This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Michael A (Mike) Price
— One of four whistleblowers at HBI who provided depositions on the activities of the company. Later he copped out. —
Some key documents
1987 Aug 26: Letter from Clive Turner (father of Simon Turner) to Gray Robertson. Clive Turner is running the Tobacco Advisory Council in London) He wants some help critiquing a HEA publication "Smoking Policies at Work". The TAC has been discussing with Peter Binnie the use of ACVA to promote the 'sick building syndrome' (sbs) idea in England:
I told Peter Binnie yesterday that our industry research committee sanctioned the proposal to carry out a programme of sbs [Sick Building Syndrome] work as an adjunct to what might be termed the Wythenshawe project [a UK hospital], and we shall get down to identifying 20 suitable locations. But we await some further information from Peter before we can brief our 'location searchers'.
It was very good to see you and we enjoyed your discussion with us which will help in our planning for your end-October media tour. I also very much enjoyed meeting Mike [Price?] that same evening. What a very charming man.
1991 May 2: -3 Reporting for Healthy Buildings International Inc, on an IAQ conference at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
With a couple of exceptions, most of the speakers on this program are genuine scientists involved in Indoor Air Quality.The only one who was obviously involved in tobacco cash-for-comments was Alan Hedge.
By contrast, Hal Levin, of Levin & Associates, was the leader of the anti-smoking ("source control" group) of ventilation companies who worked to reduce the incidence of smoking in the workplace.
1992 Aug: Article on Occupational Hazards (Page 247) reported as saying:
According to Healthy Buildings technician Michael A. Price, allergenic fungi, dusts, low relative humidity, bacteria, and chemical off-gassing from carpeting and furniture are the most common causes of IAQ problems. The pollutants remain in the air, Price said, due to poor maintenance, inefficient air filtration, poor ventilation in the interest of conserving energy, or changes in the design and use of a building.
1993 Oct 22: Philip Morris received from RJ Reynolds, the preliminary complaint in the case of (joint action) United States of America & Jeffrey Seckler (Plaintiff/Relator) vs Health Buildings International Inc (Defendant), The inclusion of the US Federal Government was due to the necessity for Seckler of having an injured government entity in order to take action under the fair-trading laws without opening himself to legal counter-attack by the tobacco industry.
[The plaintiff alleged that HBI] obtained contracts with the United States of America ("United States" ) to do inspections of the interiors of federal buildings under fraudulant and false pretences and had a secret contractual relationship with the Tobacco Institute ("TI") and other tobacco interests, including RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris, to provide inspections that would not focus on the harms caused by cigarettes, and to testify against smoking bans in return for which:
- TI (and later RJ Reynolds) paid HBI a fee for each inspection HBI completed;
- TI and other tobacco interests promised to and did provide HBI other fees and subsidies,
- Philip Morris, through TI, paid HBI under the guise of grants, hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish a magazine, Healthy Buildings International Magazine ("HBI Magazine"), which TI and Philip Morris used in the United States and around the world to combat the anti-smoking movement,
- TI secretly subsidized HBI's office in Danvers, Massachusetts and other fixed expensss of HBI, and
- TI, whenever it needed an inspection, would secretly pay for the cost of an HBI inspection.
As a further part of this fraudulent scheme and conspiracy TI inter alia
- paid to have HBI's employees attend media training classes to learn how to speak against smoking bans,
- paid for part of HBI employees' salaries,
- told HBI employees to lie about their motivation for testifying at various hearings
- paid HBI to spy on anti-smoking individuals and groups,
- along with Philip Morris, controlled the content and circulation of HBI Magazine
- secretly reviewed and approved many of HBO's speeches and public rseleases, and
- conspired with RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris to funnel other monies to HBI in return for favorable inspections and testimony.
2004: Testimony of Reg Simmons of HBI
Q. And your superiors had the responsibility of preparing reports to clients and making ultimate recommendations on how to deal with indoor air problems; is that correct?
A. Pete Binnie and Gray Robertson, among others, edited and issued final reports.
Q. Okay. You mentioned Mr. Binnie and Mr. Robertson as editing final reports. They were part of senior management; is that correct?
A. They were.
Q. They had the right on behalf of the company to maintain control over what reports went to their clients; is that a fair statement?
A. Apparently they did. That's the power that they exercised routinely.
Q. And you also were aware that Mr. Simon Turner also participated in editing final reports; is that correct'?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And did — do you recall whether someone named Michael Price also participated in that process of issuing — of drafting and issuing final reports to clients'?
A. The name doesn't really ring a bell.
1994 Jan: Price testified by affidavit in the Seckler trial where he was listed as one of the whistleblowers. (later he apparently reversed his previous statements.)
1994 Feb 21: Seckler's counsel told the court that:
If Mr. Price says what I believe he'll say, he will clarify a lot of the issues about what was going on with the inspections because I think he's an honest person.
[Price apparently did not give the expected confirmation in court — and withdrew his statements at some later date, and made another affidavit.]
1994 Oct 14: According to the defense attorneys in the Seckler trial,
"Price confirmed the accuracy of his affidavit in his October 14 1994 deposition, including providing the following explanation of his affidavit:
I have several reasons for making those statements in this affidavit.
- No. 1 is primarily, in many cases. I was out in the field and may have compiled that raw data.
- No. 2 is the raw data that I put into the reports. I know that it was accurate.
- No . 3 is I never falsified any reports .
- In addition to that I also, reviewed the reports of other people in a quality control procedure.
In fact, HBI implemented a comprehensive program for quality control of the reports.
1995: In an attempt to have Seckler's charges summarily dismissed, the defense attorneys for HBI listed four deposition as "fact witnesses" against HBI.
- Jeffrey Seckler
- Reginald Simmons
- Gregory Wulchin
- Mike Price
The deposition of Price doesn't appear to be in the archives. Price, however, appears to have reversed his stance (as did the others later, when paid out by the tobacco industry and HBI).
Finally, the affidavit and deposition testimony of Michael Price must not be forgotten. Mr. Price was the former HBI inspector whom in December 1993 relator represented to the Court was the key to his case. However, in January 1994, Mr. Price testified by affidavit,
.. Based an my personal knowledge during my employment with HBI, none of HBI's air samples taken under contract with the federal government, or in government buildings, was false; and, none of the reports submitted by HBI to the federal government with respect to any federal government building inspection was false.