I urge everyone, particularly former Elan School students, to first scan this entire document first from beginning

to end before you read it. Bold, red and larger characters have been added to illustrate major points and points of interest. Wikileaks is not currently accepting submissions. So I am posting this here. (39 pages of corruption)

An Unauthorized History of the Elan School, excerpts from 1991 book of a
different name whose title will be withheld. This is the testimony of a former employee of Joseph Ricci (creator of the Elan School) ………… Joe Ricci moved to Maine in the early 70's to open Elan, a for-profit treatment center for troubled adolescents that soon made him, and his psychiatrist partner, Dr. Gerald Davidson, very wealthy men. The two entrepreneurs branched out into real estate, and other interests. In 1979 they formed another company, Davric Maine, and purchased Scarborough Downs, a harness racetrack for $1.2 million. …… "Becoming rich was definitely an obsession that seemed to drive Joe," recalls an early staff member at Elan. "Money was extremely important to him when he was earning $10,000 a year, and driving an old Oldsmobile. It represented the power to really be somebody important, who would be accepted by everyone around him, and that meant a lot." Elan was not very lucrative at first and most of the money made was put back into the business. But gradually it started reaping a big profit, attracting troubled teens from wealthy families who were charged $1,200 a month for treatment. …….. On January 8, 1974 a fire totally destroyed the former schoolhouse in Sebago that Elan had rented from a local doctor. Joe and Gerry were in Chicago recruiting potential residents when the fire erupted in the early hours of a frigid morning. Fire departments from the surrounding towns of Gorham, Standish, Steep Falls, Sebago Lake, and Baldwin responded to help put out the blaze. But efforts in getting water to fight the fire were hampered by the 1,500 foot distance to the nearest brook, and by the extreme cold. Temperatures hovered around 12 degrees, and the water would have frozen in the hoses if it had not been kept moving by pumps. The building's owner, Dr. Barnes told the press that he didn't have much insurance to cover the building, though Elan itself was "adequately insured." Joe explained to members of the press that the residents had done extensive remodeling to the building, making substantial improvements, and it was hard to see all the work that they had done destroyed. The cause of the fire was not determined. Sherry [Ricci’s wife], who was pregnant with their first child at the time of the fire, doesn't recall how much they got for an insurance settlement, but observes that the blaze seemed to be a turning point for Elan. She says that afterwards the business seemed much more lucrative, and moved to its present location in Poland Spring. Money started pouring in, and the staff grew.

Joe and Sherry were millionaires before they celebrated their 30th birthday.
…….. After Joe and Sherry made their fortune, they began indulging more in leisure activities like going out to eat, but they had no friends or associates outside the sphere of Elan. ……….. Though they had a large staff, Joe and Sherry both continued to work at Elan, but it was clear that it was Joe who ran the show. He was in the words of one former employee "a sort of cult figure." He says "It

was like he was Jim Jones...He was our reality. It's hard to explain, but Joe had a way of defining things as if his definition was the only one. We all would have swallowed Cyanide for him if he'd asked..."
Another former staff member recalls Joe had a knack for creating intimacy with people, for making them believe they were important to him, and to his projects. They felt that they had a special relationship with him and he worked at preserving these relationships by being generous. Occasionally he would financially assist poorer kids who had gone through the program.

They didn't have a college education and weren't trained for any special work other than working at Elan, so Joe would employ them as staff therapists and give them more money than they'd ever get in the real world. Sometimes he'd help them buy a house. But Joe ended up owning these people. They'd
be petrified of upsetting him, destroying their economic security. Then when they didn't act exactly as he wanted them to act, he'd fire them or discredit them, saying they were back on drugs. "It was like he was their pimp...pathetic," she recalls ……. In his marriage Joe began employing some of the 'techniques' he used at Elan. If Sherry

annoyed or angered him, she'd be punished. One punishment was embarrassment and humiliation in the presence of other staff members. According to one former staffer
he'd 'shoot her down' (an Elan term to describe the taking of authority away from someone who had misused it) by humiliating her at staff meetings, or he'd purposely exclude her from decisionmaking, instructing people not to tell her something. "At first we were led to believe that theirs was the perfect marriage," a former resident recalls, "...but after a while it was apparent to some of us that it was far from it." …… Joe would insist on having female residents at Elan babysit their sons. …. One time a girl who had babysat at their house returned to Elan, and 'copped to guilt' (Elan term meaning admitting bad behavior) She confessed that she had taunted their year old baby pretending he was a kitty. When he wanted to get off her lap she wouldn't let him, and that she burnt him with her cigarette. Sherry became hysterical but Joe reacted with disgust directed toward her. He said she'd changed, and there was nothing wrong with the Elan residents babysitting their children,

Sherry became more and more isolated from Joe, and had no friends, other than her contacts at Elan. And at Elan Joe was in charge. Everybody took orders from him, even if it meant

violating her rights.
One day she was at home when she heard noise coming from her bedroom. It was a secretary from Elan going through her drawers and closets. Joe had given her a key to the house, with instructions to pack him a bag so he could take a trip. Despite objections from her, the secretary refused to leave until she had done what Joe sent her to do. Living with Joe became too much, and Sherry …… "That scene at the hospital was vintage Joe..." confirms a former associate. "...Everything was for show. He'd always need a group around him, and act out a role, usually one that made him look great to people who didn't do any serious scrutinizing." … After her breakdown Sherry went to therapy sessions three or four times a week, despite Joe's initial objection. Slowly she began to repair her self-esteem, and became stronger. But she

finally suffered a nervous breakdown for which she was hospitalized in 1976.

had negative feelings about Joe, about his practices at Elan that she had previously been unable to articulate. They were just gut feelings that something was seriously wrong, and until therapy she hadn't shared her feelings with anyone. Having an objective third party gave things a different perspective.
She became more aware of being manipulated, and blindly following a pattern of behavior, simply because it was easier than resisting. ….. Sherry, becoming stronger from her therapy, realized the marriage was over. Sherry recalls that after one marriage counseling session they stopped at a Howard Johnsons, and Joe told her that whether they got a divorce or not, he was going to buy Scarborough Downs, a harness racetrack and he wanted her to be his partner. She was flabbergasted. They had been to the racetrack, ten miles south of Portland many times together, but she had no idea he wanted to own it. It seemed the antithesis of Elan, and she couldn't understand why

he wanted to get involved with running a racetrack. It seemed to her that they had started out helping people who had addictions. A racetrack with its bars and gambling created addictive behavior. She
stared at him, and suddenly understood that he needed a lot of cash to buy the track, and stalling the divorce would help his finances. If that didn't work, having her as his partner, could tie up her share of a divorce settlement in the purchase price. She had gotten wise to his way of thinking, after nearly ten years of marriage, and she knew then her survival depended on getting away from him. …… After nearly ten years of being married to Joe, having his two children, and working full time at

Elan she gave up the businesses she helped create. She also left most of its profits behind. Joe, on the other hand still had assets well over $1 million and was operating three businesses with an excess of 300 employees. Shortly thereafter Joe called a meeting at the Sheraton Inn in South Portland to discuss both Elan and Scarborough Downs. Those present were instructed that they were to have absolutely no contact with his soon to be ex-wife. Anyone found talking to her, or having any

communication whatsoever with her would immediately be fired, he warned.
….. Joe told the story's reporter, Peter Dammann, that he grew up in rat and roach infested squalor, and after being a heroin addict at the age of 12 ended up at Daytop Village, a very brutal drug rehabilitation program from which he graduated with flying colors, while still only in his teens. Joe said he later started DARTEC in Connecticut, got married, and then took a third mortgage out on his house to start Elan. Describing Elan, Joe declared "We help people find their identity, develop the internal controls they were lacking. We teach them that life is a game of consequence. We are preparing them for life, and let's face it, life is not a very nice place to be." The article ended quoting Joe: "I want to do and try as many things in my life as I can," he asserted, noting, however, that he would never do anything to compromise the program at Elan because " I've always believed that you should dance with the one who brung ya." …..


The entire Elan operation was incredibly lucrative for Joe and his partner, Gerry Davidson, eventually making them hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in profit. In the early 70's it had received very
favorable press coverage due in a large part to Davidson's extensive contacts. Descriptions of the facility when it first began to operate, however, differ dramatically from later accounts. Particularly interesting are the contradictory statements about Elan which came from Davidson and Ricci themselves. Whether the program was misrepresented at the outset, or later changed as it grew is not clear. For example, just after Elan opened in 1971 Davidson did an interview for U.S. News And World Report. He said: "Therapeutic communities largely are run by ex-addicts who have become extremely sanctimonious, like all converted heathen. So the communities frequently are set up in some ways reminiscent of concentration camps. They shave their patients heads, make them wear diapers, hang degrading signs on them, things like that. In our therapeutic community we do not do this. Our approach is to build self-esteem, and regard for others. We treat one another like responsible human beings. Our residents respond in fashion, and we have no trouble whatever with people leaving."

Despite these statements, Elan later condoned the use of degrading signs, sent posses out to bring back runaways who dared try to leave the program and was accused of seriously

humiliating its residents.
….. After Elan opened it was not long before people who mattered knew about the new facility in rural Maine. Davidson networked his contacts in many states for referrals, and also went

to Washington to lobby for insurance coverage being extended to facilities like Elan. He was a powerful figure with contacts at Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Troubled teens began to be referred from many states. Juvenile officers and social workers who didn't know where else to send their wards would pack them off to Elan. Rich parents at their wits end felt safe listening to Joe talk about what he could do for their kids. Joe would even offer to fly Elan's private plane to pick up potential residents,
and take them to his place in the woods. People were swayed by Joe's charisma, and liked the way he talked about Elan which he called "the Rolls Royce of adolescent treatment centers." ……. On July 22,1975 a team of five investigators --a psychiatrist and four social workers from the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS)-- visited Elan for a routine evaluation. Eleven of its state wards had been placed at Elan. The team stayed for two days, talking with staffers and residents about the program, traveling the grounds observing groups and the daily

they were aghast at the flagrant child abuse, and violation of civil rights they witnessed. They called their superior, Mary Lee Leahy, who headed the Illinois
activities. And after spending nearly 48 hours on the premises, DCFS, and received authorization to immediately remove the children from Illinois. The following Monday morning, July 28th, Mary Lee Leahy sent a telegram to then Maine governor, James Longley, informing him of the serious allegations concerning Elan. She requested he immediately conduct a full scale investigation into its operation. That same day, Don Schlosser, a spokesman for the Illinois DCFS told the Associated Press that the department's evaluation team had "never seen anything quite so bizarre and degrading." He said "The whole concept of this program seems to be a brain washing technique." The next day Leahy followed up her telegram to Governor Longley with a letter summarizing some of the findings of her review team. She was appalled by instances of physical abuse and forced labor which included spankings, punching one another in a boxing ring, and senseless ditch digging. She also cited instances of handcuffing a child to a table and the pouring of a mixture of food and

human feces over a child's

head, denial of food and recreation, improper medical care, and a total lack of
She summarized her letter by writing: "In short, our Illinois team members found the Elan program abhorrent to all accepted standards of child care. The treatment model seems predicated on suspension of each child's liberties; they

become automatons who conform to acceptable behavior patterns after they find it hopeless to resist the will of their 'masters'."

Elan's population at the time was 217 residents, making each director responsible for approximately 45 children. The evaluation team explained that all five resident

directors were former drug addicts, all graduates themselves of the Elan program, and none possessed a college degree or had any prior experience in child care. One resident director who was in charge of a house where seven
of the Illinois residents lived told the team that he had a history of assaultive behavior toward females. His third assault resulted in serious injury to the woman, which had been the reason for his admission to Elan. This staff member said that he still had difficulties relating to women and that his progress was being monitored by other Elan employees. The report outlined further staffing structures at Elan, explaining that in addition to the five resident directors there were 20 coordinators who conducted most of the

therapy groups. All these staff coordinators were also former Elan residents, and some were recent Elan graduates whose names in fact still appeared on
the present resident population sheet.
The Illinois evaluators explained the various bizarre forms of punishment for residents which included 'the ring', 'electric sauce,' ditch digging, handcuffs, straight jackets, and spankings. The ring was modeled after a regular boxing ring. A resident to be disciplined was placed in the center of a circle formed by other residents, given 16 ounce boxing gloves and head gear. The resident was then confronted with an opponent chosen by the individual who he had allegedly victimized, and forced to put in a round which usually lasted a minute. If the resident

being punished was not beaten he or she had to fight subsequent opponents until defeated.
Illinois investigators stated that six residents from Illinois told them about the ring, reporting that those placed in the ring to defeat the person being punished were mostly large well built boys and that boys were used to defeat both male and female residents. Two residents independently told of a young female being forced into the ring. When she resisted she was held down and an attempt was made to tie boxing gloves on her hands. When that was not accomplished, she was subjected to the ring bare fisted and without heard gear. Of particular concern to the investigators was the incident of one of their DCFS residents, who had

been determined to be pregnant, but subsequent to her physical exam was put in the ring and defeated.
Some of the reasons for this form of punishment included refraining from discussing problems in therapy, or refusing to cheer on another's fight in the ring. Electric sauce was the name given to a mixture of garbage, ketchup, mustard, cigarette butts etc. that was poured over residents' heads as another form of punishment. The report stated that some residents even indicated that human feces was sometimes included in this 'sauce.' Digging ditches was apparently still another form of punishment. Many residents reported that a day of digging ditches under surveillance was a common practice. After each ditch was dug the resident being punished would be required to fill it back up again, and repeat the process for the duration of the punishment.

The use of handcuffs was also alleged. One resident explained that he had been cuffed for about five hours for striking someone. had been ordered by a staff member to handcuff a girl to a table by placing the cuffs around her ankles. Investigators reported that they had personally witnessed a resident pleading not to be placed in a straight jacket again. Another resident recalled that he had been awakened at 2:30am and ordered to place one of his peers in a straight jacket. The report contended that both Elan staff members and residents gave spankings to those guilty of 'acting like babies.' And one of the resident directors who had previously identified himself as having a history of serious assaults on women admitted to this team that he had also spanked a female resident from Illinois. Elan functioned as a separate society with its own dictionary of terms. A 'general meeting' was called after a resident failed to comply with program requirements. At this meeting everyone in the house gathered together and verbally assaulted the person. If this resident did not voluntarily submit to this verbal assault from peers, he or she was then forcibly dragged before the group. At these meetings it was represented that 'anything goes,' and the use of obscene, degrading and vile language was condoned. Sometimes the posse mentality of these meetings reached a crescendo and the residents charged at the subject, striking, kicking and throwing things. One resident reported that he once had trouble pushing his way into the group to get close enough to personally attack the subject, and

was afraid that he might be disciplined for not enthusiastically participating in this disciplining procedure.
The Illinois investigators wrote that they had heard about an adolescent who had been tied to a pole and gagged with a rag. They also wrote about a pitcher of chocolate milk which had been dumped over another boy's head. Other forms of punishment included the scrubbing of a floor with a tooth brush, and the cleaning of toilet bowls with bare hands. Though the poor qualifications of Elan personnel and abusive methods of punishment were grave concern to the team, they did not confine their outrage to just those areas. In their report they stated that they were also appalled by violations of privacy at Elan. "Expeditors" were constantly at work keeping a written record of negative behavior, acting "like a secret police force." All

incoming mail for residents no matter whom it was from was intercepted, opened and read by the Elan staff. If it was
determined inappropriate for the resident to read it was confiscated or the objectionable material deleted. All

outgoing mail to parents and others was censored, and new residents could not write letters, make or receive phone calls. These activities were considered privileges to be earned through elevation on the hierarchy. One resident reported that he had letter writing privileges, but chose not to write letters because he did not want them read by staff members. Those who were permitted to make phone calls also had their calls monitored by a staff member, and the evaluation team reported that even their own phone conversations at Elan had been monitored

by a staffer who informed them afterwards that he had listened to their calls.
During their two day stay at Elan, members of the evaluation team stated that they observed

group therapy sessions where personal insults, and attacks on individual family members were common. Verbal attacks from the staffers to the residents overheard included: "You mother fucking whore"... "You cock sucking, titty sucking, mother fucking asshole"..."You mother fucking dog"... Each tirade lasted ten minutes or more.
Team members further reported that Elan's resident nurse told them that all new residents were subjected to a strip search. They stated that Elan's nurse told them that she got vaginal smears and did rectal exams on new female residents and secured semen specimens from new male residents to test for any venereal disease. She reportedly stated that the semen specimen was obtained from each new male resident by giving him a small cup and directing him to a private room to masturbate and return with the sample. The evaluation team stated that they subsequently contacted physicians in charge of both public and private facilities to determine if masturbation was an acceptable procedure for obtaining a semen specimen. Each physician contacted was shocked by such a procedure and stated it was not medically acceptable. During the team's discussion with Elan's registered nurse they were also distraught to find that she dispensed many medications. Discussing the specific drugs, they found about a dozen were controlled pharmaceuticals that required a prescription. The nurse also reportedly told them that girls leaving Elan were given birth control pills upon request, without having a physical exam performed prior to their getting them.

Deprivation of food as punishment, lack of adequate recreation facilities, trained kitchen personnel, and clothing for residents were other concerns expressed in this report. The evaluators told of one of their wards who had his shoes taken away. He
said that during his six weeks at Elan, he had made repeated requests for shoes, but the requests were denied because

he was told that if he had shoes he might

run away.

When this child was brought back to Chicago, it was found that he had blood poisoning in one foot. The evaluation team's report concluded from its investigation of Elan that there was absolutely no justification for the outrageous treatment of adolescents which they witnessed, writing "Elan will argue that the evaluation team has taken occurrences out of context, and that contrary to the findings of the evaluation team , the incidents were in the best interests of the child. Regardless of the reasons given by Elan excusing or justifying the incidents each and every incident reported is directly contrary to Illinois law and regulations, and under no circumstances can the agency permit any of its wards to reside at an institution where such events occur. In

addition these practices violate the child's civil rights and liberties and deprive him of his self respect and dignity. Under no circumstances can the

Department of Children and Family Services permit any child to be subjected to Elan."
Joe Ricci, the then 29 year old millionaire founder and executive therapeutic director of Elan was livid when Illinois pulled its wards, but he soon launched his own attack. A source who

was close to Joe at the time said he was told by his lawyers to downplay the controversy, try to keep a cap on it. But Joe decided to be on the offensive and came out fighting, threatening law suits for defamation of character and breach of contracts.
An embarrassed state government in Maine immediately launched an inquiry into Illinois allegations in an attempt to explain how such things could be allowed to happen right under its nose. It sent a six member evaluation team of its own to Elan on July 31st and August 1st, and Governor Longley and David Smith, the commissioner for Human Services, made a much heralded trip to Poland Spring. When Longley received the official 70 page report from the Illinois evaluation team on August 5th, he had Maine's Department of Human Services issue an interim report on its independent findings. Maine stated that Illinois's findings were unfounded. It reported that its investigation revealed: "No evidence of unjustifiable denials of civil liberties or of mistreatment brutality or anything that could be considered abhorrent to all acceptable standards of child care." This report asserted that: "The residents (of Elan) interviewed usually expressed new found feelings of dignity, self-assurance, and mental well being, and they attributed these feelings to the treatment they received at Elan." Responding to the charges of the ring, spankings and physical abuse Maine wrote : "One of the cardinal rules of the Elan program is that the use of physical violence, by either a staff member, or a resident is strictly outlawed." Yet it defended the use of the ring stating: " Only acts of

repeated physical violence (on the part of residents ) result in a person being placed in the ring where rounds last about one minute and the participants are evenly matched. "
Responding to the Illinois charges of Elan spanking its residents the Maine evaluators again chose to justify this behavior, though it was in direct contradiction to Elan 's stated policy of no corporal punishment. Regarding spankings they wrote: "It is recognized and accepted by residents as an "ultimate" technique for dealing with rare and unusual behavior," adding: "There was, however, an isolated incident which was recognized as excessive by other staff members and which therefore resulted in the temporary suspension of the staff member responsible." The Maine team (comprised of four lawyers, a Ph.D., and a psychiatrist) also stated that it found "no evidence to support the charge that residents were forced to dig ditches" writing: "The work assignments performed by the residents are beneficial and integral part of the Elan treatment program and that such work assignments contribute significantly in the development of responsibility, self- respect, and pride." Responding to Illinois's other charges regarding lack of privacy and violation of civil rights the Maine contingent wrote in part: "We found that the degree of privacy afforded Elan residents is acceptable within the context of the entire program."

Finally, answering the allegations of screamed obscenities they wrote: "Persons experienced in dealing with trouble adolescents will readily agree that obscene words are an everyday occurrence in the adolescent world, and although we do not condone this type of vocabulary, we feel the use of such words would in no way support a charge of mistreatment or of bizarre or degrading treatment." ……….. "Our primary purpose then," Devine now recalls "..was just to get our kids out of that place, and

He notes that some of those sent to Elan were not even delinquent, but merely orphans. Now, even fifteen years later, he
prevent them from ever going back."

remembers the incident with intensity and is surprised that Elan is still operating.
The publicity generated from Illinois's claims of abuse, caused other states to send their own investigators to determine how their wards were being treated. During the same period that Maine's evaluation team was assessing Elan, so were three evaluators form Connecticut, four from Rhode Island, and four from Massachusetts. ……. Ken Zaretsky, now a 34 year old entrepreneur living in Chicago, was a teenage staff member at Elan during these state investigations. Looking back on that time frame he reveals that after the Illinois investigators arrived , . "We lied through our teeth, " he says, explaining that he and other staff members did a good job

everything was covered up

What we couldn't cover up we admitted to as the exception rather than the rule. The
of softening the program for the subsequent investigations. " residents were thrilled when the place was overrun with investigators, because they had a real fun time. We laid off everybody then. But everything the Illinois investigators said was true, every last word of it", he declares. Ken would be considered one of Elan's success stories. He was in the program in 1971 from the time he was 15, graduated, and became a senior staff member, spending a total of five years at Elan. He believed in Elan and Joe Ricci whom he says "We all thought was God." But nearly fifteen years later he reports his scars from Elan still run deep, and that the aftershocks of all the humiliation are still felt in his relationship with himself and others. And he regrets the abuse he perpetrated on the residents when he became a staff member. " But I was brainwashed, "

he says in his own defense. "I might have abused someone else, but I was a

victim too. It can be compared to a mother in the concentration camps pushing the buttons on her children in the ovens. How can you fault her for that?"
Ken came from Illinois, though he was not a ward of the state. He was one of Elan's private

Marvin Schwartz. "Marvin was known as Mr. Adolescent Illinois, " recalls Ken indicating that he was probably single handedly responsible for building Elan with his private referrals.
referrals from a doctor by the name of "I

think he and Gerry Davidson went back a long way. I didn't realize it at the time, but found out later when I worked at Elan that he

would get a

kickback for every kid

he sent there and

that's clearly why he did it", says Ken
Ken says that he and many others who were placed at Elan in the early and mid 70's were not the hard core deviant kids people imagined. He says he didn't use heroin or any hard drugs. " I was a normal kid, given the time in our country's history that I was being a kid in," he observes.. …… Three months after the multi- state investigation of Elan, Maine's Department of Human Services issued what it called its Final Report Concerning the Alleged Mistreatment of Juveniles by Elan Corporation. The six pages, prepared by Maine's Office of Alcoholism and Drug Prevention ( ODAP) , summarized the findings of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts regarding their investigations of Elan. The ODAP summaries were strikingly similar to the interim report issued earlier by Maine which had been reviewed by the other states. It read in part: "Based on a reasonable interpretation of the results of investigations by state officials form Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island the Maine Department of Human Services has concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify the Illinois charges... As a result of these investigations, the four states have reviewed their policies regarding placement and referral of state youths at Elan facilities and all have determined that Elan has consistently provided and will continue to provide innovative, appropriate, and beneficial treatment to juveniles with serious behavioral problems. None of the four investigating states has withdrawn

any of their state wards from Elan and every state intends to continue their present policy of encouraging the placement of youths at Elan facilities."

Maine's ODAP did not include a summary of the actual investigative report done by evaluators from Massachusetts
In preparing its final report, however,

who visited Elan in July. Their report, filed August 6th, had findings similar to the Illinois team, yet these went unreported.
Spending 48 hours at Elan facilities in Poland Spring, and Parsonfield, the Massachusetts evaluators spoke with residents individually in separate rooms, assuring each of confidentiality. According to the Massachusetts team, spankings occurred at Elan in the course of a general meeting held for disciplinary reasons and were attended by all the residents of a particular house. They described that residents (receiving spankings) were required to bend over a chair, and if they refused, two or more residents and staff would forcibly restrain them by holding arms and legs. The Massachusetts evaluators described a similar boxing ring format similar to that described by Illinois and stated that injuries from the ring ranged from negligible effects, to black eyes bloody noses, split lips and sprained ankles. They also received reports of 'electric sauce' poured over resident's heads. Sitting in a corner was

that the length of time a disciplinee must remain in the corner varied from two days to several months. During this time residents had to have all
still another form of discipline reported. They wrote

meals in the corner and were allowed to leave only to go to the bathroom. One resident reported to the evaluators that another resident forced to sit in a corner for two solid months, began to talk to herself, and as a result of talking to herself was given a spanking by the entire house.
In summarizing their investigation, the Massachusetts team wrote : "It is the opinion if the evaluation team that there is sufficient corroboration among youth in the Elan program to consider certain forms of behavior control employed to constitute abusive

Use of such forms of behavior control would seem to constitute systematic legal violation of clients' rights ( such as assault and assault and battery) regardless of any therapeutic rationale in which they may be incorporated.
treatment of clients. It should also be noted that use of abusive behavior controls would seem to be in direct violation of Department of Youth Services standards regarding the treatment of youth under the department's care. The net effect of such practices, while in direct contradiction to the program's stated position was reported by most clients interviewed to be one of severe humiliation as well as in many instances, physically painful. In light of the information received it is the evaluation team's opinion that the issue of placement

of wards of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the care of DYS at Elan be seriously reconsidered. Subsequently it is felt that a decision must be reached regarding the present contractual agreements between the Commonwealth and Elan pursuant to the best interests of the youth in the program."

Instead of explaining these findings of the four Massachusetts investigators, Maine's ODAP substituted a subsequent report written by Robert Watson, Director Intensive Care for the Division of Youth Services that supposedly summarized the above findings of the team. It concluded in part:
"Boxing is a therapeutic tool utilized by the community to stop residents from bullying one another. This is carefully supervised to insure that no one is hurt. The purpose is to show that any and all residents cannot bully one another. This is the administration's definition." Watson also wrote: "Electric sauce is not, has not been and never will be a practice or tool of the Elan administration." adding: " Of all the residents interviewed only one said he had electric sauce thrown at him. Two said they saw it, and almost all others had heard about it. A staff member at Elan had used this practice approximately eight months ago. As soon as the

administration learned that this practice had taken place, it was immediately stopped, and this staff member was terminated. This practice has not taken place since. Summarizing Massachusetts position Watson
wrote: "I feel with further definition the Elan program will continue to achieve our purpose in treatment of the youth we sent to them." Watson knew what he was writing when he used past tense sent in the above statement, because

Massachusetts stopped placing its youth at Elan following its investigation.
Maine's ODAP represented in its final report summary that Elan had received a unanimous

The omissions in the ODAP summary raise questions about the spin placed on its 1975 report concerning child abuse at Elan.
support from its other evaluations, but this wasn't true. Jerry Docherty who is now deputy director for Family Continuity Programs in Massachusetts remembers visiting Elan during this period when he was with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. He was not a member of the evaluation team, but made a separate trip to Elan concerning one of the Massachusetts' wards. He recalls having serious doubts about the therapeutic effectiveness of the program, but says he was impressed with the educational aspect which seemed to function separately. During his visit he asked to see the boxing ring,

and asked about other allegations and says "What was presented to me was certainly far less controversial than what I read in the papers. I never
saw any of it, but I had some gut level concerns that they weren't showing me things."..... I also had a strong feeling that the state program was separated from the private pay program and there was a qualitative different feel to it."

He never realized that Elan was run for profit. Learning that the Joe and Gerry made more than $300,000 a year from the program, he says "That is sick."
…….. Taft traveled to Maine to visit Elan, and also spoke with social workers, law enforcement officials and others responsible for referring clients there. He described some unusual impressions: "There

is a rain of curses and shouts amidst a confusing chaos of teenagers. Some give commands, others furiously scrub floors, dressed in bizarre costumes- diapers and tin foil and rags. Some have huge signs around their necks. Others scribble on note pads. They are intent on something: just what is uncertain. And
" Taft wrote: "Residents are made to wear costumes that illustrate their unacceptable behavior . For example one boy whose supervisor thought the sun rose and set on him was made to dress like Caesar. Another ''cry baby'' was given a diaper and bottle, and others carried signs like "HELP! I am an emotionally crippled monster." Taft mentions the spankings, and describes the ring: "With heavy 16 ounce gloves, headgear, and surrounded by residents, bullies and provokers must face a different boxer each minute to the screams of delight, and derision from their peers."

no one is smiling. No one.

They beat an emotionally slow kid in the snow, it was awful. He was just black and blue for weeks."
Taft quotes an ex Elan employee who stated: " A former Elan employee , Donna Pizzi, told Taft "When I left there it was like 'phew', I'm out. It was like they had power over me , I went through a lot of psychological pushing and pulling." Pizzi said she found herself wondering about the

"blank looks" on the faces of

both staff and residents. "There's a lot of rote repetition of creeds and philosophies without much thinking." She said the staff themselves were so young, most of them only in their teens, and themselves graduates of the program. "They are barely developed. It's as if they depend on the place , like they had no other place to turn to except (work) at

Elan," she declared.
Taft reported that there was a sort of cult speak vocabulary at Elan. He explained bad behavior for example was "corruptness," and "justice" is gained for those who have been abused in the system. His article drew attention to the proliferation of "pithy sayings" tacked to every wall of every residence.

Perhaps most revealing about Taft's article were his conversations with Gerry Davidson and Joe Ricci. "We're a community of
self help like the Mormons." Davidson told Taft when he visited Elan nearly 11 years ago. He

He then compared Elan to the Nazi concentration camps of World War II: "I've always been fascinated with the phenomenon of identification with the aggressor," he said recalling how some Jews after their release from the camps took on the leather dress of their guards. Davidson stated: " At Elan I want to provide a good aggressor, a responsible , good role model. And that role model is Joe Ricci."
said he had always been a passioned observer of group phenomena. Outlining the program philosophy for the reporter Joe told Taft: " We allow no sex, no drugs, no physical violence. You are responsible for yourself and so are we." When questioned about the charge of Elan fostering dependency, Joe grumbled, calling it "A crock of shit..." He declared "You've gotta be Spartan and Machiavellian with your staff." Talking to Taft about that summer of 1975 when Illinois made its allegations, Joe angrily told him: "It was a raid from the start..." He claimed that the members of the Illinois team: "...were very unprofessional." He said "They got drunk at one meal, and then came back to Elan to work. I didn't like that...In retrospect Illinois was the worst and the best thing to happen to us...We

had 120 kids before that. Now we have twice as many." (This wasn't true. At the time of the investigations in 1975 the Elan population was recorded as 217)
Both Joe and Gerry refused to disclose their salaries, but told Taft that the profit margin then in 1979 was about ten to fifteen percent of the $40 per student per day ($1,200 per month ) tuition.

Using those figures Taft estimated that of the $4.3 million in fees from the previous year, the annual profit split between them in 1979 was between $350,000 and $547,500.
Just how successful Elan was despite its overwhelming financial success was hard to determine.

Taft revealed that Elan itself, though operating for eight years, had never done any follow up on former residents until about a year and a
half earlier. Of the 12 states that referred children to Elan, only four had ever done any follow up, and what had been done was limited and informal. Just Maryland, Rhode Island, Oregon and

71 former Elan residents finding 12 of them were in jail, 17 were working or in school and 42 were in the words of one official "living marginal lives" that included some petty crime, frequent unemployment, and overuse of alcohol and drugs. These state statistics certainly differed from Elan's 80% success rate that it boasted
Vermont surveyed a total of in its promotional literature were "living healthy productive lives." Six months later in September of 1979 Joe sat down with another reporter, Peter Daaman from MAINE TIMES. When the subject of the Illinois Investigation came up Joe told him: "Illinois did a tap dance on us for a year." He

said the evaluation team was a 'hit squad' sent out by governor Dan Walker to get headlines and secure Walker's reelection. "

Elan spent a great deal of money employing the services of a Chicago public relations firm to polish its image
(No mention was made that , or that the Department of Children & Family Services chose never to place any more of its children at Elan) …….. In early 1981, nearly six years after the explosive Illinois investigation of Elan, and the hasty subsequent investigations by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut, the Rhode Island Office of the Child Advocate was asked to conduct another, more in depth study of the Elan facility. This request was made by Rhode Island judge, Edward Healey, because of allegations of abuse and neglect which surfaced during a family court juvenile proceeding. This investigation was perhaps the most comprehensive of all. It involved seven health care professionals including two psychiatrists, a psychiatric nurse, a sociologist and two attorneys

from the Child Advocate's Office. The evaluation team studied the reviews of Elan by other states, including Rhode Island, read extensive magazine articles and professional writings concerning the program, and conducted an on-site visit on February 27th and 28th. During

this visit researchers reviewed each of the files relating to 130 Rhode Island children that had been placed at Elan from the time the state first utilized the program.
This extensive effort resulted in a

forty page report that cited extensive abuses at Elan which constituted a flagrant violation of individual civil rights.

The Rhode Island investigators were seriously concerned about the lack of checks and balances for the exercise of authority by Ricci. They were disturbed that there was no board of directors or any effective institutional review mechanism. The evaluators met with both Joe
and Gerry, but found Gerry less involved with the daily operation, and on occasion unable to respond accurately regarding the program's use of the ring, and isolation cells at the facility in Parsonfield. Additionally, they learned that many

of the Rhode Island residents interviewed were unable to identify Davidson as even being a member of the Elan staff, though his responsibilities supposedly included psychiatric and medical care for residents in all the Elan facilities.
The evaluators were equally concerned about the lack of professional staff. During their visit the team was introduced to three M.A. psychologists, but each had been with Elan for a brief time, and like Davidson seemed peripheral to the day to day operation. Residents interviewed showed no awareness of even the existence of professional staff. The sole

clinical treatment at Elan seemed to rest with former graduates who had undergone "in-service" staff training conducted by Joe Ricci.
responsibility for The Evaluation team believed that the lack of professional staffing was responsible for the fact that Elan did not perform a thorough clinical assessment of each child upon admission or during

The team concluded: "Upon arrival no thorough intake assessment is performed aside from educational assessment...Written individualized treatment plans are not developed as part of the intake process.

Placement within the program is based solely upon age and education


They cited one instance where a case records review failed to address a serious medical problem of one of the Rhode Island residents who clearly required a neurological exam. The team reported that an evaluation was finally arranged by Elan staff just prior to the team's on- site visit, but noted that the child had been in the program for several months. The team was very critical of Elan's one treatment for all approach to therapy and stated: " A child can be damaged by exposure to relentless confrontation, criticism, and control that marks the Elan approach."

Finally, the team came to much the same conclusion as did the Illinois and Massachusetts investigators:
"The climate of Elan is confrontation , " they wrote, reporting that the emphasis is control and containment in an atmosphere that was described to them by Gerry Davidson as being "paramilitary" and " like the moonies." They stated that key features of life at Elan were: "group living, sensory overload, and constant self and group criticism, with little opportunity for solitude or independence.

After reviewing extensive case files regarding its Rhode Island residents, the evaluators concluded that Elan's proclamation of its success rate was "grossly exaggerated." They asked Elan to provide information regarding specific standards by
which it determined the success rate it advertised. Answering this request Gerry Davidson responded " We feel we have been successful when a graduate is comparatively self supporting( or is attending school) and does not get into trouble with the authorities. The specific rate of success for Rhode Island children is 75%." When pressed for a definition of its term 'graduate' Dr. Davidson responded that residents are graduated when they demonstrate: 1. That they can be reasonably consistent in school and/or work performance. 2. That they know how to form relationships based on mutual respect and, in particular, are not exploitive in relationships with the opposite sex. 3. That they can accept the normal misfortunes of life without using them as excuses for misbehavior. 4. That they can use the tools for relating we have given them. If they experience anxiety or depression they can talk to people and get themselves out of troublesome situations."

Yet despite its claim of an overall 80 % success rate, Elan could not provide the evaluators with any scientific data to substantiate it, or the claim of 75% success with the Rhode Island residents.
Because of this, the evaluation team proceeded to evaluate the success rate for their wards.

Each file was reviewed of the 130 Rhode Islanders. The name of each child was then run through the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) in order to obtain existing documentation of criminal offenses that may have been committed after returning to Rhode Island from Elan. (although some then adults, may not have returned to the state) Of the 130 children originally

70 of them (60%) had been arrested for criminal violations according to the BCI. (The evaluators found this
placed at Elan, 13 were still there. Of the remaining 117 children,
60% arrest rate very conservative measure of failure for the former Elan residents since BCI records did not reflect instances of neglect or abuse of children, mental health institutionalization, or other indicators of social or family disruption. The BCI also only reflected adult criminal violations. So if youths who had not yet reached 18 years of age had committed a crime, that would not be listed. They would be referred to family court). In light of these statistics the evaluators concluded: "Elan's

claims for success with Rhode Island children seems more self-serving than scientific and reflects adversely on the credibility of the Elan administration."

Despite requests to Joe Ricci and his lawyers for Elan success stories to be included in this book, none were furnished...
Former residents and staff members consequently were tracked down through newspaper advertisements and by word of mouth. Conversations with nearly two dozen

people who were at Elan at different intervals between the years 19711988 reveal striking similarities, though these people come from five different states, and varied economic and social circumstance. In most cases they have not talked to each other since leaving the program. All
contacted were willing to discuss their experiences, though some did not want their names used for fear of reprisal.

[warning: the following story is hard to read and could possibly scar you for life, out of respect for the victim, no highlighting will be done]
Stephen Smith now 29 was 15 years old when he was sent to Elan by a social worker in Connecticut. He had been a ward of that state since the age of six when his father signed over custody of Stephen and his sisters after their mother had been sent to prison for robbery. At fifteen he was sensitive and withdrawn, read books all the time, and hated school because the

other kids seemed childish, and had perfect families. He explains that the circumstance that led to his going to Elan involved an altercation with a neighbor whom he "shot in the butt" with a bb. gun after the neighbor kicked his dog. Stephen says his social worker gave him the choice of either going to jail or Elan. "I chose Elan because she told me it was like a summer camp in the Maine woods, " he recalled with irony from the warden's office of Maine State Prison where he was serving a ten year term for burglary. Stephen is boyish looking, small boned with honey blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. His eyes portray a sadness, which his story supports. The images from his teen years are still alive for him, enough for his voice to crack when he talks about being raped by another Elan resident when he and three other boys and two girls were left in a semi isolation room for a period of more than a week. He is articulate and candid about his life before, during and since his years at Poland Spring and Parsonfield. "I don't care how personal you get," he says. "The most important thing is that the truth comes out about Ricci. He has no business screwing up kids, and making a fortune doing it. The state takes kids from messed up families, but they put them in places worse. If I was not messed up before I got to Elan, I certainly was afterwards..." He says: "When I first got there, I couldn't believe it. Everybody was screaming and beating on each other. I had to sit in these groups, and I didn't want to talk to anybody. I feel that I was misdiagnosed. For one thing I didn't have a drug problem. Most of the kids that were in there were I guess there for drugs because I'd be sitting in the groups and they'd want me to talk about what drugs I was doing', what I was hooked on. And I said, 'listen I don't have any of that,' and they'd all say 'Oh yeah? sure !' as If I was denying it. Then they'd ask me if I hated my mother. They'd take out my file and read in front of everyone in the group, things about my mother and her criminal record. I didn't dig that, so I just didn't say anything. And then when I shut up, they accused me of intimidating the group, said I was doing some violent act against the group members for not opening up. I was making people hostile at me. So everyone once in a while they'd set up a general meeting, and then throw me in the boxing ring until I lost. So I just used to try to run away all the time. Its the only thing I ever did; try to run away every chance I got. I tried about seven times, but they always caught me because they had this posse that would go out. If they caught someone they'd be rewarded by Ricci..." "The first time I met Joe Ricci..." he continues, his voice getting softer, and more serious, "...was at a general meeting that was called by a guy named Jeff Gottlieb. I had tried to run away again, and Joe Ricci came in. I'll never forget it, because he made me feel really worthless, you know like I was an absolute nothing. He came in and I was called up along with a girl named Nancy, and another girl named Marie, two guys named Ray, and Johnny, and another kid named Sean. So when Joe Ricci came in to the house we were all sitting down around a table, and he announced: 'We have some cancer in this house, and any good surgeon knows the best way to get rid of cancer is to cut it out, before it spreads.' Then he called all of us up in front of the house, and asked everybody else if they had any feelings for us, so we all got screamed at. Then they put us in the boxing ring you know. Then at the end of the meeting Joe Ricci says ' Now we're gonna put you upstairs in one of the rooms. It was a room about the size of this. (6x10) and they boarded up the windows, and boarded up the door and locked it. And he said 'Whatever goes on in there goes on.' It was in July...I know it was in July, because it was my 16th birthday the next day... It was horrible. Six of us all stuck in there together. The guys- Ray and Johnny would take turns beating each other. Ray would pound his head until he got tired. And they'd take turns having sex with the two girls. One of them didn't care, but the other girl didn't want to, but they made her. Sean and Ray would keep her food, and that's how they got to her. The day I turned 16 I was sitting in the corner and I mentioned that it was my birthday, and Sean picked me up and said 'Oh it's you're birthday, I have something to give you...' He started to hit me in the face and

stuff, and then, well he raped me in there," he says, his voice trembling. "After Sean did that stuff with me, he made me do it with the others..." Stephen continued, taking a breath and observing: "Between that time, and one other time I think it had a lot to do with me not having normal relationships with girls. It's really screwed me up, and during the past years I've gone from blaming my mother, or my social worker Mrs. Daley, for what happened to me at Elan. But I realize it was really Joe Ricci's fault. He didn't care what happened to us in the room, or anywhere else. He was just in it for the money, and he didn't care about kids. He was running a business and that's all it was." Other punishments Stephen detailed included cleaning toilets with bare hands, wearing signs, and doing meaningless chores just to be taught a lesson: "I'd have to push this wheelbarrow down to the lake in the summer, about a mile while wearing a winter coat," he says. " And I'd have to get rocks out of the water, and fill up the wheelbarrow, and bring it back up again, then empty them out, and then fill the wheelbarrow up , and go back down to the water. Other times I'd dig ditches and fill them up again. The whole time they'd be one or two people watching, and hollering to hurry up. It was totally meaningless...and this was all just because I wouldn't talk in groups, or I'd try to run away...Sometimes I'd get a cowboy ass kick too," he recalled. "One time Joe Ricci was there and he said he was sick of my shit, trying to run away and stuff. I tried to talk to some people who came up from Chicago to do some kind of investigation, and I think that's what he was all pissed off at. I never talked to them though. Anyhow I got a cowboy ass kick then. That was when they took you and threw you from room to room bouncing you up against the walls. All the residents would drag you around digging you with their hands, punching you , and spitting in your face. It was a lot worse than the ring. It was really vicious." Stephen doesn't hesitate to compare Elan with the maximum security prison where he was incarcerated. "Elan's much much worse...Here there's a lot of shit. But I get a chance for some solitude, to read, and I'm going to college. I 've also gotten to learn woodworking, and make some money in the prison store. At Elan, there was nothing positive, it was pure hell," he concluded. "You know the worst thing is the judge that sentenced me here (for 10 years ) lectured to me saying I blew the opportunity I had at Elan...I don't understand how the courts can legitimize a guy like Ricci who has harmed so many mixed up kids." *** Corrine Lowery who lives in a Chicago suburb was referred to Elan in 1979 when she was fourteen years old. That was four years after the Illinois report citing child abuse, and wards of the Illinois were no longer being referred to Elan. But

Corrine was a private placement from an upper middle class family, who happened to have Gerry Davidson's friend, Marvin Schwartz, for a doctor.
During her visit to Maine to talk about her past, she was nine months pregnant, a pretty, well dressed and intelligent woman of 24 already the mother of a two year old daughter. She said she wanted to talk about her teenage years at Elan to "Set the record straight." She explained that she was a 12 year old, nearly an all A student, when she experienced serious conflicts with her mother's boyfriend who lived in her house. "My dad died in 1975," she explains, "and my mother was confused. She had three kids, and no real income. This guy was helping her out-and well, he was a child abuser. My mom had kicked him out of the house for a while, and things were fine between us, but then she took him back in, and that's when all hell

broke loose...They made me out to be a liar at school because of what I said about him. Anyway , he was out for revenge. I was told I was grounded for a year or I could leave the house, so I left and stayed with a friend of mine. Then they called me at my friend's house and asked if I thought school was important to me because I had stopped going after I left home. I was persuaded to go home, supposedly to talk to someone from school who would be at my mom's house...Well, when I got to the house, there was Dr. Schwartz's associate, Dr. Andrews, and I was just grabbed and taken to Chicago Lake Shore Hospital." She stayed in the mental ward at the hospital for four of five months. "I was given no therapy, nothing, " she says, explaining that Schwartz would occasionally come in to see her and fall asleep in a chair by her bed. "Dr.

Schwartz was weird," she recalled, observing that every troubled kid who had Dr. Schwartz for a doctor was sent to Elan. "I was drugged and, locked up for nearly five months..." she declared "I wasn't a kid who did drugs. I never even touched drugs. I have a heart problem too, but there they were shooting me up with thorazine, I think. After a while I couldn't even see or walk straight." Eventually she says that Dr. Schwartz called her mother
and told her she wasn't "really ready yet for the real world." "The insurance ran out at the hospital, so they had to do something else with me. Dr. Schwartz told my mom I needed structure in my life, and he knew of this school in Maine, that wasn't too strict, but was just what I needed. I think he told her I'd be much better in just eight or nine months." Corrine says that she and her mother then flew to Maine. "When

I first got there I was off all the medication then. The first two days my mom was there for the orientation, so they made it look real good. The first day we went down to the lake, and I really didn't think it was that bad. I actually thought wow this might be great..For me it was a relief just to be out of the hospital, be at a place that didn't
have bars on the windows, where there wasn't a quiet room with padded walls, and hospital beds. But I had no idea what was ahead. I had absolutely no idea. I would have taken the

bars on the windows and the Thorazine...There was so much screwing around with my mind. They yelled at me the whole time about my father dying, and about
being into drugs. And I wasn't into drugs. I mean I'd stand there and listen to them saying ' You did this because your father died and you feel it's your fault.' And I was thinking that my dad had a heart attack in his sleep and I don't see how I had anything to do with that. I mean the stuff, it just wasn't anything that applied to me at all. It was just bizarre, and for a young mind

it was really confusing."
Corrine recounted her own experiences with Joe: "I used to have night guard duty at the trailer where he and Dr. Davidson had their offices. I would go over with another girl, and he'd tell us to watch out for what he called 'gorillas,' people that were out to get him. He told us to watch out for anyone walking on top of the trailer and listen for any strange noises while he was inside sleeping on a pull out couch. It was very unusual- there we were two fifteen year old girls

guarding him. One night we heard a noise, and he jumped up and ran out with a shot gun. He swore up and down someone was going to get him." Corrine explains that Elan was a violent place, though she escaped real physical abuse. "I never had to go into the ring, but I saw many many people go into the ring for reasons other than violence." She says: "They called one girl ' a hooker.' They claimed she was very seductive, and they threw her in the ring for it. I mean that makes no sense. You just don't go beat people up for that sort of thing. What would be the next, logical step-go out and murder the real hookers of the world?" "Joe was constantly quizzing me.. I think he really wanted me out of there"... "I got along with most everyone.

I'd actually try to talk to people because there were a lot of kids I knew from Lakeshore Hospital who had been sent there by Dr. Schwartz. I'd talk to them like friends and say 'Isn't this bull
shit?' But you weren't suppose to talk to people, you were supposed to confront them, and Joe noticed that I didn't do that, and he didn't like it..." "Most of the time though I played along, just so I could get along.

I was like an

actress, and I had to act a role they wanted so I could get the privilege of
wearing long pants, and blow drying my hair. Otherwise people who were shot down couldn't even wear shoes. I just played along, but I tried not to be sick about it. If I had to give someone a haircut (verbal reprimand) most of the time what I was saying wouldn't make much sense, so I wouldn't be really hurting them. But I think Joe knew. He constantly asked me why I didn't conform, what I wanted out of life, whether I wanted to be like that forever? I wasn't a bad person. I was an A student before I came. But that didn't matter, we were all stereotyped. No

matter what the reason was for being there, it was assumed everyone was on drugs. All the girls were viewed as provocative little sluts, and the boys were kind of perverted, though he didn't seem to
pick on the boys as much. Some girls he singled out, and gave them special treatment. Though I don't know the exact relationships he had with them, there were a lot of rumors. I even heard that he did drugs with some of them." Corrine recalls that she and another girl named Mary were once allowed to have free dinner and a couple of drinks at Scarborough Downs. ( though at 16 they were under age) as a special treat for dog sitting at his house. On the way home they asked the driver of the Elan van to stop at a Stop 'n Go where they bought some candy. When they got back to Elan, Joe was livid and called a general meeting. "We didn't know what we had done.... "At first we thought it was because we ordered more than one drink at Scarborough Downs. But eventually we realized it was because we asked the driver to stop on the way home. Joe screamed at us, and called us ungrateful, manipulative little bitches, so we had to 'hit the pan (do dishes) for a long long time after that." Corrine explained that she was a staff coordinator at Elan, a step away from graduation, but got shot down because she was influencing others... 'corrupting them.' She says she was eventually sent to Parsonfield, and then told to leave, given 24 hours notice the day before Easter of 1984. She was not allowed to even say good-bye to anyone. Talking about her life during the past eight years since leaving Elan, she is quiet and thoughtful,

choosing her words carefully. "When

you get out of Elan, it's so amazing not to have anyone follow you around. It's freedom for the first time, and you just don't want to take any responsibility, because you're just not ready for it. You're back to the stage where you're a little kid. You want to go outside and play all day long. You eat
twice as much, sleep twice as much, want to do everything you couldn't do there..." She said she regretted losing her adolescence. "I wanted to go to college, and be something. I always wanted to be a doctor, and I loved science. I probably could have done it too, but I was just locked up for so long. I wanted to make up for lost time, and couldn't stand any more discipline." she revealed., adding "I don't dwell on my time at Elan, but it's always there as a flashback." Emphatically, her voice quivering "I'd never send my kids to any place like that...If I ever

felt I couldn't control my daughter, I'd feel better just locking her up in a closet and tossing her a meal once in a while. It would really be less abusive. People need to stay away
from people like Joe Ricci. He is mentally ill, power hungry, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Maybe he didn't have a good childhood or whatever, but he wants what he wants, and doesn't care who he pushes around or steps on to get it..I first realized what he was really like when I started going over to his trailer, and to his house. He'd be so cruel, ready to do anything to get his way. And if people were in his way, he'd buy them off. I saw the way he'd throw his money around. When I was at his house, he'd have words with his girlfriend, then tell her to go shopping. Joe Ricci is scum. Anyone who can use people the way he did-and its not just people at Elan-it's everybody..." Sitting upright in her chair from the kick of the baby in her womb, Corrine took a deep breath before she continued talking fervently "There are people who are honestly struggling to make it in life, you know-good people. And then you have a jerk like Joe Ricci kicking everybody around to get what he's got, and ruining kids' lives. It's disgusting. I'm just one person, how many kids have been there since Elan opened? I've been in touch with some of the kids that were

there with me, and they were all worse off after going to Elan. Some were really brainwashed, and totally unable to function afterwards. I don't know what
ever happened to a really good friend of mine. I tried to help her, but she just seemed to go berserk afterwards. I never believed in the place. I'm really stubborn and managed not to get brainwashed. I think that's why I survived. I never believed in Joe Ricci." *** Ken Zaretsky, the Chicago entrepreneur who admitted he helped cover up some of the abuses at Elan during the state investigations in 1975 said "It's frightening to realize how many casualties there are from that place." He cited two suicides by residents who graduated and became staff members, and fears that "Joe placed a time bomb in all of us." He shared the story of his best friend Neil Saxner, also a former resident. After graduating and working at Elan, he and Neil thought they would run a similar program to Elan in the Chicago area, but Neil was cited for child abuse. "Neil thought he was Joe Ricci......He talked and walked like him. He even married a woman named Sherry. But when he realized he couldn't be Joe, the pressure became too great, and he killed himself." ***

Dave Elder was second in command during the early days of Elan, working as assistant executive director, directly under Joe. He had been first a resident, and then a graduate working his way up the Elan hierarchy. He told a reporter researching an article that appeared in MAINE TIMES that Elan's encounter groups were: "tools to vent your feelings...a way to deal with the community." Despite his grasp of the Elan concept, Dave nevertheless found the pressure Joe placed upon him overwhelming. After leaving Elan, he drove a taxi in Portland for a while. He had financial problems, was married, and had a baby on the way when he took his own life. According to one observer, Joe was furious when he learned that Elder had killed himself, and forbade any Elan staffer to pay last respects. *** John Ricci, now 28, is Joe's first cousin, the son of Bamboo's brother Tom. He is tall, well groomed, and handsome enough to pass for an actor in a soap opera. He speaks in quiet well defined phrases about the pain Joe has caused his family, and of his extreme distrust for the cousin he once adored. Like many other ex-residents, and staff members of Elan sketched a grisly picture of life there. But his stories are particularly compelling. He continually referred to Joe as "my cousin," and talked about the family's unwillingness to see Joe as he really was until it was too late. He said Joe was always somewhat larger than life observing "We

all went from feeling very proud to have a member of the family like him to feeling very disrespected by him. "
John and his older brother, Tom Jr., both went to Elan, graduated and became staff members counseling other teenagers like themselves. "I bought my cousin's program hook, line and sinker, " he declared. " Joe created this process. He'd strip you of all your identity and

replace it with his cult oriented nonsense...Joe had this God-like greatness...A 16 or 17 year old doesn't see the reasons behind the reasons for actions.. All I saw was a charismatic, flamboyant, very powerful figure that got respect, and I idolized that..."
But after he became an Elan staff member, he began to view things differently: "I saw just how disorganized and insensitive everything was... And there I was an 18 year old staff

member working all night by myself taking care of 108 other kids, putting them in the boxing ring, keeping them in restraints, when I barely had my own act together."
He explained that his brother Tommy eventually left Elan much more messed up than he was when he went there, lost touch with family members and became a drug using drifter. In June of 1989 Tommy's body was found at the bottom of the Ventura River in California and John believes that his experiences at Elan contributed to his death.

Many former Elan residents, and staff members indicated Joe had sexual relations with some of the female residents, but are fearful of saying it on record. But John said that he knew of two Elan residents that his cousin

"slept with."
John 's father (unlike Joe's father Bamboo) had done quite well in business, as a general contractor, affording him to be sent to a military school in New York. When his family moved to Maine In the late 1970's, he transferred to Lake Region High. He found the adjustment difficult, so it was suggested he go to Elan. Now

he regrets that he often played the role of house boxer, beating out people when residents were put in the ring. A strapping 6ft. 2 inches he was sometimes 60 pounds heavier than the people he opposed. "I hated to do it, but I wanted to get out of there, get along in the program...." He recalled "I feel guilty about some of the things I did at Elan, but I can somewhat selfishly alleviate that by saying that we (staff members) were all victims of Joe's regime."
After graduating in 1980 John worked at Elan until he left in the mid 80's He later became heavily involved in drugs with a cocaine habit costing between $500- $700 a week. Eventually, he cleaned up and went to Florida for three years where he worked as a tile layer's assistant making $12 an hour. It was there that he says he

finally got in touch with his feelings, and realized how screwed up he had become.
Now he claims he has a good relationship with his parents, and doesn't fault them for putting him

though he says his father still probably "doesn't realize just what went on there."
in Elan. He believes they were as duped as he was, Tom Agos spoke from Gurnee, Illinois, a posh Chicago suburb where he was working as a police officer. Tom was sent to Elan in 1974 when he was 14 years old. He had some run- ins with the law and had experimented with drugs. His

parents hospitalized him at a Chicago area hospital, and Dr. Marvin Schwartz, referred him to Elan. He graduated after two years and worked at Elan as an assistant director until
1978.Describing his experience, Tom is forthright and articulate. "The program is billed to get you ready for life, but it doesn't do that in the functional sense. There were a lot of scare tactics, a lot of humiliation. It

was basically if you misbehave we'll beat the snot out of you."Agos admits as a staff member he perpetuated the Elan philosophy and declared "I'm not proud to say I worked there... At the time I really believed I was doing the right thing, but as I went on in life I found out that Joe Ricci and his band of merry men were not really the gods I thought they were...But to a 15 or 16 year old screwed up kid, they were impressive."
In a half hour phone conversation from the Gurnee police station Agos shared his

observations about Joe and the Elan program.He confirmed that electric sauce (garbage poured over people's heads) the ring, and spankings all occurred with regularity, and says "Corporal punishment was used quite often, and I have the x-rays of a broken nose to prove it." Now 29, Agos has a good job, a wife, two children, a house and two cars But he explains that his philosophy of life is "light years away from Elan's." He tries to practice non -violence, even as a police officer working on the street. "You treat people the way you expect to be treated", he believes.

Looking back at his time at Elan, Agos recalled a few transformations of staffers that were quite amazing, and specifically mentioned Alice Quinn whom he said was one of the first staff hired who had not previously been a graduate of Elan. "She was hired fresh out of college, had no experience, and was meek,
timid, quiet, and very very nice...I

watched her change before my very eyes.

It was unbelievable..." he recalled, seeing how Joe had taken a liking to her and
socialized with her after hours. He said after a few months on the job "she kind of became Joe, developed his personality, and hisobnoxious, kind of squirmy tone to her voice."

Another major change was the one made by a former secretary at Elan, Sharon Terry, whom
he describes as the person who filled the staff's orders for sundries. "She was one of the office girls, very pleasant, very nice," he recalled, but noted that as Joe gradually gave her more responsibility for the houses, she

became a tyrant.
Tom seemed visibly surprised to learn that she eventually became the next in command at Elan, responsible for daily operations in Joe's absence.

"She was a secretary, " he observed, "Nothing is wrong with that profession, but it doesn't make her qualified to control the destinies of impressionable children."Agos said decided not to pattern his life after
Joe Ricci Elan's role model because he found him to be "impulsive, not level headed and, toward the end, kind of scary."

…. In 1981 Joe Ricci and his partner Dr. Gerald Davidson had been in business for over a decade. They had become very wealthy men because of Elan. Dr. Davidson's success might have been predestined. At 58 years of age, he had studied at prestigious schools, and had taught at Harvard.

Joe Ricci's success was more unusual. At 35 years old, he had been a millionaire since his mid twenties. He had never finished a formal high school, had by his own account been a heroin addict, and spent much of his life in institutions, first as a patient, and later as a low paid worker.
Joe enjoyed wealth and unlike many Mainers did not (in the Down East tradition) live beneath his means. He drove a top of the line Mercedes sports car, owned a Bentley , wore flashy clothes and had a posh house. Separating him further from the Maine mentality was the fact that two years earlier he had purchased a race track.

Joe Ricci, the millionaire high school drop out, former heroin addict, who ran a
treatment center for adolescents and a racetrack, was an enigma. And in 1981 FBI agents, a state bank investigator, and bank officers drew some conclusions that would have serious ramifications. Joe and Gerry had been doing business at Portland's office of Depositors Trust bank for four years, had a $1 million line of credit, and $800,000 in outstanding loans. The


in their holding company, Golden Ark Enterprises, included Elan, Scarborough Downs, and The Williamsburg, an upscale apartment complex in Portland's fashionable western promenade.

In 1982 two former residents of Elan filed complaints charging physical and emotional abuse. The Maine Bureau of Mental Health and Retardation
notified Joe that they were initiating an investigation. Owen Colomb, the attorney general's office investigator, who helped spawn the Mafia allegations, was dispatched to conduct the investigation. Joe told everyone that he was 'under siege,' and his lawsuit against the bank became an obsession. ……

On December 17, 1983 the clubhouse at Scarborough Downs was

burned to the ground in a suspicious fire that Joe told everyone was arson
occurred on a frigid day and frozen hoses hampered extinguishment of the fire) The phone at the track was not working that night when the fire was discovered, and the


He said it was committed by the powers who were out to get him. The fire occurred on a blistery night, and containment of the fire was hampered by the fact that there was no water in the private fire hydrants maintained by the track. (Nine years earlier, the fire at Elan also

security guard on duty had to drive ten minutes to the Scarborough Fire Department to report the blaze. ….. The clubhouse fire the previous December (happening almost exactly two years from the December 17, 1981 allegations that he

was involved with



) had Joe saying he was more persecuted than ever. He told anyone who

would listen that the fire at his track was arson perpetrated upon him by the same people who wanted to put him out of business.

But research into the fire's investigative file, and surrounding circumstances reveals a more complex tale involving stolen

meetings between an ex-con explosives expert and Joe less than three months before the blaze.
confidential Elan files, cash payoffs, and

The subject of the investigation was a Department of Human Services file on Elan that was taken from the Portland Office of Human Services in March of 1983. Elan was then in the midst of investigations by that department and facing an impending license renewal. In the course of this interview Fischer admits to

having acted as a courier, picking up the file from an unnamed person at the human services office, and transporting it to a law office in Portland for copying. Later that day Fischer reports calling a number that he believed was an office at Elan, and received a $150 cash payment from an unnamed woman. Fischer's account reveals that he was subcontracted to do this by a private investigator he knew who had approached him in Portland's old port area. …. Fischer states that he skimmed the file on route to the attorney's office and noted that it contained information concerning a complaint about Elan from a member of the Shaker Community in Poland Spring along with a report from the Rhode Island Child Advocate's office. When Fischer arrived at the attorney's office (whose name like the private Investigator has been blackened out of the official report that was made part of public records) he said that the receptionist there also seemed to be expecting him. He saw an attorney who later called Joe Ricci on the phone, and arranged the meeting he had with Joe at the Sonesta that evening at 5:30pm. According to Fischer this attorney telephoned Joe who was on another line talking to Dr. Davidson who was in Venezuela, and said "Joe I've got Fischer here, do you still want to meet him?" Fischer surmises that Joe must have known he was going to that attorney's office, from either the man who hired him, or the person at human services who had given him the file, because he had never talked to Joe before they met that evening. Quoting from the Maine State Police Report, Fischer describes his meeting with Joe Ricci this way: (blank areas censored by State Police) Anthony Fischer: He pulled up and he was in a Mercedes two seat coupe, real expensive jobs...He got out right, and I had told---if I was going to meet with Ricci I wanted to do it alone, right, that you know the guy makes me nervous, you hear things...Then we sat down , and we were talking back and forth right and he mentioned to me that the governor wanted his Scarborough Downs to build an ethanol plant on because his Downs has an exit right off from the highway, some stupid silly bogus thing like that. Then he told me that the State Police were investigating him for the arson of some restaurant, and that you know they were out to get him. And he said that there was no need of it, that he was basically a recluse. Then he told me something that kind of made my hair raise a little bit okay. He told me that --- had told him that I had you know, done some shit on the side for the FBI when I was with-- You know. And that made me a little nervous, and I asked him how he knew that. He told me---- was on his payroll...So you know I figured well here's a person you know who's definitely got some inroads to know that type of shit, Okay. And he asked me all about---you know. And subsequently of course the conversation I told him about the book that me and -- had written on you know the bombings...And I told him that you know I had helped to write that book, and that you know we compiled it and everything. And somewhere in the course of that conversation we were talking about , you know, fires and how to do it and get away with and all this, that and the other. And he told me he was picking my brains because he, had an idea, you know, and at the end of the conversation he offered me a job, head of Security at Scarborough Downs. And I, I told him I'd think about it , and he gave me a ride home to Raymond OK And then after that, the next time I saw him was when he come up to the house terrorizing , all pissed off that the file was never delivered back to the Department of Human Services. Herring: OK, now at this particular time that you're meeting with him at the Sonesta , you have the file, don't you? Fischer: Ya Herring: Because you've just been to ---office, and you had the file . Now you were also paid? Fischer: No, I was paid for it by a woman in a blue car.

Herring: Were you paid for it before or after you met with Ricci? Fischer: Before. I dropped the file off before lunch, because I remember I used the ---at lunch Herring: ...Let's back up a bit a little. Once the arrangements were made for you to meet with Ricci and there was some discussion about you getting paid. Tell me about that. Fischer: OK I told ---that I was suppose to get paid and he wrote down a telephone number, and I called that number. Herring : Who answered? Fischer: Elan 4 OK I know for a fact it was an Elan number ...I can't prove it but heart and soul I know it was an Elan number....... I called that number . I left --- office and went to the Village Green, called that telephone number OK I was told to sit tight and wait, OK I sat tight and waited.. A blue I think it was a Plymouth Station wagon right pulled up, this woman honked the horn , I went over. She had dark hair, real cute real good looking doll. I got in the car, she ran me down to the Franklin Street Arterial, and paid me $150 bucks, and I got out of the car and left...OK the file now is sitting at ---house because I took the file up to ---- and dropped it off there before I made the call. Herring: Before you called her? Fischer: Because see I was supposed to take the file from -- and run it back to Department of Human Services, and for some reason I don't remember, I think I got side tracked. It's one of those bogus little deals where they paid me too quick and I went, I was too busy enjoying the 150 bucks that you know, because at that time I was so broke if I'd step on a nickel I could have told you if it was heads or tails, you know.... and I think I was just out spending the 150 bucks, and one thing led to another....I was out in Raymond , no vehicle and subsequently it just stayed with him. Herring : Now at the Sonesta Hotel was the file discussed? Fischer: No no Herring : Did he bring it up, or you bring it up, either one of you? Fischer: I think he thanked me for it., I think. I think If I recall he thanked me. He was more interested in the bombs. That was the main gist of that whole thing, he wanted , you know he wanted to know about all that time. Fischer: Yup, Yup. Because I remember I explained to him now and I can't recall whether he asked me that or whether he, somehow in the course of the conversation it came up about fires. Herring: uhhuh. Fischer: ...And I told him the old battery trick. You take a car battery, you pour the car battery into a pan... Herring : Uhhuh Fischer: Into a pan, you *********** hold your breath because if you breathe that cloud you're dead OK Run it outside let it all cool down, pour off the liquid and all along the bottom of the pan you'll find little glass chips... Herring: Uhhuh Fischer: OK You take a pair of tweezers, ************ or a penny into it for weight... OK you take a styrofoam container, you fill that full of gasoline, right, you drop that in, the gas seeps through the ******* kindling point and va- voom!. And there's absolutely nothing there to trace.... Herring : uhhuh Fischer: Because styrofoam is a petroleum product, it burns. ..You know , and all you have is one section of an area scorched. And I remember I explained that in detail to him. Herring : Did you explain any others.... Fischer: Ya you ***************** the positive post and ground run it to the negative blasting cap. OK you break off the minute hand , right, And then you set it by the hour. What happens is the thing comes around, the hour hand. Once it hits that little tac Va Voom! I explained that one to him. The old light bulb one, he was real interested in that one as well...

Take a light bulb, *************** into it, screw it into a lamp, that's if you want to mark somebody up. They come in, they turn it on, it blows, take the hand right off the guy, bleeds to death, goes into shock... And as I recall he took some notes. He took some notes on a napkin. Herring : uhhuh Fischer: While we were talking at the Sonesta, you know, and I don't, I don't know whether he was doodling or taking notes, I guess it's you know. Herring : Did he make any attempt to try to hire you to do anything for him? Fischer : No No, He offered me a job, Director of Security for Scarborough Downs, and I told him I'd have to think about it, and I told my wife about it, and she just no no no no ! Herring : So his main interest in talking to you that day was what? Learning about bombs or was it learning about security or Fischer: Ya, he asked me a lot about security because you know, he told me that ---had told him I had given some to the FBI, OK during that whole thing and he wanted to know, you knew he was saying the State Police are always investigating him, that he's real worried about his employees, and what I should look for, and you know. And he wanted to know what I knew about electronic devices, you know he was telling me his place is always bugged. I told him about West Star which is a corporation where you know right over, right through the mail you can buy the little de-bugging devices to tell if your house is bugged and stuff like that. I told him that, we talked about the stun gun too Herring: Uhhuh Fischer: He was saying something about getting a stun gun because he had a lock down facility at Poland Spring where, you know, it's like a little jail. Guards walk around with pool cues and stuff, and he said that it would be more humane to stun them than beat them with a pool cue. I tended that was toward the end of the conversation. After that I really didn't appreciate the guy that much because I'd been on the receiving end of programs like that.. Herring: So when you left you took the file home? Fischer: No I didn't. I didn't take the file home to Raymond. The file stayed at ----I don't think ----- knew what it was. He's just a friend of mine who lives up on Munjoy Hill. It was just a thing where I'd been visiting him, and left it in his car OK And because Ricci gave me a ride home to Raymond right, and nothing was mentioned about the file or anything OK I think Ricci was under the impression , see the meeting was set up for like 5:30 if I remember right 5:30-6 o'clock somewhere right around there okay. And I think he was under the impression I had already run the file back to the Department of Human Services.... I think he was under that impression OKAnd the file was up at --- and to be honest with you I really can't recall why left it, it wound up just getting left there okay. Cuz I remember I had to go back into Portland right, and I got it right off the back of --car, And I don't think he was even aware that it was even there. You know then -- gave me a ride home. Fisher later recalls that the next time he saw Joe Ricci was when he appeared on his doorstep at 1:30 am some weeks later and describes this scene to Detective Herring: Fischer: We were in bed. There was a knock on the door right, and that man woke me up. She said someone is pounding on the door, right. So I yelled out, who is it , right. And he answered "Its Joe Ricci, open up," all right. So I went out opened the door. OK he comes in, he was wearing a long brown leather coat, right. He says I gotta talk to you, when he opened the door. And I looked passed him and I could see a car and it was running. And I said 'who 's in the car?' And he goes "Just some people to make sure I come out " and I could smell he had been doing some serious drinking, right, so he came in right, and then he started yelling and swearing 'fucking asshole, you know you stabbed me in the back, you little cocksucker, that file, you know where's that file. I want it now, and stuff. And he was threatening to the point where you know that file was right there in my house, but I'd be damned if I was going to give it to him. Cuz you know like I say all the tourists had left and here I am sitting on Panther Pond. I figured you know

this guy could do me in, and you guys wouldn't find me for four days, right. So I told him, I can't recall whether I told him a friend of mine had it, or whether I destroyed it. I think I told him I destroyed it , but I was nervous. No, I think I told him both. Because I told him I could get in some really hot shit, right, over that file. And he told me not to worry about that, right, That if he could get the file, even if I was to get caught I would have, you know all the legal backing , that his financial situation could provide , right. You know anything money could buy was basically what he was saying. And I remember my wife got up , and she was standing in the doorway and she was just scared shitless, because at one point he said, " Well let me tell you something you little bastard, you don't know everything that's going on in this particular thing because if you did you'd be floating , they'd find you floating in back bay." He must have threatened to kill me at least four times that night, all right. And it got to the point where I literally threw his ass out, told him to get the fuck out. He went out, you know he was ambivalent. One minute I was the worst scum of the earth, then the next minute I was the best thing that could ever happen, and you know he was going to set us up, take care of us, you know buy us a house, and you know if I wanted to straighten my life out he'd step right in there and he'd do this and he'd do that, you know. And then the next minute I was going to be found floating in back bay again. And I, I, I started to get to get a little more than ugly with him, OK And he noticed the trophies on my mantle, right. I'm the brown belt New Hampshire champion. Herring : oh really? Fischer: Ya, I'm heavily into the arts, And I , I started throwing some of my own around and told him you know, if you don't calm down , you come into my home, you upset my wife, I'm going to bust every bone in your face, right. He said "I don't have to, I'm carrying it. " And that's what my wife got all upset about. Then he calmed down once I started threatening him right back, all right. And he went out , and he got the woman out of the car. There wasn't a bunch of people out there to make sure that he came out. All there was , it was a woman, who introduced. My wife could probably tell you her name, she's got a memory like that. But he introduced her as the --- of Elan, right. And they sat down and they shot the shit for a while. And he left, right. And that was the end of it. Well it was that same night, my wife said we're moving. Fischer's interview with Detective Herring later reveals that he brought the human service file to the attorney general's office a couple of months later after the fire at Scarborough Downs. This action was apparently prompted by other incidents that occurred after Joe Ricci's alleged early morning appearance at Fischer's home. He tells Detective Herring and Ouelette about being beaten up in broad daylight: Fischer: I had come out of the post office in Raymond, Maine, all right, and these two guys grabbed me. One slugged me in the stomach, and bent me over, and the other one grabbed a hold of my head and drove me back on to the hood of the thing, and told me that you know I better mind my own business, and take care of business, you know something along those lines, all right. And I don't know whether it was about Ricci, I don't really know what it was about, but I remember I came home and the whole back of my head was swelling up to shit. They had to run me up to Lewiston Hospital. You can check the date when that happened by going to Lewiston Hospital because they had a cat scan on me and the bill is still outstanding. I can't afford to pay the bill. You know I had a real bad head injury, one pupil was dilated. The doctor was real nervous about that. It was the hospital closest to Raymond, I think it was over in Naples. Herring : Bridgton? Fischer: Bridgton, that might be it. It was a hospital close to Raymond. They ran me up to the hospital, one of my neighbors right, because I was , I was in a daze. I got hurt on that. And then he sent me all the way to Lewiston right, to get a CAT scan so you can check the date that happened. And that's when my wife said "This is it, you know we've got this fucking asshole coming out threatening us, you get attacked in broad daylight, and we're out of here." Ouelette: Do you remember anything about these guys? Any names mentioned or vehicles?

Fischer: Ya. Vehicle was dark, I think it was dark blue, dark blue, Ouelette: Was Ricci's name ever mentioned while they were Fischer: I can't recall, it might have been, I honestly can't recall Ouelette: But you drove in, you went inside, you came out. Fischer: I was on foot because I didn't have an automobile. Ouelette: Then you walked out Fischer: When I walked out, I walked out of the post office, the post office is in Raymond, and I lived up on that hill toward Panther Pond. I walked across that Ouelette: Anywhere toward that cemetery? The road going into your place, Panther Pond? There's a little, isn't there a little cemetery there off 121? You come in that cove and Panther Pond. Fischer : I go in 302. Ouelette : Oh OK Fischer: I go up 302 right and then there's a road that shoots up this way, Right towards Panther Pond , where the post office is. Ouelette: Ya. Fischer: OK down by water and stuff, and I had walked a little ways up the road not very far, I was still at the post office as far as I was concerned, and these guys pulled over , jumped out, and grabbed and spun, and I was getting ready to hit one and Jesus got hit like a mule. I mean you know I'd taken some bad shots, but this guy hit like a mule right in the gut and doubled me over and then the other one grabbed my hair up around in here and just slammed me down across the hood of the car. He said something about...you know...it left the impression, I don't know whether it was all about Ricci and the file, but it left the impression that that's what it was about. You know to make sure that, you know, there was, that's the impression it left on me. It also left the same on my wife. And that shit, that must have been two weeks maybe after, not even two weeks. My wife could tell you better as far as dates go. I think it was shortly after Ricci had been out to the house making all those threats and stuff. Cause I remember I was pissed. I wanted to go right over Blackstrap Road and dance on the guy and the, you know my wife kept saying no no no, you know. See, I know in the back of my head that if I wanted to go to Blackstrap and clean him, You know, I know I could do that. But my wife, you know she's she's known, she said no no no we're just going to move, leave it alone, leave it alone, this guy will kill you....It really scared the shit out of her.

A few months after Fischer was beaten up, the fire destroyed the clubhouse at Scarborough Downs and private investigators working for the track's insurance company contacted Fischer to discuss the blaze with him. Fischer also learned that Joe Ricci's private investigators
had contacted his half brother to help implicate him for arson (This is contrary to Joe 's attorney's version of events in his letter to the Public Safety Commissioner in which he states the Fischer's half brother David Dell contacted Ricci) Here's Fischer's comments to Detective Herring about the insurance investigators: Fischer: This is after the Scarborough Downs fire, OK And I knew that it was beginning to get hot, OK A couple of Ricci's private detectives showed up OK, and read me the riot act. They told me they were with the insurance company from Massachusetts and they insured Scarborough Downs and everything and they wanted to know Herring: Did they show you identification? Fischer : Ya, they were Massachusetts private investigators. They left me a card too. Herring: OK so they weren't really his ? Fischer: No, they said they worked for the insurance company. But they started off on the wrong

foot because apparently Ricci called my brother and offered my brother money to testify that I burned down Scarborough Downs, or something crazy and screwy like that. Because my brother called me up all upset saying you know Jesus Christ you know I got this guy calling me wanting to know what I knew about the fire at Scarborough Downs and what I knew about you and all this that and the other. And then a few days later right, this private investigator showed up to see my brother. My brother was in a real ugly mood about the whole thing and he was drinking down the----- and all of a sudden these private investigators show up and you know my brother is the type that you know, he doesn't need any bullshit in his life, you know. Also during the interview Detective Herring asked Fischer some more questions about Joe, specifically in response to Fischer's earlier claim that he read about Joe Ricci's Mafia connections in the newspapers. Fischer's response about Joe's business are worthy of note: Herring: Do you know anything other than what you read in the paper about him? Fischer: I know he's a dog. You know during that Sonesta conversation he said something about, you know all the money is a little bit dirty. He was telling me that I had nothing to be ashamed of about my SCAR days ( radical reform group) and being an ex con and all this. He said he was an ex-con. He said he was an ex-junky, you know, and he

said besides, you know you don't make a million dollars as quickly as I did and have it all clean. Or something like that. He said all new money is dirty.
Herring: How did you say he made his money...? Fischer: Ya him and---they started a methadone program , right. One of the nice infallible things about the system we live in. He started this program, Okay where people who commit crimes they go in, they tell the judge , you know" I got a drug problem". OK you know jail is already ordered, and the judge will sentence him to probation, and Joe Ricci's methadone program him, and ---ran together Okay, the doctor down in Brookline, Mass. And it was either Jersey or Connecticut that he did this, But it got to the point right, where attorneys would tell 17 year old kids with no prior drug history." Listen I can make a deal here go in, you huff and plead to the judge that you got a drug problem. He'll sentence you to Ricci's methadone program, no problem. And he was actually creating drug addicts, you know. Ouelette: In other words he was shooting them when they didn't have a problem? Fischer: That'

right, because they would go in and some scum bag attorney who didn't really want to work at the defense in the case would just tell them look cough, or plea. Tell them you got a drug problem. It's your first offense. No problem. The judge will send you to a methadone treatment program, Okay. Now here's a kid totally clean alright, who's went out raised a little hell and broke in, stole a carton of cigarettes right not knowing that they could do a better deal anyhow. They just do as their attorney told them. They go in, plead guilty and tell the judge I got a drug problem Herring: And and Ricci would get paid for these kids? Fischer: Yup Herring: By state? Fischer : Yup the state would pay him. That was down out of state,

and then he came up to Maine, He made a million dollars down there, came here bought these farms and started Elan. I have a funny feeling that if you guys really dig on Ricci ..Here's a character who's running a drug rehabilitation center and I don't think he's clean himself, OK I think you'd find that Joe Ricci got his finger in a lot of different things including the drug industry in Maine.
The investigations into the fire at Scarborough Downs lasted for many months. Not only did the state fire marshall's office investigate the fire, but so did the Mission Insurance Company whose investigators even placed a call to Joe's ex wife to ask if she thought he was capable of setting fire to his own track. ( She declined to speculate about anything her ex husband would do) Through his own investigators Joe learned that he was a suspect, and began telling everyone that he thought that something as preposterous as that might occur.... That's why he said he had rewritten his track's insurance policy for 'replacement value only' just weeks before the fire He thought this would eliminate the appearance that he could have benefited financially from it.

Interestingly enough the clubhouse, valued by the town of Scarborough at $93,000 in 1979, was 'replaced' five years later for a cost of $2.2 million. Ten years earlier on January 8, 1974, a fire had destroyed an Elan building in Sebago that was rented from a local doctor. The contents belonging to Elan were also 'adequately insured.' The fire at Scarborough Downs allowed Joe to significantly upgrade his facility just as the fire at Elan in Sebago caused him to establish Elan's expanded location in Poland Spring.
….. ATTENTION: At this point---we have provide chapters 1 thru 7 at no charge...some of you have gotten Chapters 33 to epilogue--**** and I, after resigning the advertising agency account with Joe Ricci--had to go into exile to write the book--implied death threats and all---from 1988 to 1990 we had no income....We spent over $50,000 (fifty thousand) dollars in three years to reasearch and write the book-=---We had to sell our home---but because of the role we played...it was the price we had to pay....When we printed 5000 copies of the book and sold it for $14...we had to give book sellers 60% of profits...

….. Joe had no friends who were not employees either at the Downs or Elan. His employees were his public and private life, the source of both business and pleasure. One person close to him observed that it was Joe's protection to have only friends who were on his payroll, as their economic dependence assured a loyalty ordinary friendships didn't guarantee. "No doubt about it, people were paid to tell Joe what he wanted to hear." she said. She reported that one time during a meeting he had casually asked no one in particular whether he was getting fat. One employee observed that he did seem to have added a couple of pounds, and the next day that man was fired. …….……. Eric Moynihan, the new general manager at Scarborough Downs was chosen for the job in 1984 because he had worked at Elan for three years. A psychology major in college, he understood Joe's mood swings, and the frustration about his bank case which had been the topic at Elan since it happened. Eric had survived a

mass exodus by Elan employees during the previous two years, and was an easy going personality
who was loyal and attentive. He had the ability to know enough to sit silently when Joe was on a rampage, and laugh with him when he was in a good mood, though he admittedly didn't get to know Joe very well while he was at Elan. Being in education his activities were often separate from the rest of the therapy program, and he had in fact only recently come to Joe's attention for the work he contributed preparing Elan's licensing application for the state board of education. Eric had been working as assistant headmaster at Elan's Pinehenge School and attending graduate school nights at the University of Southern Maine studying for his masters degree in secondary education administration. He hoped to be a high school principal, and was getting all A's in his courses. In fact he had sent Joe a memo only a month earlier expressing his desire to become certified as a secondary school administrator since none of Elan 's personnel at Pinehenge School had such certification. It was a deficiancy the state licensing people had mentioned in their review of the school's application. Eric's transfer to Scarborough Downs had been 'arranged ' for him. Just a week before the move was to happen, he was called into a meeting at Elan with Joe and Martha, and told he

was going to be the new general manager at Scarborough Downs. Nobody ever discussed this dramatic career move with him, noting that it was just assumed he'd take the racetrack job, which raised his salary from $18,000 to $25,000 overnight. Married with three young children, this boost in income seemed a Godsend, something he couldn't refuse. Graduate school was put on hold.
…… Joe was adept at involving both his employees and his troubled adolescents in his causes. Specific job descriptions or duties meant nothing to him when he wanted a recruit for a particular project. He'd shuffle people around on his private game board, moving Eric from his educational post at Elan to Scarborough Downs, Bobby Leighton back and forth, along with Martha, his secretaries, accountants, janitors and lawyers. Even Elan residents sometimes did maintenance work at the track, and lawn care at his house. Former Downs' Club chef, John Fortin, was willing to quit rather than cook institutional style meals at Elan, but most stayed, losing their identities in a Ricci Reality that was confusing.

…… When I left my office early that afternoon to go to lunch, I took the finished copy along for final reading, throwing my rough drafts, ripped and wrinkled into the waste basket under my desk. Upon returning a half hour later I was surprised to find Joe and Martha in my office. Martha was sitting in a side chair, while Joe was seated behind my desk. In front of him was a roll of scotch tape, and about ten scraps of paper taped together which formed a crude page. It was the contents of my waste paper basket! Surprised to see me, Martha made a hasty exit, while Joe made

light of his violation of my privacy. He smiled and said he "liked to put together puzzles", and the one in front of him was quite interesting. Without missing a beat, I simply handed him the finished copy of the article, remarking that my final draft was much easier reading than the 'trashy' version on the desk. Yet inside I felt violated, and made a vow to keep my guard up, lest I lose my sense of self.
I wondered what he had been looking for, rummaging through my waste basket. Was he that paranoid that he thought I had serious secrets to hide, or did he merely want to be omnipotent in his knowledge? Was it important to know everything about his employees in order to be better able to control them? I didn't know then that this violation of privacy was

common practice at Elan.
…….. In addition to my duties at the track I had also been asked to create some ad copy and do media buying for Elan. Dr. Davidson contacted me and asked me to begin retail advertising in some upscale big city magazines to recruit kids from wealthy families. It

seems the state of Maine had been revising their rules and regulations, and had not renewed Elan's license as a residential child care facility. This meant Elan was no longer getting state referrals, and the enrollment was decreasing. That summer I placed advertisements for Elan in magazines in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia . They were headlined :What Do You Do When A Good Kid Goes Bad?, and touted what I had been lead to believe was Elan's

93% success rate.
…… Directly across from me sat

Sharon Terry, the assistant

executive director at Elan, a woman about 45 years old whom I had met just once
before. Sharon had salt and pepper colored hair, and protruding upper front teeth. She was not attractive, nor was she ugly. Stylishly dressed in a sweater and skirt ensemble she looked

respectable. She began at Elan in 1980 as a 'gal Friday.' Though

she had absolutely no training in mental health, or any professional credentials she rose in the Elan ranks to be Joe's right hand person, making an annual salary one former Elan administrator speculated was 'close to $100,000.'
………. Joe took the podium. He began by telling about his successes at Elan and Scarborough Downs, citing all the standard reasons such as diligence, hard work and perserverence. Then he told the audience a story about a father and son. The father had no time to play with his son who kept pestering him for attention. The father finally ripped a map of the world from a magazine and tore it into little pieces, and he told his son to put the pieces together and come back when he was done. The little boy was back in an instant, however, much to the father's surprise. And when his dad asked how he'd put the map fragments together so quickly, the boy explained that on the other side of the sheet with the map was a picture of a man. "When I put the man together, the whole world just fell into place, exclaimed the son..." Joe declared that he helped kids at Elan get their lives together so the world would be a less ugly place. After he was done he walked to the back of the room, and asked me "Did you like the

story about the father and son?...I used to tell that when I was at Daytop, and it always got them."

"I'll send you on a trip to a warm climate. How about the Bahamas, or the Caribbean? I do that all the time for my staff at Elan. It prevents them from getting burned out, rejuvenates them, and makes them better employees. Where would you like
"You should really go on vacation," he observed. to go? You can take with you the person of your choice," he remarked, purposefully ignoring the fact that it would obviously be my husband. I told him I appreciated his generous offer, but I wasn't well enough to go around the block let alone thousands of miles away to a tropical island. …… When the

press asked Joe whether his candidacy was a vendetta toward Attorney General James Tierney for the alleged 'harassment' of Elan,
Joe was quick to point out that his campaign had absolutely nothing to do with his lawsuit. The fact that Tierney was the favorite for the Democratic nomination was pure coincidence. Those close to Joe knew, however, that challenging Tierney, and garnering publicity for his lawsuit was

an obsession. …. Alice began working for Elan in 1982 after graduating from Providence College in Rhode Island with a degree in social work two years earlier. She had been working as a waitress at an Inn in her hometown of Warwick. Though she had no professional experience with

adolescents prior to her arrival at Elan, she had quickly become senior director earning a salary in excess of $35,000. I had heard that she and Joe had a personal relationship, and one former Elan staffer expounded upon that
statement, commenting that it was their mutual appetite for cocaine that made Joe and Alice compatible. …….. That Friday morning I boarded Joe's private plane for a flight to LaGuardia along with John, Joe, and Father Bob. I realized, as we took off from the Portland Jetport, that Joe had assembled

an impressive entourage designed to persuade 60 MINUTES to do his story. John carried a bulging briefcase containing court documents including secret
interdepartmental memos from the bank that would illustrate how victimized his client had been. Father Bob was there to certify the purity of his employer's soul, and I to translate and talk TV terms. In New York we were met by a chauffeured limousine Joe had hired, and whisked to to the headquarters of CBS News on West 57th Street. ……..

On April 13, 1987 a federal jury in Portland, Maine awarded Joe Ricci $15 million because of a suit he filed against his bank for wrongfully terminating his credit. The jury's award, the largest verdict ever in the state of Maine, set a national precedent. Joe had filed his claim nearly five years
earlier, when his line of credit was canceled because of an FBI rumor that linked him to the Mafia, and indicated his involvement in a gangland killing. ……

Despite an article in the December 27, 1987 issue of THE NEW YORK TIMES reporting that he had set up a center for constitutional rights in South Portland, Maine, and a non-profit newspaper was in the works, neither ever got underway.
In April of 1989, two years after his historic Key Bank victory, Joe took to trial a suit he filed against his former lawyers who represented both him and the bank when his credit was cut off. Charging conflict of interest he sought $25 million in damages from the law firm. This trial, like the one involving the bank, was expected to be drawn out for at least six weeks. Yet after only four days of testimony, the case was settled for an undisclosed sum reported to be a little over $1million. (

A later hearing held before the Maine

Bar of Overseers, found the lawyers innocent of any wrongdoing)
…………. Joe offered to introduce Allan to two former Elan residents. He said these young women could substantiate his charge that the attorney general's office tried to intimidate them into saying negative things about his character. He said they could confirm that the AG's office made allegations that he used drugs, made sexual advances to female residents, and "almost every horrific thing you can imagine." ….. Before leaving that night he confirmed his arrangements to visit Elan the next day, talk to a few residents, and then take a look at Scarborough Downs so he could nail down all the locations prior to shooting Ed Bradley's interview with Joe the following month. After John left to take Allan back to his hotel, Alice, Joe and I talked for a few minutes, and I was astounded by Alice's near hysterical behavior. She said nearly nothing in Allan's presence, barely managing to murmur a greeting when Joe introduced her as one of Elan's senior staff members. And after he and John drove down the driveway, she was overcome with anxiety about having to show him around Elan the next day.

"What happens if he asks a question I can't answer?" she wailed breathlessly, "Or what if something goes wrong? Are you going to be there?" she asked me anxiously. I explained that I wasn't because I had production for Scarborough Downs, and
besides I knew very little about Elan's day to day concepts. Joe assured Alice, that things would be OK, explaining that Sharon Terry would be present as well. Joe told Allan he wasn't going to be there. He said "Everybody acts different when I'm around, and I want you to see the place without undue influence from me." …….. I was frustrated and confused, and frankly didn't understand what Joe feared, what he had to hide. I thought Elan was a reputable place, and though it was controversial in its approach, it had weathered controversy before. I began to think Joe really had something to hide, given his fearful presence. … Sharon's voice came over the line dutifully authoritative, announcing the defense strategy that they hoped I would have advanced: "The theory is that they'll just move in with the movie camera, television cameras anyway," she began, "...you know at Elan. They'll just come in start filming. And then you're going to have the person standing there you know moving their arms

And there has to be people at the beginning of the road at Elan stationed in case this should happen to get down there to where they're filming, where they're going to break
saying that there's no comment, you know we don't want to be on record.


A half hour later I led the caravan into the Elan grounds for my second visit to that rural place in Poland Spring. The center was quiet when we drove up, the seemingly hushed silence of design. Joe's partner, Gerry Davidson
was on the porch of the main building, a rustic bungalow in sharp contrast to Joe's 125 acre estate. Ed had planned to interview Davidson as well, but said he wanted to meet the two former residents first. Inside sat Linda Cormier, Joe's secretary, and about three other office personnel with the two former residents brought there for the interview. One of the women had been hit by a car recently, and was in a wheel chair with her leg in a cast. Allan suggested the cameras set up outside on the lawn since it was an unusually warm sunny day for early April. Sitting in the sunlight Ed Bradley asked the two women, Michelle and Lisa, about their experiences with the investigators from the attorney general's office, and Michelle said:

"This guy made Joe out to be this big bad horrible person, just like he was a criminal...you know a crooked person. He said we all know,ha ha, where he gets his money, like it was a joke..." Lisa said the investigator, made her feel that she should be afraid of Joe, as if people from Joe's organization were watching her. Both talked about being intimidated by seeing the investigator's guns, and praised Joe for his kindness and integrity.

I had no reason to doubt Lisa and Michelle's sincerity, but questioned the context of their remarks, and wondered whether Allan knew to what great lengths Joe had gone to get them to Elan that day to speak to Ed Bradley on camera. Neither had done particularly well since leaving Elan. One had attempted

college, and been the recipient of a free trailer from Joe, but backslid
into work at a massage parlor, and had a serious drinking problem. After telling Allan about her potential testimony, Joe had his accountant look into a treatment facility for her to dry out. A day earlier I overheard Joe telling somebody over the phone that his life depended on getting one of those young women to Elan at the pointed hour, cleaned up, and

The other woman (who worked as a stripper) had also been the recipient of generosity from Joe, and had received promises of future help.
bushy-tailed to talk to 60 MINUTES. …..

Allan knew that Elan was controversial, and said so on the air, but he also called it the most prestigious school for troubled teenagers in the country. Did he take this accolade from a brochure, or was it researched? Did he know that during the past year the state of Maine had for numerous reasons chosen not to renew Elan's human service licenses as a residential treatment

center for troubled adolescents, and that other

state licences allowing the facility to act in the capacity of alcohol and drug rehabilitation were no longer current? Was
Allan aware of the actual abuse complaints against Elan by former residents, and some state mandates that prevented the placement of children at Elan because it was determined it violated the basic civil rights of its residents? (This revelation would have been a dramatic irony particularly when Joe Ricci's major complaint against the bank was a violation of his own civil rights)

Looking back now I even have more ponderings...doubts...regarding one of the world's most powerful investigative news organizations' ability to accurately and thoroughly research its subject.
,….. Dear ***, It is with regret that I tender my resignation. Neither you nor Joe can imagine the devastation and humiliation I feel as a result of today's meeting, and this morning's telephone conversation with Joe. I

have supported Joe 100% and have always worked in his best interest. Doubting my loyalty to him, Scarborough Downs, Elan, and his campaign as well as his ordering me to violate M.R.S.A. Title 17A is absurd.
I apologize for taking a few days off but I haven't felt able to work. However, I will complete the remainder of my time. Please make my termination effective June 15, 1986. I will work until June 8, and whereas I have one week's vacation, will take time June 9-15. Again, I regret this turn of events as I had enjoyed my employment . However, Joe's orders at 6:15am this date not to permit Scarborough Police Dept. to make any arrests on Scarborough Downs property is no only unethical but in my opinion totally illegal. I have been ordered to obstruct government administration which is in direct violation of Title 17a Sect, 751 and possibly section 603-improper influence. I thank you, Eric and Steve for an enjoyable working relationship. I am sure that you realize that I will not enter into any unethical or illegal arrangements. I also consider Joe's decision to follow police and security personnel with video cameras as harassment and an insult to my professional integrity. Friday night's altercation will be decided in a court, and not in Joe's conference room.

I will be referring this matter to my attorney to insure that my rights and ethics are not further violated. Very Truly Yours Brad J. Buck….. …..

I also wondered why Joe's own partner knew about his drug use, but let him continue to function as a role model at Elan.

the 'white washed' 1975 Maine ODAP report into evidence. They maintained that four states--Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts
The lawyers for Joe and Gerry blunted this attack, by introducing and Rhode Island--totally vindicated Elan and in fact praised Elan in this report. They also produced an expert witness from Illinois who testified Elan had a 90% success rate.
The bank's attorey's could also have introduced the damning report regarding Elan done in 1981 by the child advocate's office in Rhode Island. It substantiated that there was no basis whatsoever for Elan's inflated claims of 90% success with its residents.

By attributing Elan's declining population in 1982 to the Illinois report six years earlier, the bankers missed the mark. They should have used an expert who could explain how states are prohibited from sending their kids to Elan because Elan has been found to violate a child's civil rights.
….. Ms. Lockwood's description of the fragile state of her patient's mental state came just two days after Joe's partner Gerry Davidson testified that Elan had made him and Joe millionaires. According to court documents a 1982

financial statement showed that Gerry had a net worth of $2.5 million including $350,000 in bonds and securities, and $400,000 in mortgage free real estate. The salaries for just Gerry and Joe in 1981 were $433,984 and climbed to $757,984 in 1982 (the year they were refused the $125,000 loan and were allegedly destitute.) In 1983 their combined salaries dipped to $603,200, but rose again in 1984, 1985 and 1986 to $620,537 and $621,113 and $658,424. In

addition to their salaries both men took large loans from

Elan. In 1981 there was $438,168 in outstanding loans to Joe
and Gerry, and this amount rose to $694,522 in 1986.
In telling the story of how he met Joe, Gerry unapologetically acknowledged Elan's astounding success. He told the jury about his own impressive medical credentials and of his meeting with Joe Ricci in the early 1970's whom he said he found to be energetic thoughtful and intelligent. He said that Joe was "...certainly a lot better than the Harvard Medical students I was teaching who were supposed to be the creme de la creme." He told the jury that Joe was once a troubled youth himself who went through a drug rehabilitation program and subsequently "...was not only Elan's executive director, but the role model for students...Everybody knows that Joe started out with nothing and made it... " he said. Explaining the social structure at Elan he stated: "All societies have a chain of command. At Elan Joe Ricci is the general."

Whether or not any juror or parent of an Elan resident, or other healthcare professional questioned someone with Joe's abnormal personality being the role model for troubled adolescents is worth pondering.
…. Now, four years after the trial Joseph Ricci VS Key Bank, the bank's trial attorney, Thomas Burns, is still incredulous. He says: " (The bank) settled against my will, against my advice. It was insane to settle that case because it wouldn't have stood up five minutes on appeal." He further states that "Judge Watson should have set the verdict aside but he didn't do it...the bank panicked and went ahead and threw money at him." Joe also made a personal call to Victor Riley, chairman of Key Bank, headquartered in Albany, New York, and Burns says: "The bank was concerned about the post judgement interest (an appeal would have taken at least a year) and they were going through mergers and didn't want the debt on the books...There were all sorts of problems."

But he emphatically states: "Joe Ricci brainwashed everyone in southern Maine for years about that case. It was a total, utter miscarriage of justice...They never had a dime's worth of damage."
Reflecting upon that case now Watson says it was one of his most memorable. Asked whether he was surprised by the jury's verdict, he hesitates for a moment, chuckles, then simply says "Yes." Watson has been a judge for 25 years, and has an impressive background. He grew up in Harlem, was wounded serving in an all black army in World War II, and was vice president of NAACP in New York. When he was in Portland presiding over the trial he endeared jurors and court spectators, with his dry sense of sometimes self deprecating humor, and quick wit. Despite his stature as a federal judge who had dealings with LBJ and the Kennedys, Watson does not seem impressed with his status.

Talking via telephone from his Manahattan office, he is candid, but careful in recalling his perceptions of the trial, and Joe Ricci. Some of his feelings about Joe Ricci whom he considers " ...a very interesting man..." were not for attribution. But speculating about the reasons for the jury's decision to award such an enormous sum in the case, he says: "I think it was the old parable of David and Goliath. " Talking about both the $15 million award for compensatory damages, and the subsequent $12 million awarded for punitve damages he emphasizes that he immeditely set aside the latter, because it was not legally correct. Asked why he didn't set aside the compensatory award he explains his perception of his role as a judge. He declares: "I don't want to substitute my judgement. They (jurors) are the judges of the facts. I am only the judge of the law. If that's not the case, what is the point of having a jury?" When asked if it would be fair to inquire how he would have voted had he been a member of the jury, he chuckles lightly, and says: "No...it wouldn't be." He reveals that he "...wanted to settle that case, and it could have been settled in the early stages of the trial for $2 million, but the bank wouldn't agree to the terms."

Proceeding to trial and convincing the jurors of the crimes perpetrated against him made Joe and Gerry millions of dollars richer than Elan had already made them.
…. During the winter of 1987 Joe was also busy deciding what to do with the $15 million he secured from Key Bank. Linda Smeaton left Blackstrap Road and attended spas in the south where she got therapy for her serious leg injuries. Joe took several trips himself to Arizona and Texas to look into starting another Elan in a warmer climate. He also went to Hollywood to see about getting a movie made about his life...He'd come back from these trips with stories of having talked to Martin Sorsese, and Clint Eastwood... …… Eric couldn't believe that he had returned to work for Joe just a year ago thinking he had changed, and feared what lay ahead.

Joe had begun to do things at the track, that Eric found alarming.

He brought in Elan staff like Sharon Terry, Marty Kruglik a former resident, and Alice Quinn, and endowed them

with positons of authority, though they knew absolutely nothing about harness racing, or the daily operations of a race track.

After a newspaper article stating that I was writing a book about Joe Ricci appeared, I began getting eerie phone calls with nobody on the other end of the line. Several times when driving in my car, I realized that I was being followed. One time when my husband and I were out, we confronted a person in a car who had trailed us for more than two hours. When we aked why he had been at all our stops during a single afternoon, he simply smiled and sped away.
I soon received phone calls and letters from ex-Elan residents, and employees of Joe's businesses

Many were afraid to speak on the record, fearing reprisals from him.
who made chilling accusations about Joe...some for the record, others not.

When I began to realize the extent of Joe's influence over so many lives, I felt the need to get away from Maine to write the book safely without feeling fearful. We sold our house in the summer of 1988,
We told nobody except close relatives where we were, and pretended to others that we were living in Massachusetts.
put many items in storage, and moved secretly with our son to Montreal.

From our little apartment in Montreal, I made bi-weekly junkets to Maine, slipping in and out for interviews. Twice I traveled to Joe's hometown of Port Chester, New York, and spent thousands of dollars on telephone calls

throughout the U.S., tracking down former Elan residents, employees, and others in at least ten different states.
…… On St Patrick's weekend Dan and I traveled to Maine to review records at the state capital in Augusta regarding Elan and Scarborugh Downs. I had contacted various state offices

and spent about a half hour on the phone from Montreal with Sylvia Lund from the Office of Drug and Alcohol Protection.(ODAP) She told me that I could come in anytime and see the public records. When I arrived they pulled the files regarding Elan, but after just five minutes office manager Neil Miner bolted into the alcove where I was reviewing the documents and demanded that I stop. When I explained that I called in advance for clearance, he called Department of Human Services Director of Social Services, Peter Walsh, and Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes at home for their opinions.

I was told I had to put the request in writing, and lawyers would have to look over all the documents before sending them to me. (These materials contained information about Elan's loss of licensing during 1985, and 1986. There was also the whitewashed ODAP report issued after the Chicago investigations into Elan)
After waiting for a half hour, …. Stephen Smith, an inmate at Maine State Prison in Thomaston, had been one of the first people to write me with accounts of his experinces at Elan. We exchanged several letters, and I decided to interview him at the prison when I was in Maine.On the second day of the trial I left early and set out to see Stephen. The warden had arranged a private space where we could talk with some degree of privacy, and I could use a tape recorder. I had never been to a prison before, but prepared myself for the stares from the all male inmates,

and tried not to wince at the sound of steel doors banging behind me, as I was escorted through narow passageways, up and down flights of stairs. Stephen had written detailed accounts of his isolation at Elan, his rape, ditch digging, attempted runaways, and subsquent punishments. But when I met him face to face, I really felt his pain. At 27 years old he looked still kiddish with long blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. His blue eyes welled with outrage, as he revealed that Joe Ricci was "worse than Satan." " I don't understand how he gets away with what he does, how people can legitimize his actions, how he can grow rich from the pain he inflicts..." he says shaking his head, telling me again what he had told me in a letter: that his stiff sentence at Thomaston was handed down by a judge who chastized him for "not taking advantage of the opportunity at Elan." Stephen said he was attending college at the prison, reading constantly, and learning to express himself verbally. He promised to send me some of his writing. The following poems arrived in the mail a few days later with a note saying : "Writing a poem about Joe Ricci is like pulling barbed wire through my heart...He's a Mengele, a sick and insane god gone mad..."

Mengele of Auchwitz Mengele of Auchwitz left a disciple in the woods of Maine, Saint Snake, Joe Ricci... The wicked always seek, obscure woods far from decent people, where they can cause innocents to scream and laugh at their futility. Self Made Joe Ricci, Master, God, King Ruler of a world called Elan; His heart runs on Mercedes tires; His throne is millions made on self's, Yet he'd say: "I'm a self made millionaire."
……. I declined to eat, somewhat stunned by Gerry's candid characterizations of Joe. I asked him about his quote in a 1975 article in CORRECTIONS magazine


which he compared Elan to a concentration camp, and Joe Ricci to the gestapo where residents take on the personality of the aggressor. He stopped
chewing for a minute, swallowed hard, and then with the palm of his hand chopped at the air in front of my coffee cup. "Don't pay any attention to that piece... " he instructed, acting like the learned doctor, talking to one of his charges. But I pressed, asking him whether Joe was always a psychopath, or developed into one.

"He's been getting worse..." he observed, "and now I think he poses a real threat to Elan. That's why after this trial is over, I'm going to try to get him out of there for everyone's sake.
…… Norberto was sent to Elan by his social worker in Rhode Island when he was about 13 or 14, and moved quickly up the hierarchy, becoming a chief expeditor, the head of Elan's internal police force, who successfully pursued and brought back those who tried to run away." I was fast..." he recalled with a chuckle. "...there was nobody I couldn't get... I had a lot of status. …. Norberto admitted that he had some bad experiences at Elan, but called them " a learning experience." He mentioned Peter, Joe's right hand man, who beat him up, and humiliated him. He said Peter and another guy punched him unmercifully, after a girl he was friendly with ran away. They thought he had conspired with her. "We were tight but I didn't know she was splitting." he said. The girl eventually returned and insisted she hadn't told Brice she was leaving. "They knew then they were wrong for torturing me... " he said."But no apology no nothing...They said 'That's just the way injustice is in life.'" …… Norberto graduated from Elan when he was about 16 years and said he was doing all right back in Connecticut when his social worker suggested he return, and said Elan's private plane came and picked him up. "When I got back Joe Ricci shook my hand, and told me he was putting me in re-entry status, making me a big shot in Elan 3 ….. "I can't say Joe Ricci never did nothing bad...But he did a lot of good. He did a tremendous good by starting the program Elan. A lot of people died. But let me tell you why I think a lot of people died. It was because they didn't know how to apply what they learned when they hit streets." He rattled off names of former graduates I should talk to, from about a dozen, half were in prison, or on the street, others dead. He told me the wherabouts of one graduate, Don H., who is a pimp, but warned me to be careful if I went to see him "because you re a good looking woman, and he'll take what he wants."

Becoming more introspective he admitted that

there "...are not too many success stories from Elan." and says "It's because people return to where they came from...I probably could have been more successful, if I stayed on as a staff member there...But you know the people that stay on can never leave, because if they leave they'd be lost. They just can't make it on their own." he observed.
Norberto observes " It's a place (Elan) that turns a person from negative into positive. " He says it helped him become more aware of the world, and declares: "When I think about selling drugs to make money, that's not negative stuff. A

sin is only something you feel guilty

Stopping for a moment and musing Noberto observed: "But I think there was one thing that Joe Ricci never really saw: a lot of people looked up to him, a lot of people wanted to be close to Joe, and I don't think Joe knew that he broke a lot of hearts. You write that in your book. You just say it like I said it. I don't think Joe knew that he was breaking these hearts." Speaking about Joe he declared emphatically: "Joe is successful, and nobody can take that from him. People can call him a mobster or they can call him a druggie, but they can't hurt him. You

know why ? He's got the bank account, and he can beat anyone. Joe is the smartest man I know. You can write a book about Joe, but he might write a book to undo whatever you say.

Fischer told state police in 1985 that he had been hired to transport an Elan file taken from the Department of Human Services to Joe's attorney's office for copying.
…… Purportedly Joe had the authority to do this, based upon his controlling share of Golden Ark Enterprises which encompassed the various houses at Elan-two through eight, established as separate corporations for tax purposes. … Dear Elan Parent, Staff Member and Referring Source: There have been ongoing disagreements between me and Mr. Ricci about matters at Elan One. We have been negotiating for more than four weeks to resolve this. Until a few weeks ago we seemed to be reaching an agreement whereby I would become sole owner on December 1 and, indeed, I had been arranging financing, staffing, and affiliations with other institutions for the school. Unfortunately, negotioations appear to have totally broken down, and Mr Ricci has announced that he has fired me as Medical Director. Thus, I have been left with no choice

but to seek a judicial resolution. The point of this letter is to inform you that I and my attorneys are trying to resolve this problem as soon as possible without needless worry from you. I will not give newspaper interviews, and will carefully try to avoid publicity, and the trading of accusations in public, because I believe that such actions can only harm Elan and all of its people.

One of the factors which has led to my disagreements with Mr. Ricci is my feeling that Elans' "concept" is becoming progressively diluted under his management and that as a result the school's singular advantages over other programs are being diminished.
Gerald Davidson ……. Liz Mendez* was a resident at Elan from 1981 until she left in 1984. It wasn't until February of 1990 that she contacted me, an hour after I finished speaking with Gerry. She told me she

had been in Boston for the past year and a half to "get away from Joe Ricci because I thought he was going to come after me."

She said her therapist had been involved in "debriefing some ex-Elan residents" and told me: "she gets really fired up about what I tell her about the place... but even if she went to check out what goes on there it wouldn't work. Anybody who drops in without notice, won't be allowed in, and if you go as a guest, they'll change everything around so that

nobody will see what normally goes on. You'd have to be a fly on the wall ."
…. After leaving college she said she began fearing for her life, because she thought he would track her down, like he did the Elan residents who dared to run away. Summing up her relationship with him she said: "For a while I thought Joe was just everything. I thought he was this benevolent, caring rich sugar daddy...But I think he had motives for what he did."

Referring to Elan as being "like a cult," she noted that "...literally you

don't get to see people from the outside world for months and months on end. It's like brainwashing. You begin to think that's all there is, because you either do what they want to survive, or you don't make it...Getting on Joe's good side was the whole name of the game...Joe had favorites, and if he liked you you'd get anything you want, cars, clothes, you name it. But the flip side of that coin is that it takes the slightest little thing to piss him off, and if he gets mad at you, forget it, because he just doesn't forgive."

Pausing for a moment in her narrative, Liz declared: "I just wish I could stop other people from being sent to Elan, I really wish I could...But it all seems a little hopeless."
…. A lawsuit against Elan, Joe, Gerry and the state of Maine brought by former Elan resident Betheny Berry was finally settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Berry filed her civil suit charging abuse in 1987 after an earlier investigation by the state of Maine ( stemming from her 1983 complaint) showed no evidence of wrong doing. This 26 year old woman was 16 years year old when she claimed she was abducted and taken to Elan where she remained for nearly

two years until her 18th birthday. She

charged a repeated pattern of physical and emotional abuse which included deprivation of food and sleep, and assault and battery.( Former Elan resident and staff member, Tom Agos remembers
Betheny as having been treated "very badly", and says he's not proud to have played a role in that treatment). ….

Former controller Martha Amesbury's suit, like that of former Scarborough Downs judge Dick Herman, was settled at the 11th hour on the day it was scheduled for trial. In a pre -settlement conversation with me, Martha revealed she was devastated by the lies Joe told about her in his countersuit, and said: "Joe would just be cutting his own throat to get me on the stand and say all the dirt the I'm going to

This 'dirt' allegedly included information that might be of interest to the IRS.
say about him."

What about medical school classmates psychiatrists Gerry Davidson and Marvin Schwartz who provided credibility to a 'therapeutic community' for which Joe Ricci was the role model? What about the judges, and parole officers who gave kids 'their last chance' at Elan, or risk going to jail, a fate inmate Stephen Smith said is far preferable to Joe's Ricci's bunker in the Maine woods? And what of social workers who sentenced kids to Elan whose only crime was being orphans, and thereby wards of the state.?

what of the normally vigilant press who simply printed sweeping statements from Joe as if they were based in fact? Even the veritable NEW YORK

TIMES was not imune when it stated in 1987 that Joe's philanthropic center for consitutional law was already operational. All it ever had was an
empty office with a phone that rang and rang. 60 MINUTES, thought to be the premier investigative news show in the world, told an accurate enough story of Joe's suit against the bank. But weren't there serious errors of ommision?


what about the reference to Elan as one of the most prestigious adolescent programs in the country? Just Joe saying it didn't make it any truer than Elan's inflated claims of a 80 % success rate which was disproven by the state of Rhode Island..
Advertising, marketing, and public relations is in itself a profession dedicated to putting things in their best most possible light. In

that sense, during my stint working for Joe, I did what I was paid to do. But the truth wasn't served by making sure Joe Ricci told his story of victimization on 60 MINUTES. Like the Elan staffers (who admitted to abusing residents, saying they didn't realize what they were doing at the time) I, too, plead ignorance.
…… Just as this book was scheduled for publication Judge Watson, who presided over Joe's multi million dollar lawsuit against Key Bank, sent me a copy of a screenplay titled : A MAN CALLED JOE which had been sent to him for his comments. This script depicts Joe Ricci as a quintessential crusader for justice. Judge Watson and Bob Axelrod (Joe's attorney for the Key Bank trial) who spent days with the scriptwriter at Joe's request, both indicated that the "60 MINUTES people" were

involved in this screenplay.

Recalling Allan Maraynes comments in the cafeteria of CBS when he joked about getting the film rights to Joe's story, I attempted to contact him at ABC's 20/20 show where he now works as a producer.
Ironically more than two hundred people including Joe's relatives, his ex wife, employees, lawyers and even a federal judge have willingly talked to me for this book, yet Maraynes who himself is an investigative journalist refused to let me know whether Watson's and Axelrod's observations were accurate. Numerous calls to his office asking about his involvement in this film project resulted in only a terse letter that stated he was not interested in being interviewed for a book concerning Joseph Ricci. In a letter to the publisher he wrote:

..."I shall take very seriously any portrayal of me , either as a reporter while at CBS, or as a private individual in the years after I left CBS. I will take very seriously any impression left by the book that the relationship I had with Mr. Ricci or any of his associates... was anything other than ethical or legitimate while as an employee or CBS or again in

the years after I left."
………. In researching and writing this book there have been surprises around many corners, and receiving a copy of a ficticious script about Joe with the news that it may be sanctioned by a former producer at 60 MINUTES was just another one .

What surprises me more than anything else is that Elan will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and Joe Ricci is still functioning as a role model for troubled adolescents, and growing richer doing it.

Perhaps state prison inmate, Norberto Brice, was right when he said: " You can do what you want, but Joe Ricci has money in the bank....

He'll beat anybody. Joe Ricci is the smartest man I ever met.."
Maybe the observations of Joe's attorney, Bob Axelrod, are more omininous. He predicts that in five, ten , fifteen or

"If Joe is still alive, he'll be doing exactly
more years down the road:

what he's doing today." -1991
………. Joe Ricci died, but The Elan School is alive and well, being run by the remaining members of the Ricci Family. Directors at the school are still all ex-Elan. Some lower staff are not, but have become twisted versions of their former self.

Allegations continue and are

as recent as 2010. How long will this continue? Can we trust the media,CBS, 20/20,
60 Minutes, Maine Politicians, State Judges, Doctors, lawyers, etc…? If you made it this far then you know the answer.