Outrageous Betrayal by Steven Pressman cited in testimony before United States House of Representatives
|Outrageous Betrayal by Steven Pressman cited in testimony before United States House of Representatives
|Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1996, Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, ISBN 0160473527 , Page 834-835, 104th Congress, 1st Session, 1995.
Testimony before United States House of Representatives, citing book Outrageous Betrayal, 1993, by Steven Pressman for formal information on Werner Erhard, Erhard Seminars Training, Werner Erhard and Associates, and Landmark Education.
Mr. WOLF. Would you describe the "New Age" and the "human potential" movements, and tell us Mr. May's link to these types of organizations?
[The information follows:]
Our investigation disclosed that the human potential movement is dated to the early 1970s and is part of a cultural movement which began in California during that time period. More recently, the human potential movement has been closely identified with the New Age Movement and is actually considered a part of the New Age Movement. This finding is a based on a book titled The Aquarian Conspiracy, by Marilyn Ferguson, published in 1980. This book is said to be the "Bible of the New Age." The FAA Executive School listed this publication as part of its library.
The Aquarian Conspiracy identifies various "psycho technologies" which are techniques and methods used in the New Age Movement to take individuals thorugh four stages of "transformation," and open the individual up to greater consciousness and a new way of thinking. One of hte categories of psycho technologies listed in the book include seminars conducted by human potential organizations. The book specifically references "EST."
Our investigation disclosed that Gregory May and GMA have been affiliated with certain New Age and human potential organizations including the Ramtha School of Enlightenment and "EST." Also, a member of GMA's Board of Directors is referenced in a book about the founder of "EST." The book is entitled, Outrageous Betrayal by Steve Pressman, published in 1993. The book describes this GMA Board member as an early student of the Church of Scientology, another organization which is commonly referred to as part of the human potential movement.
Mr. WOLF. Would you describe "EST" and tell us Gregory May's association with it?
[The information follows.]
EST refers to "Erhard Seminar Training," and was founded by Werner Erhard. EST has gone through various corporate identities and the training is now conducted by an organization known as Landmark Education. The EST organization conducted seminars for individuals and also developed corporate training, first through Werner Erhard and Associates and later through a company known as Transformational Technologies. The individual training is now referred to as The Forum. EST seminars have been widely publicized in the media. Our investigation did not include an in depth examination of EST beyond media reports. We consulted with a New Age Training consultant, however, who was himself an EST graduate. This expert conducted an analysis which drew several parallels between GMA and EST training.
Mr. WOLF. Did Mr. May and his associates employ EST techniques or impart EST principles during the training of FAA employees?
[The information follows:]
A distinguishing feature of GMA training was the use of confrontation by GMA instructors, principally Gregory May, for the ostensible purpose of changing behavior. This was a hallmark technique of EST.
The popular literature about the human potential movement also references certain fundamental principles of that movement which were also found in GMA's training for the FAA. One such principle for example making and keeping "commitments," was emphasized in GMA training. As a result, GMA established rules at the beginning f each class and required strict adherence to those rules. Certain witnesses told the OIG that they had confrontations with Gregory May over refusing to make or keep certain commitments. At the end of GMA's training session, he formed "commitment groups" from those in attendance which were supposed to meet on a regular basis to monitor the participants' progress in making and keeping commitments. These types of groups are a staple of the human potential movement. Our investigation disclosed that FAA conference rooms were used by graduates of GMA's private courses for commitment group meetings. For instance, the former Deputy Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management used her office conference room for such purposes.
Mr. WOLF. For some reason, Mr. May chose Virginia Beach, Virginia as a site for a disproportionate amount of his training. Do you have any idea why Virginia Beach was chosen?
[The information follows:]
The FAA employee who formerly coordinated Executive School logistics on behalf of the Executive School manager told the OIG that she personally selected Virginia Beach, based on a number of factors including its proximity to major airports, being within driving distance of Washington, DC, and the hotel facilities. She claimed to have selected the specific hotel for the following reasons: It was a quiet place for reflection located on the Chesapeake Bay, as opposed to being located on the ocean beaches; it had a health facility and offered a healthy menu; the rooms had microwave ovens; and the price was good.
Prior to moving to Virginia Beach in 1987, GMA's Executive School courses had been conducted in Williamsburg, Virginia. Complaints about the Williamsburg hotel facilities led this employee to explore an alternate site. This employee, who was from Virginia Beach, attended a weekend "Women's Cource" conducted by Gregory May in 1990 under a special tuition payment plan offered to her by GMA because at the time she could not afford the course. This employee also told the OIG that she and Gregory May discussed their mutual interest in the supernatural outside of class at Executive School. She and Gregory May had discussed Ramtha, ghosts, and the late psychic Edgar Cayce. She recalled that Gregory May mentioned the Edgar Cayce Foundation, located in Virginia Beach, to some Executive School classes as being an interesting place to visit.
Mr. WOLF. Much so-called "New Age" training is considered progressive in nature, meaning that one course leads to another in a sequence. To reach a higher and higher state of awareness, one must continue taking courses. Among other things, this can have the effect of tying the customer to a particular trainer for a sustained period of time. Did you see elements of this in the FAA management training provided by Gregory May?
[The information follows:]
Our investigation disclosed that GMA training for the FAA and also the Department took on a progressive character. GMA was first used to provide a small segment of the Executive School curriculum beginning in 1984. Eventually, GMA was asked to provide training for the entire two-week Executive School. Subsequently, the FAA hired GMA to conduct a follow-on course called Executive School II. The FAA and GMA also developed an Executive School III which was delivered by GMA on a trial basis. An Executive School Update was developed for FAA Executives who had attended Executive School before GMA became the contractor. The investigation also disclosed a course delivered on at least three occasions called Introduction to Executive School.
The FAA also hired GMA to deliver a course called Leadership Vision for the FAA. This was also delivered as Leadership Vision I and then a few months later GMA delivered Leadership Vision II to the graduates of Leadership Vision I.
In a May 1992 memorandum to the FAA Human Resource Headquarters, one FAA manager remarked that in comparing notes with his staff about the various GMA training classes, that they were all "starting to sound the same."
We also spoke to a number of witnesses who commented on the relationship between Gregory May and the FAA Human Resources staff. One witness stated that Gregory May was considered "god," and another stated that Gregory May was viewed as the "second coming of Christ" within Human Resources.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. May's training style was described by virtually all participants as "confrontational." In fact, he described it as such in bid proposals. His techniques included shouting and picking out certain individuals to make an example of them.