ACVA/HBI (Doc Index)

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.


ACVA is the abbreviation of Air Conditioning & Ventilation Associates and HBI comes from Healthy Buildings International which were two companies created by Gray Robertson (ACVA with Peter Binnie), one of the most successful scam-artists in America. Robertson managed to construct a very lucrative business on a global scale by not finding a problem that everyone knew existed -- that of second-hand smoke, or passive smoking -- or in technical terms Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), He became the top air-testing businessman in America through not finding second-hand smoke at levels that constituted a health danger.

When office buildings began to lose opening windows after World War II, the indoor air quality (IAQ) began to depend on the efficiency of the air-conditioning. Gray discovered that, rather than recommend that people only smoked outside, he could solve the eye-watering and irritation problems that bothered non-smokers by recommending very expensive upgrades to office air-conditioning systems.

See also Gray Robertson:[2] Reg Simmons [3]

ACVA, ACVA Atlantic and HBI
Gray Robertson and Peter WH Binnie
Reg Simmons, Simon Turner, Jeffrey Seckler
See IAQ testing for other staff/companies.
Gray Robertson & Reginald Simmons

This won him favour with three groups:

  • the tobacco industry whose sales were being threatened by the rising recognition that non-smokers were also getting increased rates of lung-cancer, heart problems, emphysema, etc, from other people's smoke.
  • the office renters and managers, who had problems with owners not wanting to upgrade and maintain their air-conditioning systems.
  • the sheet-metal unions and equipment contractors who developed a lively business upgrading very expensive roof-top units and building ducting, that wouldn't have needed an upgrade if people hadn't filled offices with stale tobacco smoke.

Robertson ran a large company which used dodgy equipment to fake air quality testing which discounted smoke as a problem, and recommended costly upgrades to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) equipment. He received a lot of business from the tobacco industry itself (mainly from the Tobacco Institute). The Institute was often the first port of call when the manager of an office faced a rebellion of non-smoking workers who felt they were being poisoned by the air.

The Tobacco Institute virtually acted as an agent for Robertson: but later so many other scam artist entered this field that he had to share the business with others. They all offered the same solution which was to increase the rate of air-exchange between indoor environments and the outdoors. This was done to dilute the tobacco smoke in the air, but the owners and renters were told that it was to solve the probems of a "Sick Building". An energy crisis existed at the time, and so increasing air-exchange rates was done against much resistance from building operators -- who suddenly saw their heating and cooling bills rocket to stratospheric levels.

Robertson was also helped by two extraneous factors:

  • In 1976 the American Legion convention in Philadelphia had an outbreak of a strange, and moderately dangerous form of bacterial pneumonia cause by a poorly maintained water-cooled air conditioner unit on the top of the convention center. Some of the older Legionnaires died, which allowed the tobacco industry and Gray Robertson, to begin promoting Legionnaires' disease as a major health threat. He used this as a threat to promote the retrofitting and upgrading of building systems against the financial interests of the owners.
  • Another tobacco lobbyist, Theodor D Sterling, who ran a business called TDS Ltd in Canada, had invented a term building sickness for the same reasons as Robertson, and this was later change to a universal catch-cry of "Sick Building Syndrome". It was one of those fake terms like "Nanny State" and "PC" which took off around the world as a short-hand answer to a complex problem -- and fostered by the same tobacco companies.

Documents & Timeline

1976 Legionnaire's disease is named after a disease outbreak. It was first identified at the 1976 American Legion convention in Philadelphia. The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water and so it can easily contaminate the water tanks and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It spreads by people inhaling a mist of air that contains the bacteria, but typically it doesn't spread directly between people. Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become infected, but those of an older age, or with a history of smoking, chronic lung disease, and poor immune function are at a higher risk.

On this occasion, Legionella pneumophilia struck 182 people. Twenty nine people died immediately from pneumonia-type symptoms, with another 5 subsequent fatalities. The disease was later identified as a variation on another disease named Pontiac Fever. This produced a sensational scare-story which was exploited by both the chemical industry (which had a formaldehyde problem) and the tobacco industry (with passive smoking problems).

1977-1980 Peter Binnie's CV says he was Technical Director of Winton Labs in London from 1977 until 1980. [[4]]

1981 Gray Robertson and Peter Binnie arrive in the USA from the UK and set up ACVA. However there is also a note that Binnie remained in the UK until 1985-6 running "an affiliated organisation

Also in this year Theodor D Sterling (not connected with ACVA) recommended that the tobacco industry utilise the Legionella scare by promoting the idea of the Sick Building Syndrome . This became one of the foundation scares used by the ACVA/HBI business.

A later (undated) Press Release says

"Robertson estimates that as many as half of the office buildings, hospitals, government buildings and other major structures in the US may be suffering from this problem, which he terms "Sick Building Syndrome." Trained in bacteriology and chemistry in his native England, Robertson is co-founder and president of a Virginia firm called ACVA Atlantic Inc.

Established in 1981 as the first company of its kind in the US, ACVA specializes in inspecting, diagnosing and cleaning up "sick" air-handling systems in major buildings.

"We already know that dirty air conditioning is a significant health hazard," says Robertson, who manages ACVA with his partner, microbiologist/zoologist Peter Binnie. "The first fatal epidemic of Legionnaires' Disease was traced to bacteria growing in a dirty air-conditioning system. [5]

1984 Dec 21Two ACVA air testers ( John Madaris and James Lungren) were inspecting a building in New York when they were approached by someone from the Tobacco Institute. Gray Robertson was then put in touch with Marvin A Kastenbaum the Tobacco Institute's Director of Statistics and general assistant to the CEO. [6]

Reginald B Simmons later gave testimony in a couple of cases where he told this story as happening to himself in 1986 -- and was then caught out in a lie.]

1985 The History of ACVA as recounted by Robertson at a 1985 speech:

ACVA Atlantic Inc. was incorporated in 1981 to market the technology that the founders of ACVA helped develop whilst working with Winton Laboratories in England. The co-founders of ACVA, i.e. myself and Mr.Peter Binnie were respectively the lnternational Technical Sales Director and the Technical Director of Winton.

[Note: There's a major conflict here with Robertson's C/V]

Whilst at Winton, Peter Binnie and I were specifically involved in the study of internal pollution problems throughout industry such as asbestos, heavy metals etc., in dealing with cross infection problems in hospitals and operating rooms, in identifying bacterial and fungal problems in libraries, museums, schools, medical laboratories and general offices. We developed the reputation as international trouble-shooters and have been called in to investigate numerous sick buildings throughout Europe, Scandinavia and Asia and in particular in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

We attributed the key reason for our success to the fact that we recognized the need to harness the diverse talents of Air Conditioning Engineers, Microbiologists and Chemists, three different disciplines unused to working together.


1985 Mar 13 The Tobacco Institute's Committee of Counsel meeting report lists the work being done by friendly scientists and contracted lobbyists. AVCA has been investigated by Tom Osdene of Philip Morris USA.

ACVA is a commercial organization that monitors air conditioning systems for commercial buildings, hospitals, etc. They have never recommended prohibiting smoking. Dr Osdene is meeting with them later this month. It is possible that this organization can be of great help."

[8] [This turned out to be the understatement of all time. The marriage between the tobacco industry and ACVA and its later incarnation HBI lasted for 25 years.]

1985 Mar 19 Notes of a meeting held between ACVA and the tobacco industry representatives. Those at the meeting were

ACVA is to "assemble its experiences/findings" on the cause of discomfort with indoor air." under a preliminary contract with the Tobacco Institute. [9]

1985 Mar 20/E Indoor Air Quality - Alternative Strategy
This is either a Bill Klopfer's or Tom Osdene's report after the meeting with ACVA. It signals the beginning of the serious relationship between ACVA/HBI and the tobacco industry.

New Focus:
The central argument ACVA Atlantic Inc. (a firm specializing on indoor air quality) makes is that indoor smoke is merely a symptom of a larger problem; inadequate ventilation.

Inadequate ventilation causes several serious problems including fungus and bacterial contamination. These pollutants often cause illness and discomfort, which are then blamed on cigarette smoke -- a more visible and socially acceptable object of attack. Although banning or restricting smoking may provide some psychological relief, it fails to address the basic cause of indoor pollution nor resolve the physiological impact of non-smoke pollutants.

We should refocus our efforts against smoking restriction legislation and regulation to a general promotion of comprehensive indoor air quality review and improvement. This is analogous to our efforts on the "self-extinguishing" cigarette -- to focus on overall fire prevention and isolate its supporters as anti-smoking.


  1. Mobilize all scientific studies of indoor air quality (e.g., radon, wood stoves, gas stoves, formaldehyde, asbestos, etc.) into a general indictment of the air we breathe indoors. Use a scientific front -- especially some liberal Nader group.
  2. Use this material to fuel PR offensive on poor indoor air quality.
  3. Create a model indoor air quality bill [with] focus on ventilation, filters, inspections, etc. Smoking would not be dealt with directly.
  4. Make presentations to all trade associations on the real indoor air quality issue.
  5. Organize firms like ACVA into a traveling road-show to hawke their wares to government and businesses much like the antis sell their advice to business and government on smoking policies.

To execute this program would require money, staff time and a first-rate PR firm.

They have been fed exactly the information what they wanted to hear -- that indoor air quality improvements can be promoted without reference to cigarette smoking -- and they plan accordingly. [10]

1985 Jul [In the Oct 8 1985 CTR Special Project list]

ACVA Atlantic Inc
Pilot study to assess home air quality
  Approved July 1985 for 3 months -- $13,800


1985 Jul 17 Gray Robertson has prepared a witness statement for the Tobacco Institute detailing his claims about Sick Building Syndrome which the industry now begins promoting as an alternative cause of smoke-induced tiredness and general discomfort in the 'tight buildings' (low ventilation rates) common during and after the Mid-eastern Oil Crisis (which resulted in 'energy conservation measures').

He promotes the idea that the problem stems from bacteria and fungus, and from poorly ventilated and badly maintained buildings -- not from half the occupants smoking. He also throws in radon and other sources of indoor air pollution to grossly exaggerate his case.

In fact both smoking and ventilation problems were inter-related causes of 99% of office discomfort, and 'sick-building syndrome' (a euphemism for legionella) was simply scare tactics. See page 40 of 72. [12]

This bundle of documents focusses on Robertson's ACVA and HBI operations as commissioned by the Tobacco Institute and various cigarette companies. It contains draft articles, clippings, etc.

1985 Jul 17 Gray Robertson's presentation to the Institute of Professional Energy Managers. He says that since 1981 ACVA had worked for the US Government in such areas as the Department of Health and Human Services, Customs and Excise, Coastguard, Federal Reserve Bank, Architect of the Capital, etc.

It also came as a surprise to us when we analysed our data and found:

  • Tobacco smoke was only implicated in (only) approx 5% of the buildings studied.
  • Organic vapors and gases including formaldehyde and radon gas contamination also occurred in less than 5% of the buildings studied.

Generally, if we found a high concentration of tobacco smoke and/or high levels of gases and vapors, these were normally the result of poor, or in some case of virtually negligible, ventilation.

He then implicated dirt in the ventilation system as being the primary cause of problems and got down to selling his company's services. He had now branched out into selling modifications to ventilation ducting to allow his staff regular access to conduct investigations for likely duct contaminants:

The answer is ACVA, the unique Air Conditioning and Ventilation Access System.

  • The ACVA system is effective, simple and economicai. It is based on the ACVA Point. [Inspection access port]
  • The ACVA Point provides the vital access which enables Inspection, Monitoring, and if necessary, Cleaning and Sanitization of the entire air conditioning system.
  • The ACVA Points are placed at strategic locations along the ductwork. The Points can be fitted through false ceilings or walls directly into the ductwork. There is also an ACVA Point which is designed specifically for flexible ducts.
  • A continuous, low cost, monitoring service is now available based on the use of our unique ACVA SAMPLAIRES. A small number of these specially designed monitors are fitted to ACVA points in each building. Once installed a small quantity of the air passing through that section of ductwork is bled off and passed through a filter capsule. Any contaminants, dusts, fibres, microbial spores etc are trapped inside the filter cassette. At a pre-arranged frequency, usually quarterly or every six months, our technicians visit the site and replace the filter cassettes with new ones.

These samples and the filter cassettes are returned to the laboratory for examination, cultivation, analysis and evaluation. A comprehensive report is then prepared describing the tests made, the results obtained and our conclusions and recommendations.


1985 Aug 5 Letter from Donald K Hoel at Shook Hardy & Bacon to Bryan Simpson of INFOTAB

Bryan Simpson runs the international tobacco lobby organisation known as INFOTAB in Brussels.)

During the INFOTAB Board of Directors meeting in Marlow on July 18 and later that day at the dinner meeting with the (Tobacco Advisory Committee) TAC scientists, I mentioned the preliminary project that the ETS Advisory Group (the Whitecoats recruiters)had underway with ACVA Atlantic, Inc. I had mentioned that an affiliate organization was located in the UK and promised to find out more information concerning this.

Mr Robertson advised that the person to contact would be Mr Peter Binnie, 11 Moores Green, Wokingham, Berkshire, phone 0734-787071.

Bryan, I think it might be worthwhile if one of the scientists on the TAC group contact Mr. Binnie to explore the possibilities of some ETS project similar to that which is begining, in pilot stage, in the US. Some of the data and information that this organization may already have in hand might also be of benefit. [14]

[Clearly Binnie had returned to the UK temporarily. He appears to have left the running of the ACVA/HBI operation to Robertson, and returned to the UK fairly regularly - while still retaining a backroom position with the company.]

1985 Aug 7 Gray Robertson send along his quote to the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) to conduct pilot house surveys. This was at the request of William Kornegay at the Tobacco Institute. He would charge $300 per home -- a total of $13,300 for 36 homes in the proposed project. Travel and accomodation adds $1000 for each of three regions. He comments:

For your information, most if not all of this expense could be offset by the sale of the Comprehensive Inspection report to each Home Owner. [15]

1985 Aug 10/E Notes taken at a CTR executive meeting. (Handnote by B&W)

3. Home Ventillation Evaluation, ACVA

Contract is on way to CTR. This is a pilot study. Twelve homes in three areas will be surveyed by ACVA. TI will arrange home selection. The survey is of total air quality measurements -- includes: bacterial, fungi, CO and CO2, air asbestos, formaldehyde, radon if a basement, airborne respirable particles.

The group/committee asked that outside measurements of CO (are taken), when indoor CO taken. Temperature and relative humidity measurements will be made. The group suggested that mobile homes not be included in the pilot study [16]

1985 (From the 1994 Dec 10 Staff Majority Report of the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. [439 Pages])

Healthy Buildings International (HBI) began its relationship with the tobacco industry in 1985. At that time, the company was a small and obscure indoor air firm. In addition to the president and vice president, it had only two technical employees and operated under the name ACVA Atlantic. Over the next nine years, however HBI grew to be an international presence in the indoor air field. This was due in large measure to the patronage of the tobacco industry. [17]

{Also from the case of the US government/Jeff Seckler vs HBI [ACVA] which was a claim made under the False Claims Act . It says:

[D]uring the mid 1980s HBI began to develop a complex and secret relationship with TI [Tobacco Instiute]. T1 which is funded by the big six tobacco ccmpanies, was concerned with the increasing focus on second-hand smoke and increasing attempts nationwide to ban smoking in public and private buildings.

Unless TI could slow down this developing anti-smoking movement, cigarette smoking might be banned in all buildings. To that end, TI retained HBI to develop an analysis that would show only minor effects of second-hand smoke in office buildings, for which TI agreed to pay HBI.

Once having done such an analysis and having performed building inspections to TI's approval, HBI's President Gray Robertson was thereafter requested by TI to speak about the results of his analysis before local and state authorities that were considering smoking bans. His patented speech -- which was reviewed and approved by Tl and promoted throughout the country by the public relations firm of Fleishman Hillard, Inc., whose fees and expenees were reimbursed by Tl -- whether it be on Good Morning America, or in People Magazine -- was that cigarette smoking was only a minor contributor to indoor air pollution. [18]

[Also in a much later] Final Opinion: USA vs Tobacco companies.

[re: Industry critical of Robertson's methods] Project coordinator Michael Michaelson at Covington & Burling made a similar observation of Robertson's methods in 1985: "In summary, the data generated by the ACVA home study in Boston are deeply flawed and not subject to meaningful interpretation." [1] [19]

1985 Aug 13 Robertson and is now being contracted by the Tobacco Institute to appear at regional ordinance hearings. This is a statement made by Gray Robertson of ACVA Atlantic to the Board of Health, Nassau County, NY.

ACVA Atlantic was incorporated in 1981 to market in the United States the technology that we developed while working in England with Winton Laboratories Company.

[At Winton] we identified bacterial and fungal problems in Libraries, Museums, Schools, Medical Laboratories, Offices and Government Buildings. We developed a reputation as international trouble-shooters and have been called in to investigate numerous "sick buildings" throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and parts of Asia including Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

Our investigations of large buildings include any form of internal pollution of the air. This includes Carbon Dioxide and Monoxide, Organic vapors, Formaldehyde, Asbestos, Fiberglass, Radon Gas, Airborne Particulate Matter, Tobacco Smoke, Allergenic Dusts, Bacteria and Fungi. This experience embraces more than 115 major buildings representing well over 22 Million square feet of space.

In addition to the private sector, we have done considerable work for State and Federal Government Agencies. This includes work for the Department of Health and Human Services Building, Coastguard Building, Customs Building, Supreme Court and Longworth House for the Architect of the Capitol, Federal Reserve Bank, Carroll County Environmental Health Department, Philadelphia Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Portsmouth Naval Hospital etc. etc.

He then claims that only 4 percent of buildings had a tobacco smoke problem (none to dangerous levels), while 74% suffered from fungal contamination (27% at a level dangerous to health), and 70% with bacterial contamination (25% at a level dangerous to health).

On repeated occasions we have isolated allergenic microbes in these systems producing headaches, sore eyes, coughs, rhinitis, hypersensitive pneumonitis etc.

Usually we have totally eliminated these complaints or drastically reduced them by eliminating the microbes concerned. In virtually every single case so far the focus of the suffering employees prior to our involvement had been on inadequate ventilation, stuffiness, tobacco smoke, outside air fumes induced into the building etc. etc., the real problem was rarely considered.

Undeniably, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke and formaldehyde, if allowed to concentrate in the environment, cause staff complaints. However, in our experience the presence of these contaminants is an effect rather than the cause of the problem. It is an interesting observation that we have never found tobacco smoke to be the sole problem , rather its presence in any quantities in the inside air is usually an indicator of other problems. [20]

1985 Sep 4 A letter to [Peter Sparber] [the chief Issues Manager at the Tobacco Institute] from Bill Sklar and Paul Johnson [of A-K Associates -- the TI's PR firm in Sacremento & Washington DC] following a meeting where the services of ACVA were being promoted. They want to invite ACVA to work in their area.

  This is to offer follow-up ideas on our meeting of last week concerning the possibility of having ACVA offer indoor air pollution diagnostic service on a showcase basis in several dozen communities nationwide.

We discussed the concept of finding a third (fourth?) party to accept TI funds, pass them through to ACVA and announce the availability of ACVA's free or subsidized sample survey to local governments nationally. We said that communities under 50,000 population (the National Assoc. of Towns and Townships membership) would be too small, considering our goals (too little bang for the buck).

Our targets are probably local elected officials in mid-sized communities who are or are likely in the near future to be considering public smoking restrictions. They predict there could be some problems, and make some suggestions.

  • ACVA itself ... Raises the questions, "Where did the money come from?" and "Isn't your survey therefore biased?"
  • Corporation. ... A company with a vested interest in construction, retrofitting, or indoor air filtration or testing might be a good prospect for being the intermediary party (or TI partner). The downside is that fingers will be pointed at them for "trying to make an issue where none exists" -- i.e., trying to create a market for their equipment. But ACVA's scientific evidence of contamination, infestation, etc., would still carry a lot of impact.
  • An independent publication -- ie, a magazine or journal, either for profit or not, that is not affiliated with any of the above categories but which is read and respected by our primary target audience (elected local government officials).

Such an independent organ would have no bias regarding smoking; it would have instant recognition among the municipal officials we are trying to reach; it already exists as a regular news outlet for our target group; it would welcome the opportunity to offer groundbreaking survey news to its readers; and because it has a narrow audience, the major national media would have no problems pubiicizing the results as hard news.

[A handwritten marginal note suggests "Legislation Policy" as the magazine. This was a lobby-tool run by Paul G Dietrich of the National Center for Legislative Review (NCLR), then used by the Tobacco Institute. He later took over and ran the nation-wide popular magazine, the Saturday Review for them when Philip Morris bought it as a propaganda organ.] [21]

1985 Sep 17 Gray Robertson was now doing media tours for the Tobacco Institute. Fleishman Hillard staff advise Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute about the "newspaper mats" [sic].

[Newspaper mattes are fully prepared ready-to-print, high-quality article proofs which low-cost local newspapers can use without typesetting or correction.]

Attached are the ACVA newspaper mats in their final form (with one minor edit, as noted). They will go out ASAP to all the markets Gray [Robertson] already has covered to date; subsequently, mailings will hit each market immediately after Gray's visit.

We are mailing to dailies up to 100,000 circulation and all weeklies; dailies will get a mat and an 8x10 photo, and weeklies will get a mat and two halftone photo slicks. We will send you a computer printout of the newspapers receiving the materials in each market.

Also enclosed are tapes and excerpts/transcripts from some excellent radio interviews in Chicago and Peoria. They include: WBBM-AM, Chicago (transcript sent to you last week), WMAQ-AM, Chicago, and WMBD-AM, Peoria. You'll notice that the talk-show host at WMAQ was particularly helpful from TI's standpoint.

Attached are copies of some of the mattes:

  • Scientist Diagnoses "Sick Buildings" -- [Where he was exploiting confusion with Legionairre's Disease]

    The issue of "sick buildings' first gained national attention a decade ago, when bacteria growing in the air conditioning system of a Philadelphia hotel caused a fatal epidemic that came to be known as "Legionnaires' Disease." Far from an isolated epidemic, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control estimate that Legionnaires' Disease may strike more than 20,000 Americans every year.

  • Scientist Asks: Is Your Office Making You Sick?

    Asbestos and other dangerous fibers may be circulated as well. "There's no question that dirty air conditioning is a significant health hazard," Robertson says, citing often-fatal Legionnaires' Disease, which first was discovered in the air conditioning system of a Philadelphia hotel in 1976.


1985 Sep 20 The Vice President in charge of Issues Management at the Tobacco Institute, Susan Stuntz , has been getting information on the development of new ASHRAE ventilation standard [This was virtually a global IAQ standards] and the BOCA codes [building operator codes]. She thinks they may be useful to Gray Robertson. [23]

1985 Dec Gray Robertson quote:

"The fact is that environmental tobacco smoke is one of many contributors to the internal pollution complex and it is far from being the most serious one.
Any number of agents may be the cause and without proper testing, the first visible sign -- tobacco smoke -- may be accepting the blame for a far more serious problem."

1985 Dec 4 John Rupp, the tobacco lawyer from Covington & Burling, advises Bill Kloepfer as to the current membership of the Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group (IAPAG) , created by the lawyers along with the Center for Health and Human Toxicology (CEHHT) in the Medical School of Georgetown University. These are the organisations of the original "Whitecoats" (although the term wasn't used for them).

Until now this group of exclusively university academics, had pretended to be a scientific society. It had been operating for a few years providing witness services for the tobacco industry around the world, and it was closely associated with a consortium of science recruiters run by Myron Weinberg (Wienberg Consulting Group). IAPAG also operated a large scientific database for the tobacco industry using the University's mainframe computers.

Gray Robertson has been admitted to the ranks of the Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group (IAPAG) which is a very exclusive club of smoker-deniers from academia, based at Georgetown University. [24]

1985 Dec 13 Gray Robertson at ACVA has now come under the supervisory control of Susan Stuntz , VP in charge of Issues Management at the Tobacco Institute.He is billing the Tobacco Institute for:

  • A charge of $1182.84 for attending the December 5th Covington & Burling's (lawyers) meeting with IAPAG at Georgetown University a few days previously, and for a followup meeting on subsequent days. He charges out at the "agreed rate of $750 per day".
  • $1136.50 for attending another meeting with Howard Rubenstein [Who has been running a plan of action to counter the New York public smoking restriction], and the fourth meeting of Tobacco Companies Executives at the Intercontinental Hotel on December 12th. [25]
    Agenda of the followup meeting [26]

1985 Dec 19 The Tobacco Institute is paying ACVA $2319 for two different invoices issued on the 13th.

[Note: the ACVA's Vendor Number is #011730 (which can be used as a search term in the tobacco archives.] [27]

1986 Jan Reginald B Simmons joined ACVA Atlantic. He claimed in testimony that the company only came into contact with the Tobacco Institute in the Spring of 1986, and only began to work for them at the end of 1986. This proved to be a doctored timeline and personal lie. {From a later court case]

Reginald B. Simmons, an employee of Healthy Buildings International (HBI) started to encourage businesses not to ban smoking but to look for other causes of air pollution. He gave courtroom testimony in which he told how the industry applied the notion of "Sick Building Syndrome" to deflect attention from secondhand smoke. Gray Robertson, owner of HBI, frequently used the term "Sick Building Syndrome," and with the tobacco industry's assistance and funding, widely promoted this "syndrome" throughout the United States to deflect attention from tobacco smoke as a point source of indoor air pollution as cause of illness for people inhabiting buildings. Reginald Simmons worked for HBI in 1986, when the company first started associating with the Tobacco Institute. He noted that HBI experienced a vast increase in workload after that time, hiring and training many more workers to inspect buildings all over the world.

Simmons described the ground rules that were laid down for sampling air in all of the buildings inspected for the Tobacco Institute:

Mr. [Peter] Binnie [Vice President of HBI] had a number of instructions and ground rules for us to follow that applied to all of the buildings we inspected, private and public:

(1) when taking air samples for nicotine tests, we were instructed to take air samples in lobbies and other easily accessible areas where the circulation was best, thus reducing the readings;
(2) if asked, always recommend to clients that any air pollution problem could be solved by better ventilation;
(3) banning or restricting tobacco use or smoking was never to be recommended; and,
(4) every inspection report was to be reviewed and undergo final editing by either Mr. Binnie or Mr. Robertson before it was sent out.

Simmons stated that the results of his reports were altered after he submitted them to his superiors:

Q. Were your reports ever edited or changed after you submitted your reports to Mr. Binnie or Mr. Robertson?

A. It is my understanding that the reports were always edited by Mr. Binnie or Mr. Robertson.
Q. How do you know that your reports were changed after you submitted them to Mr. Binnie or Mr. Robertson?
A. On many occasions involving inspections of both public and private buildings, I would later see the inspection reports in the main files and note that Mr. Binnie or Mr. Robertson had changed the data and the conclusions. For example, when I had recommended a restriction or banning of smoking, Mr. Binnie would edit it out of the final inspection report. It was also a standard practice for Mr. Binnie to reduce the actual results of two significant tests that were done on buildings: (1) the test for airborne particle count ("APC"); and (2) the test for weighing airborne particles ("WAP")...
Q. Are the results of these tests important?
A. Yes. These two tests are critical for providing accurate information about airborne particles in the final inspection reports for buildings.
Q. To your knowledge, did clients ever learn that the results of these tests were reduced?

A. No. The clients, both public and private buildings owners and tenants, were never advised of the alteration of the data.

Simmons testified that the Tobacco Institute and its members sent HBI employees all over the world to perform building inspections, and that money was no object:

...we stayed in the most exclusive and expensive hotels and were told we could have anything and everything we needed. We were provided drivers that took us to each city and took care of all of our personal needs... On weekends, we were allowed to go anywhere we wanted at the expense of Philip Morris. For example, one weekend they took some of us, myself included, to the St. Moritz Resort where we all went skiing; other team members went to Venice and Florence, Italy, for the weekend ... I personally turned in, for my group's two weeks in Scandinavia, approximately $12,500 of expenses for hotels, meals, and miscellaneous purchases. Money was never an issue when working for the Tobacco Institute or its members ... [2]

1986/E The Tobacco Institute's list of research projects on ETS (under the control if its ETS Advisory Group) includes a number of air-testing projects:

1986 Jan 2 ACVA has embarked on a new series of home indoor air quality testing for the Tobacco Institute. They have just completed a pilot program of a dozen homes in the Boston area.

Bill Kloepfer, the VP Public Relation at the Tobacco Institute writes to Jack Shoemaker in Tallahassee FL (Regional Director for Florida) and Bill Trisler (Regional Director for Illinois). Kloepfer is running the pilot program of fake indoor air-quality testing of homes using ACVA:

  • They have tested a dozen homes in Boston
  • They want to do a dozen homes each in Chicago and West Palm (FL)
  • The payments are being laundered through the Council for Indoor Air Research (CIAR)
  • They need to get moving in Chicago and Florida. [30]

1986 Jan 16 Jack Shoemaker, Regional Director at the Tobacco Institute writes to Emory Newell in Florida

The Tobacco Institute has commissioned ACVA Systems to do a pilot study of air quality in homes in various areas of the country. Each home chosen will be inspected in the following areas: internals of the air conditioning systems, if any, and its associated ductwork as well as collect air samples for subsequent test for asbestos, formaldehyde, gases, dusts, and microbial content, etc. You will be welcomed to witness all of the inspection techniques and sampling methods; and within a few weeks of the inspection, you will be furnished with a detailed report of the results of the inspection, including suggestions from ACVA as to how you may remedy any observed air quality deficiencies if you wish. I am writing to ask if you would be interested in being considered as one of the 20 homesites in the West Palm Beach metropolitan area. [31]

Attached to this form letter is a note from Shoemaker to Kloepfer at the Institute.

Just a quick report on the program to try and secure some homes in West Palm Beach for the purpose of making a pilot study on air quality in such homes.

Even though I have a lot of friends in the area, I have not met with any degree of success on this study. Below are some comments from these individuals.

Jack, are you out of your mind?
Hell Jack, my wife and I work. We can't go along with this project we won't let anyone in our house alone. One of us will have to take off work.
What are you going to give me to participate in this program?
Sure, we can do it for $100.
What are you guys trying to prove?
Bill, these are friends talking. I haven't tried to call any folks I don't know, as I don't know what in the world they would say.

He then suggests that they might advertise and offer to pay people to have their homes inspected. [32]

[Shoemaker obviously wasn't very impressed with the idea of shifting ACVA into checking homes, rather than concentrating on businesses. Either that, or his friends had all been burned by previous PR schemes that he'd floated.]

1986 Feb 13 Ogilvy & Mather and the BC&T (Bakery Confectionary & Tobacco Workers International union) are organising a seminar on workplace smoking, which will permit Gray Robertson's air-testing company, ACVA, to give their faked-up results in front of a union and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) audience. Jim Savarese of O&M and the Labor Management Committee is ccd. [33]

[Keith Tarr-Whelan was the husband of Linda Tarr-Whelan, Hillary Clinton's friend and confidante.]

1986 Mar 4-7 A Philip Morris executive (Probably Bill Murray who was presented at the Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Conference) has formulated a Corporate Position Paper which carries elements of the ACVA/HBI approach. It says:

We support scientific inquiries into air quality which examine all elements of quality: ventilation standards, bacteria, fungi, proper maintenance, etc. Our position is that tobacco smoke is only a symptom of an indoor air problem -- a warning signal that something else is awry. We oppose studies, committees, or legislation that use air quality as a front for attacking smoking. Restricting smoking is never an acceptable solution to an indoor air quality problem. This position applies to workplaces, restaurants, airplanes, public transportation, and other facilities open to the public. [34]

1986 Apr 11 This is an internal memo from the Public Relations (Kloepfer) section of the Tobacco Institute to the President (Chilcote) about on-going activities. He says:

ACVA Home Air Analysis:

  • Covington & Burling (C&B) advising Robertson of changes in procedure suggested by ETSAG; (ETS Advisory Group)
  • reminded John Rupp of this 3/24; (Rupp was the key lawyer with C&B)
  • he put Michaelson on the task 4/4.
[Translation: The TI is paying ACVA to do air testing of a number of homes in an attempt to measure the presence of other dangerous chemicals/gases (VOCs and radon). These figures could be used to confound the research into the passive-smoking problem.

Lawyer John Rupp of the Tobacco Institute's law firm Covington & Burling has advised Gray Robertson to make changes to the testing procedure as suggested by the ETS Advisory Group (mainly lawyers).
Wm Kloepfer (Tobacco Institute PR head) reminded John Rupp (of C&B) about this suggestion on 24 March. So, 4 April, Rupp put his associate Michael Michaelson on the job. Note: "Dr" Michaelson (actually only a lawyer) was also the 'coordinator' of the later study on air-quality in New York restaurants later this year.]

1986 May 6 The April Monthly Status Report from Ogilvy & Mather to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. They are working on:

  • Labor Management Committee Conference at Loew's L'Enfant Plaza Hotel (owned by Lorillard)
  • Preparing a "Smoking in the Workplace Kit" (probably for the unions)
  • Locating a suitable building in San Francisco for an "Indoor Air Quality Assessment"
[This was [ater done by ACVA/HBI and used as evidence that anti-smoking measures weren't needed] [36]

1986 Jun 9 Interoffice memo circulated at British-American Tobacco (BAT) re ETS Advisory Group meeting (ETSAG). It discusses 'Home Ventilation Evaluation, by ACVA (from John Rupp)

A second phase pilot study to make biogenic assays of Florida homes is in the planning stages and a protocol for sampling is in preparation. A total budget of $17K has been submitted with $5K proposed for new equipment. This pilot study should be completed by the next meeting. Mr Gray Robertson, President of ACVA, has submitted a draft paper to Mr Rupp [The tobacco lawyer from Covington & Burling] on his experience in public buildings entitled "Ventilation Is The Answer." [37]

1986 Jul This appears to be the start-date for a long series of Scientific Witness Team (SWT) tours by Gray Robertson, Simon Turner, and other staff. These are mainly speaking engagements - usually with the media. A later court document states:<blockquote"As part of the secret relationship and conspiracy, HBI had unlimited access to TI's public relations firm Fleishman Hillard, which services were provided for free, the quid pro guo being HBI's agreement to provide pro-tobacco articles, testimony and inspections . (Robertson TR 44-45 ; 49 ; 50)"[38]

1986 Jul Activities report from PR company Fleishman Hillard:


  • Revised ACVA action plan. Completed initial planning and scheduling for nineteen-market, eight-month ACVA media blitz.
  • Completed all press materials for the ACVA media tour, including B-Roll, press kit, press photos and newspaper mats.
  • Successfully pitched ACVA to first media market (Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver, Colorado). Interviews scheduled with 12 radio, television and newspaper reporters [39]

1986 Jul 7 ACVA (Gray Robertson) is doing a media tour for the Tobacco Institute. It is represented to the media as being done by the company iself. The day-by-day organisation is via Fleishman-Hillard, and so they bill ACVA, and ACVA then bills the Tobacco Institute. Gray Robertson writes on his Invoice:

To the professional services of Fleishman & Hillard rendered in May 1986. (See their invoice attached).

As agreed we will re-imburse F&H directly we recieve payment from you.

Total price now due     ...     $5,085

[Most of the work had been done by Paul Johnson and Karen Doyne.] [40]

1986 Jul 11 Fleishman-Hillard advise the Tobacco Institute:

We are nearing completion of the press kit for the ACVA press tour. The whole package will be ready to go by July 18, for the pitch to begin thereafter. Status of the components is as follows:

  • Press kit cover and ACVA letterhead -- Now in production.
  • Copy -- Ready for production, pending your final approval.
  • B-Roll -- Raw news footage of ACVA team in action has been shot and edited down to seven minutes for distribution on 3/4-inch video; also on the tape is a shorter (one-minute) version, which can be used as is. The shorter piece is awaiting voice-over by Gray Robertson.
  • Stills -- Black-and-whites of Gray Robertson and of the ACVA team in action have been shot and shortly will be printed in quantity; the kit will contain two action shots and the Robertson photo. [41]

1986 Jul 17 Fleishman-Hillard have rescheduled Gray Robertson's media tour because they have recently run the Chase Econometrics tour (Andrew Moody) in some areas and they may face over-exposure.

We met with Gray Robertson on Tuesday, and he agreed that the six-day-per-month, first-and-third-week tour schedule would be workable. He added that he has no particular opinion on the list of markets or the order of the schedule, but that what we had in mind sounded fine. Gray was very pleased with both the videotape and the stills, and plans to do the voice-over for the one-minute video piece early next week. [42]

1986 Aug The Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) and Regional Directors (RDs) of the Tobacco Institute in charge of various areas have supplied comments on their Economic Witnesses and other resources.

Scientific Witness Program
A. Use and Effectiveness
The scientific witness program is the most highly regarded resource available to the field staff.

With the witnesses being used primarily for testifying at legislative and administrative hearings (40) and briefings (22), this program was given the highest effectiveness rating (1.6) of all resources evaluated. Seven RVPs described the program as an extremely valuable resource, perhaps "the most important" one the industry has in opposing public smoking restriction legislation.

The scientific witnesses were especially effective in one-on-one briefings of legislators, according to several RVPs. Such briefings, one pointed out, have several advantages:

  1. A rapport between legislator and witness is established, enhancing the possibility of a more comfortable exchange of views during the hearing # Briefing familiarizes legislator with the issue, improving the chances of "good" questioning of witness during the hearing.
  2. The day-before briefing makes for more efficient use of the likely limited witness time at the hearing.

B. Strengths and Weaknesses
The strong point of this resource is obvious: Well-credentialed, knowledgeable, independent scientists speaking out in a public forum in opposition to inconclusively based claims about adverse health consequences of environmental tobacco smoke.

The key weakness of the program is equally obvious: The Tobacco Institute is the identified funding source for the scientific witnesses. Institute sponsorship trigqers a legislative perception that these witnesses are less objective, less credible than a witness not funded by TI.

Several other weaknesses were identified:

  • The witnesses are not locally recognized experts, frequently causing them to be viewed as "outsiders" or "hired guns.".
  • Witnesses' hearing presentations are sometimes too long and complicated. Limited allocated witness time and legislators' lack of scientific background requires, if possible, a simple, relatively brief statement by the witness.

Although no Regional VP indicated any problem with the current frequency of use of the witnesses, at least five RVPs voiced concern about possible future "over-zealous use" of these scientific witnesses.

More specifically, the concern was that if there is "over-use" or "saturation" -- a point not easily defined -- the witnesses will:

  • Be "branded... industry witnesses," diminishing their credibility and effectiveness;
  • Be subiected to targeted rebuttal by anti-smokers; and
  • Become "gun shy" from the emotionally-based charges leveled at them.

C. Specific Witnesses
Five Regional VPs had specific comments on the various experts. A few weaknesses were noted. However, the witnesses are held in high regard and valued by the field staff. In particular, Nancy Balter [of IAPAG and Georgetown University] and Gray Robertson [of the ACVA/HBI air testing company] were judged to be among the most effective scientific witnesses in the program.

One RVP described Dr Balter as "the best;" noting her presentation and style to be simple, direct and positive, without being offensive. A tendency for her presentation and responses to be "long" was noted by another RVP who considers her an "excellent" witness.

Gray Robertson is viewed as a most useful witness. Not only is he a polished and well-spoken expert, his findinqs effectively communicate the relatively insignificant role of ETS in the overall indoor air quality controversy. His testimony "dilutes" the criticism directed at the other scientific witnesses.

[There is also an appended note on Page 15 on the need to find buildings for Gray Robinson's company to test for indoor air quality -- and then pronounce that smoking has little contribution to the pollution]

The styles of Philip Witorsch and Sorell Schwartz [both of the IAPAG and Georgetown University] were contrasted in an evaluation. Dr. Schwartz is thought of as an effective witness in those situations calling for an aggressive, no-holds-barred witness. Unlike Dr. Witorsch who can successfully rebut an "attack" in a diplomatic fashion, Dr. Schwartz is a bit more free-wheeling in responding to legislative criticism -- a sometimes desirable trait.

Some concern was voiced by an RVP over the effectiveness of Mark Reasor . Dr. Reasor's effectiveness is adversely affected by his inability to "close the sale" in a legislative hearing. Where, for example, Dr. Balter or Dr, Witorsch can readily handle the frequently encountered problem of last-minute cuts in a witness's allotted time, such a situation "freaks out" Dr. Reasor.

D. MD vs. PhD

[Field staff comments were invited on the relative effectiveness of MD and PhD credentials, and on the use of a mixed team (MDs and PhDs) approach to testimony.]

A majority of the RVPs felt that a physician's testimony is received more favorably than that of a witness holding a PhD. Not only is an MD's testimony given from a legislatively "perceived pedestal," legislators are more interested in hearing health issues addressed by doctors, not PhDs. Also, anti-smoking groups usually have a local doctor testifying on the purported health hazards of ETS. Such a witness's testimony is enhanced by the person's local residency and medical credentials.

On the relative advantages of using an MD or PhD, two cautionary observations were made.

  • First, as soon as an MD's funding from the tobacco industry is revealed, that witness loses the "pedestal" advantage.
  • Second, although an MD may enjoy a greater believability, a physician does not always make a better witness. In other words, credentials alone do not determine the effectiveness of a witness.
[They recommend having the scientific witness arrive a day before the hearing for
  1. briefing by the TI's legal counsel
  2. giving one-to-one briefings for legislators
  3. providing publicity operations.
[They also suggest that the Tobacco Institute "Continue to enhance the witnesses' professional reputation and scientific objectivity." [43]

1986 Aug 12 Activities report from Fleishman Hillard: ACVA Tour --Colorado follow-up and Arizona Preview.

Attached is a summary of the interviews conducted during Gray Robertson's Colorado media tour for ACVA, August 4-6. It sounds like Gray is proving to be the hot media commodity we expected him to be. [44]

1986 Aug 15 Fleishman-Hillard (Paul Johnson and Karen Doyne) sending Gray Robertson some material that he might be able to use during his ACVA media tour for the Tobacco Institute.

Radon and Legionnaire's Disease
Attached is a story you may have seen in this morning's Post concerning new data on the threat of radon gas in private homes. It would be useful for you to mention during interviews, as a timely angle. Note in particular that the Environmental Protection Agency is recommending improved ventilation as a radon-reduction method.

Is there any reason we can't extrapolate to relate the findings to larger, public buildings as well as private homes?

At the same time, of course, we should take care to see that radon doesn't become the focus of our story -- and that you don't get dragged into a detailed discussion of the radon controversy. Note that EPA's redon-reduction recommendations also suggest that homeowners stop smoking and not allow others to smoke in their homes ("A Citizen's Guide to Radon," pp. 12-13.) [Their emphasis]

In addition, your surprisingly high estimate of the frequency of Legionnaires' Disease has prompted us to gather some data on outbreaks during the last few years. We are still in the process of putting it together, but as you can see from the attached example in Spokane, this could be very useful as a local angle for some of your interviews .


1986 Aug 18 Invoices and payments made to Fleishman-Hillard, through Gray Robertson's ACVA for organising the ACVA media tour of Colorado and Arizona for the Tobacco Institute.

  • Fleishman-Hillard bill for expenses was $13,979
    [Paid through ACVA Atlantic]
  • F-H professional Services on this project for July were $11,825 [46]

1986 Aug 28 Gray Robertson's media tour has had a clash of dates. They decide to skip Cleveland. [47]

1986 Sep to December: ACVA staff, the lawyers from Covington & Burling, Philip Morris, and RJ Reynolds are working with a Portable Air Sampling System (PASS) on the testing of offices and restaurants in New York City.

July 1, 1986 the Mayor's Committee on Smoking and Health recommended that smoking be restricted in certain indoor public environments within New York City. Subsequently, a bill was proposed to the City Council to the same effect. The committee's recommendations, however, lacked measurements conducted within the environments that could be affected by the bill. In recognition of this deficiency, the Tobacco Institute initiated a project to make such measurements in order to provide the basis for a reasoned response against the proposed bill.

Lawyer "Dr" Michael Michaelson of C&B was the 'coordinator' of the study of New York restaurants and he was using John Carlyle, John Madaris and Reg Simmons of ACVA to do the actual sampling work. This was the first trial of the PASS equipment.] [48]

1986 Oct Gray Robertson was promoting Sick Building Syndrome in an early piece by columnist Paul Lander (and note the Seminar being advertised below) [49]

1986 Oct 31 Fleischman-Hillard PR is proposing to the Tobacco Institute that they should draft a letter for Gray Robertson to send to TV anchor, David Horowitz ("Fight Back") who had asserted that "tobacco smoke is a major source of indoor air pollution." They want to use this opportunity.

How about a letter to Fight Back! from Gray Robertson, praising the program for raising the issue but clarifying the ranking of the various pollutants. On your approval, I will draft such a letter to submit for Gray's signature.


1986 Dec /E Gray Robertson was promoting Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) in an (undated) early piece by columnist Paul Lander. This story manages to introduce two forms of exotic health scare:

  • the first was the suggestion that SBS might cause miscarriages:
  • the second that colds and flu are somehow related to air-conditioning systems rather than viruses.

Robertson said sick buildings make "a colossal contribution to worker absenteeis, 50% of which involves upper respiratory problems. This effects the economy as well as productivity. [51]

[Note: a labor union seminar is being advertised directly below this article.]

1986 Dec /E Budget papers for the year show that ACVA Atlantic was generating $57,235 in revenues from the Tobacco Institute (quite apart from its Philip Morris and other work). [52]

1988 From the 1994 Testimony of Reginald B Simmons. He says:

Another example of control by the'Tobacco Institute and its members over HBI occurred in 1988, when New York City officials were considering anti-smoking legislation. We were instructed to take six or seven HBI technicians to New York to work with the tobacco industry representatives in obtaining approximately 240 studies of restaurants and offices over a 10 day period. The Tobacco Institute supplied all the equipment and scheduled all of the location visits.

They provided each one of us with a James Bond-style black briefcase, which contained air quality testing equipment. We were driven from restaurant to restaurant and office to office. At each location we would enter, we would place our briefcase on the seat (next) to us, The officials running

the study were Guy B. Oldaker, Ph.D, and Michael W. Ogden, Ph.D, from the Research and Development department from RJ Reynolds, and WE Cruse from the Environmental Affairs Research Department of Lorillard. [53]

1988 Jan 22 Brennan Dawson Moran at the Tobacco Institute has sent Randy Thompson Public Issues Manager at RJ Reynolds a list of "the potential players and messages for ETS/IAQ and smoking restrictions." He wants some speakers for a conference/symposium.

  • GRAY ROBERTSON Standard presentation on indoor air quality runs about 30 minutes, including his slide show. A video of this familiar message is included. As I mentioned, two of Mr. Robertson's colleagues have also given this presentation in many different forums and are excellent.
Availability: As you know, ACVA is in heavy demand for legislative appearances, and Robertson is scheduled for one media tour per month in 1988. Again though, with some notice we can redirect time to accommodate. (Note: ACVA was later known as HBI)
  • DR DAVID WEEKS is a practicing physician from Boise, Idaho who travels on media tours for TI as well as other consulting work. Dr. Weeks is a strong speaker, well versed in the specifics of ETS science and indoor air quality. A credible and articulate presentation given in layman's terms.
Availability: Weeks is scheduled for a media tour each month and does some legislative work, but availability should not be a problem.
  • DR. JACK PETERSON, an industrial hygienist from Milwaukee, who conducts media tours for us as well as labor oriented briefings on ETS and indoor air quality. Peterson's forte is really smaller groups — but he would be a strong advocate in larger forums as well.
Availability: Should not be a problem. Peterson is also scheduled on one media tour per month.
  • JOHN FOX, ESQ. is a San Francisco-based management labor lawyer well versed in the case law and practical aspects of smoking in the workplace. Fox is a strong speaker and advocate before audiences of any size, as well as with the media.
Availability:' Fox travels monthly with a TI speaker on media tours. He is most flexible in scheduling.
  • ALAN KATZENSTEIN conducts media tours with a TI speaker regularly. Katzenstein is best with small groups during informal discussions, but could probably be redirected to larger audiences.
Availability: Katzenstein is readily available.
  • DR. LARRY HOLCOMB testifies on the ETS science on behalf of TI regularly. He also addressed the group in Palm Springs last week. Larry is articulate at presenting scientific and technical information in an easy and persuasive way. He's good for all size groups.
Availability: Holcomb is our primary legislative witness, where our field staff relies heavily on his abilities. Thus, he may be busy, but is still a real possibility.
    • VIDEO TAPES: I have enclosed several video tapes which look at the main topics of interest. These are proven, successes with groups of all sizes.
            Also enclosed a tape labeled "Winter Meeting" which provides a look at some media clips of each of the consultants mentioned above, with the exception of Holcomb (he's simply never done any media or video-taped work.)

1988 June The 'Public Smoking Issues' division of the TI, consisting of Jeffrey Ross, John Lyons, and Sharon Ransome report lists:

  • recruiting indoor air quality (ETS/ventilation) scientists.
  • Alan Kassman, a former Philip Morris scientist, has been briefed and will go through media training next month.
  • Jolanda Janczewski of ENV Services has been through media training and will be briefed by scientists and legal counsel next month.
  • They have identified six additional ETS scientist who are now reviewing the scientific literature.
  • testing the effectiveness of ACVA/HBI's advertising campaign and direct mail program. They are investigating the feasibility of broadcast ads.
  • Litigation Program

A more comprehensive time-line with staff allocations gives more details of these activities -- and little doubt of the role the Tobacco Institute played with ACVA, NEMI, Bestype, etc. Such as:

  • PROJECT: Promote ACVA via advertising and direct mail in conjunction with Gray Robertson media tours for remainder of 1988.
  • PROJECT: Continue promotion of NEMl's indoor air quality services through September, 1988. (IAQ Newsletter, NEHI Brochure & Promotional Video or Slide Show)
  • (Jeff Ross) NEMI newsletter/copy clearance.(10/13) NEMI newsletter/approval of layout (11/02) NEMI newsletter/camera ready art (11/04) [NEMI was scheduled to see and clear it only on 25 Sept. The whole operation (including a video/slide show) was controlled by the TI with the help of Ogilvy & Mather]
  • PROJECT: Promote Bestype corporate smoking assistance program. "Obtain Bestype approval of business relationship." (08/19)
  • (Sharon Ransome) Bestype seminars & ads - finalize materials. (10/05) Redirect workplace program to smokers/schedule media tours in selected markets.(10/17) Bestype general direct mail/commence promotion & distribution. (11/01) …etc.
  • PROJECT: John Fox Seminars on Workplace Smoking Legal Issues: "These dates are proposed. Logistical considerations may dictate minor adjustments in the calendar."Raleigh/Durham, Portland Oregon, Cleveland, Seattle
  • (John Lyons) John Fox seminars/report results on second seminar. (10/10) John Fox seminars/conduct third seminar (11/09) John Fox seminars/conduct fourth seminar (12/06) …etc.


1988 Jan 29: A meeting of the ETS Advisory Group of the UK's Tobacco Advisory Council has been addressed by an RJ Reynolds executive and reported by Sharon Boyse, the Issues Manager of BATCo.

RJR elaborated on the Centre for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) being set up by the US Tobacco industry. Apparently a suitable head has been identified for the Centre and it is hoped to open on 1st February.

The approximate funding figure for research (after running costs etc.) was expected to be $5 million. It was noted that the CIAR would try to broaden the issue by focusing not simply on ETS. The aim would apparently be to keep the unit quite separate from the Tobacco Institute and therefore give it more scientific credibility.

The same document carries a report on Gray Robertson of ACVA who has been used as a spokesman/expert witness by the US tobacco industry. RJR pointed out that ...

although the abilities of Gray Robertson as a presenter are undeniable, this is not the case for his scientific abilities. They felt, in particular, that his methodology could not stand up to scientific scrutiny and that some of his data was questionable. TAC are about to embark upon an indoor air quality program with the European Branch of ACVA, IAQ Diagnostics Ltd.; thee criticism should perhaps be borne in mind. [57]

1988-89 A later courtroom testimony carries this note:

"HBI had an agreement in 1988-1989 with CIAR, a tobacco

industry front, to do false tobacco studies on 585 buildings for $1,500 (ea) (Robertson contends $550 per building). (Robertson TR 75-77)"

"Whether HBI received $877,500 for the one year study (585 X $1,500) or 321,750 (585 X $550), HBI was paid in excess of the cost of the

study. The quid pro quo, HBI agreeing to rig the results and provide pro-tobacco articles, testimony and inspections . (Robertson TR 76-78)"

His testimony about HBI Magazine also says that he outlined an idea of a Newsletter for tobacco lawyers Covington & Burling , then mocked up a glossy magazine, which Philip Morris agreed to fund.

A. I told them it would cost -- I might add a bit, but they said was it feasible to produce something -- maybe every couple of months or quarterly. What did I want? And I wasn't sure yet. And I said, I'm not sure how long I can keep it-going and how much we can produce. I'd have to hire some staff, an editor and secretarial staff, et cetera.

I sat down and estimated it was going to cost me $200,000 a year to do this . And they said, well, what we'd like to do is, if we were to go along with this, do you think it would be possible to try and raise revenues by subscription from the people who buy it. And if we could make it so it would become self-supporting, then great, you can go on with it and everyone would be happy. So I was delighted with that effort.

So, on that basis, we agreed that we would produce the magazine for $200,000 a year, to cover all my salary costs and writing costs, and to supervise the production, et cetera . And they would just pay any production costs in terms of printing or distribution or any graphic art costs. And that's what we agreed.

Q. And the actual cost of bringing it to a printer or having it offset, bonded, stapled and distributed and the mailing and costs -- A. Any costs would be passed through.

Q. Is i t fair to say that you gave an estimate for the total cost of the first year of about $500,000? A. I have no idea what the cost was.

(Most of the copy was written by Gray Robertson and Simon Turner + some by Peter Binnie and editor Nicole Miles) The second year they did it in six languages plus English. Chris Proctor at C&B and Mary Pottorff had a supervisory role. [58]

1989 Feb Whistleblower Reginald B Simmons's later testimony says about HBI:

In 1988 and 1989, the Tobacco Institute or its members sent us throughout the world to perform special inspections for them. In February of 1989, eight HBI employees (including myself) were sent to Switzerland for a period of six weeks (two teams of four employees for three weeks each) to do dozens of inspections under the auspices of the Tobacco Institute and Philip Morris.

The Philip Morris officials in charge of our activities were from Philip Morris Europe, Department of Science and Technology. I still have their business cards and the officials included Dr. Pierre P. Ceschini, Principal Scientist, Dr. Peter Martin, Principal Scientist, and Dr. Helmut Reif, Principal Scientist.

We worked with them in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The final reports for the Switzerland study were edited by Mr. Binney and Mr. Robertson. HBI asserted that ETS was only a minor problem in the buildings we surveyed. In my opinion, this was not an accurate characterisation of what we observed. Contrary to HBl's presentation, some buildings we observed in the study had high levels of environmental tobacco smoke.

On another occasion, my present team was sent to Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway. We were under the direction of Mr. Jo Keise in Norway and a Mr. Carl-Gustav Pettersson (misspelled Peterson) from Nisses Anderson in Sweden. I believe both individuals were associated with the Tobacco Institute and its members.[59]

1989 Nov 19 [Wrong date on document] The Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) was in the process of publicly asserting that second-hand smoke (ETS) was a known carcinogen ("EPA risk assessment").

This is a draft speech script prepared for a media briefing by Dr Don de Bethizy, sentior toxicologist at RJ Reynolds. They have lined up all the industry's favourite scientific touts who are being paid to attack

..."the scientific merit of two EPA draft documents -- the ETS risk assessment and the workplace smoking guide" [which he says] contain many major scientific shortcomings. The time we have today only permits us to scratch the surface.

[In fact they dug out the deepest slime in the pit. Every scientist mentioned here is a long-term tobacco industry science-for-sale entrepreneur or witness for hire.]

Today, you'll hear why

  • Gray Robertson, an internationally regarded expert on indoor air quality, believes the Workplace Smoking Guide is poorly conceived, with conclusions that are ill-considered.
    [Robertson was the owner of ACVA/HBI -- the most corrupt of all the indoor air testing company employed by the tobacco industry. He was one of the industry's main contract lobbyists.]
  • After Gray Robertson, you'll hear from Dr Phil Witorsch, pulmonary physician and a clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center. He will detail the specific reasons he believes the EPA has drawn invalid from evidence concerning the relationship between ETS and respiratory diseases in children.
    [He spent most of his time as a tobacco consultant lobbyist, travelling around the world to provide witness services for the tobacco industry in court cases. He was a founding member of the notorious IAPAG (Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group) which was a 'WhiteCoats' organisation run by tobacco lawyers Covington & Burling.]
  • Dr. John Wesley Clayton, professor emeritus of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona, and former president of the International Congress of Toxicologists, will discuss the available toxicological data on ETS. None of these data appears in the Risk Assessment. And -- more important -- none supports the contention that ETS is a human carcinogen.
    [Clayon had then been receiving CTR grants for 15 years, and in return, on his retirement, he had become a professional witness who worked extensively for the Tobacco Institute (and probably any other industry with the funds). He was handled by lawyers Shook Hardy & Bacon.]
  • Dr Maurice E LeVois, a highly experienced epidemiologist who has designed large studies for the US government will detail some important omissions in the Risk Assessment. As Dr LeVois will point out,the draft arbitrarily omits important epidemiological, dosimetric, medical and statistical evidence that conflicts with the conclusions reached by the EPA.
    [LeVois was, at various times, the partner of Max Layard and also George Carlo -- both notorious science-for-sale entrepreneurs (Carlo also for the cellphone industry). During the 1990s they worked almost full-time for two industries -- tobacco and dioxin/herbicides -- mainly through infiltrating organisations like Veterams Affairs and conducting their fake studies]
  • Dr. Richard L Tweedie, the dean of information and computing sciences at Bond University in Australia, will present the findings of his own analysis of the epidemiologic studies conducted on ETS. And he will discuss some major differences between his conclusions and those reached by the EPA.
    [Tweedie and his girlfriend (also a long-term tobacco tout) Kerry Mengerson were rewarded with an endowed chair at the University of Colorado]
  • Peter N. Lee, a British statistician whose work is frequently cited by the EPA in the Risk Assessment, will explain why the misclassification adjustment made by the EPA is mathematically incorrect.
    [Lee spent his life as a full-time contractor in statistics to the Tobacco Advisory Committee (TAC) of the UK. He was retained to try to find holes in any adverse scientific finding.]
    Dr William J. Butler, a biostatistician, will focus on the EPA's failure to identify or discuss several important confounding factors that could account for most -- if not all -- of the increased risk noted by the EPA.
    [Butler was a contract scientific lobbyist from the company Failure Anaiysis, Inc. Butler and this company worked extensively for the tobacco industry: he was one of their regular witnesses used with State Assembly hearings. He also spoke at Philip Morris's closed McGill Uni. ETS symposium -- which only enrolled paid industry touts.]
  • Dr Joseph L Fleiss, the head of the division of biostatistics at the Columbia University School of Public Health, will discuss a number of considerations that make meta-analyis an invalid basis for drawing conclusions about ETS.
    [A regular Tobacco Institute consultant and speaker used at fake/closed conferences. (McGill Uni.)]
  • Dr. Paul Switzer, a professor of statistics at Stanford University, will focus on a number of statistical uncertainties, inconsistencies and biases that seriously undermine the scientific credibility of the Risk Assessment.
    [Another regular scientific witness who also played a key role in the loaded McGill University ETS Symposium,]
  • Finally, Dr W Gary Flamm, the president of the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology, will talk about serious violations of scientific objectivity contained within the .document. [
    The Society was a front for a group of science-for-sale toxicologist who worked for a range of industries with poisoning and polluting problems. Flamm also lectured at McGill.]


1990 Jan 9 Tom Borelli]]'s planning outline for the year. It is a points list of science corruption activities, It exists in three forms.

  1. The handwritten draft (which suggests that they have HBI do an analysis for the Wall Street Journal) [61]
  2. A 7 page mixed up document [62] {MUST READ}
  3. A 4 page refined list [63]

1990 Jun 12 The Tobacco Institute of Australia conducted preliminary talks with Gray Robertson about opening an Australian branch of his firm (HBI). At week's end, Mr Robertson and his brother (Joe), who resides in Sydney and would manage the branch, had shaken hands on an agreement whereby the TIA would provide seed money and a consulting contract with the firm. In turn the branch ACVA Pacific would work in much the same way it does in the US .. speaking out publicly on the issue of ETS. Type in Bates Number: 506303236

1990-92 Robertson's own testimony was reported as saying that this year ""HBI opened offices (successively 1989-92) in Boston, Australia, Spain, England and Los Angeles with undisclosed tobacco interests' money. (Robertson TR 102-103)"

He maintained that he sold a license to Robbie Robertson in Toronto Canada (c 1990), who was trained by HBI and licensed to operate under their name. Also in 1991-2 HBI opened in Madrid, Spain. Then in 1992-93 another branch opened with David Handley in Redding, England, then Simon Turner opened another in Los Angeles. [64]

1982 Mar Jeff Seckler broke away from HBI and came in dispute with Robertson, then turned whistle-blower. Later testimony says:

"When Seckler went public (in 1992) with the truth about HBI being a shill for the tobacco industry, Robertson ordered the HBI staff to purge the files of HBI of any damaging documents including inspection field notes -- which act, Robertson now calls the "document preservation policy ." (Robertson TR 149; 155)"

In court Robertson stated:A . I certainly don't remember anything in March of 1992. I can tell you that we do have a document retention policy that we have religiously .followed since we started it back in the late eighties, where we routinely throw things out when they reach two or three years old, whatever the policy defines .[}

1993 Dec 28 Philip Morris report on ETS/Accommodation activities uses initials to identify internal staff (handlers) and external contractors (lobbyists).

Philip Morris is creating op-eds on IAQ and risk assessment, which will be distributed to the media (by Tom Hockaday at APCO) under the fake bylines of:

1994 Dec 15Peter Binnie writes to John Madaris (who now works in the office) requesting that he clean out the HBI files.

The annual clean-our of the report files is now overdue. As in the past please discard all re-inspection materials generated prior to October 1991. This includes "Lead in Water", Radon Surveys and Mini-AQI's.[66]

[It has generally been thought that Binnie dropped out of HBI earlier in about 1900, but obviously he still remained with the company behind the scenes. In the mid-1995 years the tobacco industry around the world went on a "Document Retention" splurge, which meant getting rid of any incriminating documents from the files. Fortunately, they were generally incompetent at this.

1995 /E Gray Roberson testimony and some quotations on the faults in the EPA's risk assessment, etc.. [67]

1997 Jun 6Public relations consultant Antonio FC Conde in Sao Paulo, Brazil was arranging to pick up Bruce D Davies (Philip Morris) and John Medaris (HBI Fairfax) from the airport. They are there on a 5 day visit and technical evaluation (June 17-21). They also have a meeting on Ventilation in Airports. Antonio Conde is known to work for Philip Morris and doesn't want to accompany them on their American Embassy visit (obviously no one has made the HBI/PM connection). Madaris is working also with Juan Carlos Bermudez of HBI Iberia. [68]

1997 Aug 7 The PR company of Philip Morris in Brazil has set up an IAQ testing visit for HBI (both USA and Iberia). They are testing the House of Representatives and possibly the Brazilian Central Bank. They are trying to forestall the airport authorities from installing separate rooms for smokers, while the Bank has problems with smoking in the workplace in its 12 buildings. [69]

2004 Oct 20 Don Hoel (SH&B) and Reg Simmons are being grilled in the case of US v Philip Morris before the US District Court for the District of Columbia (by the Department of Justice). They question Hoel about:

  • Sorell Schwartz and IAPAG (he says he doesn't remember) Dealing with Hoel's memory gaps and stalling tactics.
  • Reginald Simmons testimony about ACVA/HBI from page 1199 on.

He began working for ACVA Atlantic (later HBI) in Jan 1986. Ended April 1989. He was a field technician, later a project supervisor. he gets caught out lying about the creation of the HBI/TI linkage which he had claimed to witness (but it happened 6 months before he joined ACVA) [70]


  1. 80406377-6385 at 6385 (US 23476) ;504933703-3707 at 3704 (US 24220). [Source: USA vs Tobacco Industry Final Opinion]
  2. United States Department of Justice Testimony of Reginald B. Simmons Civil Action No. 99-CV-02496 (GK). Undated, but recorded in trial in 2004