Canadian tells origin of alleged threat list

Shawano Leader/December 18, 2008

A Canadian businessman said he is the man allegedly hired to "take care of" a list of 60 people who the FBI told last month were the targets of an "implied threat."

Robert Cameron, in interviews with WSAW-TV, a Wausau CBS affiliate and CBS News which aired Wednesday night, said he received the list from an associate of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology. Cameron said it was clear that he was being asked to do harm to the people on the list, on which were names of city officials, law enforcement personnel, businesspersons and others.

"Once I got the list, I knew I was in over my head," said Cameron, who also claimed his family was threatened over the incident.

An attorney for SIST called the suggestion that anyone connected with the organization wanted to harm people in Shawano ridiculous, and that no one from SIST has made any threats against anyone. Alan Eisenberg, a lawyer for SIST, claimed Cameron cheated the organization out of money by not providing help with marketing and getting a loan. The allegations remain under investigation by the FBI, and no one has been charged in connection with the probe. However, local authorities acknowledged a "person of interest" had been identified in the case.

Cameron became involved with the group three years ago when he agreed to sell SIST more than $100,000 worth of go-karts for its USA International Raceway in Shawano. He claims he was never paid for those go-karts, so when SIST called him in September for help with a lawsuit involving the racetrack, he saw it as an opportunity to get the money he says he's owed.

Cameron told WSAW that SIST flew him to Shawano twice during the weeks that followed, where he met former SIST board member Kal Gronvall, SIST CEO Naomi Isaacson, and the group's leader, Avraham Cohen. He said they spoke to him often about their "political problems" with community leaders for the past 30 years.

"He started talking about the Mayor of Shawano," Cameron said. "And how the police force and the authorities within Shawano are all out to get them."

Cameron said they discussed having him "take care of their political problems," and the possibility of him loaning them $10 million for their racetrack. But first, he says, he wanted the money he was owed. That's when he claims SIST started wiring large sums of money into his bank account, eventually totaling $175,000.

Cameron said he was faxed a list of those who had been causing them problems, and who the organization wanted Cameron to "take care of." On top of the fax, the words "Red Rum" - murder spelled backwards - were printed, followed by 60 names, with their titles or interactions with SIST.

Cameron said that's when he believed the intention was murder.

"I called him right back, and I just said, 'You want me to kill 60 people? You want me to kill the whole town of Shawano?'" Cameron recalled.

"And so, the conversation persisted, 'Do you have guns,?' 'Yes,' and he could get me guns. And he had a place to buy them and everything," Cameron added. "So, it's ... I knew exactly what the list was for at that time. And that's when I realized that I was in over my head, and I sent this to the authorities right away."

Eisenberg said Cameron's claims are ridiculous.

"What possible motive do SIST people have for harming 60 people," Eisenberg told the Leader Wednesday. "It's so preposterous."

He added: "It's ridiculous, a way of fomenting more discrimination" against the organization. "It's one more way of getting people upset."

Isaacson - in a statement issued Nov. 13, eight days after the FBI informed local residents of the "implied threat" - said she was approached by Cameron. He proposed serving as a promoter for USA International Raceway just outside of Shawano and promised SIST a $10 million loan in exchange for an up-front fee of $175,000.

Eisenberg said Cameron failed to provide those services and SIST requested the funds be returned. Eisenberg said his clients were told by Cameron that he bilked them with the cooperation of city officials and the FBI.

"They were scammed by him big-time," Eisenberg said. "He was supposed to provide marketing services and help them raise $10 million."

Isaacson, in her statement, said the hit-list was created by Shawano leaders in order to create fear and chase SIST out of Shawano. In a news conference last month, Shawano Police Chief Ed Whealon called that idea ludicrous.

Eisenberg emphasized the FBI has not interviewed anyone from SIST.

"Not one person connected with SIST has been questioned by law enforcement," he said.

Cameron told WSAW that days after he revealed to SIST he had been cooperating with law enforcement, his family was threatened.

"Five days after getting the list, a rock went through my business in Canada," Cameron said. "It said, 'red rum,' and it said, '61, 62, and 63,' and it had my wife and my boys on it - names on the rock."

Cameron says his family was put into protective custody while he returned to Shawano, and worked with the FBI to record conversations with a SIST representative.

Eisenberg told WSAW that Cameron's claims about the rock are news to him. "I don't know that a rock went through his window. I don't know what 61, 62, and 63 mean. I don't know what you're talking about," Eisenberg said. "You're the first time I've ever heard any of this."

Cameron said he regrets getting involved with the group, but he's hopeful the people on the list are safe.

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