Monday, December 18, 2006

Investigation of The Great Lakes Dive Company

GLDC Mystery Object
By James C. Carrion
International Director
The Mutual UFO Network, Inc.
November 1, 2006

Note—In the aftermath of the portentous claims of the so-called “Great Lakes Dive Company” as well as their mysterious disappearance, a few of us (myself included) have been actively involved in the investigation of these declarations as well as “authenticity of the company”; understandably MUFON took an interest in the claims of GLDC and it’s alleged mouthpiece, an individual calling himself “Adam Jimenez”; much of their (MUFON) investigative path paralleled my own; consequently we came up with the same results.

To that end I endorse the following report and applaud the efforts of MUFON, specifically Dave Watson & James Carrion; furthermore, I would like to extend my gratitude to both of them for their hard work, in-depth report and permission to publish it.

Finally, although the investigation is ongoing, based on my own research I can say with confidence that the GLDC and it’s claims can be considered as the “Great UFO Hoax of 2006!”-FW

See Part II

- Part I -
James Carrion     The recent statement by the “Great Lakes Dive Company” (GLDC) that they had found the USAF F-89C “Scorpion” that disappeared November 23, 1953 over Lake Superior while in pursuit of a UFO has created quite a stir of excitement within the UFO community. The claim was especially intriguing when GLDC added the statement that a “mystery object” had also been found just over 200 feet away from the aircraft on the bottom of the lake.

MUFON’s in-depth investigation of this case began with attempting to answer the basic questions. Is GLDC a valid company? Who are the principals of the company? What is their corporate history? Since GLDC claimed to be a Michigan-based organization, our inquiry began with a telephone call to the Michigan Division of Corporations, which did not have any record of a company under the name of “great Lakes Dive Company.”

When GLDC’s spokesperson, Adam Jimenez was questioned about this, he replied in an e-mail sent September 19, 2006:

“GLDC is in the process of switching from an incorporated company to an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) organization. We began as just a group of divers who would get together with our sonar equipment and sweep locations in the Great Lakes. As it became apparent that we would need to develop a business entity to interact with museums, obtain grants, etc.; we formed a company early on. Once the group downsized and became more focused with regard to who was involved, the main group members decided to form GLDC, LLC to better manage the direction of the company. This entity is still pending, and not yet available to public records. “

However, in an earlier e-mail sent on Sept. 6th, 2006 to MUFON investigator, David Watson, Mr. Jimenez contradicted his later statement by writing:

“Incidentally our company name is ‘Great Lakes Dive Company’ (not inc). We are technically an LLC (just for accuracy sake). We are in the process of putting together a ‘formal’ office, and I will give the mailing address when available.”

Mr. Jimenez also refused to reveal who the principals of the company were, the company’s operating structure, the number and type of marine vessel(s) used in their search, or any information on the technical equipment at their disposal, citing recent security threats made against them. When asked about the nature of those threats, Mr. Jimenez replied:

“Threats were made regarding the ‘salvage of the object, essentially ‘tell us where it is or else . . ..’ The individuals represented themselves as producers for the Discovery Channel. We made a few calls, found out that the group was fraudulent, and told them that we were no longer interested in any future dealings with them . . . that’s when the threats started. As a security precaution, we changed all phone numbers associated with GLDC, and have not included any company or personal information (like background info on the team) in any interviews. Until this situation (returning to the object) is resolved, we will not be providing any information on the project or the team.”

MUFON later learned that Mr. Jimenez had provided a cell phone number to various filmmakers and researchers, but switched to a new cell phone number soon after the threats were made. When MUFON tried to trace either of the phone numbers through Intellius.com both phone numbers proved to be untraceable.

Since trying to confirm GLDC’s corporate identity led to a dead-end, MUFON then attempted to corroborate some of the other claims made by GLDC. Mr. Jimenez claimed that GLDC was founded in 2001 for the purpose of shipwreck exploration and discovery with the goal of “solving the enduring mysteries of lost vessels in the Great Lakes.” In addition to the F-89 find, GLDC claimed they were searching for the French minesweepers, Cerisoles and Inkermann, and they were interested in filming in high definition on the wreck of the Gunilda, (which rests in Canadian waters in northwestern Lake Superior).

Mr. Jimenez was quoted in an August 29th, 2006 article in the American Chronicle:

“2006 began as an ambitious project season for us, we were looking foreword to further work at the F-89 site,” said Jimenez. He added, “then we received some bad news. The Canadian government refused to allow us to use our ROV (remotely operated vehicle) at the wreck site without first providing them the GPS coordinates of the site and allow either a coast guard escort or a government official to accompany the expedition. We were stuck. We don’t want to give up the site (especially because of the object and it’s potentially huge significance) but we needed to stay on the good side of the Canadians due to our Gunilda project, which involves a lot of other contributors.”

MUFON contacted the Ontario Ministry of Culture, and spoke with Mr. Michael Johnson, manager of the Ministry’s Heritage Operations Unit, whose office issues work permits for survey or exploration work in Lake Superior. Mr. Johnson told MUFON that no one had requested a permit for exploring or surveying either the F-89 jet or the “mystery object,” nor had his office received any related correspondence. Mr. Johnson further stated that the Ministry would not require a coast guard vessel or government official to accompany any expedition, but would allow the licensee to work under his own cognizance. He added that the wreck’s GPS coordinates did not have to be provided up front, as long as they were included in a “final survey report.”

On the radio program Coast To Coast with George Noory, Linda Moulton Howe played an interview she recorded with Adam Jimenez wherein he stated that “Canada automatically claims ownership of any wrecks in Canadian territorial waters.” However, “Mr. Putt” from the “Ontario Receiver of Wrecks” told MUFON that the original owner of the wreck (ship, aircraft, etc.) maintains ownership and would have to grant permission to salvage the wreck site. Therefore, the F-89 would still be considered U.S. Air Force property. Mr. Putt elaborated by saying “if the wreck’s owner is not known, which would be the case for the ‘mystery object,’ then the Ontarian Provincial Government would become the custodian for a year, and if the original owner could not be found, then the Ontario Receiver of Wrecks could sell it to the salvor or to the public.”

In the same Coast To Coast interview, Linda Moulton Howe stated that Adam Jimenez graduated in 1990 from Kettering Technical School (run by General Motors) with a degree in computer engineering. MUFON contacted the registrar’s office at Kettering University (which had changed it’s name in 1998), and Becky Ibbotson, the registrar assistant, told me that no one named “Adam Jimenez” had ever attended Kettering.

Giving GLDC the benefit of the doubt, MUFON posted messages to the public message boards on Scubaboard.com asking if anyone from Ontario’s dive community knew GLDC or any of the exploration work they had performed prior to 2006. After hundreds of viewings, no one could provide any information to shed light on GLDC’s claims.

MUFON also contacted Tom Farnquist, CEO of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, whose organization has been actively searching for the French Minesweepers Cerisoles and Inkermann. Mr. Farnquist had heard of GLDC’s F-89 claims from a local newspaper article, but had not heard of any of their other exploration work. The Soo Evening News wrote an article on GLDC’s claims, and mistakenly attributed the F-89 find to the “Great Lakes Dive Company of Rockford Michigan.” MUFON verified with the Rockford company owner that his company had no connection with GLDC.

MUFON sent copies of GLDC’s F-89 side-scan sonar images to “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute” in Massachusetts, and a Woods Hole scientist, who wishes to remain anonymous, offered his professional opinion that they do not appear to be side-scan sonar images, but rather photographs which are altered using computer software to look like side-scan sonar images. MUFON also contacted a professor at “Michigan Tech University,” who also wishes to remain anonymous, who stated although the GLDC images looked to him like genuine side-scan sonar images, they could have been fabricated by a dedicated person.

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