Interview – Lazar in Los Alamos
The following is the transcript of a recorded telephone interview that took place on May 25, 1996, between Mark Farmer (MF) and an individual who knew Robert Lazar when he was at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The interview was recorded with the knowledge and consent of both parties. The individual being interviewed by Mr. Farmer has requested his name not be publicly disclosed in this transcript, so his name and any other identifying references have been removed..
MF: I got your name through — okay, we’re going there. As I was stating in my message there, doing a little follow-up on Bob Lazar, and I got through some sources that he had — you and he had known each other back when he was in Los Alamos. Correct?
MF: Okay. Do you — what was he — was he working for …
A: Before you go any further, who were the sources that you spoke to?
MF: Okay. I got your name through Mr. Tom Mahood, who did some background investigation for the Lazar timeline. Have you heard of that?
MF: He put together — George Knapp is a journalist in Las Vegas who put out the original story that Lazar — you know, had been Mr. Goodwrench on the flying saucers?
MF: And, we’ve — Knapp had stated that he wasn’t able to find anything about — about Lazar’s past. Well, Mahood is an ex-civil engineer and an associate of mine, real straight-forward guy. He just decided to take it upon himself to start going looking through records and stuff. Well, he showed up in Los Alamos with his wife year before last, started asking some questions and whatnot, and he came across your name from some other people who I don’t quite know. But …
A: I talked to a couple of people, and I can’t remember their names. Stan Friedman was one of them, but I can’t recall the other people that tracked me down, so I was just curious.
MF: Yeah. [Indisc.]. Actually it may have came through — to Tom from Stan Friedman ’cause I know they have corresponded. But, I would think that would be the extent of where your name has gone around. I’m just trying to find out whether or not — do you know — was Mr. Lazar working for anybody at the lab at that time?
A: Yeah. He — he did work for the lab for a while.
MF: Was he working for Kirk Mayer?
A: That kind of rings a bell, but he was — that he was a contractor.
MF: Okay. And, was he a physicist?
A: He claimed to be. I don’t believe he was.
MF: Okay. So, he — that — that was unknown then, we can say. You didn’t know either …
A: He claimed he had a degree from either Cal Tech or MIT or something like that, but I don’t think that that was ever substantiated that he had a degree.
MF: How did you meet him, sir?
A: Well, I used to be a real gear head, and he came into town. He had this jet powered Honda, so naturally, I started talking to him, and we had — we became friends from there.
MF: Did you ever visit him at his photo shop or anything like that?
A: Oh, very often.
MF: Okay. Was the — so you met — I imagine that you knew his first wife, Carol.
MF: What was the — what was the atmosphere around there? Was it — was it professional? Was there lots of people hanging out there, or do you remember?
A: The atmosphere, as far as being professional, I would say it was — you know, it wasn’t unprofessional. It was just a small shop, you know. I was generally one of the only people that came around there. They didn’t have a lot of friends.
MF: Did — did — is the story that I have receivedthat he solicited you for some financial support for his jet car?
A: Yeah. That — that wasn’t the Honda. That was for a J-79 jet dragster.
MF: That’s the one he has now?
MF: Okay. And, — and you helped him?
MF: And, did he ever pay you back?
A: Well, that’s — that’s kind of a strange story. Yes, I got paid — I was repaid about a year ago, and it was at the height of all of this that — where people were calling me, and it — I was told that he had a big movie deal going on, and people were starting to dig into his past and find out whether he was on the level or not. And, after I had talked to several of these people, a check showed up in the mail not too much longer after the last guy I talked to, so apparently I think he was a little bit nervous about me speaking with those folks.
MF: Was — was the check drawn on his account, or was it a cashier’s check?
A: It was a cashier’s check.
MF: Okay. ‘Cause I’ve heard that a Mr. Bigelow, with the Bigelow Tea family may have supported him on that one.
A: Yeah. It was a cashier’s check.
MF: Okay. What was — what was the nature of your relationship? Was it that friendly kind of man on man talk about gear and jets and stuff like that?
A: Yeah. Yeah. That’s about the size of it. Yeah.
MF: And, did you find him — as far as his knowledge of what you spoke about to be credible?
A: Yeah. You know, Bob’s not a stupid person. He’s — he’s very intelligent. He’s also very clever and kind of a little bit of a con man, I guess you’d say. He’s always got something going, but he is very intelligent.
MF: Did he ever — I mean was there any — any circumstances or anything that he ever told you up to a point before he — he got money from you that led you to believe that he was — well, not on the level with you?
A: Right after I loaned him the money, he had also — him and Carol, his ex — his wife, had claimed that they had bought a bordello in Nevada, okay, and that they were operating this bordello going back and forth, had a madam running it for them, and they would sell T-shirts and things with the bordello’s name here in the — in the shop in Los Alamos. And, I did a little checking on that, and I found out that there was no business registered under that name. And so, that’s when I started to figure out a lot of the things he was telling me, at least about his personal life and business dealings, was untrue, but technically, he seemed to be fairly sharp.
MF: Did he ever talk about UFOs with you?
A: No, he didn’t.
MF: Okay, so that — that was never part of the — the — the talks. Did he ever talk about exotic technologies or …
A: Oh, yeah.
A: Quite a bit.
MF: Would they be like talking, like I read this interesting story on this, or did you see on TV, or were they things that he had worked with? Did you …
A: He — it was always seemed to be something he claimed he had worked with or invented or done.
MF: But — but, was there ever any — was there any hardware
to back it up?
A: No, not really. He was always building little electronics gadgets and things like that. Naturally he built the jet. He was a relatively good welder, so as far as I said — as far as technical stuff goes, he — he could back that up.
MF: That certainly seems to go with what I [indisc.] I’ve heard about him about being technically minded and at least in a hardware sense being adept.
A: Yeah. I would — I would certainly consider him to be more of a technician than a physicist.
MF: Okay. So, you — there was never — what — what is your background, as much as you would like to tell me as far as what you do and your schooling.
A: I’m — I’m a technician. I’ve had a few years of college, and I’m journeyman machinist by trade.
MF: Okay. What was the amount of money that he borrowed from you for the car?
A: $2,000 as I recall.
A: And, he was supposed to pay me $500 in interest.
MF: And, the entire $2,500 was paid?
MF: But, how many years late?
A: Oh, five.
A: You know there was actually — I told him, you know, I wasn’t able to give him that money for very long, and we had set up a deal that if — if he was late, he would pay a substantial penalty in interest of ten percent for every six months it was late. And, that was never paid. It was just the straight $500. But, I was glad to get that back.
MF: Was there any contact after he left Los Alamos with
A: None whatsoever.
MF: Okay. So, he just — he up and left and that was it?
A: Yeah. Oh, wait a minute. I did get a hold of him. I tracked him down, and I did get a hold of him by phone. And, I reminded him that he owed me money, and he — he said okay, basically check’s in the mail, and never heard from him again. He changed his phone number and — and things like that, so …
MF: And, this is when he moved to Las Vegas from Los Alamos then?
A: Yeah, and he had declared bankruptcy. He skipped out on all his debts in town. He owed probably about $60,000 to Los Alamos National Bank for the photo processing equipment. He just skipped out on that.
MF: So, it was a matter of here one day and gone another?
A: Yeah. He was gone within — I mean it was overnight.
MF: Did your — the nature of your relationship change once you gave him money?
A: No. Not really.
MF: You — you still hung out together, talked about gear and stuff like that?
MF: How old are you, sir?
MF: Okay. So you’re — I’m — I’m thirty-three, too, so — so you’re — roughly let’s see, Lazar is in his late thirties now, I guess.
MF: So, what was the circumstances on which you met? Was it in any professional capacity with the lab or anything like that or just happened to meet up? Is Los Alamos a small town?
A: Very small town. I saw that car, and I made it a point to go look at it.
MF: How did the — how did the request for money come about?
A: Oh, it — actually it was just a friendly conversation, and he said that he was looking at buying this jet car, and he was — couldn’t come up with all the money. And, he was looking for some people to — to go in on it with him, and — and what it was gonna look like was for that money I’d end up pit crewing and going to races and things like that, which never really materialized. Sort of a piece of the action plus — plus the money and all?
MF: There’s been an interesting two interviews that have surfaced recently, and we don’t quite know where they’ve come from. They showed up to another investigator in a computer disk coming from the Bay area with no return address, and in it are two interviews conducted by a woman that were supposedly done in November 1992, and she was working for a major magazine. And, the story was killed after Lazar’s credibility started coming to, you know, to the forefront. Were you ever approached by a woman back in 1992 to do an interview?
A: Don’t recall it.
MF: Okay, one of them has a man named Dick. His name has been changed to — to keep him — keep his name unknown, and he is a technician that works out at the lab and had — you know, was friends with Bob, talked about interesting things, and never flying saucers or stuff like that, but he would go to the photo lab. And, he said there’s lots of teenage people hanging out there and that Bob had an Uzi at the — at the photo shop. Do you remember?
A: That was an Uzi carbine, yeah.
MF: Okay, so that — that was there. And, then there was another girl. Her name is Cindy. It’s been changed. She said she was fourteen at the time, and Bob had approached her for — well telling her basically she could make money in prostitution and that Carol had — had, you know, kind of passively approved this. Do you remember any sort of circumstances where they were both there and talking to young girls or young men?
A: Well, they — they mainly hired young girls to work in the photo shop.
MF: Okay. Did you ever get any uneasy feeling about that or was it just like, you know, a lot of employers hire young people to help out?
A: Yeah, it just seemed like an employee relationship, though.
MF: There was never anything to make you feel strange about any of the things that were talked about or any of that?
MF: I would be willing to send you a copy of these interviews if you’d like just for your …
A: Yeah. I wouldn’t mind having them to look them over.
MF: Sure. What’s your — what’s your address?
A: [Address deleted]
MF: I’ll let you read those, and then I’ll give you a call back in couple weeks and see if that — if there was anything in there that jingles any memories that you have.
MF: And, like I said I would use our interview here with no attribution to your name or anything to make other people come and approach you.
A: Okay. I’d — yeah, I’d appreciate that. Where — where are you at right now? I mean is this pretty much just — just discrediting him, saying, look this is a hoax [indisc.] gonna deal with it anymore?
MF: Well, I — I mean personally, I — I have — I mean I keep running into the story, and it’s somewhat of an impediment to any sort of serious research in the field because everybody gets stuck at the Lazar story.
MF: Okay, it’s – it’s an interesting story and part of the mythology, and unproven, because there’s no tangible physical evidence or any corroborating evidence, though it does have some links to other stories that come out that he may have heard either through the prostitutes that he knew or from other people of — maybe Los Alamos labs or maybe people that worked at the nuclear test site in Nevada. But, the credibility of himself personally is starting to unravel in a very public way now.
A: Yeah. Well, he — he was bounced out of the lab because he was using government equipment quite extensively to work on his cars, so …
MF: That was — that was the reason he lost his job?
A: They found out about that and said, we’d like you to leave, and that’s when he opened up the photo shop.
MF: Okay. Were there any other people you think that would talk to me about this that you knew were also friends with Mr. Lazar?
A: There’s a guy up here; his name is Joe Vanenetti.
MF: Joe — what — how do you spell the last name?
A: And, I do not know if he’s still in Los Alamos.
A: But, I think Bob even lived over there for a while, and I know of the friends he had up here, I think they were the closest.
MF: I’ll — I’ll do a computer search and see if he’s there, one of the things. What I’m doing is I’m compiling all this. I’ve got three different magazines that are interested, and I’ll probably also be publishing it as an on-line magazine just as somewhat in the same format that Mr. Mahood did the timeline to show what’s going on here so it’ll be a reference — I mean the — the evidence is to the point now to where the movie deal is over, I believe, from what I heard. But, there’s still major news outlets and documentary crews that are out there still approaching Mr. Lazar for his story, and it’s still being — and some people still find it — find it true, or at least the story is being perpetuated. He doesn’t talk either. He — he will rarely do an interview, but he has a front guy named Gene Huff.
A: Well, I — I actually saw him on — on network television doing some interviewing.
MF: What was you impression?
A: He comes across as believable if you don’t know any better about him I think. You know, he had the whole town over there buffaloed pretty much, you know, that small town — I can’t even remember the name of it, but they’ve got his picture up on the wall in the bar in town, you know as being the great whistle
MF: Oh, the — the town of Rachel?
MF: Out in the middle of Nevada. Yes, they do. They got his picture up on the wall. So, in some ways he’s being venerated as a hero by people who don’t do any serious research into it.
MF: Otherwise, I mean it’s not like I’m going out personally to take him on, but as an investigative journalist, it’s my job to do justice. So, I’m being dispassionate about this and just taking information as I get it and putting it out.
A: Yeah. Well, I’m not trying to — to tell you anything derogatory about him because of, you know, our falling out. It’s just that what I know about him, I know him to be — now, to be disingenuous, and I don’t buy a word of it personally. So.
MF: I appreciate your candor, and I’ll send those out, and then I’ll give you a call for your — in ten days or two weeks, and I thank you very much for giving me a call back.
A: Sir, you were — you were mentioning that you worked with James occasionally?
MF: Yes. I’ve written twice on them, once on the high frequency
[Tape ends midspeech]
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