The Gentle Wind Project (GWP) founded by John and Mary “Moe” Miller sued its critics Judy Garvey and her husband James Bergin apparently hoping to silence the couple, but instead called attention to its practices, finances and leadership.
After two years of litigation it looks like GWP is experiencing something of a meltdown.
When the Ross Institute (RI), which sponsors CultNews, posted a link to the critical Web site GWP began a “war of words” with its perceived enemies through its own Web site.
RI gave GWP a “Flaming Websites” award.
However, John and Mary didn’t think that was funny so they sued RI too. And they also legally threatened and/or sued others including a man in New Zealand for calling GWP a “cult.”
GWP is a controversial “nonprofit” organization that manufactures so-called “healing instruments” in the form of plastic cards and pucks, which they claim, have healing powers.
CultNews reported in 2004 that a Special Investigative Agency in California looked into GWP and announced that its claims were “not supported by any scientific evidence.”
But John and “Moe” say the secret plans for their instruments come from outer space. And how can you disprove that?
Press reports began to pile up about GWP after the lawsuit was filed, which brought growing attention to the group and a continuous stream of interesting court documents. All of this afforded RI enough material to launch a subsection within its database about the group.
This once little known organization had become a news story as more and more interest was garnered through its lawsuit.
Is that the kind of attention what John and “Moe” Miller really wanted?
Instead of silencing their critics the Millers had effectively provided them with a platform to share their story. Meanwhile John and “Moe” were draining their once considerable financial resources on court costs, while simultaneously watching GWP revenues decline due to bad press.
In the new “Information Age” the Internet has seemingly become a nightmare for some groups called “cults” that rely upon the control of information.
Now anyone with Internet access can read what former members have to say about GWP and follow the Miller’s saga in the press through archived articles.
The most recent article about GWP includes information about an apparent liquidation of the group’s assets. Property accumulated by the group in Maine is being sold off to finance its legal fees and court costs.
Meanwhile Garvey/Bergin have received some pro bono help from lawyers interested in defending First Amendment free speech rights.
Again and again withering judicial decisions have come down, which have left the Millers with what appears to be a hopeless legal situation.
RI was dismissed out of the GWP lawsuit some time ago and so was the defendant in New Zealand, various causes of action have also been stripped away and then the whole case was tossed out of federal court.
Did all this discourage or dissuade the Millers?
John and Mary “Moe” refiled their suit in a Maine State court seemingly oblivious to both their legal situation and worsening circumstances.
This month delivered what may be the final blow to GWP and perhaps last significant twist to the story. The Millers have been sued by the Attorney General of Maine.
That’s right, the plaintiffs have become defendants. But unlike the lawsuits they have filed the Millers face very serious litigation.
The Attorney General of Maine has alleged that GWP engaged in no less than 13 violations of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.
In court documents filed this month GWP is accused of lying about medical studies that supposedly proved their instruments worked.
A spokesman for Maine’s top prosecutor told the press, “We’re trying to put them out of business and we want restitution for the people who have been taken.”
Things are getting scary for John and Mary.
It seems that the Millers would have been better off if they had simply ignored their critics and/or laughed off any criticism rather than drawing so much attention to themselves through lawsuits.
It has been said that “pride comes before a fall.” And perhaps purported “cults” and their leaders have more pride and hubris than almost anyone else does.
The Millers once controlled a spiritual empire, but now they may end up broke.
The growing legal storm swirling around the pair is hardly a “gentle wind” and may just blow GWP to bits.
Perhaps the moral of this story is that controversial groups hoping to sue into silence their perceived enemies should consider the consequences carefully before filing such frivolous litigation.
They should consider if they have anything to hide?
And if they can afford the public scrutiny that often accompanies such litigation?
The Millers apparently never gave such things serious consideration.
It seems that John and “Moe” Miller of Maine must now face the consequences for that blunder.
Note: GWP has a new nonprofit spin-off registered in New Hampshire called “Allies for Trauma Relief.” Despite the new name and no mention of GWP at the organization’s Web site, people are still holding the cards called “healing instruments” made by GWP for “relief.”