Former missile base owner arrested in Seattle

Gordon Todd Skinner, owner of the former Atlas-E Missile Base northwest of Wamego and a principal in the LSD drug bust at the base in November of 2000, was arrested in Seattle, WA. Friday, July 19, on a felony theft warrant from Pottawatomie County.

The Pott County warrant was issued July 17, in connection with Skinner’s alleged theft of an audio speaker system value at $120,000 and belong to Audio FX, a Sacramento, CA company owned by Chris Malone, who recently filed a quit claim deed claiming ownership of the missile base property.

Skinner has since been released in lieu of the $10,000 bond, according to Sgt. Gary Nelson of the Seattle Police Department. The speaker system in question has been confiscated as evidence by Seattle authorities, according to Pott county Attorney Barry Wilkerson.

Wilkerson said he will try to have Skinner extradited to face the felony theft charge in Pott County District Court. If Skinner refused to waive extradition, a request for extradition will be made to the office of the governor of Washington through the office of Kansas Governor Bill Graves, a lengthy process, according to Wilkerson.

Prior to the LSD drug bust in November of 2000, Skinner had visited Audio FX at Sacramento four or five times, purchasing about $80,000 worth of equipment, according to Malone. When Skinner called and said he was interested in the $120,000 speaker system, Malone sent two technicians to Wamego to set up the speaker system at the missile base on a demonstration basis. “The guys set them up on a Saturday night,” Malone said. The speakers were for demonstration purposes only and not for sale, but Skinner told the technicians he’d keep them and phoned Malone for approval. “I was kind of nervous about it because I didn’t have any money,” Malone said. “ I told him, ‘Okay, but you’ve got to send me the money right away.” Malone never received any money and he’s been to Wamego several times looking for the speakers, which, along with Skinner, disappeared following the drug bust.

During His trips to Kansas, Malone got to know William Leonard Pickard, the alleged LSD chemist arrested by the DEA in November of 2000, and who remains in Leavenworth Penitentiary awaiting trial. On a recent visit, Pickard revealed to Malone that Skinner, prior to the drug bust, had assigned to him (Pickard) power of attorney over the missile base property. Pickard signed a quit claim deed, transferring ownership of the missile base to Malone, who filed the deed April 16, with the Pottawatomie county Register of Deeds.

This is the second time Wilkerson has filed charges against Skinner in Pottawatomie County. In May of 2001, Wilkerson charged Skinner with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 1999 death of 41-year old Paul Hulebak of Tulsa, OK from a drug overdose at the missile base.

Pott County Magistrate Judge Steven Roth, however, later suppressed the evidence obtained from Skinner and other witnesses in the manslaughter case, ruling that the investigation violated Skinner’s agreement of immunity with the U.S. Department of Justice for providing information and testimony in the LSD drug bust.

Skinner came to Wamego in 1996 for the purported purpose to establishing a spring manufacturing facility at the decommissioned missile base. He refurbished the underground facility, ordering thousands of dollars of materials and services from area contractors and companies, many of whom where never paid and have since been awarded court judgments against Skinner after he failed to answer complaints filed in Pott County District Court.