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.
RJ Reynolds & the Bowman Gray family
RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was one of the original competitive companies formed by the judicial split up of the old tobacco trust (monopoly) which operated in the USA (and worldwide) during the 1890s and early 1900s. For many years the company was headed by RJ Reynolds himself, and it was essentially an old Southern family concern based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In 1921, following World War I, Reynolds came under the control of the Gray family then headed by Bowman Gray I (aka "Sr."). He made the company's fortune by introducing a pre-rolled American cigarette at a time when Egyptian tobacco was considered the best available. They were sold under the "Camel " brand using Egyptian symbolism on the packet even though only a fraction of the tobacco actually came from the Middle East.
Bowman Gray I was also the first to introduce mass advertising and aggressive marketing techniques, and by the time he died of a heart attack in 1935 the company was spending $200 million a year on advertising Camels alone.
His son, Bowman Gray II (aka "Jr.") took over the company a decade after World War II (He only became president in 1957). By then RJ Reynolds Tobacco was the top American cigarette company, but his tenure came at the time the smoking-health (S&H) controversy was getting underway.
The sone is said by some to have lacked the entrepreneurial abilities of his father (others disagree). During his time at the head of the company, Philip Morris (denigrated by many Southerners as an "upstart New York firm run by Jews" ) took the lead both in sales and in organising the industry's political and public-relations counter-measures to the growing anti-smoking activism.
Bowman Gray II himself, was an "attractive Southern charmer" who ran the company well and "gently led the industry" without ever forcing their position" on the rest. However he became increasingly more concerned about the health issues than the managers of Philip Morris, and so he started to move of RJR into other businesses, both to decrease its reliance on cigarette sales and utilize the extraordinary profits generated by cigarettes.
In 1963 the RJ Reynolds Tobacco company had revenues of $117 million while 20 years later it was a conglomerate with $14 billion in annual revenues.
Bowman Gray Jr died in 1969 without designating an established successor or family succession path. This left the Reynolds company subject to constant managerial in-fighting and it became vulnerable to take-overs. These new managers were not confirmed tobacco executives like the Bowman Gray family, and they acquired Del Monte and Nabisco and other businesses including Sea-Land, the world's largest container shipping and transport company (1969) and Burmah Oil (in 1976).
F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of Nabisco, eventually took over the combined entity in 1986, moved the headquarters to Atlanta and tried to mount a leveraged buyout. However in 1988 he was outbid, and RJR Nabisco as it was then known, was grabbed up in a complex deal by junk-bond dealers, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts (KKR)
KKR then split up the conglomerate and sold off constituent parts to finance their junk-bond purchase. This left the tobacco company progressively with loads of debt to the point that it couldn't expand internationally, leaving most of the running to Philip Morris and British-American Tobacco after about 1995.
At about this time the company came under attack again from corporate raider Bennett LeBow who wanted to merge it with his own operations, then spin off Nabisco under his own control. In 1986 LeBow had purchased the smallest of the six US tobacco companies, Liggett & Myers. Eventually (Mar-Apr 1996) he effectively destroyed the collaboration of the industry by initiating a private legal settlement over Medicaid with the Attorneys-General. This involved the release of what were confidential insider documents about industry bribery and corruption. This left RJ Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, Lorillard, and Philip Morris high and dry, and they were forced to settle with the Clinton Administration.
In the late-1990s the European Union filed a lawsuit in a US Federal District Court alleging that RJR Nabisco had engaged in global money laundering for various mafia and organized crime groups. The statement of claims says: "The RJR DEFENDANTS have engaged in and facilitated organized crime by laundering the proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other crimes. [ ] The DEFENDANTS knowingly sell their products to organized crime, arrange for secret payments from organized crime, and launder such proceeds in the United States or offshore venues known for bank secrecy.  The RJR DEFENDANTS have, at the highest corporate level, determined that it will be a part of their operating business plan to sell cigarettes to and through criminal organizations and to accept criminal proceeds in payment for cigarettes by secret and surreptitious means.
RJ Reynolds Tobacco owed much of its early success to a large network of family members in influential position, and to its long associations with the commercial/conservative faction of the Republican Party,
Other prominent members of the Gray family were:
- Alice Shellton Gray; who founded the Human Betterment League (an organisation promoting eugenics in the period between the two world wars)
- Gordon Gray; a businessman, newspaper-owner, radio network owner, and Secretary of War, who also established the Bowman Gray Medical School and donated heavily to Wake-Field and Duke Universities (both of which had long links to RJ Reynolds). He was also associated with the eugenics movement (Birthright Inc, and Sterilization League of America), and he was a member of the powerful Council of Foreign Relations, and politically involved with the Republican Party.
- Lyons Gray: RJ Reynold's international trade manager. He later became a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly, then from 2003, the chairman of the EPA finance board who, in 2005, became the chief financial officer of the US Environmental Protection Agency (Nominated by President GW Bush).
- Burton C Gray: radio and television station owner/executive; He was a trustee of the Philadelphia Society (the foundation supporting the Heritage Society, and various other right-wing think-tanks - all closely associated with Richard Mellon Scaife), and he was a board member of the Reason Foundation, Federalist Society, Libertarian Party, etc..
- C Boyden Gray: Lawyer lobbyist and think-tank operator:
- White House legal counsel for President Reagan and Bush I
- Adviser to Bush II.
- partner and corporation lobbyist through Wilmer Cutler & Pickering,
- chairman/CEO of the Citizens for a Sound Economy and a number of associated think-tanks, policy institutes and pseudo-grassroots organisations.
He has long worked at the top of the Republican Party, and he provided political connections and support for the tobacco industry. As a lobbyist, he had been a vigorous defender of other large industry groups in support of unfettered free-enterprise, and is a recognised climate denier/lobbyist on behalf of major energy companies.
- Bernard Gray,
- Burton C Gray Jr.