(the wrap up of the convoluted tale of selling the James Files Fraud story by Bob Vernon and Wim Dankbaar) Special thanks to Dave Perry for this report.
Bob Vernon Enters the Picture
After Joe West’s death that might have been the end of it had it not been for another friend of Joe – Bob Vernon. Vernon a New Orleans music promoter saw in the James Files’ tale the potential for big bucks.
One problem I saw was that Bob was a complete neophyte with respect to the Kennedy assassination. He had great but, in my view, groundless faith in Joe West. In memos Bob would extol Joe’s abilities claiming West had solved “the crime of the century – the Kennedy assassination.” And in spite of evidence to the contrary provided by several researchers Bob still believed that which he found in West’s investigative files.
For example some researchers felt that when West’s evidence in the Roscoe White case collapsed, to save face, he did several things. 1] He claimed he was the one who exposed the story as a hoax. 2] He removed Roscoe White from the Grassy Knoll and replaced him with Files. 3] He discussed Hugh’s taped confession in selective fashion so that Roselli and Nicoletti remained as accomplices to Files instead of White.
Now it was Bob’s turn to interview Files. He did so on May 3, 1993 during which Files confessed that he participated in the assassination. Bob was immediately hooked. Sometime in March of 1994 he set up another interview and this time videotaped Files’ “confession.”
Prior to official release of the tape, Bob informed the media. Even the media, always ready for a new Kennedy assassination story, wasn’t buying. What follows is a quote from an article entitled “Call this JFK tale knoll and void.” by Richard Johnson. It appeared on “Page Six” of the July 27, 1994 New York Post: “The convict recounted this outlandish tale in two videotaped interviews to Bob Vernon, a Houston producer who is trying to sell the yarn as a TV special for $2 million.”
By 1995 Vernon had invested thousands of dollars promoting the Files’ story. For example on April 28, 1995 he issued a press release which said in part:
“Martinez, CA – Experts on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are standing in line to be on our TV program” says producer Bob Vernon.”
Around the same time he distributed another press release entitled “Cattle Call.” He was willing to sell 30 shares a $20,000 each for JFK Murder Solved which was “headed for production and broadcast on pay-per-view television in November of 1995.”
Eventually the tape was released via Blockbuster video stores in 1996 for the nominal sum of $10. For those researchers who saw the tape, produced by MPI Video of Chicago, the story was so chock full of historical inaccuracies as to make it laughable. However, none of this stopped Bob who proceeded to belittle anyone who refused to believe Files in concert with Roselli and Nicoletti assassinated Kennedy.
Time to Cut the Losses
In the end there were no assassination experts standing in line and no one was purchasing shares in the pay-per view event which never aired as promised. Nothing seemed to work. In 1996 Bob decided to cut his losses and sell his entire investigative collection including the website, JFK Murder Solved, to the highest bidder.
After Bob’s sales announcement, with the exception of occasional embellishments to and defense of Files’ story by various supporters, everything lay dormant. Then almost 7 years later on July 13, 2003 I saw the following exchange posted on the JFK Lancer forum.
“What’s going on with Bob Vernon’s site?”
He responded as follows:
“I have sold all my rights, title and interests in jfkmurdersolved.com due to personal health reasons involving my family. Currently a transition is taking place and the new owners will be re-launching the site and the RealOne site in just a few days. Three years from now I will be publishing my memoirs. Goodbye”
A New Stranger in a Strange Land
Eventually it was learned that the purchaser was Wim Dankbaar.
We are 22 years past Rademacher’s discovery of the two shell casings, 16 years since the late Joe West through Zack Shelton “discovered” Jim Files and dumped the Roscoe White story, 15 years since Bob Vernon picked up and amplified West’s “investigation”, and 6 years since Bob passed the torch to Wim Dankbaar. Even at this late date Mr. Dankbaar and some of his cohorts use the same tactics Files’ defenders used over 15 years ago. Ask serious questions about holes in the Files case and you are destined to receive self-serving demands for your proofs that Files is not guilty, vitriolic answers and ad hominem attacks coupled with the occasional threat of a law suit.
Moreover with respect to homicide investigations the rule of law is someone is considered innocent until proven guilty. And they must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based upon a preponderance of the evidence. In the Files case Mr. Dankbaar wants people like me to turn the justice system upside down by allowing him to act as the prosecution! And as the prosecutor, without concrete supporting evidence, he wants us to start with the ASSUMPTION that Files is guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
If he wants to act as Files’ prosecutor so be it. However, it is not up to anyone else to prove anything with respect to Files’ guilt or innocence. The burden of proof of showing Files guilt beyond a reasonable doubt falls upon him and any others who support the theory that Files is the Grassy Knoll assassin.
Over his career as a “certified legal investigator” and in spite of the warnings of some of his friends and associates, West was duped by Ricky White, Geneva White, “Hugh”, and who knows how many other alleged Kennedy assassination witnesses and hangers on.
I have often wondered why Mr. Dankbaar is so unwilling to disassociate himself from West’s checkered past as an investigator and West’s resulting investigation of Files?
In my opinion he can’t because he would have to admit most of the proofs that Files is the Grassy Knoll assassin were compiled by Joe West someone many considered “reckless, comically secretive, and self-aggrandizing – a buffoon who unfailingly introduced himself as ‘a certified legal investigator licensed by the State of Texas,’ as though it were truly something special.”
August 6, 2009