washingtonpost.com  > Metro > The District
Page 3 of 3  < Back  

Telecom Mogul's Lofty Dreams Plummet

"I had some of them at my home," he said. "I got to enjoy them. I did become somewhat attached to them. . . . But I didn't treat them like my own. They were always listed on the books of the foundation as their property."

The indictment alleges that he concealed more than $450 million in income via offshore tax havens and that he owes the federal government $170 million in income taxes and the District $40 million in income taxes and $250,000 in sales taxes.


A federal judge declined to release Walter C. Anderson, saying he might flee the country.

_____Special Reports_____
International Space Station
Space Exploration

Anderson has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Even as he was earning millions, acquaintances said, he maintained a separate life as a wealthy, middle-aged Tom Swift, who dreamed of having his own space station, a moon base and a fleet of space tugs.

He was part of what author Greg Klerkx calls "the alt-space movement," -- those who advocate a bigger role in space for nongovernmental agencies and a lesser role for NASA.

In 1997, Anderson used $5 million to establish FINDS -- the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space, Klerkx wrote in "Lost In Space," a book about NASA's woes.

Invested in the stock market, the money soon grew to $25 million, Klerkx wrote.

Among other things, it was used to help fund a University of Arizona scientist who was interested in the mining of asteroids. It helped pay for the Colorado-based Mars Society's research station near the North Pole.

And it aided a Vermont scientist who built and successfully tested a miniature prototype spacecraft powered by an energy beam.

In October 2000, at the White Sands (N.M.) Missile Range, the craft set an altitude record: 233 feet.

"He obviously was quite wealthy," said Leik Myrabo, the scientist whose beamed energy experiments were supported by $50,000 of Anderson's money. "That was passed around through that community.

"Here's a guy who was willing to step forward and actually encourage development of space in the private sector," Myrabo said. "He was willing to take the risk"

As for the government's allegations, Tumlinson, whom Anderson made the director of FINDS, said: "I only saw him doing good things for people . . . none of us ever saw that other side. We had no idea."

Staff writers Carol D. Leonnig, Yuki Noguchi and David S. Hilzenrath and researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.


< Back  1 2 3

© 2005 The Washington Post Company