Part 26 of a Series
Three people in Clark County, Nevada are alive today as an indirect result of this writer taking on this cause for justice. Before revealing their names, I want to provide some background.
When I first became superficially aware of the story, I was living on a farm in Clark County, Washington. I had moved to the Lucky Bunch Farm owned by “Farmer Tom” and Paula, at the beginning of August 2012.
That move occurred three weeks after I had been held at gunpoint for more than four minutes in a gang-motivated robbery in a convenience store, a Plaid Pantry. It was barely 2:00 a.m. and I was the only person present. When two of the armed robbers spread a blanket at my feet, I thought this was the end of me; the scene was captured on surveillance video. Plaid Pantry offered a reward for information; thousands of dollars were paid to a family member of one of the four
young men involved in the robbery. As the only witness, I had every reason to believe that I was a target of other gang members who objected to some of their “family” being arrested to stand trial.
I was directed to a counselor for my nightmare and insomnia that followed, before and after I gave testimony to a grand jury. After an hour of answering a psychologist’s questions, I was given a list of symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. “That explains it, then,” I said. Yes, I Had nearly all the symptoms of PTSD. Returning to work was impossible. I looked for an alternative.
For the previous three years I had been looking for an opportunity to get hands-on experience at growing food, organically. I had been writing about our need for this knowledge, and advocated for use of organic methods in urban gardens. Research had taught me that global soil nutrient and water supplies are diminishing quickly, and that renewal is essential to our collective survival. Over the previous three or four years I had collected hundreds of related magazine and books on organic foods and farming, and I began to write a blog to encourage others to become interested in self-sufficiency. My blog “ReGeneration” is found at: http://thomasanagy.blogspot.
In exchange for forty-eight hours of work on the Lucky Bunch Farm, I was to receive “room and board” from Tom and Paula. It was to be an eight-hour a day, six-day week, with Mondays off. Three days each week – Wednesday, Friday and Sunday – we would harvest crops for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) clients. My hosts would provide meals,
laundry once per week, and a place to sleep and shower. These were the terms I accepted.
“Room” meant a tent to sleep in, a midst a grove of trees toward the back center of the five-acre farm. Although it was loosely wired for electricity, there would be no Internet connection possible for the first two months. I was cut off from my primary way of communicating with the world. I set up my computer and began to keep notes on my experiences on the farm.
After working fourteen hours each day for the first five days, I realized that something wasn’t quite right at the Lucky Bunch Farm.
During the next fifteen weeks, I worked every day without a single day off. My average held at fourteen hours each day. By the end of October, I had supplied the owners with more than $900 in groceries; so much for “room and board provided.” That promise of laundry once per week? By the third week I was washing my own clothes in buckets, soaking them overnight in soapy water then rinsing them in well water in the morning, hanging them to dry in my tent, in front of a blowing fan. This became necessary because Paula had berated me as a “sexist woman-hating male chauvinist” for expecting women to do laundry for us. I had offered to do it myself. After all, I had been an expert dry-cleaner in Texas, and ran a commercial laundry during the 1980s. I had washed and pressed more clothes than Tom and Paula would wear in their lifetimes.
More than three times, I was told at the end of a long day during which temperatures topped 100 degrees, “no shower tonight … Paula is taking a bath, and that can take hours”; hence, more than a few times, more times than I care to recall, I ended my day by cleaning myself with well water, a washcloth and soap. No part of their agreement would be fulfilled by Farmer Tom and Paula.
Long hours of hard work had its benefits and a positive effect on my health. Persistence strengthened my will. That was the only payment derived; knowledge and experience to add to my list of skills. Later, in calculating hours worked and the required base pay under Washington State laws, I found that I had given more than $12,000 in unpaid labor to the Lucky Bunch Farm in exchange for broken promises, all within
As the weather cooled in October and days shortened, I was asked to remain after Thanksgiving to help Farmer Tom develop a non-profit organization to teach organic farming methods there. To stay through the winter I’d have to completely gut a 1975 “Presidential” travel trailer that had gone to ruin. Then, I’d have to make it livable, with a new floor and ceiling, using only recycled materials from the Lucky Bunch Farm. That accomplished, I moved into the space near the beginning of October. Within weeks I had developed a plan for Farmer Tom to follow, explaining the benefits of a non-profit organization and how that would help him attain his stated goals, and his dream of “outreach.” I had been managing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants following Hurricane Andrew in Florida during the 1990s,
and helped many non-profit organizations meet and stay within eligibility criteria to receive grants. Higher management within the Florida Department of Community Affairs had taken exceptions to memoranda I wrote describing corruption within the Miami-Dade County School Board in relation to hurricane recovery grants, so I was labeled a “whistle-blower” and forced out of a career in Florida State bureaucracy.
Farmer Tom did nothing at all with the information I provided him. He had been running his farm “off the books” and intended to continue doing so. Rather than develop a legitimate operation or organization he came up with a new scheme just one day before Thanksgiving. He decided that he would create a website that would make him “rich and famous, the king of my own empire.” He would call his website Cannabis Consumer Guide.” He raved for three continuous days about his ingenious idea and how this website would make him world famous. After the end of the third day I told him that he needed a hook to bring people into his sphere.
“You need a book,” I told Farmer Tom. He flat out said, “I don’t do books.” It took me ten minutes to convince him that I could create the book, and that we would share profits evenly “to save his farm” and manage his future. He finally agreed. He offered me, again, a position of managing his farm while he marketed his website and the book, once it was complete.
I saw in this an opportunity to apply hundreds of proven techniques that I had learned from an extensive library on organic farming and marketing for urban areas. That was very important to me at the time, to develop practices that helped people become self-sufficient, and to demonstrate that if this city boy could do it, anyone can.
Within a few days of starting the book, and barely after we went over the outline of topics to be covered, I realized that Farmer Tom would not honor his side of this deal either. Nevertheless I had made a commitment to do this project, and I try to keep my word. I did complete that book within about ten weeks, knowing all along that Farmer Tom would do his best to cheat me out of fair profits in some way or another. That proved to be an accurate assessment of the man
and his intentions. I never made a dime for my work in creating the book, as it was first incarnated, while Farmer Tom and Paula took thousands in profits. As soon as I made arrangements to leave the farm, I put an end to that.
By that point in time it was September 2013, and I was contacted by Cynthia Turner to write a book about the death of her son, Jason Ryan Turner-Shenker. After a few lengthy telephone conversations, I agreed to do the book for Cynthia. My decision was a sound one at the time, because her story was compelling. Something told me that I should do this project, even though I could see little or no personal benefit in doing so. Everything was ambiguous, including the start date for this project, and where it would lead. All I had to go on was a Shenker name, and deep corruption in Las Vegas and the State of Nevada.
Already I had worked for more than a year without being paid a dime, and even had expended money that benefited those I’d worked for rather than myself. I was close to being “broke.” Yet, knowing that this would eventually change, I agreed to take on the Las Vegas Shenker project.
Because I did so, I know that three people are still alive today. Had I not done so, I have solid reason to believe that Morris Arthur “Artie” Shenker Jr., Jennifer Marie Lee and probably Cynthia Turner would not be alive today. For the first two, plans were well under way at the time I agreed to write the book for Cynthia Turner to have October 31, 2013 be the last day that Artie Shenker and Jennifer Lee would be alive. The end of Cynthia Turner might well have followed
In the next segment, I will provide details of how I know this was to happen, and what exactly was scheduled to take place that day.
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Thomas A. Nagy is the author of Cannabis Consumer Handbook available at Amazon.com, and the blog ReGeneration at blogspot.com. Email direct at: email@example.com.