John H. Meier

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John H. Meier
Born (1933-09-28) September 28, 1933 (age 85)
Long Island, New York
Nationality United States
Other names Johnny Meier
Known for Adviser to Howard Hughes, Watergate
Website John H. Meier official website

John H. Meier (born September 28, 1933) is an American financier and business consultant now living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is noted for his involvement with Howard Hughes, his behind-the-scenes involvement in events that precipitated President Richard M. Nixon's resignation, and his work in the environment.


John Meier was born in 1933 and raised on Long Island, New York. He worked briefly for the New York Life Insurance Company before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 and sent to the war in Korea. Upon his honorable discharge in 1954, Meier returned to working for New York Life.[1]

In 1959, Meier was hired in the computer division at Hughes Aircraft and two years later transferred to Hughes Dynamics, a Los Angeles-based information management subsidiary of the Hughes Tool Company."[2]

Investigative reporter Gerald Bellett, who was one of the main reporters covering Meier for over 20 years, detailed Meier's background in a book called Age of Secrets. In the book, Bellett claims that during the Watergate hearings, Meier wanted to tell the nation secrets about the Nixon White House, the CIA, and Howard Hughes, but to keep him from telling his secrets, he was persecuted, jailed and forced into exile in Canada.[1]

Meier was the first person to reveal everything from the Hughes Organization, and Robert Maheu's, involvement with the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination, to Thane Cesar 's connection to Jack Hooper.[3]

According to investigate reporter and New York Times bestselling author Jim Hougan, "John Meier's story is really interesting and, I believe, important. I've spent a number of years studying the American cryptocracy and there is no question in my mind that Meier is dead-right when he says that the CIA was running the Hughes empire. So, too, with Intertel. I was the first journalist to write about the firm (in Harper's), and it's apparent to me, as it is to Meier, that its business plan was drawn up in Langley."[4]

The Hughes Organization supplied the CIA with a "magic box", which is a "cover" organization used by a nation's spy apparatus which allows its inhabitants to hide anything they possess or do, regardless of the importance of what is being done or hidden. It is from within this organization that the CIA and its corporate and political friends operate. When John Meier opted out of participating, he became an impediment to its continued existence.[5]

Howard Hughes adviser[edit]

Richard Nixon's brother, Donald Nixon, in his sworn testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee, stated that John Meier was the #2 man in the Hughes Organization.[5] This was at a time that Hughes was the wealthiest man in the world.

Although Robert Maheu, a known Hughes confidante, who admitted he himself had never actually met Hughes, Meier was associated with Howard Hughes for 15 years [2] and was one of the few in the reclusive Hughes's inner circle to have met with him regularly.[5][6][7]

Meier was publicised as someone closely involved in Hughes's business operations and leveraged his connections to the industrialist.[8] One newspaper called Meier one of two "all-powerful aides who ran Howard's Nevada Empire."[9]

During his tenure with the Hughes organization, Meier was involved in a controversial mine acquisition project. At the same time as he was in the employ of Hughes, he was also being paid to represent people who were selling claims to Hughes.[10] In just two years, Meier oversaw the transfer of $20 million to purchase over 2,000 mining claims in California and Nevada – some of which were not even owned by the original sellers.[10]

Meier predicting that the mines would produce silver, gold and other valuable metals,[9] and some of the mines did produce gold.[11] Meier alleged that Hughes was behind some of the controversy in a complex scheme he hatched in order to convince Moe Dalitz to sell the Stardust Casino.[12] Afterwards it was revealed that over $5 million worth of mine claims that should have gone to Hughes had been passed through tax shelters in Switzerland.[13]

Meier released documents to the Playboy Investigators that showed the CIA ordering the Hughes Organization to fund specific political candidates.[5]

In November 1969, Meier resigned from the Hughes organization.[14]

Legal troubles[edit]

As a result of Meier's connection to Watergate, and exposing illicit CIA activities, Meier faced numerous politically motivated legal problems.[4]

In the 1970s, Meier was indicted and arrested for tax evasion, and the mine claims were a source of legal trouble. The Hughes Tool Company, which was no longer under the control of Howard Hughes, was suing him for $8 million and in March 1978 was awarded a judgment of $7.9 million.[13] That summer Meier left for Australia where he was briefly detained, but because he carried with him a diplomatic passport issued by the Kingdom of Tonga – Meier was heavily involved in the financing of infrastructure projects there – the Australian authorities released him. Avoiding return to the United States, he then went to live permanently in Vancouver (Meier had become a Canadian citizen in 1977[15]).[13][16]

Meier was eventually arrested in Canada and despite his appeals, was extradited to the United States in 1979 and charged with fraud and obstruction of justice. At this time Meier claimed to have in his possession the secret Hughes papers, obtained from John Reynolds, that would exonerate him.[17] However, the court deemed that the papers were a forgery.[18] Meier was sentenced to 30 months in prison, of which he served 21 months.

The one and only witness used in the case, Robbie Robertson, who was working with the CIA, was later found to not be a credible witness and that he had lied in his testimony against Meier.[4]

Canadian Politician John Douglas Reynolds stated that Canada gave Meier his landed immigrant status because the Canadian Government knew that Meier was being politically harassed in the United States.[19]

Canadian Politician Kenneth Walter Davidson referred to Meier's legal troubles as the abuse of the political and judicial systems of two great nations.[4]

Former United States Senator Mike Gravel, who in 2006 began a run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, stated that John Meier had been persecuted by agents of the American government and threatened by criminal elements in the U.S. and that Meier is "The Man Who Knew Too Much About Too Many Bad People".[4]


Meier has been connected to the events that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Meier told the President's brother, Donald, that he was sure the Democrats would win the election since they had a lot of information on Richard Nixon's illicit dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released, and that Larry O'Brien had the information.[20] Donald then told his brother that Meier had given the Democrats all the Hughes information that could destroy him, leading to the subsequent Watergate burglary.[21]

Other activities[edit]

Meier became involved in the nuclear disarmament movement,[22] and United States Senator Mike Gravel credited Meier with preventing the spread of nuclear power within the United States.[4] Meier launched a motion picture production company, Meier-Murray Productions, with fellow Hughes consultant Thomas E. Murray, Jr.,[23] which produced two films in the early 1970s.[24]

Further reading[edit]

  • Speaking for the Earth written by John Meier, 1970, The Nevada Environmental Foundation


  1. ^ a b Bellett, Gerald (1995). Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes. Voyageur North America.
  2. ^ a b Barlett, Donald L.; James B. Steele (2004). Howard Hughes: His Life & Madness. W.W Norton and Company. p. 401.
  3. ^ DiEugenio, James; Lisa Pease (2003). The Assassinations. Feral House.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bellett, Gerald (2015). Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes. Las Vegas Free Press.
  5. ^ a b c d "Hughes, Nixon and the CIA: The Watergate Conspiracy Woodward and Bernstein Missed", Playboy, September 1976
  6. ^ "Filming Intimate Howard Hughes", USA Today, October 2, 1998
  7. ^ "Howard Hughes' Private Mr. Clean", Los Angeles Herald Examiner, November 9, 1969
  8. ^ "John Meier the man to see about any of Howard Hughes operations", New York Daily Column, October 1, 1969
  9. ^ a b "Nevada town hides Hughes secret", Columbian (Canada), March 3, 1976
  10. ^ a b Barlett and Steele. Howard Hughes: His Life & Madness. pp. 404–405, 419.
  11. ^ "Hey, John - Howard Hit Gold!", "Las Vegas Sun Scene Magazine", 1975
  12. ^ "Town could boom again", Columbian (Canada), March 4, 1976
  13. ^ a b c Higham, Charles (2004). Howard Hughes: The Secret Life. MacMillan. p. 241.
  14. ^ "John Meier is Unique in my book. He's the only gent I know that ever quit Howard Hughes", Las Vegas Sun, November 6, 1969
  15. ^ Van Fossen, Anthony (2006). "A New Howard Hughes: John Meier, Entrepreneurship, and the International Political Economy of the Bank of the South Pacific (Ivan Molloy and Ron Reavall, eds.)" (PDF). The Eye of the Cyclone Book 2: Governance and Stability in the Pacific. Noosa Heads, Queensland: The University of the Sunshine Coast and Rock Mountain Publishing. 2: 129–162. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  16. ^ Barlett and Steele. Howard Hughes: His Life & Madness. p. 422.
  17. ^ "How I got the Hughes Papers" by John Reynolds, Canadian Review, June 1977
  18. ^ Van Fossen, Anthony (2006). "A New Howard Hughes: John Meier, Entrepreneurship, and the International Political Economy of the Bank of the South Pacific (Ivan Molloy and Ron Reavall, eds.)" (PDF). The Eye of the Cyclone Book 2: Governance and Stability in the Pacific. Noosa Heads, Queensland: The University of the Sunshine Coast and Rock Mountain Publishing. 2: 129–162. Retrieved 2008-02-27. The documents, which were supposed to be the detailed personal and financial records of Hughes and which were entered into court in his civil suit against the Hughes organisation, were considered by the court to include papers forged in Meier's Vancouver home.
  19. ^ "Age of Secrets Book Youtube Video
  20. ^ The Mystery Behind the Break-In, Probe, January–February 1995
  21. ^ Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes written by Gerald Bellett, 1995, Voyageur North America, ISBN 0-921842-42-2
  22. ^ Pollution Big Health Menace, Las Vegas Sun, January 9, 1969
  23. ^ Barlett and Steele. Howard Hughes: His Life & Madness. p. 409.
  24. ^ "Index to Motion Picture Credits: Meier-Murray Productions". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2008-02-27.

External links[edit]