Oracle resident threatened with legal action over Page-Trowbridge water tests
by J.C. Huntington
Dateline: Phoenix Arizona, Tuesday, November 21, 2000

       Turner Laboratories threatened to prosecute Oracle resident Cliff Russell "to the fullest extent of the law" for obtaining copies of Page-Trowbridge water test results from the laboratory. 

       A letter dated Nov. 14 from the law firm retained by Turner Laboratories Inc., alleges Russell contacted the laboratory on Oct 31 and obtained the records by fraudulently identifying himself as "a representative of Page Ranch and/or the University of Arizona." 

       The letter informs Russell to return the test results to Turner Labs and to stop disseminating them to the press and others or face "civil and/or criminal action."

       Russell says the allegation is "is ridiculous."

       Page-Ranch is a section of land owned by the University of Arizona and houses the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill, also owned by the university. 

       The landfill has four monitoring wells, which are sampled twice a year by the UA to determine if their landfill has contaminated groundwater. Turner Laboratories analyzes the water samples and reports the result to the UA. Funding for the sampling and testing is provided by tax revenue.

       In April, the UA agreed test results would be sent to a representative of the Oracle Town Hall so as to foster better communication between the UA and the town of Oracle. Russell was then designated as the person to receive this information on behalf of the Oracle Town Hall. 

       On Aug 23 Russell attended a water-sampling event along with other Oracle residents and this writer.  During this event Russell asked Steve Holland, director of UA risk management, and Lloyd Wundrock, UA environmental safety officer, if they knew why the Oracle Town Hall had not received the results of the groundwater tests performed during April.

       Wundrock told Russell he thought he had mailed a copy of the test results to Russell, but acknowledged he may have forgotten to do so. 

       Russell later obtained a copy of the report containing the results of the April 26 tests from the university.  In examining these records, Russell said it appeared to him that vital information could be missing from the report. 

       As a result, Russell said he called Turner Laboratories on Oct. 31 and spoke with the technician responsible for performing all tests on water samples from Page-Trowbridge provided to Turner Labs by the UA. 

       Asked to comment on the allegation he obtained the records from Turner Labs by identifying himself as a representative of Page Ranch and/or the University of Arizona, Russell said the allegation was "absolutely false and ridiculous."

       Russell said he clearly identified himself by name, stating he was a resident of Oracle and that he represented the Oracle Town Hall. 

       Russell said he told the technician he had a report furnished to him by the university and he thought something was missing from the UA report. 

       Russell says he then told the technician the date of the single test in the UA report and that the test was dated May 3.  Russell said the technician consulted her records and told Russell a test performed on May 2 appeared to be missing from the UA report. 

       The technician then faxed and mailed both test results to Russell

The Letter

The textual form of the letter follows:

Law Offices
Fennemore Craig

Jill A. Zender
Direct Phone: (520) xxx-xxxx
Direct Fax (520) xxx-xxxx
SUITE 1000
TUCSON, ARIZONA 85701-1627
PHONE: (520 879-xxxx
FAX: (520 879-xxxx

Novmber 12, 2000

Cliff Russell
HCR 01, P.O. Box 4520
Oracle, AZ 85623

                  Re: Illegal Procurement and Dissemination of Information
                                From Turner Laboratories

Dear Mr. Russell;

       This law firm and the undersigned have been retained on behalf of Turner Laboratories to address your fraudulent and illegal procurement of information regarding samples taken from the Page Trowbridge monitoring wells , as well as your improper dissemination of that information to various sources, including but not limited to The Oracle and

       It is our understanding that on October 31, 2000, you contacted Turner Laboratories and fraudulently identified yourself to a Turner Laboratories employee as being a representative of Page Ranch and/or the University of Arizona.  Based upon  your fraudulent representation to the foregoing employee, you persuaded that employee to provide you with test results of samples from the Page Trowbridge monitoring wells, which you then wrongfully disseminated to various sources.

       The foregoing actions have already exposed you to substantial civil and criminal liability, and penalties will be sought against you to the fullest extent allowed by law.  In order to avoid additional civil and/or criminal liability for your intentional fraud and wrongful dissemination of illegally procured information, we hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist from dissemination any and all information you obtained from Turner Laboratories.    In addition , we hereby demand that you immediately return to Turner Laboratories all test results and other information you obtained as a result of your fraudulent representations regarding your identity.


                                                                          FENNEMORE CRAIG

                                                                         Jill A. Zender

The following image is a scan of the letter sent to Russell by the Law Firm retained by Turner Laboratories, Inc.

Click on image for larger view

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