Carol Line, a former employe of an avant-garde theater built by Fort Worth millionaire Edward Bass, has retracted her claim that she witnessed Bass being bullied and abused by his associate, John Allen.
Line's allegations were cited in articles last month in several newspapers, including The Washington Post, about controversies surrounding a group of ecologists, entrepreneurs and avant-garde actors allegedly led by Allen. In a letter, she admitted that she stole an unspecified sum of money from the Caravan of Dreams Theater in Fort Worth.
"I have never seen John Allen abuse Ed Bass," Line wrote in her letter to The Post and 10 other news organizations. "I took incidents described to me by other people (who claimed they were too frightened to speak publicly) and relayed them as if I had seen them."
Line had denied stealing money from the theater. She is scheduled to stand trial in Fort Worth this summer on a felony theft charge of taking between $750 and $20,000 from the theater.
Line said in a telephone interview that she was not pressured into writing the letter. "It's something I just felt I should correct," she said.
When Line first made her allegations, Allen and Bass called them "complete fabrications." Through a spokesman, they declined to comment on her retraction. The Post article described the plans of the Synergetic Civilization, a group funded mainly by Bass, scion of a Texas oil family, and led by Allen, to colonize the planet Mars. The article said that allegations had been made about Allen bullying and psychologically dominating Bass and others in the group.
In light of the Line letter, The Post reinterviewed other sources who made similar allegations and were quoted in the article. They stood by their initial statements.