A Pawn In Their Game

By Will Powers            

Researcher and writer, Nick Bryant,  who wrote, “The Franklin Scandal” also wrote the Forward to “Confessions of a D. C. Madam” by Henry Vinson.  Henry's story tells us how the power-elite use people to destroy lives in their endless effort to stay on top.  It is also about how a blackmail operation is used to compromise important politicians for the sake of the almighty military industrial complex and how rouge elements within the intelligence community gather information on people in positions of power in the U.S. government and control the narrative in the mainstream media.

The book covers his early childhood, because as Bryant says, “D. C. Madam chronicles the treacherous odyssey of Henry, whose youthful hope, ambition, and naivete delivered him to the wrong place at the wrong time.”  (1)

He grew up in Nolan West Virginia in the 1960’s, “a shy, reserved kid, who had to quash the slightest traces of his sexuality.  But as a 26-year-old, he became enmeshed in an extremely unlikely chain of events that ultimately transformed him from an unassuming, introverted mortician to the proprietor of a gay escort service in Washington, D.C.”  (2)

Nick Bryant writes about the “sexual blackmailing of our power elite.”  “If prostitution… is the oldest profession,” then politics is the second oldest profession. (3)   You may remember the story of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the other D.C. Madam, who ran into so much trouble in 2008.  Their stories are similar; both witnessed the blackmailing of politicians first hand, and they both had a client list they were both sure could destroy a lot of reputations.  However Vinson’s story proceeds Palfrey’s by about 10 years and explains in more detail exactly how this 'blackmail" operation was run.

Eventually, Henry encountered a well connected gentleman who spent 20,000 a month on gay escorts.  By time he realized his new client was involved in blackmailing the rich and powerful elite, it was too late; Vinson had made a deal with the devil, that had the power to squash him like a bug.  His client was so well connected to the Bush/Reagan administration, that he “arranged midnight tours of the White House with male prostitutes in tow.” (4)

To the American ruling class, “Young men and women and even children are merely sexual playthings for some of our country’s power elite” as Henry has learned from his experiences, weak and powerless people are “a dispensable pawn in the ruthless game of power politics.” (5)

As Bryant points out in the forward to the book, the story profoundly exemplifies the lengths the federal government is willing to go to keep their secrets and obscure the truth, muddy the waters until the facts are completely unrecognizable.

When the government decided it was time to shut Henry Vinson’s gay escort business down, they nailed him with a “43-count sealed indictment, which translated to nearly 300 years in prison.” (6)   As if facing a life-time in prison wasn’t enough, the Washington Post, ran a highly dubious story reinforcing the government’s efforts to deceive the public.  Even after Henry was sentenced to 63-months in jail, the government wouldn’t leave him alone.  He was not allowed to live a life of quiet obscurity, even after he served his time; the Justice Department hounded him and the media continued to demonize him “since his initial incarceration nearly 25 years ago.” (7)  Now 29 years ago.

Being very reluctant to tell his story, Henry denied Nick Bryant an interview for two years.  However the assaults on his character and reputation by the media, and the government seemed like they were never going to let up and even then he hesitated telling his story.  Then in an effort to reclaim his good name, he decided to talk with the author of Franklin Scandal.

Henry's Childhood: A Nightmare In Williamson

Henry described himself in his memoir as being “short, bashful, and overly sensitive with blue eyes and blond hair” (8) while his older brother, “Butch” was “tall, dark, and handsome,” an athlete, who was “popular” and attracted a lot of girls. (9)  His own father found Henry repellent, however all the children were to suffer as a result of their father’s drinking, and his verbal and physical abuse.  The father, Charles Vinson would spend hours listening to the police scanner and taking his family out to the location of some grizzly car accident, which passed for Saturday night entertainment. (10)

Henry belonged to the Nolan Freewell Baptist Church and while his father and brother were spared from having to attend services, his mother, Joyce Vinson always insisted Henry be there.  He also had a sister who attended services occasionally.  He gravitated away from his father and towards his Uncle Oliver and his store in Williamson, J.R. Vinson Grocery, where he first learned business practices.  While in Williamson, Henry became acquainted with Mr. Ball, or M.T. Ball, a funeral director, who oversaw memorial services at his church.  This was his first introduction to the funeral business and it was love at first sight, he fit right in, however, in school he felt he was different than other students and befriended two boys who were also outcasts.  Unfortunately, for Henry, both boys would loose their lives within four months of each other.

In the second grade, Vinson was unable to fill the void left by the loss of his two friends. And to make matters worse, he was bullied by 5th and 6th graders in the 3rd grade.  He developed an interest in aviation in the fourth grade, when his older brother, Butch took him to a place in Mingo County to fly model airplanes.

During this time, his father, Charles moved from coal mining to deputy sheriff.  Vinson describes a man who kept his uniforms in immaculate condition to please the ladies and added, he was often more "intoxicated" than the people he "arrested" for drunk driving. (11)  “Womanizing and vodka seemed to be the primary motivations for his existence and he never had a shortage of girlfriends.” (12)   Between the job and womanizing Charles was barely around the house, which pleased Joyce enough to put up with the affairs.

To avoid further taunting in public school, Henry was enrolled at Sacred Heart School in Williamson for seventh and eighth grade, where he was able to make a casual friend.  Sacred Heart was his first introduction to the Catholic faith, which fascinated him.  Butch would go on to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.  Henry was at home with his mother, when she received the news that shattered her life into pieces “like shrapnel” (13); news that would  break most mothers hearts, her son Butch died in a mining accident.  He was 22 years old.

His mother took six months to get over her son’s death, while only after a week his father was “overjoyed” to have tickets to a wrestling event. (14)  Vinson described his childhood as being “rife with betrayal, desolation, and devastation,” and he could add, sexual frustration to that list.  When a boy dropped his pants and asked Henry “to kiss his penis” Henry was so scared, he ran away. (15)    He went to see a friend of his paternal grandmother from church, Erna Mae, who worked a tollbooth and seeing her represented one of the few bright-spots in his childhood.

Erna Mae’s reaction to his story was unexpected.  He thought she would be sympathetic, but instead she was cold and hostile towards him and they never spoke again.  Loosing her friendship was yet another hardship for the boy to overcome.  Needing something to fill his time, he started working at the Nola Post Office when he was eight.

In the eight grade, Henry saw a big change in his mother, brought on by his brother’s death: She “stopped attending church every Sunday, and the faith that enabled her to endure my father’s antics evaporated.”  They were divorced and Henry’s mother moved the family to Nolan, where “Granma Bessie Mae gave my mother a parcel of land”. (16)  Henry was glad to see his father in the rear-view mirror and looked forward to seeing a lot less of him.

As an “average student” Henry excelled at typing and the ten-key adding machine.  It wasn’t until he was 15 that he realized he was gay.  By then he had to grapple with his religious beliefs that taught him homosexuality was evil and lead to an eternity in hell.  His father reinforced the negative stereotype that homosexuals were evil, while his mother was more accepting of his homosexuality, even though she didn’t want to hear about it.

It wasn’t until he obtained a drivers license at age 16, that he was able to find his life’s pursuit with his new found freedom: working in a funeral home.  He was driving by Johnson Funeral Home in his Galaxy 500 on Route 44 in West Virginia when the red brick building caught his eye.  He stopped in to have a look, and “genuinely enjoyed its atmosphere” and met Fred Johnson, owner of Johnson Funeral Home.

Mr. Johnson left piles of “junk” and “funeral equipment” in the restroom used by his patrons, prompting one of them to remark to the proprietor, “I wouldn’t let you bury my dog in this place,” to which, Mr. Johnson said, “That’s all right.  I don’t bury dogs.” (17)

However, Henry loved Johnson Funeral Home and volunteered his time to work there, assisting in the embalming process.  After graduating from Williamson High School, he started his internship at Ball Funeral Home.  In a state of decline, Ball Funeral Home was overseen by Mrs. Ball, since Mr. Ball was “debilitated,”  Mrs. Ball was a chain smoker and had a “deep, raspy voice…” (18)

In order to obtain his life long dream of becoming a funeral director, Henry had to lie to Mrs. Ball and tell her he wasn’t gay.  For compensation, he was given a room with a kitchenette inside the funeral home and $5.00 an hour.  He also attended Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, where he received his AA degree.  Over the years, his due diligence paid off, his attention to detail melted the frosty exterior that surrounded Mrs Ball and she warmed up to him considerably and invited him over for diner at her home across the street from the funeral home.

Applying to one of the premiere mortuary schools in the country, Henry was accepted at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, paid for by his mother, Joyce who by this time was no longer a bus driver.  She had her own thriving businesses, including a retail cosmetics store, and an ambulance service.  According to Henry, she was “an entrepreneurial dynamo: she opened a second convenience store”.  (19)

In Cincinnati, Henry had sex for the first time in his life.  He would ride his bike to a place where a “prominent Cincinnati attorney shot and murdered his wife at the gazebo in 1927,” hoping to see or hear ghosts.  Although he didn’t encounter any “paranormal activity,” he did find “a burgeoning gay scene…” (20)

He was approached by a man named Robert, who took him to a gay bar, where he was astounded to see men kissing in the dim light.  Being shy, it was a realization for him to discover he wasn’t the only gay man in the world.  That night Henry let Robert know he was a virgin and Robert was very gentle with him.

After combing through the Cincinnati gay bar scene, Henry eventually ran into a couple of guys who introduced him to the hottest and largest gay bar, Badlands.  He started dating more frequently.  While going to mortuary school, he nonetheless found time to attend Cardinal Air Training flight school, where he flew a Cessna 150 in 1982.  In May he received his pilots license, and by September he graduated from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

Going back to Williamson, his home town from childhood, Henry began working at the Ball Funeral Home as funeral director.  His success allowed him to buy a bunch of "Brooks Brothers suits" (21) and when he noticed an open position for Mingo County medical examiner, he decided he wanted it.  

A “cauldron of corruption,” Mingo County (22)    had a “behind-the-scenes mover and shaker” named Johnnie Owens, a Democratic political boss, who knew Joyce.  A few days after mentioning his desire to be medical examiner to his mother, he had a meeting with Johnnie Owens.

A “short and stocky” man, with an “imposing persona” speaking in a “tranquil drawl, he had piercing obsidian eyes.” (23)

He asked Henry if he wanted to be Mingo County medical examiner, then quickly concluded the meeting.  Two weeks after Henry responded in the affirmative at the meeting with the underworld boss, he was made Mingo County medical examiner.  Sparsely populated, Mingo County had about 80 deaths per year, and Henry was compensated on a per case basis.  His success allowed him to buy "a 1977 Cessna 172" airplane. (24)

Finally, he felt vindicated.  His father constantly demeaned him as “worthless” and all the abuse he personally suffered at Williamson High School, he could now say, he realized his life long dream of becoming a funeral director and he was so successful he became medical examiner of Mingo County.

There was only one catch: he had to pretend to be straight.

As medical examiner, he had to be on call 24-7, as they say now.  If a call came in at 2 AM, he would have to go out to the location and view the body.  In a case of death by natural causes, he would issue a death certificate on the spot.  Anything suspicious would require an autopsy.  Between the two jobs, he was earning $60,000.00 a year, staying in a small apartment attached to Balls Funeral Home for free and eating diner at the Ball family residence almost every night, as they had grown quite close to each other.  Henry was considered to be one of the family.

Exit: Williamson, Hello D. C.

In the mid eighties, Henry Vinson’s mother, Joyce Vinson was taken in by Ethel Polis, who was extremely religious.  Joyce herself went through a religious conversion, which had the effect of demonizing homosexuality in her mind and she wanted to travel with her friend to Haiti and spread the “word” and shepherd in the faithful.  Although she regarded her son as a sinner, she entrusted him with the deed to her house and a handful of buildings that she owned in Nolan. (25)

His father, Charles did not take the news so well.  Now retired and immersed in a bottle of vodka, “he became extremely homicidal, because he didn’t receive a cut from the spoils of my mother’s religious rebirth.  He dispatched death threats to me via the phone, and he even barged into the convenience store brandishing a pistol.  After I secured a restraining order against him, he sued me.” (26)    Henry quickly settled the lawsuit to avoid being killed.

In 1985, as Mrs. Ball health started to deteriorate, Henry made “a generous offer to purchase the Ball Funeral Home” from her, an offer that was refused with hostility and rage. (27)  She would never sell her funeral home to Henry Vinson.  In response to this refusal, Henry decided to resign from the Ball Funeral Home and open his own funeral Home in Williamson, that was in direct competition with Mrs. Ball.  However, Mrs. Ball vowed to ruin him and she gathered all three funeral directors in Williamson together and hatched a plan to drive Henry out of business.

As there was only so much funeral business to go around, Mrs. Ball found it easy to convince the other two funeral directors to pool their resources and use whatever dirty tricks it took to push Henry out of business.  He was falsely accused of handing out personal business cards to people he was introduced to as medical examiner, to increase his funeral business.  After that someone barged into his funeral home and said his car broke down and he needed to use his phone.  He then made several calls, in which he promptly hung up the phone, before speaking to anyone.  While he thought his behavior was suspicious, Henry didn’t know he was being set up for a criminal complaint until after he was charged with making harassing phone calls.

But what doomed the Vinson Funeral Home were the reports in the local paper, The Willamson Daily News, that published stories about Henry storing a dead body at his funeral home for “42 days,” (28)  a body that was already buried once, then exhumed at the request of the deceased relative, who wanted an autopsy performed, then refused to pay the $2,000 fee for a private pathologist to do the autopsy, which of course, the paper didn’t report.  He was also charged with making harassing phone calls.  The charges were eventually dropped but not before the news paper reports ruined his reputation in Mingo County.  You might call it biased reporting when the lead reporter was “the sister-in-law of one of Williamson’s funeral home owners.” (29) 

Henry Vinson was squeezed out of Williamson and went to live with his “hospitable” aunt in Washington D. C.  (30)  Not wanting to overstay his welcome with Aunt Josephine, Henry immediately started looking for a flat of his own and a job.  He contacted someone he met at a funeral directors trade show, named “Jeff,” “a fellow mortician” and funeral director in Charleston, West Virginia; he was also gay, however he was living a double-life and married with two children. (31)

Eventually Jeff's marriage fell apart and he divorced his wife and moved to the D. C. area where he became fast friends with Henry.  Jeff offered his couch to sleep on, a job referral and a one-bedroom apartment.  The next day he had an interview with Chambers Funeral Homes at the 
Riverdale branch and met William Chambers III, or “Billy”, who hired him on the spot. (32)  The “three Chambers brothers were fourth generation morticians.  Their grandfather, William W. Chambers, Sr., was extremely flamboyant, and he founded W.W. Chambers Company in  the 1920s.”

Chambers, Sr. once incorrectly boasted that his company was “The largest undertaker in the world.”  The  Federal Trade Commission forced him to amend his motto to “One of the largest undertakers in the world.” (33)  Billy ran the day to day operations, while W.W. Jr. went yachting and vacationing in Pompano, Florida, only occasionally looking in on the funeral businesses his father left him in his will.

Henry found the work challenging due to the shear volume of the labor.  The Chambers Funeral Homes processed around 1,500 funerals a year.  The new funeral director started out transporting cadavers and embalming, then quickly graduated to counseling grieving widows, his specialty, as Billy soon discovered.  It was also not long before Henry was introduced to a gay bar, “Shooters” (34) a bar that would play an integral role in transforming him from a shy introverted mortician into a D.C. Madam.

A Great Business Venture

Becoming acquainted with Robert Chambers, the youngest of the Chamber brothers at 35-years-old, Henry Vinson noticed the effeminate way Robert moved around and after a couple of months of witty banter and small talk, they had some protracted conversations and even went out for a drink together at Shooters, a bar they were both familiar with, although Robert had a wife and family.  He would regularly accompany Jeff and Henry at Shooters; while there he became infatuated with a gorgeous male dancer named “Jimmy” who turned out to be a male escort too. (35)

When Henry heard Jimmy made between one and two thousand dollars a day as a male escort, he was suddenly interested in the business and wanted to know all about it.  Then he discovered the escort service that employed Jimmy was for sale at the astronomically low price of $10,000.  He could make that back in no time.  It was called Ebony and Ivory and it seemed like a lucrative business venture to Henry, too lucrative to ignore.  Although the business was out of character for him, he thought long and hard about how he could improve the operation and make it even more lucrative than it already was.  The listing for Ebony and Ivory in the Yellow Pages gave the business some legitimacy in his eyes.

It turned out that the owner was dying of AIDS related disease and was at deaths door, so he was anxious to sell the enterprise.  Still, Henry was conflicted about the purchase, not that he felt in any danger of contracting the disease himself.  He was merely interested in the proposition as a business venture and whether or not it would be successful.  However, if other issues, unspecified were holding him back, he didn’t make that clear in the text.  Was his religious up-bringing holding him back from making the purchase, or perhaps the dubious legality involved in the enterprise?  He only mentions money, and when he heard one male escort made “$10,000 a day”, (36) this being in the late 1980's, that convinced him to purchase Ebony and Ivory.

The business was an instant success.  Henry fielded “ten to fifteen calls a day for escorts,”  (37) and he took all the calls himself and Jimmy “handled all the arrangements” and since all his employees were actually Jimmy’s friends, everything ran like clock-work.  A male escort would charge $150. and receive 60%.  Henry would get 40% and he gave Jimmy a weekly salary.

Ethical questions did not come into play for Henry, since he dealt exclusively with adults.  And he found ways to expand his business by taking over defunct adds for escort services in the Yellow Pages in exchange for remuneration on the debt to the phone company.

Meanwhile, he continued working for Chambers Funeral Homes.  He was only 26-years-old at the time.  In the second year of his escort service, he was doing so well, he purchased more adds in the Yellow Pages and expanded the number of categories in which people could find his business.  By the end of 1987, he was fielding “100 calls daily.” (38)  He employed 20 escorts on any given night and he kept track of everything on a chalkboard in his living room.  So he wouldn’t miss a call he “had a phone installed in one of the funeral home’s showroom caskets.” (39)  The other funeral director, Robert was aware of the phone and approved of it, according to Vinson.

Working in a funeral home was unexciting compared with Henry’s night life experience.  Being surrounded by 20 beautiful men who admired him in the most loving way provided Henry with the validation he needed to put the miserable years he spent as “pariah” in public school behind him. (40)  He excelled as a funeral director and yet he was still plagued by insecurities and doubt.  He still found time to visit his mother and Aunt Josephine, through all the excitement of being the proprietor of an escort service.

One of his customers was Paul R. Balach, Labor Secretary Elisabeth Dole’s political personnel liaison to the White House from 1990 - 1993 under George H. W. Bush.  Balach was a clumsy man who was not without his charm.  His heavy drinking exasperated his clumsiness and he was prone to knock over things.  He had a certain predilection for an escort named “Michael Manos” (41) and though Balach was a man of limited means, he lavished gifts on Manos, at one time giving him a car.  Henry tried to explain to Balach, that Manos only loved him for his money, but to no avail, so he talked to Manos who lived with him and told the male escort to stop toying with Balach’s emotions and Manos agreed to simmer down, only to exasperate the problem by stealing Balach's check book and forging checks.  When Henry found out about it, he fired Manos and told him to move out of his apartment.  On his way out, Manos stole Henry’s wallet.  When Henry threatened to call the police, he got the wallet back.

Another big-time client of his was Alan Baron (Dem.), publisher of the Baron Report and political columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and frequent guest on MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.  Also executive director of the Democratic National Committee.  Despite his success, Baron was described by Henry as “a lovely man” who was "smothered by loneliness." (42)

Once Vinson started doing business with political celebrities, bigger names and more key-players entered his life through his escort enterprise.  Congressman Barney Frank made a memorable impression on Henry, who described a man of experience in these affairs of the flesh.  A subtle clue that tipped him off was the way Frank laid the money out on the table for Henry to retrieve.  Then he started to hug and kiss Henry with his disgustingly fat hairy body.  Henry found the whole experience to be “dysphoric”. (43)

Vinson also names “U.S. Representative Larry Craig from Idaho” as a “frequent flyer” for call-boys. (44)  According to Vinson, he liked his men hairy and beefy like a “bear” unknown to his constituents, who thought he was doing a fine job voting down gay-rights legislation, like the same-sex marriage bill.  He eventually resigned over an incident that took place in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, wherein he propositioned an undercover police officer for sex.

Meet Craig Spence

One day, after running the escort service for a year, Henry got a call on the “casket hotline” from a man named Greg Spence. (45)  Craig Spence became his best customer, ordering escorts every other hour and spending “up to $20.000 a month” and he also became Henry’s worst nightmare, because now Henry was doing business with a man who had no scruples, a man who many would describe as evil, or the lowest form of life on earth, a sexual predator of the worst kind.

New York Times photo of Craig Spence

Craig J. Spence (1941 - 1989) Republican lobbyist who lived in “a two-story brick” house in the  upscale “Kalorama neighborhood” in Washington D. C. (46) a power broker for elite interests. Craig would eventually, invite Henry to his home, where they met; the first thing Henry noticed was Spence had a security force of “off-duty Secret Service agents” (47) show him to Spence's office.  Spence did everything in the grand style.  He sat at “an immense cherrywood desk,” and wore “an Edwardian-cut plaid suit, white shirt, and black silk tie.”  He was forty when Henry met him and although his hair was thinning, he described him as “well-groomed” and “youthful” looking, coming across as a “refined gentleman.” (48)

Spence would bark orders at Henry and demand the highest-quality escorts.

A man with a big ego, Spence boasted about his “connections” at the very "pinnacle of power" and had his "off-duty Secret Service agents" show Henry their badges. (49)  Spence required Henry to provide him with the highest caliber escorts; he demanded that they be “punctual, and impeccably dressed,” and “articulate” as college students. (50)  Furthermore, he let Henry know that his escort service was indeed fortunate to have him as a client, and the funeral director should be quite pleased with himself.   Right away, Henry observed a man he thought of as “extremely smart and also very manipulative.  He was a morass of arrogance and extreme narcissism” and as he left Spence’s presence, he felt as though he encountered the “Prince of Darkness” that day. (51)

About a month into their relationship, Spence saw Henry at his home in his living room, where he introduced him to Larry King, an African-American with a big Afro, “large frame designer glasses,” “a trim goatee,” “quick darting eyes” and a “sinister smile” and a “thick gold chain draped around his neck” and “a bulky gold ring encrusted with diamonds”. (52)  Spence proceeded to berate Henry in front of King because one of his escorts showed up late.  When Vinson told Spence he was away on vacation, Spence snapped, and told Henry he would let him know when he “needed a vacation” (53)

As he mortified and belittled Henry, Spence snorted cocaine out of “a china bowl” using a “gold coke spoon” offering some to Vinson. (54)     He humbly declined.  Larry King did not decline the offer and as he snorted cocaine with Spence, they became chatter-boxes, boasting about their own importance and the influential people at the highest level of government that they knew.  Then King made a startling admission.  He told Henry “he and Spence operated an interstate pedophile network that flew children from coast-to-coast.  King also discussed that he and Spence had a clientele of powerful pedophiles who actually took pleasure in murdering children.” (55)  King himself seemed to be obsessed with the subject of “murdering children.”  Henry thought he was dealing with a pair of “psychotics” and he was about to find out how right he was.

Spence started asking innocent questions about his life, his escort service and so forth.  After getting Henry to talk about his illegal business practices, Spence showed him what was behind the large living room mirror.  “He popped open a secret panel that was embedded in the closet, and he stepped into a small room that was behind the mirror” which turned out to be a two-way mirror.  A “video camera” was set up on “a tripod” facing the living room.  (56) A wall of video monitors was used to replay the last few minutes of their conversation.  Henry found it difficult to breath, now that he knew he had been compromised and Spence could blackmail him anytime.

Spence could now tell him everything.  His home was “bugged for clandestine surveillance” and  "CIA operatives" "installed" all the surveillance equipment in the house.  He told Henry “he blackmailed the rich and powerful.” (57)  Henry stood in stunned silence as he watched himself talk about his escort service on tape.  Then Spence dispensed a threat about the “consequences” for talking, that was quite sincere.  The situation made Vinson angry, although he did not express his anger.  He was too afraid.  And that fear of what might happen if he talked about Spence revealed to him, sealed his silence.

A graduate of Boston College in 1963, Spence boasted that he was one of the “Boston bluebloods” (58) to Henry, but Henry had his doubts.  If Spence had to pay for college through student loans, as one college classmate said, then why?  Why didn’t his family take care of college tuition?  After college he went to New York City and became a correspondent for “WCBS,” a CBS affiliate and in 1969 he became a Vietnam correspondent, where his fellow correspondents took particular notice of the fact that he disappeared for weeks at a time, only to return with a knowing smile on his face.  He had the ability to come up with unknown, covert information his fellow journalist could not source.  In 1970 Spence relocated to Tokyo, where he met Motoo Shiina, an aristocrat with political eminence. Spence became a lobbyist for Japanese companies, representing their interests to leading Japanese politicians, like Motoo Shiina.

In 1979, Spence became an “overseas representative” for PSG” Policy Study Group” of which Shiina was president. (59)  The home in Kalorama was to serve as Spence’s residence as well as PSG American headquarters, and Shiina paid $345,000 for the house and a hefty salary to Spence. By 1983 the honeymoon was over.  Shiina demanded Spence leave the property in Kalorama and Spence refused.  A court battle ensued, wherein Spence gained the upper hand.  Court records show, Shiina stated “I was advised that staying at the house while Spence was there would be damaging to my reputation.” (60)  Spence had evidence that Shiina transferred the money from Hong Kong to the States to purchase the Kalorama home illegally, and he used that evidence to blackmail Shiina to back down concerning ownership.  They came to an agreement.  Spence agreed to compensate Shiina for the home if he should decide to sell.

CIA Equipment & Blackmail Operation

Once Henry Vinson knew Craig Spence ran a blackmail operation for the Central Intelligence Agency, he became a security risk to deep state elements within the CIA.  A man calling himself “Tony” made a house call. (61)  Tony and two tall muscular men in "black jogging suits" arrived on motorcycles and the two strong-men let Tony do all the talking.  Although his appearance was very masculine, his voice was "high-pitched".  A man in his “mid-thirties” with “jet black hair” and a “black leather jacket” a beard and “black leather chaps”. (62)  Henry suspected Tony and his accomplices were following him since his visit with Spence.  Henry distinctly noticed them staring at him out side of “Benetton clothing store near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and P Street” (63) as well as several other locations so it was clear they were following him and knew where he lived and they weren’t even trying to conceal themselves, with their intimidating looks.

Now that they made themselves known, Tony revealed to Henry, once he made himself comfortable in his chair at his desk, that he ran a gay escort service like Vinson, and like Henry, he also had Craig Spence as a client.  He talked about his extensive contacts to people in power, and what a great and wonderful guy Spence is and what a privilege it is to know him.  He also warned Vinson to stay on Craig’s good side, because he had the power to ruin him.

Tony used fear to manipulate Henry into setting up a credit card account to process credit cards for Tony’s escort business, since, as he said, he didn’t have the ability to do so.  Vinson felt he had to “placate his request.” (64)  At first, Henry used his mother’s successful business to run the credit card scheme, claiming he “started an entertainment business.” (65)  Then he wisely reconsidered this move and set up a “merchant account through the Chambers Funeral Homes to process credit cards” and Tony helped him by providing him with information on where to set up the account. (66)

Henry frequently met Tony at “Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse,” near “DuPont Circle.” (67)  That is where Tony handed Vinson a bundle of “signed credit card vouchers to process,” and Vinson would give him the money "from the previous batch." (68)

When Vinson met Spence privately, he was told about Tony’s “shadowy CIA affiliation, and he was part and parcel of Spence’s blackmail enterprise.  Spence also told me that Tony’s brutes had been Special Forces operatives.” (69)  Spence could be quite candid about his connections, the people he blackmailed, even their names.

Although Tony was vague about his contacts, never mentioning any names, he did say he carried out “contract hits” which made Vinson even more afraid of the guy.  Then Tony and his two goons left, Vinson started hearing a clicking sounds on his phone, and he noticed a van that was continually parked outside his apartment, with men in suits leaving and entering though the rear doors and he began to suspect his place was bugged.

Once Spence graduated from snorting cocaine to smoking crack, his “physical and emotion deterioration were striking” and crack was making him “extremely irrational” according to Vinson.  “He started to appear gaunt and sickly, and became increasingly paranoid.  He repeatedly remarked that his security personnel were out to murder him.” (70)

Larry E. King Jr.

On numerous times, Vinson met with Craig Spence and Larry King and on two occasions they asked him to procure “children for them,” and even though Vinson repeatedly told them no, they became more insistent that he should do so.  They “demanded that I pluck destitute children off the streets of D. C. and deliver the children to them.” (71)  Once he realized they were never going to give up, Vinson walked away.

He wanted to end his association with Spence and King.  Pandering children was a line he would not cross.  He decided he would end his business relationship with Spence and stop processing credit card vouchers for Tony; he never fully understood why he was doing that anyway.   Unfortunately for Henry, as Sartre said, “Hell is other people” and for Henry, there was No Exit.

Ignoring Spence and Tony, not taking their calls was like ignoring the elephant in the room.  It never lasts long.  Tony and his henchmen were following him, while his escorts received death threats from an unknown callers and bogus calls to fake addresses.  Tony and his goons waited outside the funeral home, making Vinson “a nervous wreck as I counseled a couple of families about their upcoming funeral arrangements.” (72)

When he got home, Tony’s goons shoved their way into his apartment and “demolished” it, punching holes in the wall, broke windows and upended furniture, then Tony “casually walked into my apartment,” and “told me that I could either deal with him and Spence or die.” (73)

Vinson quickly realized he was in “over his head.” (74)  Going to the police wasn’t an option and neither was walking away, because as Tony said, he would “die.”  So reluctantly, he began serving Spence and Tony again.  He tried to distance himself from them by buying a new house and new furniture, in the vain hope they wouldn’t track him down.

He knew he was just fooling himself and they could easily find him anytime.  Then things started to fall apart.  Spence had such a bad crack habit, “he had become an utter lunatic.” (75)  And it was clear he was having serious “financial difficulties.”  He had to sell his house in Kalorama and he could no longer afford to spend $20,000 a month on escorts and was continually asking for comp escorts.  As this was happening, Tony disappeared, never to be seen again, his various phones disconnected.  It was a relief to be rid of him and Spence seemed to be on a downward spiral.

Aim Torpedo & Destroy!

On June 29, 1989, The Washington Times broke a story about a call boy ring that was operating inside the White House, involving Paul R. Balach.  Labor Secretary Elisabeth Dole’s political personnel liaison to the White House in 1990.  “A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessman…” read the first line of the story.

“One of the rings high profile clients was so well-connected, in fact, that he could arrange a middle-of-the-night tour of the White House for his friends on Sunday, July 3, of last year,” July, 1988, during the Reagan/Bush administration.  Henry Vinson was personally involved when his vouchers were discovered on a “sub-merchant account for the Chambers Funeral Home…”

Around this time, Henry discovered Spence had contracted AIDS.  His gaunt emaciated features were a testimony to his ill health and severe crack addiction.  Once the furor over the article died down, Spence was asked by The Washington Times reporters Michael Hedges and Jerry Seper where he got the “key” to the White House for the midnight tour. “Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by ‘top level’ persons, including Donald Gregg, national security adviser to Vice President George H.W. Bush.”  

 But Gregg told Vinson, that he “vehemently” denied the charges, calling them “absolute bull”. 

After The Washington Times story was out, Vinson had a meeting with Gregg and Spence, wherein he asked Henry to “write a letter to the GAO [Government Accounting Office] detailing blood studies I had conducted on behalf of Gregg.” (76)  Gregg had made many credit card charges for “funeral accessories with his government-issued MasterCard, and the GAO employee had numerous questions about the charges.” (77)  Spence had told Vinson about Gregg months earlier, and the letter was to cover for the fact Gregg put illicit charges for escorts on the credit card instead of “funeral accessories” as in the billing statement. They were asking him to use his professional credentials to support fraudulent claims and Vinson felt he was being set up for potential GAO embezzlement charges, so he declined the request. (78)

Then Spence uttered the words he will never forget, “I can withstand a background investigation… can you?” and Vinson replied in the affirmative. (79)  He obviously knew what Spence meant: the D.C. power broker could destroy Vinson at any time, with his connections in the deep state.

On June 30th the Washington Times ran a story on the blackmail operation run by Spence: “Power Broker Served Drugs, Sex At Parties Bugged For Blackmail.” (80)  “Craig J. Spence, an enigmatic figure who threw glittery parties for key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, media stars and top military officers, bugged the gatherings to compromise guests, provided cocaine, blackmailed some associates and spent up to $20,000 a month on male prostitutes and escorts.” (81)

This was confirmed by four separate sources:

A “business associate” of Spence, who told the Washington Times, “He [Spence] was taping and blackmailing people.”  Other informants included, “a former bodyguard,” a “former ‘Reagan administration official,’ and a ‘friend’” all indicated the 8-foot living room mirror was used for “spying on guests.” (82)

The article also said “military and civilian intelligence authorities have been concerned that ‘a nest of homosexuals’ at the top levels of the Reagan administration may have been penetrated by Soviet-backed espionage agents posing as male prostitutes, said one former top-level Pentagon official.”  So they are admitting to having prior knowledge of the prostitution ring. (83)

Henry Vinson claims William Casey, CIA Director from 1981 to 1987, was a client of his.  Vinson said Casey used his gay escort service starting in 1986, and like Barney Frank he liked 18-year-old boys “with minimal body hair and a slender swimmer’s physique.” (84)  His escorts would meet Casey “at the Ritz-Carleton Hotel near Dupont Circle.  After he was nude and splayed on a bed, he had the escorts rub oil over his body as he kissed and fondled them.”  An “old and withered” man, who suffered from “erectile dysfunction” the escorts were not exactly fighting for their chance to be with him. (85)  Vinson claims Casey requested underage boys, a request he would not fulfill.

A Washington Times article confirmed Casey used male escort services, and linked Casey with Spence at parties in the Kalorama house.

The Times article used credit-card vouchers that were run through the Chambers Funeral Home “sub-merchant” account to prove Spence spent up to $20,000 a month on male escorts, and the paper provided a list of guests at his home: “Eric Sevareid, Ted Koppel, and William Safire.”  Also in attendance were “former ambassadors Robert Neuman, Elliot Richardson, and James Lilly.”  Also John Mitchel, former AG under Nixon, was in attendance. (86)

Casey died in 1987 and the stories about a White House call boy ring came out in June of 1989, so he was spared from public humiliation over this issue, but Vinson was still very much alive and worried his name might surface in the press.

By July 27, The Washington Post ran a story debunking the Washington Times story, dismissing Spence as a buffoon, who tried to convince people he was a high-stakes power broker connected to the CIA, when he really wasn’t.  Quoting W. Scott Thompson, a friend of Spence and a former official of the U. S. Information Agency, said, Spence was playing “at being important,” “a guy who created a persona.” 

The Post story said economics consultant Rinfret (Pierre A. Rinfret) “said Spence tried to create an image of mystery and intrigue to attract international clients.”  

He is quoted as saying he tried to “cultivate that image. It was a commercial objective: Saying, ‘I’m in,’” but a New York Times story claims Rinfret is guilty of a similar offense: inflating his public persona to appear more grandiose.  So how can we trust him?

“Rinfret has portrayed himself as a renowned economist who has advised Presidents and breezily turned down offers to join the Cabinet.”  However, “Nixon Administration officials disputed Mr. Rinfret’s suggestions that he had been a major adviser to the President, and none remembered him being offered Cabinet positions.”

The Washington Post story claims that “friends” got their information about Spence from him and he was telling them “constantly” that “he was bugging them”.  Friends by the name of “Trotta and Gordon” were openly discussing Spence’s health and erratic strange behavior, when Spence came up to them and said, “‘I heard every word you said,’ Gordon recalls Spence saying.  “‘You’re conspiring against me.  I’ve got this corner bugged.’” (87)  He pointed toward the ceiling.  Another guest at the Kalorama house said, “There was never a bug hanging over Professor Gordon’s head” and another guest said it was obvious what they were talking about.  However, it is doubtful the CIA, who installed the equipment, would have been so careless as to leave “a bug hanging over” someone's head. 

The Washington Post article paints claims made by Spence, that he worked for the CIA, “murky”.  The article claims “a friend” said “he was on a top-secret government mission in Central America.”  However, when this friend contacted a mutual “travel agent” to try and get  in touch with Spence, the friend was told Spence was vacationing in “Cancun” not traveling through “Honduras”. 

The article was clearly intended to leave the reader with the impression, Spence was a bottom feeder, who inflated his own importance in front of friends and so he was not connected to the CIA and he certainly wasn’t listening to everyone’s conversations and blackmailing them.

The story focused on what Spence said in interviews, and personal revelations to friends, while ignoring  the physical evidence, the vouchers and the numerous sources the Washington Times amassed.  There was no investigation into the blackmail operation, or Spence’s CIA connections.  Furthermore, people in the intelligence community confirmed “Spence was indeed a CIA asset.”  And when you consider William Casey used gay escort services, and was on friendly terms with Craig Spence, that also helps to corroborate the idea Spence was associated with the Agency. (88)

Once the Post article torpedoed the Washington Times story, the Post writers could turn their gun-sites on Henry Vinson.  Only he did not know that at the time and agreed to an interview.  What he mistakenly thought was going to be a fair shake turned out to be a smear piece.  “From small-Town Roots, A Big-City Scandal” (89) published July 24, stated Vinson made “harassing phone calls to a competing funeral home” when he was funeral director in Williamson, West Virginia, 1986, that “he was overcharging on pauper funerals” and that he had “exhumed coal miner’s remains” and “didn’t rebury for 42 days.”  Then the article jumps immediately into the prostitution ring he was running with names like, “Man to Man,” “Jack’s Jocks” and “Dream Boys.”  It get’s worse.  The article claimed, “a local prosecutor” in Mingo County gave Vinson a choice: “Face a charge of misappropriating state funds, or resign” as Mingo County Medical Examiner. (90)

Then Vinson left town right away, according to the article.

An “absolute falsehood” according to Vinson. (91)  His resignation was due to the “spurious misdemeanor” charge “of making harassing phone calls to the Ball Funeral Home,” which someone did in his stead at his establishment, without his consent, as I have previously explained.  Another claim made by the Post was the proprietor of Don’s Capitol Escorts, Donald Schey said Vinson started out in the escort business by answering an ad for his business in “the Washington Blade”. (91)

The Post also reported “Vinson took over answering Schey’s telephones for a fee” in January 1987.  However, Vinson claims he never even heard of Donald Schey before.  Also, the Post said he “bought his own service for $2,000 from a man dying of AIDS.” (92)  This last statement was probably the only bit of “truth” in the whole article.

There were other allegations made against Henry that were do doubt false, like he bought “an expensive new sports car” when he drove a Datsun 280z, the same car he drove since he arrived in Washington D.C. .  The article was a hit piece designed to spread disinformation, or lies and innuendo to protect the power structure from collapse if this should come out.  Nonetheless, the Post carried the day and the New York Times followed suit and ran a similar story supporting the Post conclusions.  It is interesting that the Washington Times, a paper founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, of the Unitarian Church, is more likely to tell you the truth than the Washington Post.

The Downfall of Craig Spence

New York Times article from 1989

On July 31, Spence was arrested at the Barbizon hotel on East 63rd St. in Manhattan after he placed a frantic 911 call; he was “smoking crack with a 22-year-old male prostitute,” when he called the police.  When they showed up, Spence ran into them screaming, “the other guy has a gun,” according to the officer.   NYPD told one reporter “Spence claimed the kid had taken the gun and intimidated him and snatched $6,000 out of his hand.” (93)  Spence was charged with criminal possession of a firearm and possession of an illegal drug.  He awaited his arraignment in “the Tombs” Manhattan’s downtown jail, then was released on his own recognizance, staring at a possible 8-year sentence.

After his arrest, Spence laid low for a few months then threw a birthday party for himself in D. C. where he said, “The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.” (94)  A little later he mailed a video of himself to “various friends and associates”,  seated in “a leather chair in his dining room” and said, “Some of you may know when it comes to the intelligence community, there is no such thing as coincidence.” (95)

Before this video came out, Spence said in an interview after his release, that he “performed a myriad of assignments for the CIA, and his assignments were critical to covert actions in Vietnam, Japan, Central America, and the Middle East. ‘How do you think a little faggot like me moved in the circles I did?’ Spence asked. ‘It’s because I had contacts at the highest levels of this government.  They’ll deny it, but how do they make me go away when so many of them have been at my house, at my parties, and at my side?’”  With the grand jury trial looming over him, he told reporters, that he would “never be brought back alive.” (96) 

In his last recorded message to the American people he said, “I’m sure that in the end the truth will come out, and this too will pass.  Now, I may be naive about my optimism, but I’m an American, proud of my country, and confident of the fairness of it’s people…  Good night and God bless.” (97)

Less than a month later he was found dead in a hotel room at Boston’s Ritz-Carlton, wearing a black tuxedo and a suicide note taped to the mirror.  It read, “Chief, consider this my resignation, effective immediately.  As you always said, you can’t ask others to make a sacrifice if you are not ready to do the same. Life is duty.  God bless America.” (98)  In the end he confessed to being a second generation American, when he concluded his note with the words, “Nisei Bei” which means Canadian, or U. S. citizen whose parents were Japanese immigrants according to this source.

You won’t find the postscript on Wikipedia.

Through his interactions with Spence, Vinson is certainly convinced he was associated with the CIA.  The phrasing of his final words, the specific words he chose were those of a good solider working for a militant organization like the CIA, a man who has served his country that he loves, but now it is time to do the honorable thing, before his name was dragged any further through the mud.  Combine that with the fact: he had an incurable disease: AIDS, and you have many reasons why the man would take his own life.  I believe he did kill himself, before letting others do that for him.  More importantly, I believe he worked for the CIA in some capacity.

The Strange Defense Strategy of Greta Van Susteren

In 1990, a grand jury was formed to investigate and indict Henry Vinson, a process that dragged on through three seasons and provided him with many sleepless nights.  As Henry explains, “ a grand jury proceeding is cloaked in secrecy: Grand juries aren’t open to the public, and the identity of the witnesses who testify and the content of their testimony are never disclosed. Moreover, there is no cross-examination or presentation of the defense’s case.  The special prosecutor of a grand jury calls the witnesses, questions the witnesses, and selects the evidence that is shown to the grand jurors…” (99)

One is reminded of those words in Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, where the author quotes Sol Wachtler, chief justice for the New York Court of Appeals, when he famously said any prosecutor could get a grand jury to “indict a him sandwich”, meaning, it is no challenge whatsoever.

The grand jury was a farce.  The prosecutor never questioned anyone close to Vinson or Vinson himself.  A witness who had testified, told reporters that the primary concern of the grand jury was “establishing if Spence had been in the possession of purloined White House china…” (100)     It wasn’t about pandering children, or blackmailing power-brokers, or illicit drug-use, no the primary concern was the Truman china!

The Washington Times reported, “The grand jury investigation begun in June by U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens was described as a ‘credit card’ probe.”

A Washington Post reporter that was in touch with Vinson’s mother suggested Henry contact a lawyer, Greta Van Susteren; this was before Greta became a public figure as a news commentator during the O. J. Simpson trial in 1994.  In their first meeting, Greta was coolly detached when he went into everything he knew about Spence.  She impressed Vinson that she “handled sensitive cases” similar to his own. (101)  One thing that concerned him was that a reporter who worked for a newspaper he distrusted, the Washington Post recommended her, but in the end he decided to go with her anyway.

Greta Van Susteren
Vinson met regularly with his lawyer, and Van Susteren “repeatedly” assured him that he would most likely only get “probation.”  After the grand jury was impaneled for a year, she said, if Vinson “was indicted, she would make a motion for the government to release a list of my clients, and that would force the government” to reconcile with him. (102)  He was arrested at Van Susteren’s office by Secret Service agents.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Stasser would be prosecuting the case.  Vinson faced a 43-count RICO indictment, and he “was released on $30,000 surety bond.” (103)

As if facing 295 years in a federal prison weren’t enough, Vinson’s live-in escort who stole his credit cards, went on a spending spree in 1988, 1989, Michael Manos stole his identity and rung up charges on his credit cards and Vinson was being treated like the criminal.  While Manos was never charged with identity theft for stealing the identity of either Vinson, or Paul Balach, (104)  Also, the authorities never bothered to ask why Vinson would be passing around bad checks when he had “$500,000” in his bank account.  Manos plundered Balach’s “checking account for $4,000” and “used his MasterCard.  Eventually, Manos left D. C. and “did a 15-year prison stint in his native New York for kidnapping, robbery, criminal possession of stolen property, and larceny.” (105)  After he was let out of prison, he skipped out on his probation officer.

Van Susteren gave Vinson the impression that her motion to compel the government to release the names of his clientele would somehow bring the government to the bargaining table.  She wanted Henry to plead guilty to the crimes committed by Manos, “she suggested that I plea bargain to his offenses and make restitution.” (106)  That seemed “counter-intuitive” to Henry, but she explained that it would be good to get those charges out of the way so they could concentrate on the main 43-count indictment.  Henry was so worn out from the long proceedings, he reluctantly agreed to the plan.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Stasser would not release the names of his clients due to “the embarrassing nature of the case” and “fears of intimidation of government witnesses” (107)  So Van Susteren put in a counter-motion arguing the prosecution couldn’t use his client list as evidence against him.  Judge Green ruled the documentation would be released to Van Susteren for the defense, but the names on the list wouldn’t be made public.

Vinson eventually “pled guilty to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and credit card fraud,” and he agreed to “cooperate” with the government. (108)  And while Van Susteren assured him his cooperation would result in a “downward departure” on his sentence, he got a 63-month stint in Morgantown, a  federal prison in West Virginia.  This despite the fact, Van Susteren, a Scientologist herself, turned Vinson into a Scientologist also, and told the judge that he “had turned over a new leaf” but the judge was more concerned about Vinson’s long history of writing bad checks and identity theft and “the long track record in the running of this conspiracy.” (109)

Vinson’s conclusion about Van Susteren was one of disappointment.  While he thought she was “sincerely acting” in his best “interests” (110) the government won it’s case anyway, and if you ask me, she did a terrible job representing him.  He should have never plead guilty to the crimes Manos committed, and Van Susteren’s constant reassurances that he would most likely get “probation” sounded like empty promises to me, as they turned out to be.  Sitting in prison he had more time to reflect and was “perplexed by how quickly Van Susteren lost her pizazz and yielded to the government.” (111)

During his appeal process, Vinson was interrogated by FBI agents about “Illinois Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds.”  Rostenkowski was indicted on corruption charges and Reynolds was indicted for raping a sixteen-year-old, and owning child pornography in 1994.  Without cause, the agents “were convinced that I was privy to the crimes of both Rostenkowski and Reynolds.” (112)  They weren’t interested in the truth.  What the agents wanted was anything that connected Vinson to the Illinois Congressmen.  Within 72 hours of that meeting, he was charged with inciting a prison riot, when there was no riot and Vinson was “inherently reticent and reserved” especially while in prison. (113)  He was put in solitary for a month and moved to “Terre Haute” where he spent another month in solitary, before he was eventually transferred to the federal prison in Manchester, Kentucky.  

U. S. Government Over-Reach

On July 5, 1995, Vinson was released from prison, and his mother was waiting for him in the parking lot.  “The conditions” of his release, while on parole were “six months at the half-way house, six months probation.” (114)  Also, he had to find a job. He became a “file clerk” for Dr. Diane Shafer, orthopedic surgeon.  In the summer of 1996, Vinson bought a “1989 single-engine Mooney M20” and flew to Cincinnati, where he met “a tall African-American man who was in his late twenties.”  This man turned out to be his steady life-partner. 

Dr. Shafer expanded her business practice and Henry began to handle his mother’s “real estate ventures” while Joyce “purchased a two story building on 2nd Street in Williamson” to “accommodate Diane’s [Shafer's] burgeoning practice.” (115)

Together Henry and Joyce Vinson started the “Tug Valley Rehabilitation Center, when they bought a vacant building that took up a whole city block, and renovated it to provide “orthopedic, cardiac, pulmonary and diabetic rehabilitation, outpatient physical therapy, and supervised fitness training.” (116)  He was beginning to make some real head-way in this world.  While he was rebuilding his life and the rehab center at the same time, the Charleston Gazette published a “caustic” article about Henry, accusing him of using the N word, which was particularly hurtful considering his boyfriend was African/American.  The article also accused him of faking his own death, a complete and total fabrication with no supporting evidence to back it up. (117)

Someone who made it clear to Vinson why he was being persecuted by the government, that had no fear of retribution from Vinson claimed to be a journalist and told him that he “would be incarcerated within the next couple of years.”  He said Vinson knew too much and his success gave him credibility, and the government couldn’t allow this, they had to “diminish my credibility.” (118)

As in Washington D. C. , Vinson was harassed by reporters in the mainstream media first, then by FBI agents in his life.  FBI agents interrogated him in his apartment, without permitting him an attorney, while agents served a search warrant on his mother’s office building, where Dr. Shafer worked, over allegations of “fraudulent billing practices.” (119)  This was another instance where the government stepped all over his “Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.” (120)  If they couldn’t get Henry directly, the deep state powers in the FBI would go after someone close to him.

When his sister Brenda died, his mother fell into another deep dark depression, and just as she was beginning to recover, Henry was indicted by a grand jury “for conspiracy to defraud the United States,” a 9-count indictment, claiming, in part, he “prepared” a false income tax return. (121) However, there was no evidence he did anything illegal.  His mother was named as a “unindicted co-conspirator”. (122)  The federal government threatened to go after his mother if he tried to put her on the stand in his defense, so Henry backed down and decided to enter a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney.

He was sentenced to “51 months” (123) mostly at Morgantown.  He was released on February 5, 2005, and was greeted by his mother once more upon his release, although she was suffering from various ailments, including “heart disease”. (124) 

While Henry was still in prison for the second time, his mother, Joyce was put in Williamson Memorial Hospital after having a heart attack, the government pursued a case against her doctor for administering “controlled substances”. (125)  Because he was treating Joyce at the time, she felt responsible for his incarceration.  So she posted bond to have the physician released from jail.  

Henry was soon enmeshed in this quandary, when his mother offered him one of her properties as collateral for the bond.  Because of a “clerk’s error,” Joyce was being “charged with forgery”.  He gave his mother a ride to the court house to resolve the issue.  This was enough to aggravate her “congestive heart failure and spinal stenosis,” so she walked with a great deal of difficulty and she had a hard time breathing. (126)  Further difficulties arose when the magistrate was not available and a substitute magistrate was put in his place; the magistrate’s office told Joyce “that her forgery charges would be dismissed” on the condition she fingered her son for the “forged” “bond document!” (127)  When she turned down the repellent offer, she was thrown in “Southwest Regional jail in Holden, West Virginia, where she was strip searched”.  The whole  experience was extremely degrading. (128)  Henry immediately posted bail. Then  She had enough backbone to turnand the charges were eventually dropped anyway.

But not before the Charleston Gazette printed a story on the arrest and Henry’s guilty plea…” leaving him with the impression “truth and the reality manufactured by the media are often diametric, because the truth is frequently obscured by a levy of lies.” (129)  He decided to move to Cincinnati in an effort to put his past behind him and his life-partner and mother decided to make the move with him.  “Although my life had been blessed by both material security and unconditional love, the emotional lacerations I’d suffered over the preceding 15 years had left indelible psychological scars, and a pervasive sense of trepidation as I awaited the government’s next salvo of persecution.”  (130)

Although Joyce wanted to be with her son, she missed Williamson West Virginia so much she decided to return in 2005. Her stay in Cincinnati lasted about 4 months.  Eight months later, in June, his mother was spiraling down into a deep depression and suffering from heart trouble.  She had an”angina” attack (131) followed by “a bowel obstruction” (132)  which required surgery.  While in surgery she had a stroke, which “left her partially paralyzed and unable to walk.” (133)  Her last request was to return to Williamson and leave the hospital.  When “Christ Hospital determined that her rehabilitation had progressed to a stage where they thought she could return to her home, I arranged for her to have a 24-hour health care attendant, and I flew her to Williamson.” (134)  His mother died shortly thereafter.  At his mother’s viewing he felt terrible about all the pain and suffering he put her through. “I profusely apologized for the boundless suffering and abuse that had marred her life due to me.”

A “‘random’ IRS audit began in 2007,” and once he was cleared by the IRS in 2008 for any and all transgressions against the IRS for the years 2004, 2005, and 2006, one of which he was in prison for, Vinson began to think his life might return to normal.  He still wanted to be a funeral director, “but the West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners refused to even consider my licensure.” (135)  He had to relinquish all hope of attaining his dream job ever more, but that didn’t stop him from becoming “an advertising and marketing consultant,” in the funeral business, (136) which started to work out well for Vinson.  He attracted the attention of a national funeral chain, that “flew me to its Midwest headquarters”.  In his presentation to the top executives, including the president, he “showed” them how “domain names could enhance their marketing capabilities.” (137) 

As the chain decided not to go into contract with Vinson, he “relinquished” “ownership” of the domain names.   Nonetheless, the national chain sued Vinson over the domain names and “a myriad of other issues.” (138)  As this was happening, Funeral Service Insider, a “premiere trade magazine” ran a series of articles on him, with headlines like, “Convicted Felon’s Connection to Cincinnati Funeral Home Questioned” and “Former Prostitution Ring Kingpin and Ex-Swindler Says He’s Just a Landlord.” (139)  It seems his bad luck followed him to Cincinnati; the "hatchet" pieces in "Funeral Services Insider" were nothing short of "character assassination".  Without any investigation, the usual stories were taken at face value: his alleged “phone harassment,” and “conspiring with a doctor to hide money from the government.” and leaving unexplained the “storage of an unrefrigerated body”.  To say the articles were being unfair, would be an understatement.  The magazine even went after his mother “for ‘submitting forged documents to the circuit clerks’s office’ when she bailed out her physician.” (140)

The government was relentless in their attacks on Vinson.  The Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Southern West Virginia threatened a physician “with the loss of his medical license if he didn’t finger me as a conspirator in the illegal prescription of narcotics.” (141)  Only one problem: Vinson never met this physician and the physician recorded the conversation he had with the U.S. Attorney and “she was booted out of the Justice Department.” (142)  Then the government raided the physician’s offices in buildings once owned by his mother.  Henry had already divested himself of the properties by this point, but that didn’t stop the U.S. Attorney from impaneling a grand jury.

In the end, the government wanted Vinson “to relinquish a $1 million building without offering a promise that it would cease and desist in my prosecution for crimes that it had yet to specify…”  (143)  The government amended the agreement and specified in language that was outright extortion: if Vinson forfeited the building, they wouldn’t prosecute him for the still unspecified crime.  Once again, he was put between a rock and a hard place, and caved into government pressure and relinquished the building.

Down the Rabbit Hole

While the mainstream media protects pedophiles and deep state operatives who blackmail the rich and powerful, like Craig Spence and Larry King, they target a man who drew the line at child abduction and rape, and smeared his character with vitriolic attacks.  People who helped keep Vinson down, fighting against a corrupt and powerful government, have personally profited from their efforts to silence him.  “Jay Stephens, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, whose office oversaw the corrupt grand jury that walloped me with a potential sentence of 295 years, was appointed United States Associate Attorney General by President George W. Bush in 2001.” (144)  “Gretta Van Susteren has experienced a sharp upwardly mobile trajectory herself since I was initially imprisoned.”  After appearing regularly on CNN as a political analyst during the O.J. Simpson trial, her television credits include:: CNN’s Burden of Proof, also The Point with Greta Van Susteren, and she joined the folks at FOX and hosted On the Record with Greta Van Susteren in 2002 and she even made an appearance on the cartoon network 1998. (145)

Vinson made a good point when he said, “the same shadowy network” that Spence operated in also involved Donald Gregg, or Spence wouldn’t have asked Vinson to cover for Gregg’s trouble with the Government Accounting Office. (146)  Most Americans, as Vinson proclaims, are unaware of the extent of CIA blackmail operations on prominent politicians, judges and anyone else who gets inside their cross-hairs.  He names one possible victim of blackmail who used his escort service: “Dr. Vernon Houk” an authority on toxic substances on human health and Assistant Surgeon General under Reagan/Bush and Director of the Environmental Health Services back in the 1970’s, “was fond of holing up in D.C. hotels with multiple bottles of booze and several escorts over the course of a weekend…” (147)

While the name of Henry Vinson may be irredeemable, this book is his attempt to clear his name.  He has hired a lawyer to “unseal the documents that the government sealed throughout my trial and tribulations.”  pg. 201     However the documents remained under raps, almost 30 years after the incidents took place.  He very properly asks asks his readers to withhold judgement until after those documents are released to the public.  And while we wait, remember the Washington Times article supported his claims in many respects, namely with all the credit-card vouchers they printed in their paper as proof of the prostitution ring involving high officials in the Reagan/Bush administration.

What this narrative has shown me, is exactly how deep state elements within the CIA used Spence’s blackmail operation to ensnare powerful people in their net and obtain what Katherine Austin Fitts refers to as “Control files.”  Once these rouge elements in the deep state have enough material to ruin someone’s career, they use it to make sure these politicians, or people in positions of power do everything they ask of them, like puppets on a string.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking, just because Craig Spence and Larry King are done, that others didn’t come along and take their place.  Proof of this is in how the mainstream media handled Spence and King.  In the case of Spence, they considered him a buffoon who inflated his importance.  As for King, the media went after his victims who dared raise an objection to his vicious cruelty and child abuse, as I clearly illustrate in my story: “The Franklin Scandal Supports the Case for PizzaGate”.

  The media protected them form serious harm, as a way of protecting the power structure, thus enabling not only the blackmail operations to continue, but child abductions and pedophilia.  An intelligence network like the CIA has vast resources to control, and manipulate the masses and the media, and they will find away to get what they want.  I was once asked what I thought our chances of ending all this corruption; how do we drain this swamp and get rid of the swamp creatures?  We are up against incredible odds.  It would be easy to feed you a bunch of 'hope porn' and say a sealed indictment will lead to the exposure and break up of a pedophile ring.  But it is more likely this CIA control file operation will continue, and I can tell you this, until someone does end this terrible nightmare, this republic will favor deep-state forces and it will be hard to find representatives that truly represent the people's interests.

The Vinson Reading List

On the Vinson reading list is The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, by Hugh Wilford. Harvard University Press, September 1, 2008 by most accounts a well researched book on the Agency from 1947 to 1967 to win “hearts and minds” in the struggle against communism and to protect the huge corporations from global threats.  Here is a link to a New York Times obituary,  in one of those rare instances when the paper revealed how journalist are in league with the CIA, an organization that controls the media, in a death notice for “Austin Goodrich” .  

The guardian reported in 2008 that the New York Times employed “at least 10 [CIA] agents as reporters or clerks in its foreign bureaux,” and the Times went into “attack mode.” 

Vinson talks about Katharine the Great, by Deborah Davis, a former Village Voice reporter, who did a biographical piece on Washington Post publisher, Katherine Graham, and her clandestine connections with the CIA.  Graham was chosen to be the Agency’s “point man to infiltrate the media.” (148)   And Frank Wisner, head of the CIA' Office of Policy Coordination, oversaw Operation Mockingbird, a CIA's infiltration of major US news organizations, including the Washington Post.  Wisner once boasted that he was the "mighty Wurlitzer," a conductor "capable of playing any propaganda tune he desired."

Here is some more information on how the CIA infiltrated the mainstream media.

For more on Henry Vinson, here is a link to his blog.

More on Will Powers...


  1.  Confessions of a D.C. Madam,                             92.  Ibid. pg. 124
The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail,
Henry W. Vinson, with Nick Bryant,                            93.  Ibid. pg.127
Copyright 2014, pg. 1
                                                                                      94.  Ibid.  pg. 128
  2.  Ibid. pg.1     
                                                                                      95.  Ibid. pg. 129
  3.  Ibid. pg.1
                                                                                      96.  Ibid. pg.128
  4.  Ibid. pg. 2 
                                                                                      97.  Ibid. pg.129
  5.  Ibid. pg. 2
                                                                                      98.  Ibid. pg. 129
  6.  Ibid. pg. 3 
                                                                                      99.  Ibid. pg. 137
  7.  Ibid. pg. 3 
                                                                                    100.  Ibid. pg. 139
  8.  Ibid. pg. 16
                                                                                    101.  Ibid. pg. 141
  9.  Ibid. pg. 17
                                                                                    102.  Ibid. pg. 142
10.  Ibid. pg. 18
                                                                                    103.  Ibid. pg. 144
11.  Ibid. pg. 29
                                                                                    104.  Ibid. pg. 145
12.  Ibid. pg. 29
                                                                                    105.  Ibid. pg. 145
13.  Ibid. pg. 34
                                                                                    106.  Ibid. pg. 147
14.  Ibid. pg.37
                                                                                    107.  Ibid. pg. 148
15.  Ibid. pg.39
                                                                                    108.  Ibid. pg. 148
16.  Ibid. pg. 40
                                                                                    109.  Ibid. pg. 155
17.  Ibid. pg 45
                                                                                    110.  Ibid. pg. 156
18.  Ibid. pg. 48
                                                                                    111.  Ibid. pg. 161
19.  Ibid. pg. 49
                                                                                    112.  Ibid. pg. 162
20.  Ibid. pg. 50
                                                                                    113.  Ibid.  pg. 162
21.  Ibid. pg. 53
                                                                                    114.  Ibid. pg. 164
22.  Ibid. pg. 53
                                                                                    115.  Ibid. pg. 165
23.  Ibid. pg. 53
                                                                                    116.  Ibid. pg. 166
24.  Ibid. pg. 53
                                                                                    117.  Ibid. pg. 167
25.  Ibid. pg. 55
                                                                                    118.  Ibid. pg. 167
26.  Ibid. pg. 55
                                                                                    119.  Ibid. pg. 169
27.  Ibid. pg. 55
                                                                                    120.  Ibid. pg. 170
28.  Ibid. pg. 58
                                                                                    121.  Ibid. pg. 174 
29.  Ibid. pg. 59
                                                                                    122.  Ibid. pg. 174
30.  Ibid. pg. 61
                                                                                    123.  Ibid. pg 176
31.  Ibid. Pg. 61
                                                                                    124.  Ibid. pg. 177
32.  Ibid. pg. 63
                                                                                    125.  Ibid. pg. 178
33.  Ibid. pg. 63
                                                                                    126.  Ibid. pg. 179
34.  Ibid. pg. 66
                                                                                    127.  Ibid. pg. 179 
35.  Ibid. pg. 73
                                                                                    128.  Ibid.  pg. 180 
36.  Ibid. pg. 73
                                                                                    129.  Ibid.  pg. 180
37.  Ibid. pg. 73
                                                                                    130.  Ibid. pg. 185
38.  Ibid. pg. 74
                                                                                    131.  Ibid. pg. 186
39.  Ibid. pg. 75
                                                                                    132.  Ibid. pg. 187
40.  Ibid. pg. 75
                                                                                    133.  Ibid. pg. 187
41.  Ibid. pg. 76
                                                                                    134.  Ibid. pg. 188
42.  Ibid. pg. 78
                                                                                    135.  Ibid. pg. 190
43.  Ibid. pg. 79
                                                                                    136.  Ibid.  pg. 191
44.  Ibid. pg. 79
                                                                                    137.  Ibid. pg. 191
45.  Ibid. pg. 81
                                                                                    138.  Ibid.  pg.191
46.  Ibid. pg. 81
                                                                                    139.  Ibid. pg. 192
47.  Ibid. pg. 83
                                                                                    140.  Ibid.  pg. 192
48.  Ibid. pg. 82
                                                                                    141.  Ibid. pg. 192
49.  Ibid. pg. 83
                                                                                    142.  Ibid. pg.193
50.  Ibid. pg. 83
                                                                                    143.  Ibid. pg. 194
51.  Ibid. pg. 83
                                                                                    144.  Ibid. pg. 196
52.  Ibid. pg. 84
                                                                                    145.  Ibid. https://en.wikipedia.or
53.  Ibid. pg. 84
                                                                                    146.  Confessions of a D.C. Madam,
54.  Ibid. pg. 84                                                                    The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail,
                                                                                             Henry W. Vinson, with Nick Bryant,
55.  Ibid. pg. 85                                                                    Copyright 2014, pg. 198 

56.  Ibid. pg. 85                                                           147.  Ibid. pg. 199 

57.  Ibid. pg. 86                                                           148.  Ibid. pg. 131 

58.  Ibid. pg. 90

59.  Ibid. pg. 91

60.  Ibid. pg. 91

61.  Ibid. pg. 94

62.  Ibid. pg. 95                                                            Henry Vinson: Publicity photo from TrineDay

63.  Ibid. pg. 94                                                            Craig Spence in New York Times

64.  Ibid. pg.95                                                             Thanks to Gage Skidmore for use of the 
                                                                                      picture of Greta Van Sustrene
65.  Ibid. pg.95

66.  Ibid. pg. 97

67.  Ibid. pg. 95

68.  Ibid. pg. 97

69.  Ibid. pg. 98

70.  Ibid. pg. 99

71.  Ibid. pg. 99

72.  Ibid. pg. 100

73.  Ibid.  pg. 101

74.  Ibid. pg.103

75.  Ibid. pg. 105

76.  Ibid. pg. 107

77.  Ibid. pg. 105

78.  Ibid.  pg. 107

79.  Ibid. pg. 107  

80.  Ibid. pg. 117

81.  Ibid. pg. 117

82.  Ibid. pg. 117

83.  http://world-enlightenment.com /OCR/Conspiracy-of-Silence/Conspiracy-of-Silence_Washington-Times.htm

 84.  Confessions of a D.C. Madam, The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail, Henry W. Vinson, with Nick Bryant, Copyright 2014, pg. 119

 85. Ibid. pg. 119

86.  Ibid. pg. 118

87.  Ibid. pg. 121

88.  Ibid. pg. 131

89.  Ibid. pg. 123

90.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1989/07/24/from-small-town-roots-a-big-city-scandal/92064bce-3044-4caf-8ac1-bc0929e15143?utm_term=.f29b334dda6a

91.  Confessions of a D.C. Madam, The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail, Henry W. Vinson, with Nick Bryant, Copyright 2014, pg 124  http://blog.confessionsofadcmadam.com/

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