Oracle Resident Responds To Threat By Turner Laboratories
by J.C. Huntington
Dateline: Oracle Arizona, Friday, December 1, 2000

       Cliff Russell, an Oracle resident representing the Oracle Town Hall in technical matters regarding the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste dump, has responded to a legal threat made by Turner laboratories.

       On Nov. 15, Turner Laboratories threatened to prosecute Russell to “the fullest extent of the law” unless Russell returned copies of 2 water test results to the lab and quit disseminating this public information to the press and interested citizens.

       The 2 tests confirm that the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill is leaking to groundwater.

       The 2 tests also contradict UA officials who claim that the detection of a contaminant from the landfill was not confirmed because only a single test was performed on water sampled April 26. 

       By maintaining that there was a single test, UA officials have been able to claim that the detection of contaminants was “a lab error or an anomaly,” and do not confirm the fact that contaminants from Page-Trowbridge are leaking to groundwater

       While the reports were faxed and mailed to Russell by a Turner Lab technician on Oct 31, Turner Labs refused to release the reports to the Arizona Daily Star the next day, hours after Russell had informed the Pinal County Supervisors of an apparent cover-up by the UA or the lab.

       Turner labs claim that Russell obtained the 2 test results by “fraudulently” posing as a representative of Page Ranch or possibly the University of Arizona.

       In his response, Russell said that he clearly told two Turner Lab employees that he was representing the Oracle Town Hall. 

       Russell also informed the lab that since he did not obtain the tests results via any improper or unlawful conduct, he will not return the test results and will not stop disseminating them to anyone with an interest.

       The UA employs Turner Labs to test the water samples collected from monitoring wells at Page-Trowbridge by the UA. 

       The UA owns the Page-Trowbridge landfill is responsible for testing water from the aquifer beneath it to determine if their landfill has contaminated drinking water used by several local communities. 

       Funding for the sampling and testing of water from the Page-Trowbridge Aquifer is provided by tax revenue.

Text Of Russell's Response

Art.# 7099 3220 0006 1775 1377

November 20, 2000

Ms. Jill A. Zender, Esq.
One S. Church, Suite 1000
Tucson, AZ 85701-1627

                    Re: Turner Laboratories

Dear Ms. Zender;

      This is in response to your letter dated November 14, 2000, received November 15, 2000.

      To correct your understanding of my interactions with Turner Laboratories on October 31, 2000, please know that I did indeed contact the laboratory. I introduced myself as "Clifford Russell from Oracle" to Donna, the receptionist, stating clearly that "I represent the Oracle Town Hall." I repeated my introduction to the head laboratory technician, Ms. Cassie LaMere-Zeller.
      My conversation with Ms. LaMere-Zeller was about "public records" concerning the testing done for the University of Arizona (UA)-that is, water samples drawn on April 26, 2000, from Monitoring Wells #5 at the Page Trowbridge Radioactive Toxic Chemical Waste Dump; our conversation focused on the testing dates of those samples and the duplicate tests of those samples.
      I explained to Ms. LaMere-Zeller that I had filed a "public records request" on behalf of the Oracle Town Hall and that the UA had sent the test report to me. I further explained to her that I believed the report was "incomplete" and why I had so concluded—she reviewed the report and agreed with me. Ms. LaMere-Zeller stated that the first set of tests were not in the data that I had been given by the UA.
      At the end of our discussion, I requested copies of the specific data in question, the results from the first set of tests. Ms. LaMere-Zeller enthusiastically responded to my request, offering to provide both faxed and mailed copy of those results. When Ms. LaMere-Zeller offered to fax the documents to me, I explained that I did not have a fax machine but that I would call her back with a fax number which she could use to transfer the information to me. I later called her with that fax number and, during our telephone conversation, asked her about the case narrative and whether it were complete. We then compared what she had with what I had in my possession; we determined that they were the same. Ms. LaMere-Zeller knew I already had a copy of the lab report and understood that it had been given to me as a representative of the Oracle Town Hall.
      Turner Laboratories never informed me of any restriction on the laboratory information's use or dissemination. Additionally, that data was produced using public funs via the state university and, therefore, is public information about public health issues. I shared this information with the Oracle Town Hall and other public forums. As none of the information that I received was acquired through any improper or unlawful conduct or activity, I have nothing to return to Turner Laboratories and no information unsuitable for dissemination.

      These facts should improve and correct your understanding of the actions taken by me as a member of the Oracle Town Hall on behalf of my community and its health and well-being. Lastly, direct all future communications regarding this matter to the Oracle Town Hall Legal Committee, Laura A. Valade, Attorney at Law, P.O. Box 1412, Oracle AZ 85623 (520-896-2122).


Clifford A. Russell
Oracle Town Hall Page Ranch Committee

Cc: L.A. Valade, Esq., Legal Committee
      E.D. Prichard, Media Committee

The Threat

The textual form of the letter from the attorney for Turner Labs 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

The Test Reports

The images below are scans of the test reports faxed to Russell Oct. 31 and denied to the Arizona Daily Star, the next day, Nov. 1. 

The test reports confirm that contaminants from the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste landfill have leaked to the drinking water beneath it.

The test reports also contradict UA officials who maintain that only a single test was performed on the April 26 samples.  By maintaining that there was only a single test, UA officials claim it is not confirmed that Page-Trowbridge is leaking.

Test Results for Original Sample Taken From Monitoring Well #5
(These test results ommitted from report to ADEQ)
Click on any image for larger view
Test Results for Duplicate Sample Taken From Monitoring Well #5
(These test results used in report to ADEQ)
Click on any image for larger view

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