge. Furthermore, he does not match the description of any DEA personnel in attendance at any of the Roundup generally or in 1990 in particular. ] She initially said the incident occurred during a private Roundup party, which would suggest that the person was connected to the Roundup. She later said the incident occurred while Grumpy's was open to the public, which would attenuate any such inferences.

Third, her contemporaneous conduct is inconsistent with her allegations. Although she now professes outrage at the incident, she waited five years before telling anyone about it. She claimed she told her daughter and several other people about the incident shortly after it happened. We spoke to each of these individuals, however, and they all denied that she said anything about anyone offering her drugs until sometime after the media reports about the Roundup appeared in July 1995. Furthermore, the versions of the alleged incident she related to these individuals varied substantially from her accounts to us. She told us she did not tell anyone at Grumpy's or the local sheriff about the alleged incident because she did not believe she could trust them. Yet, despite her alleged concern that no one could be trusted with the information, she first told her story to Harold Stockburger, whom she had never before met and about whom she knew nothing, when he knocked unannounced on her door five years after the alleged incident. She promptly told him the whole story along with various and sundry gossip she heard about the Roundup over the years.

Finally, the witness's motive to fabricate is very strong. She admits to an extreme dislike of the owner of Grumpy's and of the Roundup in general. She believes that the owners of Ocoee Outdoors have publicly maligned her. Her allegations, therefore, offered a vehicle that would permit her to retaliate against perceived wrongs committed against her by the Roundup and Ocoee Outdoors. In addition, she either believed or unhesitatingly repeated gossip about the Roundup, regardless of whether it had a basis in fact.

For these reasons, we find her claim that a law enforcement officer offered her drugs at Grumpy's during the 1990 Roundup to be unsubstantiated. [ / We also received claims that an unidentified local man attempted to sell drugs at Grumpy's during some unidentified Roundup. We heard several versions of this story. One version suggested that the man was beaten up by some officers. Another version suggested that the purported dealer was, as a joke, sent over to the campground to sell his wares. He allegedly did not know the gathering was for police officers. The story claims when he tried to sell drugs at the campground he was stripped and tied or handcuffed to a tree while his drugs were thrown onto a fire. These various stories all had an apocryphal quality to them. ]

Finally, the one witness who claimed to have seen marijuana openly used at a picnic table was not credible. His story was extremely vague and frequently changed during the interview, from using to seeing to smelling marijuana. We could find no corroboration for his account. He also admitted to having two drug convictions. And as we noted above, his claim that a group of people openly engaged in drug use in front of strangers, many of whom were known to be police officers, inherently lacks credibility.

Although we found no reliable evidence to support most of the allegations of drug use, we did find credible the recollection that a person had smoked marijuana in or near the bathroom at one of the Roundups. All of the available evidence suggests, however, that this person was not connected with the event. Moonshine, however, was present at least at some point during the Roundup, but no credible evidence was found that it was widely available. Only a few interviewees saw or were offered a substance likely to have been moonshine. We found only two who had consumed any. Hayward gave the media a photograph of a person drinking an amber-colored liquid out of a clear container and claimed the person was an ATF agent drinking moonshine. As moonshine is almost always clear, the substance in the photograph was probably not actual "moonshine." [ / A substance called "charred moonshine" is not clear in appearance, but we understand it to be extremely rare. Furthermore, the substance in the photograph appears to be the same color as many types of beer. ] Furthermore, Rightmyer was shown a copy of this photograph and he stated that the person drinking the liquid, whatever it was, was not an ATF agent. Other witnesses told us that a commercial product sold in mason jars called "moonshine" was also available, but that this product is not illegal. For these reasons, we found no credible evidence that any Roundup participants used illicit drugs, and the only credible evidence of moonshine indicated incidental and non-recurring use.