August 12, 2011
The morning sun brought more than just light... it brought a battery of FBI agents along with the Ventura PD. It was an arrest warrant…. from a 2007 crime. At least they had no interest in anything in my home. Thank god. Last time they executed a search warrant it took us a week to clean up the mess left by the Ventura Sheriffs.
It didn't take long for my hands to be cuffed behind me. I leaned into my wife, Nikki, and kissed her goodbye. I said “Don't worry, I'll be back in a couple days”. Neither one of us believed that was true but we weren't about to show our hand and share any real feelings or concerns in front of our unwanted guests.
Within minutes, after a quick ride in the back of a marked VPD car, I was at the local FBI headquarters. They moved my cuffs to a front position and offered me a cup of coffee. I took it, figuring it might be my last cup for awhile.
The FBI are all college educated -- well trained and smart. They started with an ego play. They told me how impressed they were with my near 35 year run as a leader and so on and so forth. I just sat and listened. Then they showed me pictures of all my club belongings, once my most prized possessions, a 40 year legacy, now in the clubhouse attic in a pile of rubble.
“This is what your brothers now think of you George”. They went on and on about how I had reached the end of my road. They were layering it on thick. They informed me they had intercepted a phone conversation and my life was in danger.
'So it's all come down to this' I thought. I slowly sipped my coffee and listened to their pitch. I felt like I was cornered by a pair of pushy, over enthusiastic salesmen with a product I had no interest in. Their words melted into one loud sound -- their voices a dull roar in my ears.
A lifetime of integrity -- being true to my word -- distilled into this one defining moment. 'What’s it going to be?' I asked myself. The agents, pressing even harder now, barked at me in rapid succession: “You have no one to turn to”, “Use your head George”, “You don't owe them anything”, “You’re a dead man”.
I just couldn't buy what they were selling -- like a cheap suit it didn't fit right. I sat and listened to their barrage. I had talked the talk since 1966, it was now time to walk the walk. I guess it was my time to pay the piper.
They wanted me to testify against my former club brothers.
I heard myself speak. It just rolled out and bounced off the walls... almost as if someone else was saying it…
"I'll take my chances."