Declaration, November 19, 2011
I, Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, declare the following to be a true and accurate account of events and not intended to deceive.
I am a journalist who is published and writes for the Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas and who also does other free-lance work and other writing projects, working entirely from my home as I am full time caretaker for my son, Arthur, who is completely disabled. I am, myself, legally disabled.
On or around August 25, 2011, I was introduced to Laura, the wife of Alex Montagu, styled the Duke of Manchester, by Raye Smith (DBA Rayelan Allan), for the purpose of writing a book. I had no knowledge of either husband or wife prior to that time. I have known Ms. Smith for a number of years. Ms. Smith told me at the outset the Duke was short of money but could be trusted to ensure I was compensated for my work when the funds became available. I agreed to work on that expectation. This was affirmed by the Duke, who expressed his gratitude.
I was asked to introduce the Duke to Ilene Proctor, http://ileneproctor.com/. I did so. I have worked with Ms. Proctor over the years writing reviews for books and on other projects. The Duke was hoping Ms. Proctor could find a publisher for the book he wanted me to write on his life. I was asked to write the book and began doing interviews of the Duke and Laura and others, suggested by them.
The Duke asked me to take notes whenever we talked, even if I was not formally interviewing him. I generally did so, but the conversations became highly repetitive. I also spent even more time on the phone with his wife, Laura. The conversations were generally about her cats, the Manchester estates and funds which they could not access, and the jewelry, which was not available to them, or on her personal life and prior love interests. Laura began drinking about the time the Duke went to bed and from that point on became increasingly loquacious and incoherent on a regular basis.
Neither of the Montagus expressed interest in anything but their own personal affairs. Since the relationship was professional I accepted this as a matter of course. Taking notes and researching the background of the title and family continued to be my focus as I put up a website for them. This was to be used to refute charges of bigamy leveled against the Duke and to allow him to carry out his stated goal, to do good in the world with the money he would have when the Manchester Trusts were broken and the funds therein were in his possession.
Articles about the scandals attributed to the Duke have come thick and fast over the last months. These articles have reiterated the charges of bigamy, stated as fact he was jailed for fraud in Australia, stealing cars and reselling them, and additional newer stories which, if true, are shocking revelations about his children and family life. These are the three most recent articles, containing these charges.
Court rules O.C. family is blood nobility, Aussie-born Duke denies bigamy in UK, Aussie-born Duke denies bigamy in UK .
At the time I believed the Duke was an honest man who had been badly treated by nearly everyone in his life. Now, the jury is out. The lies which are contained in his recent emails document a willingness to spin and restructure documentable facts.
I began outlining first a book, which I was asked to change to a series of articles. The project on which I was asked to spend my time was then shifted to the sale of video tapes which Manchester had made of Michael Jackson some years before. I have never, to date, seen these tapes and have never had them in my possession.
Over a two month period I wrote copy to produce a sale, which was to be carried out by Ilene Proctor. Working without seeing the material presented significant difficulties, as I was forced to interview the Duke on the content and he is not an able communicator, necessitating repeated and detailed questioning on my part to elicit the required information. It is probable the psychotropic drugs he takes daily, or sometimes the lack of such drugs, was, in part, responsible for this inability to convey information but his admitted dyslexia could also be, in part, responsible. Getting technical details, for instance the length of segments of video, place taken, type of film, and dates proved to be nearly impossible.
Over this period the Duke expressed lavish thanks for the work done and began telling both myself and Raye he considered us to be members of his family. He was verbally effusive and his promises for compensation increased along with such demands as having us live either with him or close enough so he could 'watch over us.' This was rather creepy.
I had persuaded a disbarred attorney, Charles Lincoln, who, none the less, has an earned degree from the University of Chicago. School of Law and a Ph. D. in Anthropology from Harvard, to produce contracts and do research on intellectual property rights sales, promising, after checking with the Duke, he would be paid for work done. The contracts were essential to the sales but the Duke could not afford any outlay of funds for any purpose, telling us he was applying for a job, first at ATT and then at Target or Walmart. When the contract for services for the sale of the Michael Jackson tape were produced he asked us to trust him to ensure we would be paid.
In early October the Duke became agitated and angry with Ilene Proctor and fired her after she began to insist a contract be signed for her, specifically.
In mid-October the Duke again became agitated when his wife, Laura, told him the Michael Jackson tape was lost. He accused her of stealing it and told us he was going to call the police. Laura had left the apartment but was calling both myself and Ray, making accusations of having been abused. Neither of us had heard any sign of this taking place but suggested various places she could go and attempted to find a place where she could stay with friends of ours.
However, it was obvious that if the tapes were missing the only person who could have taken them was Laura.
When the police arrived, I was told by both Raye and the Duke, Raye was on the phone to the Duke. The Duke, who had admitted the police, asked she talk to an officer. While she was on the phone with them there was a knock at the door and the Michael Jackson tape was leaning against the door, according to the Duke, and by what Raye was told by the police then present.
Over the next several days the Duke, again asking me to take notes, told me, providing references, that Laura was a former prostitute who still worked regularly in Las Vegas. He provided details which included the individuals who had broken this news to him. As the Duke went through Laura's possessions, left in the apartment, he reported to me finding papers she had told him he had lost and women's clothing he had never seen, tags still on, which he said had been stolen. He told me Laura was addicted to shop lifting, used multiple social security numbers and alternate identities. These statements were also made separately to Raye. He told me he would send references, which were not forthcoming, but his statements were credible to me because of remarks made by Laura directly to me previously regarding the irrelevancy of shoplifting laws along with her obvious her sense of entitlement and odd stories told regarding her career in Los Angeles.
The sale of the tape was progressing through these events but had stalled through objections made by Laura prior to the disappearance of the tape. Raye then mentioned to me having found a buyer, a major Hollywood producer. That sale also failed because Laura objected to the buyer for reasons which were completely irrational.
The presentation package was complete except for inclusion of stills. Clips also remained to be made. A request document, to be faxed by possible major media buyers, was ready to go out. This protective document had been produced by Lincoln. Raye paid for all the costs and also for the divorce the Duke insisted on filing against his wife as the Duke continuously claimed he had no money.
Raye started a FedEx account so the Duke could send the tapes to her to be processed and the clips and stills produced. All documentation of transport and the source of these funds is in Raye's possession along with emails authorizing the processing to go forward.
When the tapes were received, several days late, because the Duke failed to send them for next day delivery, Raye spent 59 hours and $200 for the purchase of programs to produce the needed clips and stills.
The Duke had no idea of the format in which his own tapes had been made.
During this time Raye paid for the Duke's prescription of psychotropic drugs, again at his request. He told us his psychiatrist was unwilling to work with him unless and until he divorced Laura. He also requested we talk to his psychiatrist, which we attempted to do. Alex told us he had sent a fax giving permission. The receptionist told us it had not been received. The contradictions in his statements, plus evidence of continued irrationality toward the end of this period gave both of us pause.
Up to this point my relations with the Duke were friendly and we talked on the phone, mostly regarding the tapes and what needed to be done, several times a day. He had purchased a used car and decided he would come to meet me as my residence is located in the national forest in California because he wanted to 'get away.' I was reluctant, but agreed to the visit, persuaded by Raye. The Duke wanted me to put up a commercial site for him to produce income from the sale of military supplies, which was what I was to be working on while he was vacationing at my home. He also asked me to set up an email for the url I purchased for him at his request. He told me what his specific dietary needs were and I assured him acceptable food would be available. There was nothing social about the planned visit.
The Duke had told both myself and Raye he had only one for two feet of intestine, and so required soft food which was fairly bland.
Our last conversation took place around October 23rd when he called to tell me he was delayed due to car problems but would be there the next day. He never arrived. Raye then contacted me to say she had received an email from the Duke and he was pulling back on the sale of the tapes.
I then received an email from Laura which resulted in an exchange of emails between us where, as I now felt free to express myself, she obviously resented. Copies of the emails are available and can be obtained by request. These will soon be up on a website.
Neither Raye or myself have ever talked to the Duke again. Of myself and Raye, I was the last to speak to him over the phone. Our intention, when initially discovering he was going forward with the project without paying us, was to file in small claims court for the maximum, which was over the number of hours spent on his project but under what we are owed.
I made one or two attempts to contact the Duke. His numbers were changed.
Calculating the hours spent putting up the website and material for the tape sale I was owed $12,540 for work done. Raye is owed $15,200 on the same Michael Jackson tape project. Additionally, she intended to file for the loans made to the Montagus in a separate motion. I did not charge for the interviews as I will be using them for articles now planned. We deemed this to be the appropriate avenue to obtain compensation for work requested and then not paid.
Both Raye and myself had spent hundreds of hours on the phone with the two of them and deferred other projects, suffering losses at their request and with their knowledge.
Soon, I was receiving hostile and angry emails purportedly from the Duke, and forwarded emails from Charles Lincoln, who forwarded without comment emails from the Duke, filled with slanders and lies about me. These included my having published slanders about the Duke and or Laura. A Google search shows I published nothing about either of them. I never had any materials except interviews, which were for publication and for which the Duke refused to sign any agreement, releasing me from any limitation for their use.
Raye returned the original tape, at her own expense, to Alan Kidd, who the Duke trusted. She felt this step was necessary because she did not want to be accused of having not sent it and Kidd is a known and respectable individual living in San Diego to whom, she understood, the Duke had given a power of attorney. The Duke directly told her Kidd had custody of other tapes, kept in a temperature controlled environment.
From these emails I learned Laura and Alex were contacting my family and business associates, telling slanderous stories about me. The Duke claimed I was a criminal, he positively stated there were active warrants against me, and he had been deputized by the FBI to arrest me on sight and use lethal force to do so while refusing to provide details of any charges. He gave the name of Gregory Coleman, who research showed to be the name of a real FBI agent out of New York, as having authorized the arrest.
The packet of 'research' they had compiled from the internet was completely about a run in I had with an individual who called himself Karl W. B Schwarz in 2004 – 2005 who also slandered and libeled me and who became silent after I published an article titled, “Dumb, Unscrupulous, and Debauched,” on December 26, 2008, about him. Schwarz attempted to harass me again by posting comments about these previous events below an article I had written on a completely unrelated subject.
Schwarz was researched thoroughly by Gina di Miranda in an article titled, “Unfortunate Son,” in 2005. The di Miranda article was completed and published online around 05.Jun.2005.
Harassment by the Duke and Laura continued, if anything increasing, as more people were contacted.
On Thursday, November 17th I contacted the FBI myself asking if they deputize non-governmental individuals for this purpose. I asked as a journalist, providing my name and the paper for which I write. A copy of the email was sent to my editor, W. Leon Smith of the Iconoclast in Texas. The answer was no, they do not deputize.
My next query was to give them the identify of the individuals involved, Alexander, Duke of Manchester and Laura, his wife, with his contact information.
I asked Lincoln why he had not done this himself, instead resending these charges, as forwards, to my friends and business associates, further spreading the slanders. To date, I have received no reasonable answer.
The Duke of Manchester has stated that he calls Raye and claims she does not answer. However, Raye has a Vonage number and a cell phone number. These make a record of all calling numbers. The line makes transcripts of all calls. Neither I or Raye has received a call from the Duke since late October.
To date, Raye is still paying for a ducal storage unit in Michigan, which payment began at Laura's pleadings of poverty.
Those contacted include political figures who were subjects for articles I was writing, law enforcement agencies, other governmental agencies, and potential business contacts as well as friends and family. Threats include having disability payments to my son ended. I have retained counsel for the purpose of suing for slander, libel and other possible torts.
Signed, Sunday, November 20, 2011