Walt Anderson Planning Cloud Computing Service

MirCorp founder Walt Anderson is working on a cloud computing start-up as he approaches the end of a nearly 8-year prison term for tax evasion, according to a message posted on the Justice for Walt website.

I am now back in the real world. I am currently on “home detention” at my parent’s homne [sic] in Virginia. I will be completely done with this ordeal on December 29, 2012. Unil [sic] December 29, 2012 I will not be able to travel outside the Washington DC area, but I have lots of things to work on here for now.

I am going to be actively pursuing the VCaaS business which I have been planning and researching for a few years(Virtual Computer as a Service). While there are many “cloud” offerings, no company has a service which allows a user to fully customize their own desktop and then store it in the cloud for access from any device, anytime, anywhere, and to offer high level encryption to assure complete privacy. I expect to have beta product available for customer to try by March of 2013, but ther [sic] are still lots of challenges.

Anderson was a high-flying telecommunications entrepreneur whose company, MirCorp, leased the Russian space station Mir in 1999 for space tourism and other commercial purposes. The company booked Dennis Tito as its first space tourist.

After sponsoring one manned mission to Mir, the effort fell apart due to opposition from the U.S. government, which wanted the Russians to concentrate on the International Space Station, and financial difficulties at MirCorp.The company also experienced delays in exporting an electromagnetic tether for use in boosting Mir’s orbit to Russia.

The Russian government subsequently de-orbited the station into the Pacific Ocean. Tito flew to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz vehicle. And MirCorp went out of business.

In February 2005, Anderson was arrested in what government officials called the largest individual case of tax evasion in American history. The government charged that Anderson had evaded $200 million in taxes. He plead guilty and served his sentence in a federal prison in New Jersey before being released for house arrest in July.

Anderson is set to appear on The Space Show on Friday. He will discuss his plans for the cloud computing start-up as well as for the “entrepreneurial space industry.”

It will interesting to see if his plans include the EarthLight Institute, a space non-profit founded by Rick Tumlinson earlier this year. I’ve long held the suspicion that this new group was created in anticipation of Anderson being released from prison and having money to fund it.

Tumlinson worked with Anderson on MirCorp. He also served as executive director of a now-defunct grants-giving organization called the Foundation for the International Non-Governmental Development of Space (FINDS), which was funded by Anderson.

Tumlinson has publicly mentioned FINDS as a model of how the EarthLight Institute should operate. He wants a rich benefactor (or benefactors) to set aside a large amount of money to fund the institute. During a talk at the NewSpace 2012 conference in July, he praised Anderson and looked forward to his release from prison.

FINDS, however, is a cautionary tale. Like its benefactor, the foundation flew high for several years before crashing and burning. Anderson’s business dealings were the main cause of the collapse.

FINDS gave out grants to various organizations working on space technologies, including a company building the electromagnetic tether for use in boosting Mir’s orbit. According to a cached version of the FINDS website dated Oct. 21, 2004, the foundation awarded grants over five years:

Total for 2001 – (approx.) $ 275,000.00
Total for 2000 – (approx.) $ 522,500.00
Total for 1999 – (approx.) $ 772,500.00
Total for 1998 – (approx.) $ 446,000.00
Total for 1997 – (approx.) $ 323,500.00

Includes $300,000.00 deposited for CATS [Cheap Access to Space] Prize. Amounts shown include direct grants and contracted studies. Amounts do not include operations or associated overhead.

FINDS was funded through grants of telecommunications stock from Andersons companies that were worth $25 million. The foundation would use the interest accrued on the holdings to fund its grants program.

If Anderson had set aside assets for FINDS and had managed them conservatively, the foundation might well be functioning today. However, FINDS was deeply enmeshed in Anderson’s financial dealings. One deal in particular proved to be the foundation’s downfall.

The chain of events began in 1998 when Anderson and his British Virgin Island-based company, Gold and Appel, attempted a hostile takeover of Total-Tel USA Communications Inc., a long-distance company based in New Jersey. Chairman and CEO Warren H. Feldman initially fought the takeover before agreeing to sell. A Washington Post article describes what happened [emphasis mine]:

According to SEC filings, Anderson later struck a deal for Feldman to resign as chairman, offering Feldman and his father a way to liquidate hundreds of thousands of Total-Tel shares at far more than the going price. The deal, signed on a day the stock closed at $12.25 a share, obligated Anderson or one of his companies to buy stock from the Feldmans for $16 a share. But before long, the deal was amended to involve another party: the Foundation for the International Non-Governmental Development of Space, a tax-exempt charitable foundation that Anderson created and presided over.

The revised deal shifted to the foundation responsibility for buying much of the Feldmans’ stock. In early 2000, the foundation spent more than $7.3 million making good on the deal, according to records filed with the SEC…..

The foundation became involved in other aspects of Anderson’s affairs. In 1998, it lent $1 million to Gold & Appel, and in late 1999 and early 2000, it made grants of more than $1.2 million for research on technology to keep Mir from falling back to Earth — research that could support Anderson’s plans to turn the Mir into a for-profit business — according to foundation tax returns. (Russia eventually destroyed the space station by plunging it into the Pacific Ocean.)

In March 2000, a company called U.S. Wats Inc. made arrangements to borrow up to $1 million from Gold & Appel and up to $500,000 from the foundation, SEC records show. Anderson served on the U.S. Wats board, and Gold & Appel was its majority shareholder as of several months earlier, according to an SEC filing.

In August 2000, Anderson and Gold & Appel borrowed $13 million from former colleague Donald A. Burns at an interest rate of 18 percent, according to SEC records, and the foundation put up as collateral more than 700,000 shares of Total-Tel, since renamed Covista Communications Inc. Gold & Appel agreed to pay the foundation tens of thousands of dollars for putting its assets at risk, according to an SEC filing.

Burns subsequently declared the loan in default, and in 2002, he seized the collateral.

Anderson said in an interview that the holdings he managed had declined sharply in value.

“Gold & Appel was in a very severe cash squeeze because of the market decline, and we needed cash,” Andersen testified in litigation over the Burns debt. “We needed desperately to get some cash to pay our obligations.”

FINDS’ tax filings show a precipitous decline in the foundation’s fortunes during this period. Tax records indicate that for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2003, the foundation’s total assets dropped from $19.8 million to $3.6 million. Fair market value of these assets was only $672,328, a steep drop from the $5 million reported at the end of the previous fiscal year.

The October 2004 cached version of the FINDS website shows no grants given out after the 2001 fiscal year. The Foundation Center has no FINDS tax returns on file for 2003-2004. Anderson was arrested in February 2005, and by April of that year the FINDS website was permanently off-line.

Tumlinson, who had been serving as FINDS’ part-time executive director, took a major financial hit as the foundation collapsed. According to the organization’s tax returns, his pay was:

July 1, 2000 – June 30, 2001: $90,000
July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002: $83,333
July 1, 2002 – June 30, 2003: $0

During his appearance at the NewSpace conference, Tumlinson attributed FINDS’ collapse to the bursting of the dot.com bubble in 2000. He declined to discuss the role that Total-Tel played. After Anderson’s arrest in 2005, he told The Washington Post, he said he knew little about Anderson’s financial dealings.

The foundation’s former executive director, Rick N. Tumlinson, said he focused on grant-making and left other foundation matters to Anderson. “All of the financial transactions that Walt was doing on the investment side I just don’t recall much about,” Tumlinson said.

Anderson has claimed that he is broke, which would rule out any large short-term support for non-profits such as the EarthLight Institute. However, not everyone believes that claim. There are suspicions that Anderson has money socked away.

Government officials have said they found Anderson’s finances to be a labyrinth of off-shore shell companies that they never fully unraveled. Anderson was also spared the need to pay $100 to $175 million in restitution to the federal government due to a typographical error the government made in his plea agreement. The government could still sue Anderson in civil court for the money.

Anderson is unrepentant. He has spent nearly 8 years declaring himself innocent, claiming he was coerced into pleading guilty by the government, and that his stint in jail was payback for his efforts to commercialize Mir. Michael Potter’s documentary, “Orphans of Apollo,” which chronicled MirCorp’s efforts, largely endorses that view.

Not everyone buys that explanation. There are folks who knew Anderson back before he became a federal convict who are convinced he is guilty as charged. There’s also the guilty plea.

Since Anderson doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, there’s a real question as to whether he will operate much differently than before he went to jail. That should raise a caution flag for any organization in which he invests or with whom he partners.

It should be interesting to see what Anderson says about his future plans.

  • Jonathan Card

    Acknowledging my involvement with the Space Frontier Foundation, another non-profit associated with Rick Tumlinson, I wasn’t around during those years and a lot of this doesn’t look that suspicious to me. If most of FINDS’s assets were stock, the dot-com crash, which impacted telecoms as much or more as it did dot-coms, would have reduced the fair-market value of telecom stocks on the orders of magnitude you claim here. And according to GAAP, they are required to record assets at the purchase price (the $16/share price), not the market price. You only have to mark-to-market (I think) if the assets are classified as short-term investments and, if they are relying on dividends and interest payments to fund the rest of the organization’s activities, they were clearly not short-term. I’m actually wondering why their assets went down in 2003, unless they sold a lot of shares to cover cash needs at the reduced prices and took a lot of capital losses, which would account for the decline in declared fair-market value, too.

  • Peter Smythe

    Why would anyone trust a secure data business that is run by a convicted felon i.e. Walt Anderson? Why would anyone trust these Space Frontier types who flock to Anderson’s side now that he is free as if he was innocent on all counts?

  • These are excellent points, Jonathan.

    I went back and looked at the corporate stock listed in the tax returns. The Covista Communications (originally Total-Tel USA Communications) stock made up the bulk of the stock committed to FINDS.

    At the end of June 2002, the Covista stock had a book value of $14,612,117 with a fair market value of $3,030,870. Total book value of all stock was $17,780,938 with fair market value of $3,044,374.

    At the end of June 2003, the Covista stock had a book value of $111,847 and a fair market value of $19,191. That’s a decline in book value of $14.5 million. Total book value for all stock was $3,580,668 with fair market value of $559,221.

    Most of the decline in overall stock values came from the Covista stock. The stock was the collateral that Donald A. Burns seized after his $13 million loan to Anderson interest was declared in default. There seems to have been some stock that wasn’t seized, but not very much.

    Hope that clears matters up a bit.

  • Peter:

    Folks see Walt Anderson as a commercial space pioneer for the work he funded under FINDS and his efforts to commercialize Mir. And that’s certainly true.

    The villain in this piece is the vindictive American government, which not only thwarted his Mir plans but threw him in jail on false tax charges. The first part of this is true.

    The problem is that the tax evasion charges were actually true. And that behavior began long before Mir. So, even if one accepts the argument that the government was vindictive after Mir went to its watery grave, there was plenty to prosecute him on.

    The argument that is going to be made now is that, guilty or not, Anderson has served his time, paid his debt to society, suffered enough, etc. etc. And that he should be welcomed back with open arms.

    The danger in that is Anderson may once again run afoul of the law, and he’ll end up taking people and organizations down with him. The “I was only the executive director, I really didn’t know what was going on” excuse might not work next time around.

    This whole story is a lot darker and more complicated than people realize. There’s a lot of information that hasn’t been made public.

  • Tangled Skein

    There is a lot more to this, and a lot of it is public. Here is what a former associate of Walt’s dug up.


    Walt did not escape restitution to the government. His current bill is over $520 million dollars. Anyone that does business with him will have to deal with him and his delusional position on this subject.


    Walt was also featured on CNBC’s “American Greed” show.

    More links to Walt’s misdeeds, which go far beyond his IRS problems. He was successfully sued for over $34 million dollars by Nortel and Donal Burns. His response was to shift the assets of his holdings to another company, which is what brought about the bankruptcy of many of the companies that he funded.

  • James Corval

    At the end of this article the author makes a number of highly speculative and unsupported negative statements.

    For example, he states, “There are suspicions that Anderson has money socked away.” Whose suspicions? This is not consistent with the evidence presented at his sentencing hearing where the government and a forensic accountant accounted for all the business and personal funds related to Walt Anderson.

    The author also states that “The government could still sue Anderson in civil court for the money”. this is not legally or logically correct. What money? No “money” has been identified. The criminal legal proceeding is over. Walt Anderson has sued the IRS in the Tax Court and the government can not make any new or further claims against him.

    I worked with Walt Anderson in the past and this article seems very mean spirited. Walt Anderson participated in business and charitable activities for many years without even a hint of scandal or impropriety. he was the Chairman of 3 different public corporations and none of these organizations (or any of his privately held companies) ever had any tax or regulatory problems.

    The shareholders, employees and customers of the companies that were operated by Walt Anderson always prospered. He has created a lot of new wealth and been very generous with it.

    He co-founded the International Space University, and as noted he created and endowed FINDS. it is clear that FINDS was not as successful as the author would have liked. The FINDS portfolio (which was given to it by Anderson) suffered in the dotcom/telecom collapse in 2000. Is Walt Anderson now a bad guy for not giving away more of his assets.

    If Walt Anderson is NOT GUILTY, then he would have no reason to be “repentant”.

    If he was Guilty then he has paid his debt to society.

    The charges against him did not make sense. Why should he be liable for taxes of funds which he managed but did not own, use or benefit from. The way he was held without bail when he had a lifetime connection to the Washington DC area and the United States is what is “suspicious”. Walt Anderson founded MirCorp in 1999. Shortly thereafter the government began their “investigation” of him. The Government in power at that time (Bush II) was very upset about the completely legal commercialization of the MIR Space Station. NASA officials took actions that were most likely illegal and very unprecedented to damage MirCorp’s legitimate interests.

    The government threatened United States contractor not to do business with MirCorp and when MirCorp was able to get Barclays Capital to go forward with a public offering they ultimately used the poor financial conditions in the Russia Republic to extort the de-orbit of the MIR.

    Walt Anderson says that he used his last assets to pay lawyers to defend him in relation to his criminal tax charge. He ultimately was unable to continue paying his legal counsel and was assigned to a Public Defender. This is a matter of record. His inability to pay his lawyers and assignment to the public defender is a matter of public record.

    The justice system in the United States is flawed and has a very high error rate as shown by the many DNA exonerations. Walt Anderson took business risks by trying to commercialize the Mir Space Station. He could have chosen to make more conservative investments, but he has always spoken about much higher goals related to his space activities rather than just making a profit.

    Based on his track record I would invest in any enterprise that he cares to start.

  • James:

    “If Walt Anderson is NOT GUILTY….”

    If? A guilty plea is an admission of guilt.

    This is the Walt the Martyr argument. I’m unconvinced by it.

  • Tangled Skein

    Walt Anderson is hardly an innocent party or political prisoner as is claimed.



    Walt would like people to forget the successful civil litigation against him by Nortel and Donald Burns that forced Walt to shift assets from Gold and Appel to Space Inc, which simply created more problems for him.


    Gold and Appel was seized and placed into bankruptcy by creditors seeking to recover losses from Anderson’s bad faith dealings.

    Anyone who does business with him should know about all of these actions against him and his interests that have nothing to do with the federal tax case. The Walt sycophants who defend him for the most part are ignorant of these things and others that damaged lives and other legitimate businesses.

  • Everyone, Walt is a returning guest to The Space Show this coming Friday morning, 9:30-11AM PDT. Please adjust that time to whatever time zone you are in. For example, add three hours for Eastern time (I am detailed with this given 11 years of experience with PhD’s converting time backwards). As for the program discussion with Walt, my focus is to go forward and not talk about the past. Walt did several jail house interviews about his situation, others also did programs about Walt and there was a website that contained most of the Walt legal documents, all of which can be easily heard on Space Show archives or found by doing Google searches. So for Friday, we are going to the present and the future. How does Walt see entrepreneurial space at the end of 2012 and for the future. How does he view commercial space activity, investment opportunities and where might they come from. What are his plans for his computer cloud start-up. For those of you wanting to talk about the past, attack, defend, go back in time, this is not the program for doing that. We are going forward. We are going to be current and futuristic. There is no room for the past on this Space Show program. If you want details on the past, listen to our Walt Anderson and related program archives. Find them by doing a global search using the GuestSearch tool on our home page. For those of you wanting to hear the interview live, click on Listen Live at http://www.thepaceshow.com and follow the instructions per the streaming service of your choice. I will archive the program later on Friday. And above all, we welcome Walt back to The Space Show and to his freedom.

    Dr. David Livingston, Host
    The Space

  • Peter Smythe

    Walt Anderson is a convicted felon. He plead “guilty” – that is, he agreed with the prosecution that he was guilty of tax fraud. Now that his jail term has been served he is out on the street again. He still owes the IRS a huge sum of money – which means any business he owns is going to be targeted by the IRS in order to collect on that debt he owes. Anyone willing to go into business with Anderson is simply clueless. What you see here is a bunch of wannabe space cadets rejecting reality so that they can get on Anderson’s good side. The Space Show is simply giving this felon a soapbox to pretend that he did not wrong and that he was some sort of political prisoner. I could not agree more with what Doug wrote and hope that he continues to investigate this felon’s post-incarceration activities. Anderson’s admitted illegal actions have resulted in a bog dark smear against all space commerce ventures. Lets hope he doesn’t make that smear even bigger.

  • David Chambers

    Doug Messier and I both attended International Space University, he in 1991 and I in 1989.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that Walt Anderson was a generous and consistent financial supporter of ISU in those early days, well before he became really wealthy.

    So it’s highly likely that’s Doug’s attendance at ISU was partly or fully funded by Walt. Just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished.

  • James Corval

    Just because Walt Anderson was “convicted” in a United States court does not mean he was actually guilty.

    The United States government wins over 96% of all the criminal prosecutions that they bring. The Chinese government only wins 90%.

    The justiceforwalt website contains all the documents files by the parties in that matter. Look at the “conditions report” in the filing by Walt Anderson’s legal counsel for his sentencing hearing around march of 2007. He was subjected to sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, denial of medical care, and intimidation and & harrasment by the staff of the DC Jail. The prosecutors did not even bother to deny these conditions.

    It is easy to see that he could be coerced into a confession.

    If Walt Anderson is innocent then why should he be “repentant”

    I he is guilty, then he has served his punishment and should be allowed to return to society.

    In his professional history working with over one hundred different for profit and not for profit entities, he has never had any improprieties, or even a hint of scandal. The ONLY party that says he committed a fraud is the US government and that investigation started immediately after he began his activities to commercialize and privatize the MIR Space Station.

    Walt Anderson’s activities in the past created lots of jobs and wealth, without taking anything from anyone. In fact he has given a very large amounts to charitable causes. Based on his tack record i would trust him to provide a technical service much more than i would trust the government.

    Why all the mean spirited attacks?

  • Mr. Chambers:

    I have done nothing to punish Walt Anderson. The government punished him for the crime of failing to pay his taxes. The financial arrangements he established were illegal. They were designed to evade taxes. The government called him on it.

    Anderson could have paid his taxes. He could have settled with the IRS once he came under investigation. He did not. And he paid the consequences for it.

    Anderson’s support for ISU was essential for getting it off the ground. I’m grateful that he — and the many other sponsors — supported the school. But, it has nothing to do with his tax case.

  • James:

    You wrote:

    “it is clear that FINDS was not as successful as the author would have liked. The FINDS portfolio (which was given to it by Anderson) suffered in the dotcom/telecom collapse in 2000. Is Walt Anderson now a bad guy for not giving away more of his assets.”

    I have been told by someone who runs a non-profit that there were serious fiduciary breeches with the way that Walt ran FINDS, specifically relating to the co-mingling of for-profit and non-profit funding. That tracks with my own understanding of how non-profits are run. Anderson used FINDS as a conduit through which he channeled money to further his own business interests. It wasn’t the only use of FINDS, of course.

  • James Corval

    Mr. Messier, you are making statements abou things you clearly know nothing about. For exmaple you state: “The financial arrangement he established were illegal”

    The IRS admitted, in response to tax case fled by Walt Anderson in the United States Tax Court, that for 3 tax years (1995, 1996 and 1997 that these “arrangements” had no United States tax liability. These same exact “arrangements” for tax years 1998 and 1999, with no change of facts or law, were what Walt Anderson was charged with.

    Also Walt Anderson could not “have settled with the IRS once he came under investigation”,, first he did not have the funds. They funds that the government say he owed taxes on did not ever belong to Walt Anderson and he never had personal access to or any benefit form those funds. Walt Anderson spent the remains of his very limited net worth on lawyers fighting this case, and so had nothing to give to the IRS. Second, in a criminal tax investigation, there is no allowance for a financial settlement. This is just not done.

    I do not know what you have against Walt Anderson personally. Tou clearly do not have the facts, only an opinion. I am done with this. I hope that the other 11 people reading this will not be swayed by your negative, mean spirited, and illogical statements.

  • Peter,

    Based on your comment about The Space Show giving Walt a forum, you have no clue what The Space Show is about or how the program works. The Space Show airs all sides to space relevant discussions. We require civility from our guests and our listeners with their comments and questions. At the first of every show we state clearly that the ideas presented by the guest belong to them and we do not endorse or take sides. We avoid as much as possible partisan politics though we do discuss space policy politics. As for Walt, while he is a convicted felon, Walt has served his “time” and is in the process of being integrated back into society. You can choose to punish felons who have served their time and have been released to society as long as you live. Frankly, I don’t care what you do and am not attached to any outcomes based on your positions. But the idea of releasing a prisoner back to society is that they have paid their debt to society and now they need to work, become a contributing member of society again, all of that. Years ago, my cousin in Detroit (long since passed away) hired only released felons to work in his tool and die shop. His employees were great, he built a profit sharing multi-million dollar business this way. Had he approached prisoners who served their time the way you seem to approach them, perhaps his company would not have been as successful and maybe people working to start their lives over again after mistakes would not have been able to do so. And as I said in my comments on Parabolic Arc yesterday, our discussion with Walt for tomorrow morning is not about his legal problems. He is officially free and he has every right to integrate back into society and the space community if that is what he wants to do. Walt has been a very successful businessman and he knows commercial space, markets, telecommunications, finance, etc. There is simply no reason to not have him come back to talk about his present and future space plans along with how he views the emerging commercial space industry. As I said, we are not going over his case or past history, not on this show.

    I said earlier that The Space Show airs all sides of arguments and discussions and topics. Believe me, I have given air time to flakes and sometimes even frauds in the space world who simply have not been caught but many know they are frauds. I trust The Space Show audience to apply discernment and common sense to all guest and listener comments. Reality is seldom what comes from a person’s mouth so doing due diligence on the concepts, the rhetoric, and the person is always in order. Walt is no exception but neither would you be an exception were you a guest on the show. I put flakes and frauds on the show so that listeners can hear in the words of the guest what is going on. The guest then sinks or swims by his/her hand. Walt is no different in this respect than any other guest.

    Walt served his time and has paid his debt to society. Our society is built on second chances. People go bankrupt and they live to fight another day. Millions of people have lost their homes and worse and they live to fight another day. Society does not lock them out. Failures are not locked out of new chances and opportunities. People make mistakes and pay for it. They too are not locked out of second chances. Sometimes even more chances. We in America are supposed to be understanding of mistakes, of paying our debts to society, of recovering. This includes Walt.

    Final point. Walt does not need me to defend him. Trust me on that. And actually I a not defending him, I am defending The Space Show as to why I asked Walt to return as a guest. I believe he has things to say and this is a for forum where he can say them. I encourage unedited listener participation within the guidelines of The Space Show which are primarily the need for civility in discussions. Even you Peter, were you to email the program or call in, you would not be edited or censored as long as your comments were civil. Of course email comments need to be succinct as reading long emails on air does not work well, but yes, even you Peter would benefit from Space Show rules and guidelines were you to participate in the Walt program or someday even be invited on as a guest. But again, I stress to all, tomorrow during the program, Walt and I are focusing on the present and the future. This is not a Space Show to hash over his record and case. If you want to do that, go listen to the archived programs with Walt. Do Google searches for him, visit http://www.justiceforwalt.com. Walt has a new beginning and why should he be different than anyone else facing a new beginning? He was and is not violent, he has not physically harmed anybody, and like others released from prison, he deserves the opportunity to put his life back on track and move forward. Stay stuck if you want to and never give anyone, including a released prisoner a second chance, but that is not how The Space Show operates. And know that how The Space Show operates is as much in your interest as it is in the interest of Walt and others.

    Should anyone want to contact me offline from Parabolic Arc, I can be reached at drspace@thespaceshow.com. You can also call the show this Sunday as we are doing Open Lines. All space relevant topics are available for discussion.

    Dr. David Livingston

  • David Chambers

    Well, you may not view it as punishment, but your mish-mash of innuendo and smears is like a Daily Mail hatchet job.

    “I’ve long held the suspicion that this new group was created in anticipation of Anderson being released from prison and having money to fund it”. You’re a journalist, so produce your facts.

    “However, not everyone believes that claim. There are suspicions that Anderson has money socked away.” Again, who is suspicious ? Names, please.

    “The problem is that the tax evasion charges were actually true”. In eleven words you sum up a case of bewildering and baroque complexity. You’re a journalist, not a tax expert, so your opinion is not germane. I don’t have to tell you that what a journalist does in such circumstances, is get an on-the-record quote from an acknowledged expert in the field.

    “There’s a lot of information that hasn’t been made public.” You’re a journalist, so make this information public. Isn’t that what journalists do ?

  • Tangled Skein

    The facts of Walt Anderson’s civil as well as criminal problems are at the links above. Here is another link.


    March 2011: Tax Court Decides $247.5 million tax deficiency and penalties Read the U.S. Tax Court decision here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51752499/Anderson-Tax-Court-Mar-7-2011

    Anderson Bankruptcy of All Companies In claiming he was somehow “exonerated” for criminal tax evasion 1995-1997, Anderson neglected to mention in his press release that IRS would not have bothered to litigate expansively for all years in part because all of Walt Anderson’s companies have been declared bankrupt and there is little practical opportunity for IRS to actually collect from litigation : http://www.scribd.com/doc/31523847/Bankruptcy-Docket-05-00775-DOCKET-35-Pages-2010


    This document gives the IRS the ability to go after Anderson’s assets, anyone doing business with him will be subject to this kind of seizure of a business associates property.

    There is this and the personal bankruptcy of Walt Anderson that is still going through the courts with tens of millions in judgements against him.

  • Peter Smythe

    Dr. Space – I do know something about your show. Although I was unable to catch today’s live show with Anderson I will listen to the archived version once it is online. As for your lengthy rant about Anderson you seem to be falling under his spell like so many others have. Walt Anderson is the largest tax cheat in American history and still owes the government a vast sum of money. He will not have “paid his debt to society” until he has paid all fines – in full and only when he apologises to everyone he harmed in the process of running his various scam companies. You are just giving him a soapbox on which he can lure unsuspecting people into yet another scam business. I hope that Doug continues to provide this valuable forum and that he continues to dig into the truth behind all of the crimes that Walt Anderson pled guilty to.

  • David:

    Attacking me will not void Walt Anderson’s conviction, erase the 8 years he spent in jail, or bring back Mir from its watery grave.

    Anderson is guilty from a legal standpoint. This is a matter of record. I hardly need to quote an expert witness about it.

    “There’s a lot of information that hasn’t been made public.” You’re a journalist, so make this information public. Isn’t that what journalists do ?

    Oh, that’s very tempting. Very tempting, indeed. I guarantee you wouldn’t like it. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe it. The government had a mountain of evidence of his tax misdeeds, and you don’t seem to believe that.

    I’m not the only one to wonder about Walt’s money or the timing of Earth Light’s founding. I will not subject others who I have promised anonymity to attacks from people.

  • James:

    Tangled Skein has posted links to documents that dispute your claims of Anderson’s innocence. I would refer you to those.

    If Anderson is somehow cleared of all charges in the future, then I will correct my statements. Until then, you should direct your ire at the government. They’re the ones who put Anderson in jail. Not me.

  • Peter Smythe

    Boo Hoo, “James Corval” – we all know that you are actually Walt Anderson – the text you use in your posts is lifted from things you have said/posted elsewhere – along with your typos. You pleaded guilty to the charges made against you – the documents are online. Let me say that again – YOU pleaded “GUILTY”. You signed the documents. You admitted that you were guilty. You owe the government nearly half a billion dollars in fines/penalties. You defrauded the government of taxes you owed them. Now you are using weak-minded sycophants who smell money to re-establish your scam mode of business operations. Its only a matter of time before Rick Tumlinson uses his reborn FINDS website aka Earthlight as a conduit for your business scams. Doug Messier is on to you. I hope he continues to expose you for the chronic fraud that you are. You are a tumor on space utilization.

  • Walt claimed on The Space Show that he hadn’t heard ANYTHING about the EarthLight Institute before the last 24 hours. This is very, very hard to believe.

    And that’s just one of the whoppers Walt said on the show. I barely know where to begin…

  • thatguyoverthere

    i don’t see the problem. i don’t care if anyone is a tax evader or not. especially if they are helping to open up space.

  • James Corval seems to be an alias. And the IP is from Reston, Virginia. That indicates it could be one of two people.

  • A lot of people with libertarian leanings have a deep dislike for income taxes. I can understand that and share much of that feeling myself. At the same time, however, honest citizens have a deep respect for law and order. We try to obey the law whenever possible, even when we disagree, and work within the system to change the law.

    Walt Anderson did not do that. Walt thought he was above the law. He played a dangerous game, and someone of his intelligence should have known it would catch up to him sooner or later. His arrogance was his downfall.

    Walt deserves credit for the good he did, but he also deserves blame for tarnishing the reputation of the entire space-development movement. Groups like FINDS and SFF, which refused to disassociate themselves from Walt, deserve equal blame. (The SFF continues its association with Walt Anderson, through “Justice for Walt,” to this day.)

    Unfortunately, some people in the space movement have persuaded themselves that they are on a “mission from God” (to quote the SFF) and that puts them above the law and morality. There’s a good reason why SFF conducts board meetings in secret, does not make minutes available to the Advocates, does not allow uncensored communications among the Advocates, and does not allow opposition slates to run for the board. Advocates would be shocked to discover what’s still going on.

    This “Blues Brothers” gangster attitude harms everyone in the space community who tries to run their affairs in a responsible, ethical manner. The “New Space” movement needs a thorough housecleaning, from the top down.

  • thatguyoverthere

    what we need is more walt andersons but please my god just don’t get caught.

  • Knott Innocent

    What a farce the space show. Like watching a retired pitcher lobbing softballs to Barry Bonds and Bonds is like oh I’m totally innocent, evidence shmevidence, never used steroids. Ya gonna believe me or youre eyes. The host begs someone ANYONE to ask questions he wont dare ask. Relief pitcher! Get me out of this! Make this look respectable! Nobodys that stupid. The host ends it by kissing Bond’s ring godfather like. Have a convicted felon on the show it’s fun good for ratings. But try to ask him some tough questions. Your like Dr. Space or something right?