Monday, May 29th, 2023

Guest contributor Stephanie Donald

StephanieDonaldAugust 29, 2013.

Let me cast your minds back a year and a half when John O’Brien and I were mixing it up on your “Heavy Hitter’s List,” Billy. I never liked the man and never will.

O’Brien maneuvered himself into a position of being elected Director of One, Inc. by the Board of Directors through phony credentials backed up by an award winning scholar from the University of Southern California by the name of Dr. Walter Williams. The Board could hardly be faulted, could they…or could they?

Williams had his eye on getting hold of ONE for a song and a dance and O’Brien was “sent in” for that express reason. Once the reign of O’Brien began, materials began disappearing and money evaporated from the accounts and while the expenses were highly questionable and O’Brien didn’t keep receipts (that alone should have earned him a one-way ticket to the Grey Bar Hotel) and by the time the Board realized they were broke and fired O’Brien, he had set a perfect stage for Dr. Williams to come in and purchase ONE, Inc.

Williams already owned something called the International LGBT Archives so he called the purchase of ONE a “merger” when in fact it was an acquisition. Williams has made sure than any and all subjective archive material research in his possession cost researchers through the nose even though he had no way of claiming copyright on the old ONE Magazine or the Homophile Quarterly and John O’Brien, in the last few months of reign as Director of the old ONE, destroyed all duplicate collections of ONE and the Homophile Quarterly by dumping boxes and boxes into the dumpster behind ONE’s offices.

Now we find out years later that Williams and someone named Richard Arlington were using grant money to arrange sexual adventures with underage boys around the Asian and Eurasian areas of the world…and this is justified through the grants how…?

Considering the good intentions with which all the gay pioneers such as Dorr Legg, Jim Kepner, Don Slater and Billy Glover along with all those people who worked to start and maintain the original ONE, Inc., this gross capitalistic manipulation of such an important historical resource that makes me mad enough but when people like Williams and Richard Arlington (a longtime associate of Williams and who also got arrested in this international sexual predator case), who acted as a third party procurer of young boys for Williams and himself.

Considering John O’Brien’s connection to Williams and Arlington should make any rational adult wonder whether O’Brien himself had any involvement, but as a person with an advanced education, I have to say that I don’t convict people based on associations even if the rest of our once great nation seems so eager to charge ahead on those assumptions.

The one matter I can say is that the ONE, Inc. files, transcripts, history and archives will die with the life sentence of Dr. Walter Lee Williams and Dr. Richard Arlington and John O’Brien will go down in LGBT history as the man who fired the shot that killed it.

As far as the claim of Williams being the founder of the “ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives”, that is not a false statement since the original name of ONE was ONE, Inc. Williams first portrayed his acquisition of ONE, Inc. as a “merger” when it was nothing more than a means to raise more money for his international travels, and since he’s presently under a RICO writ of forfeiture, ONE becomes the property of the United States government and will likely be auctioned off. It does give us good reason to attempt to get a grant to reacquire ONE from the government auction but it will probably be purchased by some rich gay or lesbian asshole who wants to hold it hostage for big bucks like Williams did.

I’d love to hear John O’Brien’s defense of all this, but I deleted his email some time back due to his “I was everywhere” yarns regarding LGBT history that were obviously 20 lbs. of bullshit in an 8 oz. can.



  1. Billy Glover

    I know that 99% of people, including members of the movement and community have no interest in the basics and internal problems even an important organization like ONE—the first public homosexual effort. But, it is clear legally, so once again: ONE, Inc.—and I doubt Walter “owned” it as it was a corporation which was owned by ISHR until it ended and any funds went to The Williams Institute—gave the archives to ONE Institute/Archives, which was joined with the larger archives, IGLA, which was Jim Kepner’s and I don’t think Walter had any connection to it, although Kepner did get to live in a USC dorm/apartment. And I think Walter helped get USC to donate first one and then finally the 909 W Adams bldg to ONE Institute/Archives.

    For a long time the building was unusable—a former fraternity house—until HIC “rejoined” ONE/IGLA and Jim Schneider, himself a HIC board member and former ONE, Inc board member, became a ONE Archives board member, took over and got the building ready. There finally came the open house.

    The Homosexual Information Center archives—the Don Slater part of ONE, Inc.—never was a part of ONE Archives, and our material—the main part of the Blanche Baker Memorial Library of ONE, Inc.— was removed from 909 shortly after we realized our material was being stolen by ONE Archives people. I think most of the material at first was merely combined with the other 2 parts. Also some of our material had been stolen from our office on Cahuenga, and by John O’Brien—by his own admission (from the house on Calumet)—and thus some of the material at ONE Archives at USC are legally HIC’s. Since the material is safe and available for public use, which is the only thing we would do with it, the status quo remains. So researchers/historians need to go to both collections, at USC and CSUN, to get the full history of ONE.

    AS for the board members, I have said before—but do not think this is a valid view for most corporations—we all took the view that Don Slater and Dorr Legg WERE the organization, and anything they decided was ok. The separation came only when those two came to a final disagreement on priorities, and my non-election to the board was only the last straw. So in this case board members are irrelevant, and I think they were right it letting the two co-founders make any decision.

    In a sense Harry (Hay) and John (Burnside) and Morgan Farley, et al. were right: the voting was irrelevant, and Dorr wasted his time faking it, rigging the voting, changing the rules etc. (Which he thought he could get away with as he had control of the new funding from Reed Erickson’s ISHR.)

    BUT, in a legal sense, he ruined himself by that, as that was what made the difference in the final decision to leave the material with Don.

  2. Brandon Wolf

    I’m sort of pushed for time, and wasn’t able to read all this, but thought I’d toss out a point about the incorporation since I saw it mentioned.

    On-line, one can find two instances of ONE Inc. as a corporation. The first one lists the start date as 1952, and it was dissolved in the late 1990’s, I think. Something close to that.

    Then, there is another instance with a start date of 2002, and the address is that of ONE Archive.

    So they finally got their hands on the corporation name. However, when they say they incorporated in 1952, that’s just a flat lie, and the incorporation records prove it. That 1952 ONE is dead.

    I’ll take a rough guess that they may have gotten the incorporation papers and only showed ones that didn’t indicate the start date. Not that many people are going to go to the effort to check and see the details. But it was a ‘clever’ idea. And I’m being sarcastic (and bitchy) when I say that.


  3. Stephanie Donald

    I got a quick note from Todd White telling me I basically got it right from my research into what happened but a few of the details are a little out of focus. Having not talked to people in the actual operation of what’s going on it would be impossible for me to get everything perfect on the first try and if I presented what I said as an absolute truth, I apologize.

    However, Brandon’s interjection regarding the incorporation of ONE raises some interesting questions, and I wonder if the 2002 incorporation shows Dr. Williams as the sole owner of ONE Archives? According to his remarks I would imagine it does and if so then U of C will be in a big hurry to get all his archives off campus even if the government doesn’t seize them after his high profile arrest after being placed on the FBI’s Top 12 Most Wanted list. If the government doesn’t seize them then perhaps it would present the opportunity for Dr. White to take control of them until Williams incorporation runs out next January and then it can be taken in under the umbrella of Todd’s operation.

    I know that during the dismantling of ONE, Inc. and John O’Brien’s reign as Director, Lee Mentley was either part of the board or he was closely associated with ONE. He was the person I found out a good deal of the pieces about what happened during O’Brien’s reign of terror. He told me about expenditures of $10,000 that O’Brien didn’t have receipts for and called “petty cash” expenditures. Lee is no fan of John’s. That’s why I added him to this discussion because I’m sure he can give us a good deal of perspective and information to clarify the situation with ONE, O’Brien and Williams.

  4. Brandon Wolf

    Yes, ONE Archives can legally use the name ONE, Inc. But they can’t say that they incorporated in 1952. The earliest they can claim is 2003.

    As Todd is aware, they are engaging in fraud when they send out news releases saying they incorporated in 1952. That’s just a flat lie. The 1952 incorporation was ‘suspended’ in 2000. Don’t know why ONE Archive waited three years to grab the name, unless there is a legal time limit after suspension.

  5. Billy Glover

    Here is a perfect example of Dorr Legg’s way of telling facts. The article says—or says Walter clams—he is the founder of ONE National Archives.
    Now is there anyone in the movement who does not know the truth?

    We have spent time since 1965 telling the history of ONE Archives. Walter helped get the building for the archives. But “founder?”

    ONE Archives is mainly IGLA, Jim Kepner’s material. And while I guess Walter supported Dorr’s part of ONE, and Todd can tell more as he was not only a student of Walter’s, but was there at the start of founding the combined archives (which we later, for a short time-sadly, joined).

    I never heard of the last book mentioned. And we did wonder why Walter suddenly stopped his emails But the few times I saw him, I had no idea of his interest in boys. Since he did not work with ojur part, i never got a chance to know him enough to think about him. I did think he promised more thn he delivered.

    The record has to show that without our rejoining ONE/IGLA and Jim Schneider taking over, it could be that there would never have been the use of the building at 909 W. Adams, which is walter’s accomplishment. Or at least it would not have happened for years as USC had gotten so mad at John O’Brien they had cut off funding and any communication. That of course, Dorr- like even though he was not there,is not on record in any “meetings, Minutes,etc, and the “board” later attacked Schneider when he asked to be repaid the money he had personally spent in addition to the funding he got USC to restart. For once, we do have pictures, of the building before and after and Gus on the platform fixing the building, etc.

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