Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Strange Death Of Nelson Rockefeller

Why is it that the deaths of so many post war, mostly white males, leaders are best described by Churchill’s metaphor about riddles, enigmas and conundrums? The passings of Kennedy, King,  and Foster are but a few of the marquee names whose deaths are shrouded in suspicion. To that list we can add Nelson Rockefeller, the 4 time governor of New York, whose expiration eventually turned into a tabloid circus. We will review a few of the theories which hold the most promise in explaining the death of Mr. Rockefeller.

The People

We should introduce some of the key characters of the drama, the first of whom is the former governor and Vice President born July 8, 1908, and reported dead January 26, 1979. He of course was the son of billionaire John D Rockefeller, Jr reputed a billionaire in his own right. His family still owned Rockefeller Center at the time of his death.

The next most prominent character is Megan Marshack, a native of Sherman Oaks, CA, whose name is sometimes spelled Marshak or Marshach, but which we suspect are errors due to lack of access to source biographical documents. Her birth date is given variously as c. 1952 or October 1953, while contemporary news accounts reported her age as anywhere from 25 – 31. She was described by People, in February, 1979, as a former AP radio night editor who was making about 15,000 USD when Rockefeller offered her a position as his assistant for 60,000 USD per year in 1977. The jump in income is quite startling and would be 4-5 times that number in constant 2009 dollars. Marshack received forgiveness of a 45,000 USD interest free loan Rockefeller had made to her for purchase of a co-op two doors from his townhouse.

Her whereabouts since the death of Rockefeller remain enigmatic. The New York Times reported on November 13, 1979 that she accepted a position as a publicity agent for Broadway producer Anthony Cohen. Subsequently she was reported as a writer or producer for WCBS-TV in New York. There are a few articles from 2003-2004 with a byline of the name Megan Marshack in the North County Times, but we failed to obtain confirmation from the publisher that the writer was indeed the same person of our story. Her Wiki article cites Personality Parade of December 28, 2008 claiming that “Marshack married a journalist and was living in Southern California.” That citation is bogus although other ones seem accurate.

The next person of interest is Ponchitta Pierce who, like her friend and neighbor Megan, was not exactly a household name nationally but was more well known in New York city as a TV hostess, as People magazine put it. She was reported as being 36 at the time. Her biography adumbrates an extensive career in telecast and print journalism as hostess, writer, and contributing editor. She also serves on numerous non-profit organization boards as well as on the Council On Foreign Relations.

In an article published in The Straits Times, Singapore on October 19, 2004 she is quoted:

"Greater coverage of news beyond our borders would help to balance the focus on ourselves, enable us to understand and appreciate the lives and cultures of other people, and make us more informed partners in an increasingly globalised world.”

This is semantically verbatim to the views of David Rockefeller given in an interview by Benjamin Fulford on December 2, 2007. We can see that Pierce may be a noteworthy cog in the Illuminist / CIA controlled press whose job it is to shape world opinion in favor of what they perceive as unified and inevitable world government. Fulford is also an admitted Illuminist which explains his ability to interview such an elusive character as David Rockefeller.

One other actor in this saga worth mentioning is Hugh Morrow who, as spokesman for the Rockefeller family, created considerable confusion with his varied stories about the timing and location of Nelson Rockefeller’s death. Morrow had been a longtime public relations advisor and aide to Rockefeller beginning in 1959 who also was the recipient of at least two loan forgivenesses and gifts from Rockefeller, including a 100,000 USD gift and 30,000 USD loan.

The Drama

News accounts vary because the story kept changing as the days following Rockefeller’s death passed. Keep this in mind as you research yourselves the timeline preceding and following his death. We present what we believe is the best redaction of events.

January 26, 1979 Event Source

?? ?? Rockefeller eats dinner with family at 812 Fifth Avenue David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, 1981

?? 20:45 Rockefeller at townhouse at 13 West 54th Street driven by chauffeur Andrew Hoffman David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, 1981

20:50 20:59 Rockefeller invites Marshack to his townhouse to work on art book David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, 1981

21:00 21:30 Marshack leaves her co-op at 25 W. 54th St to visit Rockefeller wearing long black evening dress Attire according to Morrow

21:30 22:00 Rockefeller dies; Morrow is with Marshack Time of death by Peter David Beter; Morrow’s presence per Marshack

22:50 23:00 Marshack calls Ponchita Pierce to come to townhouse;

23:15 Pierce arrives at townhouse from the building at 25 W. 54th St

23:16 Pierce calls 911 Peirce according to Peter David Beter

23:20 23:30 Two police arrive one named George Frangos;

Rockefeller found on floor in suit (other reports claim he was on sofa and another without shoes on) David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace; New York Daily News 11/6/1998

23:30 23:40 Paramedics (one named William McCabe) arrive. Time is interpolation by author David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace

January 27, 1979

00:00 Paramedics leave for Lenox Hill Hospital rather than closer St. Claire’s Hospital New York Daily News 11/6/1998

00:20 Dr. Ernest Esakof declares Rockefeller dead New York Daily News 11/6/1998

01:00 Morrow delivers statements about the last hours of Rockefeller’s life; says Rockefeller died at Rockefeller Center New York Daily News 11/6/1998

January 28, 1979

?? 11:59 Rockefeller cremated Peter David Beter

The above timeline is not without problems or controversy. Perhaps the most controversial element is the time of death for which I have quoted the dubious Dr. Peter David Beter whose audio newsletter 43 provides the timing. Beter alleges that Marschack, Henry Kissinger, and David Rockefeller were all murdered within a few days of Rockefeller’s alleged murder. However, Beter does make use of known news reports for other details and provides a time of death which makes more sense of the highly conflicted reports provided by official spokesmen.

Causes of Death

The official story regarding the sequence of events changed at least 3 times with the location, time of death, and people present at the time of death subject to continuous revision. The Rockefeller story imploded under the weight of the facts so much so that the family eventually issued a statement declaring that they would say no more about the death.

The official cause of death was a heart attack yet no autopsy was performed. Some have simply speculated on the cause without evidence.

Silence breeds speculation and speculation has indeed run rampant. There are three primary interpretations of Rockefeller’s death. The quasi official story is that Marshack was Rockefeller’s mistress and by implication – though never explicitly stated - was engaged in sexual intercourse when he was struck with a heart attack. One version claims that Marshack struggled for an hour to get from underneath Rockefeller, implying that they were on the floor doing it. Somehow I don’t think that Rockefeller was that athletic at 70 despite his personal physician Dr. Kenneth Ryland's claim that he was in excellent health.

Another variant also claims sexual antics but this time homosexual bondage. The theory holds that he died of a heart attack during this activity and that the family proceeded with haste to dispose of the evidence and story. However, they could have easily squelched or explained away the bruises offering that he had a heart attack - as you do - when you get to a certain age.

The other major explanation put forth by Beter is that Rockefeller was murdered. His proof is slender although some would say non-existent. Beter contends that Rockefeller was shot in the forehead after which a doctor was called to cover up the wound with Calamine Lotion. After the place was cleaned up, the paramedics and police were called. The story has some commendations but there is the opposing claim that Rockefeller had just died when the paramedics arrived. They in fact administered life support yielding a faint sign of life according to the New York Daily News. Yet in the end he was doomed.

Riddles and Conundrums

This story is full of  riddles and conundrums which may never receive satisfactory answer. We will start at the top and work our way down in order to untangle them. Marshack is a completely elusive character. Not only has no one caused her to talk to date but no one knows when she was born nor has anyone shown a picture of her since 1979, which picture was probably taken a few years earlier. For someone so critical to the story one would think that the vaunted investigative skills of the New York Times would have been able to uncover those bits of detail. And yet it is as though no one cares.

After the death of Rockefeller she remained holed up in her apartment for days – though not the weeks others reported.

Ponchitta Pierce is a strange bird flying in and around the activity. We understand that she knew Rockefeller 10 years, yet after she placed the call to 911 she left the house to return home. Why would a friend who was a news woman leave such an historic scene? Ms Pierce has remained silent on this story although she has been quite visible as a journalist and philanthropist.

Hugh Morrow, acting like The Three Stooges all by himself, must have suffered vertigo after wearing out three fabled stories in less than as many days. His actions have all of the traits of someone afraid of the truth and desperately wanting to cover up something. Many have thought that there was some embarrassment regarding Rockefeller being found with his mistress which he was attempting to side skirt; and while we agree that it is awkward, Rockefeller would not be the first man so compromised. We need only recall Franklin Roosevelt and his mistress in the much circumspect days of the 1940s.

But the accelerated cremation of Rockefeller’s body puts a lie to that explanation. The family could have maintained with a straight face that Marshack was working on a book with Rockefeller that evening, had a heart attack, died, and went to his reward. Instead there was a cacophonous circus of stories which didn’t add up, leaving the distinct impression that something jarring had shattered the otherwise stoic demeanor of the Rockefellers. Remember, it was Morrow’s job to be a public relations and communications expert. Yet he fell all over himself in a pot pourri of lies and contradictions.

It is also interesting that, as a relative newcomer to Rockefeller’s life, Marshack found herself in his will – especially for a somewhat trivial amount of 45,000 USD. Why would he have taken the time to update his will with that detail? Marshack had started working for him privately in 1977 yet two years later was a beneficiary in his will.

It also seems strange that Rockefeller’s 18 year old grandson Steven was often quoted in the press at telling moments. Out of the quite fecund Rockefeller family, one would have thought that a more mature and knowledgeable source could be found. One surreal quote was, "I don't know what Megan's role was exactly but if she was involved with Grandaddy, I hope she did the best she could and that she was instrumental in some of his success." The implication would be that she may not have been his mistress – a conclusion which most had certainly drawn by then. He surely knew that she was his grandfather’s aide yet that did not provide any meaningful understanding of the events.

Was It Murder?

To conclude with murder we would like to have a motive and theory of operations. One could argue that Morrow and Marshack stood as benefactors of Rockefeller’s death.  They were the only two with him at the time of death – at least as far as we are able to discern. Friends described her as a gold digger; yet that is not nearly the same as a murderer. As circumstantial as the evidence, we have to believe that he would be worth more to them alive than dead.

But if they were involved in murder, I would think that they would have coordinated their stories better. Instead Morrow is completely undone by a series of second rate stories suggesting that he was rattled by an unexpected event.

Could a professional assassin have murdered Rockefeller? If so, we would need to ask who would have benefitted materially from Rockefeller’s death. Whom did he piss off so badly? For that I have no answers although Dr Beter stated that Henry Kissinger was behind the plot. Kissinger certainly has the personality for murder, and is indeed guilty of political assassination, and, I believe, involved in Kennedy’s murder. However, without a motive we need to pause in our thoughts.

To assume murder means that the paramedics did not notice a bullet hole in his forehead as Beter avers was doctored. Maybe they truly did not attempt resuscitation. The public record seems to indicate that they attempted revival, but if they did not it would not be the first time the newsfakers of the press have lied to us.

For all of its defects I for one believe that murder makes the most sense of the incoherent stories, the refusal of an autopsy, and rush to cremate. I also believe that Pierce’s involvement had more import than we currently know. There is no evidence that Marshack is alive - a condition which is quite consistent with Beter's claim that she herself was murdered in February 1979. The similarities between Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levitt, and Linda Tripp suggest strongly an intelligence operation.

Finding out who wanted him dead would be a ripe area for further investigation.

New York Times
New York Daily News
Peter David Beter, Audio Newsletter 42,43
David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, Internet

Copyright 2010 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

David Rockefeller's himself insinuates in his autobiography that Nelson was having sex with Marshack when he died.

Anonymous said...

Let sleeping dogs lie.( No pun intended)

Tony Bonn said...

We couldn't resist. After further analysis we have posted a follow up article explaining our theory about who murdered him and why.
Who Killed Nelson Rockefeller?

Anonymous said...

Cocaine. Cocaine. Cocaine.
Why can't anybody say cocaine?
Who had access to cocaine? David Rockefeller visited Studio 54, the cocaine capital of 1970's NYC even according to the New York Times.
Secrecy? Why Secrecy? Cocaine! Young women, sex, and 1970's Viagra which was...Cocaine!!!

Who owned a farm in Venezuala?
Nelson Rockefeller!! Say it ain't so, but at least say it!

Helluva shame to be busted as an antidrug druglord, but didn't Herbert Hoover have skeletons, dresses and homosexuals in his closet. Hypocricy in politics? "Never!" You say. Just say yes to cocaine, a drug of 1970's choice for the high flyers and even old millionaires even if they pass antidrug laws that are still being fought today.

Nelson did a few rails with Hugh and Megan because Rockefellers can do anything. Sex, cocaine and tachycardia they go together better than any other crap story so far. Cocaine. Now you say it!

Tony Bonn said...

You may have your hoovers mixed up...There are some rumors about J Edgar Hoover being a homosexual but so far the evidence is not convincing even though for many people persuaded by circumstantial evidence the matter is closed.

Regarding cocaine, i don't buy it...the details you provide are problematic, especially since we are concerned about nelson - not david. furthermore, we simply have no idea about a sexual relationship between marshack and rockefeller....maybe, maybe not...

at the end of the day, the death had more ominous characteristics than a simple drug case....

Anonymous said...

marshack was not rockefeller's mistress/lover/girlfriend/etc.

apart from being included in the will she attended the funeral with the rest of the family.

don't overcomplicate things with the ravings of such imaginative types as beter.

Tony Bonn said...

the exact nature of marshack's relationship with rockefeller will probably remain a mystery but it most emphatically was significant as you point out. the common assumption is that the two were involved in a tryst, but it was probably more complicated as i reason in another related posting.

to suppose that their relationship was merely a platonic business connection is naive beyond belief.

all of the principals have maintained a wall of silence in the 30 plus years since his death. silence is golden but it speaks louder than words.

i would be happy to hear from ms pierce or ms marshack (although i suspect that the latter is no longer with us.)

Anonymous said...

I thought there was no funeral. And was the 45K just the forgiveness of the mortgage on her co-op. That wasn't such a big deal since he was making the payments anyway. She was his mistress.

Tony Bonn said...

while he was cremated within hours of his death, there was a funeral.

after giving more thought about the means of his death, I regard marshak's status as mistress immaterial. my view, which is developed elsewhere, is that she was a conduit for others to assassinate him - most likely a mossad operation.

Anonymous said...
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Steve Dennis said...

The name Hugh Morrow sounded familiar to me. I thought there was a Morrow on the scene of the Mary Pinchot Meyer murder (another story of a mistress of a leader). But I was wrong. That was Lance Morrow. Any relation? Lance is Hugh's son. So Hugh is there when Rockefeller dies, and Lance is there when Kennedy's girlfiend dies.

Tony Bonn said...

Steve - your comment is more than interesting. we have reviewed janney's book on meyer in another essay and know that meyer was murdered by cia. this easily connects Rockefeller to the case since he had very very tight cia connections - in fact he was one of its unofficial directors or primary customers. morrow's presence at Meyer's body was no fluke happenstance. ben bradlee knew of the murder in advance. this requires further research and analysis. thank you.

R.K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.K. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Look into Crown Zellerbach.And what their connection was to Rockefeller.He was murdered.

Anonymous said...

Look at James Goldsmith connection

MDWhite said...

I attended journalism school at California State University-Northridge with Megan Marshack in the mid-1970s. She worked on the Daily Sundial newspaper and at the campus radio station, as well. She was an aloof character then and seemed bent on making a name for herself, somewhere, somehow. Very stand-offish and driven.

Tony Bonn said...

Thank you MDWhuite for that information. A few years ago I spent time trying to track her down - she is a complete cipher which means she was an intelligence agent and probably working for Mossad like Monica Lewinsky several years later.