Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tim Ball's Balls Burned?

It looks like Tim Ball's legal defense in the defamation suit brought against him by climate scientist Michael Mann has gone entirely off the rails. Its a long story, and one that I must admit fell off the radar for me to the point where I didn't realize how weird it was all getting.

It began back in March of 2011, when Ball accused Mann of scientific misconduct for his role in what has come to be known as "Climategate".  Mann launched a defamation suit, and Ball turned for legal advice to one John O'Sullivan, co-author and driving force behind Slaying The Sky Dragon, a book purporting to "expose the climate fraud".  You've heard it all before; the only thing distinguishing Sky Dragon from other similar titles was its sheer awfulness; not even the skeptic friendly Judith Curry could get behind its theories.

In any case, O'Sullivan went about his duties with great enthusiasm.  Here he is, for example, soliciting funds for Tim Ball's defense at Anthony Watts blog.  Similar pleas for cash dating from the same time-frame can be found elsewhere.  More recently, O'Sullivan joined the chorus of people who have compared Mann to fellow Penn State luminary  Jerry Sandusky.

However, a couple of days ago, science journalist Andrew A. Skolnick left the following comment on Michael Mann's facebook page:

It's depressingly hilarious that one of the loudest-mouthed crackpots "linking" Prof. Mann to "pedophiles" is a former school teacher whose career ended in scandal almost a decade ago following his arrest and trial for sending dozens of obscene text messages to a 16-y-o school girl. Former high school art teacher John O'Sullivan was acquitted after his step-daughter testified she had sent the obscene messages -- testimony that the judge said he did not find fully credible. O'Sullivan then published an autobiographical novel (titled "Vanilla Girl") in which he defends what he called "kiddie fiddling" -- I kid you not.*

Now, the thing with it is, he's not kidding.  Every point in the above has been thoroughly documented, even the last bit.  For example, this series of emails traces the laborious process by which Mr. Skolnick confirmed that O'Sullivan purchased his law degree  from "Hill University", an on-line diploma mill that sells any degree in any field with a "promised delivery in just 14 days!"  Here is a brief account of O'Sullivan's trial, and if you are so inclined, Vanilla Girl can be found through Google.

But wait!  There's more!  And it gets even weirder!  Skolnick next took O'Sullivan to The Law Society of British Columbia for representing himself as a consultant with Pearlman Lindholm, Tim Ball's real lawyers.  The society then opened an investigation into Michael Scherr of Pearlman Lindholm for allowing  an unauthorized person to practice law.  Here's the result of that investigation;  the society accepted Scherr's contention that O'Sullivan worked for Ball, not the firm and, well, Scherr just assumed the guy was a lawyer.  I'll give Mr. Skolnick the last word:

 I should point out how funny I find Mr. Scherr's explanation to the Law Society. He admits to having handed out money from Ball's legal defense fund to O'Sullivan for his "consulting" services, but states that O'Sullivan was working for Ball, not for his law firm and that he "took no steps to investigate Mr. O'Sullivan's professional status." 

So here he was paying someone who didn't know the name of the court that is hearing the case (in his published comments O'Sullivan kept calling it the "Vancouver Supreme Court"), someone who didn't know where the law firm he was helping is located (he repeatedly claimed it's in Vancouver, a two-hour drive from Victoria, where it's actually located), and someone who didn't seem to know that the name of the PLAINTIFF ALWAYS comes first in the title of a law suit (O'Sullivan called it "Tim Ball vs. Michael Mann). And Mr. Scherr never thought to inquire about Mr. O'Sullivan's credentials? How very funny.

So what's the take-away message?  I dunno.  That within denier circles they bullshit one another as thoroughly as they do the general public?  That anyone can practice this law thingy in B.C.?  We can definitely conclude that Tim Ball's legal fees have been going up a bit recently.

PS. A quick note. As several people have noted, you can't actually drive from Vancouver to Victoria, as it is located on Vancouver Island.  The car ferry you take over does take about two hours to get there (1 hour 40 minutes to be more precise).  I'm not sure if that's what Skolnick meant to say or not.


double nickel said...

Just an fyi, it's not an easy drive from Victoria to Vancouver, given the depth of the water.

bigcitylib said...

You drive your car onto the ferry.

Pete Ridley said...

Hi folks,

You may not be aware that according to an E-mail that I received on 30th April Tim Ball said in his E-mail of 26th April) that " .. I was made aware of the charges against O'Sullivan almost from the start.
I checked as much as possible because as Fred (Singer) is painfully aware there are a lot of deviously clever people who spin stories knowing that once it is on the web it has legs. My lawyer has also down extensive checks. It was said, a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has its boots on.
With the internet it is all round the world from a multitude of sources before the truth is booted.

I legally disassociated myself from O'Sullivan very early and though he provided commentary he never acted as legal counsel.

I cannot disconnect myself from the book (Slaying the Sky Dragon) as it is in the public record. I also stand by my decision to participate in the book .. ".

For more see http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/professor-judith-curry-threatened-with.html).

Best regards, Pete Ridley

bigcitylib said...


That's interesting. Do you buy it? Here's a bit more from Skolnick that I didn't quote earlier:

"Unfortunately, it doesn't appear Mr. Scherr learned much from that lesson. In April, he submitted a Notice of Application to the Supreme Court requesting all of John O'Sullivans writings and communications with Tim Ball be excluded from evidence because O'Sullivan was employed by Tim Ball as a legal consultant and therefore has "solicitor-client privilege." "


Sounds like Ball was OK with O'Sullivan well into 2012. And I should note that I also subscribe to the climate skeptics mailing list along with Ball and he has never publicly "disassociated" himself from O'Sullivan there or anywhere else.

Pete Ridley said...

Hi bigcitylib (whoever you might be!),

I have been involved with the "Slayers" and their blogging group PSI since 2010. Hundreds of E-mails have passed between us and Tim Ball never indicated that he had dissociated ijself from John O'Sullivan, the "Slayers" or PSI.

As recently as 29 Sep 2011 Tim Ball and John were exchanging comments specifically about Andrew Skolnick's " .. complaint with the BC Law Society against my Canadian attorney .. " (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/selected-e-mails-with-slayerspsi.html).

Your response has inspired me to consider posting the complete thread of E-mails that led to Tim Ball's statement. If you are interested and send me an E-mail address then I can forward it to you.

As for your question "Do you buy it?" - I don't buy anything that comes from the "Slayers" or PSI until I've undertaken a "Due Diligence" exercise (see http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/psi-due-diligence-20102011-selected-e.html and http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/spotlighton-principia-scientific.html).
BTW, why do you hide behind a false name - don't you have the courage of your convictions?

Best regards,
Pete Ridley

bigcitylib said...

Love to see anything not on your blog already. Send any emails to bigcitylib@hotmail.com.

I am M.J. Murphy; I had that on my profile for a long time, and most people who look can find out easily enough who I am. However, I also found a "linked in" profile of me, though as far as I know I've never signed up. So I assume the material was scraped from here and elsewhere. So I pulled the name from the profile. But, as I say, anyone who looks can find out in five minutes.

Pete Ridley said...

Hi M.J.

As you say if I'd spent just a little time I could have found you but why make it difficult for people? The obvious place is on your "profile".

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Jack Dale said...

The John O'Sullivan story was interesting. Have you checked out Oliver K. Manuel, one of the co-authors of Slaying the Dragon?

Pete Ridley said...

Hi Jack,

In my "SpotlightOn - Principia Scientific International" post "Section 3.12 Friend of PSI Professor Oliver Manuel" I have provided three links to further information on that "Slayer".

I've also just posted updates to Updated Sections 3.1 "Co-Founder and Chairman" (Professor Tim Ball), 3.2, "Co-Founder and CEO (Mr. John O'Sullivan), 3.3 "Co-Founder and CFO" (Mr Johannes Cornelis Schreuder) - see http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/spotlighton-principia-scientific.html .

You may also like to have a read of John O'Sullivan's 2010 CV (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/curriculum-vitae-for-john-osullivan-2010.html).

There's plenty more to come.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Pete Ridley said...

Hi again M.J,

It's been a while since we last chatted and as I said then " .. There's plenty more to come .. " about the Mann v Ball defamation case in BC and the involvement of founding members of the PSI blogging group.

I said earlier that in April 2012 Tim Ball had claimed “ .. I legally disassociated myself from O'Sullivan very early and though he provided commentary he never acted as legal counsel .. ” but that Tim Ball had never indicated that he had dissociated himself from the blogging group’s “CEO and Legal Consultant” John O'Sullivan, or any of his fellow founding members of the group. The question was whether or not Tim Ball was misleading people about that, just as he had previuously (since 2006) been misleading others when claiming to have been a Professor of Climatology at the University of Calgary for 32 (or was it 30 or 28) years – it appears that he was really a Professor of Geography for only 8 years!! (see sub-section 3.1.1 Co-Founder and EX-"Chairman" Dr. Timothy Francis Ball at http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/spotlighton-principia-scientific.html)

Well, surprise surprise, my copy of Ball’s "Response to amended amended notice of civil claim", action VLC-S-S0111913 submission to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on 12th Feb. 2013 he claims QUOTE: .. Defendant Ball does not waive solicitor-client privilege over any communications which have taken place between himself and John o'Sullivan .. In or about February 2011 defendant Ball entered into a contract whereby John O'Sullivan provided legal services pro bono for Ball .. On or about April 26 2011, the defendant Ball entered into a contract for legal services with John O'Sullivan and started receiving legal fees .. The defendant Ball does not waive privilege over these contracts for legal services in this action .. All communications which took place between the defendant Ball and John O'Sullivan or Pearlman Lindholm and John O'Sullivan are privileged communications .. ".

The most recent development is that Tim Ball has written a book “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science”, recnty published by Stairways Press, as US publisher owned by Ken Coffman, another PSI blogging group member. Two of Tim Ball’s fellow founding members of the PSI blogging group, its “CEO and Legal Consultant” John O’Sullivan and its “CFO” Han Schreuder, have written a review of it and state in their review QUOTE: .. " .. Ball correctly adjudged that Mann (and others) should be in “the state pen, not Penn. State.” .. UNQUOTE.

Mann’s legal counsel has responded with comments on that review, beginning with “ .. The review of Tim Ball’s new book by Hans Schreuder and John O’Sullivan makes preposterous statements concerning Dr. Michael Mann’s lawsuit in the British Columbia Supreme Court against Tim Ball and other defendants .. ”.

Maybe the name "John Doe" in Mann's complaint against Ball will be replaced with the names "John Anthony O'Sullivan" and "Johannes Cornelis Schreuder". There are plenty who would argue that these two do need to be taken to task over their unfounded allegations against Dr. Mann.

More on that can be found in “SpotlightON - Michael Mann v Tim Ball et al.” (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/spotlighton-michael-mann-v-tim-ball-et.html).

Best regards, Pete Ridley