One of my biggest obsessions is the Franklin Credit Union scandal and anyone who knows me knows that I have depleted decades of midnight oil on the case. This passion got underway most probably because of my insatiable curiosity, our small town environment, I was in the perfect age bracket, but further attributable to my grandmother’s society connections. When I talk to people who have interest in the Franklin Credit Union scandal and what was revealed in that ongoing case, I direct them to John DeCamp’s 1992 expose The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska. Those who are reading between the cracks of the My Omaha Obsession articles will already know that I am consumed with and have, only to date, whispered about the Franklin Credit Union case in snippets and bits.
Twin Towers north tower. Photo by OWH. 3000-3002-1/2 Farnam; 3001 Douglas St. Previous photograph borrowed from Ammodramus. From the incredible Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission site: “The Twin Towers, a high-rise residential and commercial complex in Midtown, was one of the few mixed-use developments constructed in the city during the mid-20th century. Entrepreneur Julius Novack hired architect James Nicas to design the complex’s two 10-story towers and a subterranean parking garage. The south tower was fully remodeled from its former use as a Sears and Roebuck store in 1962 while the north tower was newly constructed in 1967. Nicas embraced the Modern Style to create a distinct exterior of steel, glass, and transite with spacious interior spaces. In their plan for the post-war development, Novak and Nicas took into consideration the city’s newly identified planning goals as well as shifting lifestyle choices and modern design thinking. The north tower was demolished in 2013.” Builder: Nathan Company.
Unless you knew some of or something about the people involved and the activities going on in Omaha at the time, your tracking of the story through the Omaha World-Herald might have left you confused or misinformed about the proceedings as time went by. A review of the archival newspapers will reveal, at the onset, a basic examination and blow by blow in line with traditional journalism, but as time moved forward, the local articles on Franklin and web of characters steered toward fogginess, and then straight into a brick wall. Although I didn’t buy John DeCamp’s book until I found a used second printing (1996) at the Antiquarium Bookstore in about the 1997-1998 time period, this single book is what truly unveiled these events to a larger audience. ( I can still remember Tom Rudloff had it positioned in a place of prominence right outside the inner circle of chairs where he held court. When I exclaimed “Oh my! I need that!” and reached for it, he responded flatly “I just put that there.”) Although deeply disturbing and oddly fascinating with its Twin Peaks soundtrack, now that it’s become available (inconsistently) on YouTube, I recommend that one quickly follows up the book with the 1993 “unreleased” Conspiracy of Silence documentary. It’s raw, it’s dark. This was the infamously snuffed out Discovery Channel documentary on Omaha’s Franklin Credit Union, scandal, connection to national politics and child trafficking ring—never receiving its formal editing or airing to the public. Then and only then, should one commit to the engrossing Hard Time study in the work of Nick Bryant’s 2009 deep investigation The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal. This massive volume brings fresh insights to the spectrum after Bryant’s years of devotion to unearthing mountains of new evidence. DeCamp’s book, then the documentary, followed by Bryant’s book, in that order. There are other good books, documentaries, podcasts, online missives and secondary recommendations to further illuminate the times but for now, these three lay a good solid foundation, in chronological order of revelation, for any beginner.
My beat up, second edition copy scored from Mr. Tom Rudloff. RIP.
As for myself, I was privy to some interconnected Franklin information in real time, which I did not comprehend as pieces in the larger puzzle. Early on I was inadvertently hearing stories, rumors and observing behaviors. Because I am interested in further understanding what was presented to me as truth at the time, I have been actively collecting stories and clues since the late 1980s. These personal attestations led some of us to believe the newspaper articles coming out during and after the Franklin Credit Union case broke were not honestly portraying what we thought we knew and what some had experienced. I am not claiming I was involved in the case or in child sex trafficking. It is not my intention to present myself as any kind of survivor or even an expert in this case. I am a collector of first and second-hand experiential information. To date, I have not wanted to introduce the scandal or tiptoe very far into this information and will refrain until I can find my public footing with it. I have full recognition that if you have not bored down into this event, this whole article will read as very vague, cryptic, stoic. That being said, something very strange happened recently that I did want to see the light of day before it is buried like so many clues around here. I have not done one of my exhaustive chiselings on this new information either. For some, this will just be a large pin in the cork board that we can return to at a future date, hopefully with better lighting.
So…to set this up…It was in following my previously mentioned recommended scandal consumption pattern that a good friend ordered John DeCamp’s The Franklin Cover-Up from Amazon a few months back. Twelve bucks for a used copy. It showed up in the mail and to his surprise, the copy of the book he received had previously been owned by Timothy McVeigh. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy James McVeigh. Bosh! you are surely thinking, because that is what we were thinking.
I instantly went bananas and begged him that I could buy it from him. He ignored me.
Inside the cover, there was a receiving stamp into Florence, Colorado’s Supermax prison, oft called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” The book was received by mail on August 27, 1998. McVeigh had been housed in the Florence pen since his sentencing on August 14, 1997. He would later be moved to a newly opened federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1999. The stamp shows his prison inmate number as 12076-064.
McVeigh’s inmate number was verified on the Federal Bureau of Prisons site.
Timothy McVeigh’s mugshot, upon arrest from April of 1995. McVeigh was arrested as a domestic terrorist, who carried out the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people and injured 680. Terry Nichols, accomplice, is serving a sentence at the Florence, Colorado prison. Nichols denied involvement in the plot until 2004, claiming McVeigh had forced him into cooperating. The Michael and Lori Fortier couple were involved as well as suspicioned, unnamed others.
There was also an interesting inscription on the inside cover from author John DeCamp. It reads: “To Tim McVeigh! It is all true to the Best of my knowledge!”
My friend would message the Amazon seller. I wondered if Timothy McVeigh’s affects were turned over to his family when he was executed in June of 2001. I began looking into his family and it appeared he was close with his sister but not his father. That went nowhere. I also considered that the Amazon seller bought the book at a thrift store or if the prison, potentially, sold off his belongings in an auction. My friend had the idea that some sellers buy off of pallets at a discount and in turn, resell without checking them over. It sounded logical as we’ve all bought things online only to find hidden treasures inside…but not usually treasures like this. From what I found, prisons will commonly identify and store the deceased prisoners’ belongings for three months and then give the items to the next of kin or administrator of the estate. How did this happen to get out to the public?
But there was more. There was a letter written from DeCamp to McVeigh on August 24, 1998 tucked within the book.
The letter reads:
Dear Mr. McVeigh,
Attached please find a copy of a book I wrote, one chapter of which deals with your particular situation. Although the bulk of my book will probably not interest you, I would respectfully request that you look at page 277 beginning the second part of the book and then particularly page 332 and at this point you should be prepared to go to page 343 which deals specifically with the Oklahoma bombing, my involvement or representation of one of the jurors involved in that and the situation with your attorney and myself when I attempted to keep the building standing so it could be examined.
My question to you is simply this, Tim, I you choose to answer: Did you know about this situation on [sic] my attempt in to [sic] keeping the building up and was it done with your approval when it was determined by your attorney to allow the building to come down?
In any case, I would appreciate any information you can give me.
John W. DeCamp
DeCamp Legal Services, P.C.
This was all rather confusing but the more I read and reread, I began to think Timothy McVeigh hadn’t reached out to John DeCamp as a fan wanting some reading material in prison—potentially this meant Mr. DeCamp had extended this gesture of a letter and his book of his own accord.
My friend’s wife would discover the phone number for DeCamp Legal Service, P.C. at 414 So. 11th Street Lincoln was still active and tied to a legal service organization even though John DeCamp passed away in July of 2017.
John W. DeCamp. OWH archives.
A Vietnam war veteran, author, attorney and four-term Nebraska state senator from 1971 to 1987, John DeCamp was known for his energy and tenacity as a legendary advocate, lawmaker and instigator. He did not shy away from controversy. A viewing of the aforementioned Conspiracy of Silence will display his curious communication style and fervent promotion and defense. Known as one of the most accomplished lawmakers in Nebraska, DeCamp would campaign to get back into politics over the various years, but never was elected to the seat.
So what exactly did all of this mean? Before I pick up this spade, let me be clear. I am not speaking for people or defending a private (now public) letter between two controversial adults, so do not plan to send me a nastygram. I am seeking to understand what transpired and I am sharing what I have discovered in these loose ends.
It is said that after his political career, Mr. DeCamp began “defending anti-government militia members.” Now typically Miss Cassette does not buy in to extreme or slanted language crafted to evoke a certain outcome, unless I am the one wielding the pen. I will work to stick to the balanced facts. It is true that DeCamp did serve as attorney for the Militia of Montana (MOM) group–“the organization formed from the remnants of the United Citizens for Justice in late 1992 in response to the standoff during the siege in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.” You can look up this organization. In my further exploration, it appeared that Mr. DeCamp was drawn to a challenge and did believe in individual rights. I did not pick up that he began defending anti-government groups on principle, then again I did not continue digging to find other paramilitary groups that DeCamp may or may not have represented. If we follow the trail of breadcrumbs that DeCamp speficialy wrote Timothy McVeigh about, we arrive at page 277 within The Franklin Cover-Up. This page lays out that Bill Colby, John DeCamp’s mentor, CIA Station Chief and “the heart and soul of the Franklin investigation,” had died under questionable circumstances since the original publication of the book. Colby was quoted as saying to DeCamp, “ Some people will go to any lengths to make sure things stay secret, which is why the CIA and KGB sometimes find their agents dead…” It goes on from there. I would guess that he directed McVeigh to this section so that McVeigh would understand DeCamp’s beliefs and suspicions.
His second direction led to page 332. This chapter is called From Montana to Oklahoma City. It read: “Within hours after the bomb—or bombs—exploded in front of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, on April 19, 1995, FBI agents were in my office in Lincoln, Nebraska, seeking my assistance to identify the bombers. Why would the FBI come to Lincoln, Nebraska, to see a lawyer named John DeCamp on a bombing in Oklahoma? Just weeks before, I had successfully represented the leadership and members of a group identifying itself as the Militia of Montana (MOM), in one the strangest cases in which I have ever been involved…” It went from there and was quite interesting as I had forgotten most of DeCamp’s subsequent history past the Frankin years.
Mr. DeCamp’s third hint on page 343, a chapter called “The Oklahoma Bombing-The Real Story.” As it was the FBI who came to DeCamp for information, DeCamp would open his own investigation. Some of this was new to me, but some speculation has circled in these crowds for a while. There are thought to be a number of John Doe accomplishes, yet unnamed that “the government is not sharing information about.” When Mr. DeCamp was asking that direct question of Mr. McVeigh at the end of the letter, it was because DeCamp’s investigation led his team to believe that the fertilizer bomb used by McVeigh could not, by itself, have caused the destruction of the Federal Building. Documents had been prepared to go to court to force the government to keep the Federal Building standing so that experts could examine the structure. The chapter also spelled out that McVeigh’s attorneys requested that the DeCamp team allow them to file the motions to keep the building standing; they also asked that DeCamp release from retainer the bomb investigation team he had assembled. Hours later, apparently, CNN reported that McVeigh’s attorneys “just reached agreement with the government” to permit the building to be destroyed immediately. This helped me come to understand John DeCamp’s odd question. He wanted to know what McVeigh’s attorneys had said to him and more about this government agreement. I would certainly like to know if and what Timothy McVeigh wrote him back.
One of the many the stray threads of suspicion in the Oklahoma Bombing case is around the FBI official who had supposedly directed McVeigh in his deadly action in addition to the thousands of documents of evidence the FBI had previously withheld from McVeigh’s attorneys until days before his execution. Terry Nichols wanted to testify to more specific details of the terroristic act in a deposition but the courts ruling against it. These are the threads that no doubt drove John DeCamp to reach out to Timothy McVeigh and continue to make even the most skeptical wonder if there was potentially more to it all.
My friend’s actual book is being sent its very own postage stamped mailer and will go straight to the museum.
As for this used book, its inscription and the John DeCamp letter, my dear friend decided to donate it all. The Interim Archives Director at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum stated they’d like to receive the book and letter for their archives. What will become of it? I imagine that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where we were told the Ark of the Covenant would be studied by higher authorities and then it’s nailed shut in a wooden crate and wheeled away. As I said, we’ve got it nicely pinned up here and we will return later.
Good night ladies and gentlemen! I will be here again on this stage in a very short while. Love to you and yours.
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