Wednesday, January 08, 2020

FBI, HUD, EPA Senior Special Agent Robert E. Tyndall (Ret.), R.I.P.

1. I am heartbroken. My heart goes out to the entire Tyndall family and to all of Bob's many friends and former colleagues with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Environmental Protection Agency Inspectors General.
2. As a young lawyer,  I was honored to have Bob Tyndall hire me to represent him in a landmark federal environmental whistleblower case, in which he stood up for what is right, winning a legal precedent, for all time, to protect federal environmental crimes investigators from retaliation by government managers.  The case of Robert E. Tyndall v. EPA Inspector General was decided as one of the first two decisions, on the first working day of the U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board, on June 14, 1996, reversing two (2) misguided DOL administrative law judges who denied Bob his day in court.  The case swiftly settled later that year.  As a result of Bob's environmental whistleblower disclosures, controversial EPA Inspector General John C. Martin was fired in 1996.  Martin served for  thirteen (13) years as EPA Inspector General, during which time Martin often abused government resources to coverup crimes and intimidate ethical employees, including scientists and administrative law judges.  To this day, EPA OIG special agents and supervisors investigating environmental crimes cite Bob's case to managers who try to pressure them to perform coverups.  It is legally protected activity for government investigators to do their jobs without fear or favor, and to recuse themselves if compromised -- we owe this all to Special Agent Bob Tyndall.  Read decision here:
3. Bob Tyndall never "went public" about his case until years later.  Bob finally wrote about it in a 2006 letter to the St. Augustine Record, defending my honor, stating in pertinent part:
"Late in my career, I would not and could not sign my name to a report that resulted in a cover-up of major criminal wrongdoing by highly placed EPA officials. I was left with no choice but to file an environmental whistleblower case. Other than Ed Slavin, I was encouraged to persist only by my wife, Lynda, Congressman John Dingell's office (whose investigator referred me to Ed Slavin), and then-journalist Tony Snow. Ed completely documented EPA's attempted cover-up of $100 million in acid rain research fraud, conflicts of interest, waste and abuse."
"Ed represented me in my U.S. DOL environmental whistleblower case against EPA and its inspector general, winning a precedent-setting case that protected future environmental investigators' rights, reversing two DOL judges."
"Ed has always been a fighter, especially against an unresponsive judiciary who cares little about ruined careers."
"The unrelenting stress the EPA subjected me to nearly took my life. Thus, Ed's work was truly a life-saver. As a result of Ed's so-called "overzealous" work, the EPA IG abruptly resigned in December 1996, following a history of harassing whistleblowers."
"Public officials, who retaliate against citizens for questioning their actions demand to be investigated. "Public jobs belong to the "people" -- the occupant of such office is a trustee; a custodian -- always. We have forfeited our "rights" when we refer to the government as "them." No, never. It is "We" the people. Trust me, Ed Slavin is not for sale. The First Amendment is not dead, yet."
Full text here:
4. Bob Tyndall was a good and decent man who brought many white collar criminals to justice over a long and distinguished government  career as a special agent with the FBI, HUD Inspector and EPA Inspector General.  He sent corrupt government officials and contractors to prison.  He chafed  at government pressures not to enforce the law without fear or favor, as in his eight-year criminal antitrust investigation of the ductile iron pipe industry.  Those pressures and stresses shortened his life.  At Raleigh-Durham Airport, Bob almost died with a heart incident caused by these pressures.
5.  Bob Tyndall was a wonderful family man, a talented musician, a wit, a storyteller, a mimic and a scholar of American history.  As a student, he conducted tours of the Justice Department Building as a young FBI employee.  I shall always treasure the time when Bob toured Brian and I around Colonia Williamsburg, Virginia, after he and Lynda retired there.  Bob was the best tour guide in Colonial Williamsburg, as evidenced by his being designated to tour around then FBI Director Robert Swan Mueller, III and his wife.
6. I shall never forget the loving kindness that Bob Tyndall showed me in rushing to California to help me in a nuclear whistleblower case where we all thought my life was in danger -- Bob saved my life.  The corporate defendant knew that Bob had my back.  His sworn declarations, admitted into evidence in the cases of NASA, EPA and other ethical employee whistleblowers, made the difference -- thanks in part to the vision of one of my other legal mentors, the late U.S. Department of Labor Chief Administrative Law Judge Nahum Litt, whom I advised when, during my clerkship, Nahmi and USDOL OALJ hired University of Miami Law School Professor Michael Graham, who wrote USDOL Rules of Evidence containing extra hearsay rules for administrative proceedings (because we trust judges more than juries),  See, e.g., 29 C.F.R. 18.803(28), written in the spirit of F.R.Civ. P. Rule 1, providing for the "just, speedy and inexpensive determination" of civil actions, stating inter alia:
(28) Written reports of expert witnesses. Written reports of an expert witness prepared with a view toward litigation, including but not limited to a diagnostic report of a physician, including inferences and opinions, when on official letterhead, when dated, when including a statement of the expert's qualifications, when including a summary of experience as an expert witness in litigation, when including the basic facts, data, and opinions forming the basis of the inferences or opinions, and when including the reasons for or explanation of the inferences and opinions, so far as admissible under rules of evidence applied as though the witness was then present and testifying, unless the sources of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness, provided that a copy of the report has been filed and served upon the adverse party sufficiently in advance of the  hearing to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to prepare to object or meet it. The adverse party may not object to the admissibility of the report unless the adverse party files and serves written objection thereto sufficiently in advance of the  hearing stating the objections, and the grounds therefor, that the adverse party will make if the report is offered at the time of the hearing. An adverse party may call the expert as a witness and examine the witness as if under cross-examination.
7. Bob Tyndall was for decades a talented Baptist church organist. He was honored to be invited to play the organ at Luray Caverns, Virginia, which uses stalactites and stalagmites to play music in caverns underground.  He wrote and published Christian music; one of my proudest possessions is a cassette tape of some of the religious songs that he wrote, "99 44/100% Pure Gospel Piano Music."
8. Bob Tyndall had great courage in standing up to white collar crime, corruption and wrongdoing.  We need more Americans like him today in law enforcement and government, people who will indefatigably investigate white collar crime and corruption.
9. When the history of ethical environmental law enforcement employees is written, Bob will be in it.
10. He's in Heaven now, and I miss him already.  Godspeed, brother!

1 comment:

Judy Stephenson said...

Rest in peace fellow whistleblower. I am sure Jesus gives you a special jewel for your crown...
Judy Stephenson