- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 21, 2010) — In June, The Post & Email solicited funds for its Legal Defense Fund for a specific research project focusing on details and discrepancies surrounding Obama’s alleged birth in Hawaii. Many of our readers were very generous with their donations, including one who put forth a “matching grant” challenge which was met and even surpassed. With the help of a private donor, The Post & Email was able to fund an investigative journey to Hawaii for an experienced researcher. The results of the investigation follow in the researcher’s own words.
MRS. RONDEAU: How long were you in Hawaii doing this investigation?
RESEARCHER: I was in Honolulu for approximately three days. I arrived in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. My first stop was the State Library to review the Oahu Polk’s Directories to confirm the address history of Stanley, Madelyn and Stanley Ann Dunham and some other persons of interest. I also verified that Barack Obama Sr. appeared in the Polk’s Directory. I looked for the name “Lolo Soetoro,” but I never did find a record of him in the directories I looked at. However, from the passport information that was recently released as a result of the Chris Strunk FOIA request, it appears that Lolo was in Honolulu as early as 1962.
I looked at the Polk’s Directory starting with 1959-1960, which would have been complied in 1959 and published in 1960, and the Dunhams were not in there. They appeared in the following year, 1960-61, and I went through the directories up to 1965-66 when I had a hard stop because the library was closing. The Dunhams appeared to have lived at the birth address for two years and then had at least three different addresses listed in the remaining directories. After Ann returned from Seattle, she is listed in the 1962-1963 directory as Ann Obama and residing at the same address as her parents. In all the subsequent listings, she is listed an Ann Dunham and had the same address as her parents.
I was able to capture images of all of this information. I had previously done some work with another researcher last winter, and I do have confirmation from the University of Washington’s Special Collection Archives that Stanley Ann appeared in the Seattle Polk’s Directory in 1961-62. The Dunhams appeared in the 1959-1960 King County directory which at that point in time, I believe included all of the surrounding area, excluding Seattle. Their address was traced to an apartment located on Mercer Island, which is directly east of Seattle. So everything seemed to be in order in regard to the address history that has been published over the last couple of years.
MRS. RONDEAU: So the Dunhams really did live on Mercer Island, which is part of the state of Washington, and they really did go to Hawaii as has been stated.
RESEARCHER: Yes. The only thing that isn’t clear is the timing of when they actually moved, because it’s very difficult to ascertain other than the year as to when the Polk’s Directories are published.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you know for a fact that when you look at a Polk’s Directory, it was published a year after the information that it contains?
RESEARCHER: Actually, it says that it covers a two-year span. For example, 1960-61 would have been compiled, I believe, in 1960 and published in 1961. But there is no month of publication indicated; it just has the year. I had contacted Polk’s Directory some time ago to find out if there were any historical archives to see if I could determine when the Dunhams moved. I assume it was probably sometime in the summer of 1960 after Ann graduated from high school. It’s too bad I had a hard stop due to the library closing; there is a plethora of other historical information there. They have a microfiche archive of both the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, various high school yearbooks including Punahou High School’s during “the Obama Years” and old phone books. If someone plans to visit Hawaii in the near future, it would be particularly interesting to see what is contained in the yearbooks.
MRS. RONDEAU: What was the next place you visited?
RESEARCHER: The next morning, I went directly to the Department of Health, and my primary objective was to determine whether or not Mr. Obama appeared in the 1960-64 Index. There was another person who had visited Hawaii, I believe in early March, and when that person asked for and reviewed the index data they swore up and down that they looked for Mr. Obama’s name and couldn’t find it. I looked up some other names as well to basically confirm the veracity of the book that I was looking at; ones that I knew had taken place because they had birth announcements within the same time frame as Mr. Obama’s. For example, I looked for and located Norman Asing, who appeared in the same birth announcement as Mr. Obama. I also looked for and located the Nordyke twins, and I randomly looked for a couple of other names just to get a sense of what I was looking at.
In the 1960-1964 birth index, I also looked for any Soetoros and Dunhams, in which I located neither. I also reviewed the 1955-1959 birth index searching for Dunhams, Obamas and Soetoros just in case there was a chance that Mr. Obama appeared in an earlier index as opposed to the 1960-64 index. There were two girls with the surname of Dunham in this directory, but other than that, there were no matches for either Obama or Soetoro.
Now when I was looking at the index, for some reason, I had a senior moment, and I didn’t remember seeing it, but I actually captured an image of the page on which Mr. Obama’s name appears. In regard to the other indexes, I looked at the 1960-65 marriage index by groom and confirmed that Obama Sr. was listed there as a groom and Stanley Ann as the bride to confirm that there was a record that he was married to Stanley Ann. I also wanted to see if there was a record for Ann and Lolo, and I looked at the 1966-1970 groom marriage index, and it wasn’t in there, but I didn’t look for it in the 1960-65 groom marriage index. I also reviewed the bride index for 1960-65, and there were actually two entries in that one for Ann for both marriages. Essentially what they have are marriage indexes that are sorted by bride’s name, and sorted by groom’s name, so you can look them up either way.
Based on that, it was very clear to me that Ann and Lolo were married in 1965, and I think the release of the passport record confirms that they were married in March of 1965.
MRS. RONDEAU: I don’t know if you found it in your research, but the release of Stanley Ann’s passport records shows a date of March 5, 1964 on one application, and March 15, 1965 on another application. Also, two different locations for the marriage were provided.
RESEARCHER: Yes, one was Molokai, and other was Maui, I believe. They are two different islands.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was there anything in the index data you saw that indicated there were two different locations?
RESEARCHER: No, there wasn’t. The only data contained in the marriage index is the name of the bride, the name of the groom and that it occurred within the year range specified on the index cover and the index pages themselves. However, through reasonable deduction, I was able to determine that Lolo and Ann did, in fact, marry in 1965.
MRS. RONDEAU: When you asked to see these materials, was there any difficulty in getting them?
RESEARCHER: No, not at all. When I entered the office, I was quite surprised, because it was very antiquated and it was quite obvious that the offices had not been renovated in many, many years, if ever. There were no cameras in the lobby, which is very small; the square footage of the lobby is probably no more than 300 square feet at most. There are no stairs or anything like that, just an area where people get in line to make their requests, something on the order of a ticket counter. Directly to your right when you walk in the door, there’s a counter where you fill out forms to obtain copies of your Certificate of Live Birth or a death certificate or marriage license on the spot.
The request form for a Certificate of Live Birth, for example, contains, among other things, all of the information that appears on the Certificate of Live Birth. When the COLB is printed, all of the information including the border, department seal (not the raised seal), the form fields and personal data comes from the database. In other words, the form feedstock is completely blank; nothing is preprinted on it.
Anyway, when it was my turn, I went up to one of the service windows which is glass-encased, with a hole to speak to the clerk through and a pass-through for documents directly underneath. The first indexes I asked for were the 1960-64 birth index, the 1960-1965 marriage index, and a death index to explore the possibility that Mr. Obama may have used someone else’s certificate number. I had to print and sign my name and give them my identification, which they kept until I was finished, but I didn’t have to provide any other information aside from my name. Whether or not they made a photocopy of my identification, while I was examining the indexes, I can’t say. They then stamp the log with an old-fashioned date-stamper. I’m not absolutely positive, but it looks as if the last person to have requested to review index data was several weeks prior to my request unless they maintain a sign-in log at each of the service windows. The clerk went to a shelf located behind the counter to search for and locate the indexes I requested and gave them to me via the pass-through. I took the indexes to the counter where you fill out record request forms to examine them and make digital images.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s very interesting. Did you say that you saw the name of “Barack Hussein Obama II”?
RESEARCHER: Yes, I did.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was there anything unusual about the name’s appearance in the list? Did it look just the same as all the other names?
RESEARCHER: It looked just the same. Basically, they use data binders for these indexes. Data binders have a cardboard-like cover with two long prongs that feeds up through the bottom and a retainer to secure the prongs on the top so you can insert whatever thickness you want. All of the books appear to be about the same quality and age, including the 1960-64 birth index. The only variation that I observed was the color of the index cover and all of the indexes’ binders were covered with the content and the years that they spanned. As for the pages themselves, they each contain two pages of computer-generated index data with the computer printout page number and the computer- generated header defining the content and date range.
I made two observations: that there is a person who appears in the index directly above Mr. Obama which was identified as “duplicate;” however, there was only one entry for this birth, not two, as it seemed to suggest in reference to the “duplicate” marker. There was also another anomaly that I observed about the 1960-1964 index in general that I am not going to disclose at this time.
MRS. RONDEAU: So it mentions the name of someone, but then it gives no index data for that person?
RESEARCHER: Well, no, there’s index data there; it’s just that it says “duplicate.” There aren’t two entries, however.
MRS. RONDEAU: Could that indicate that Obama’s name was put in after the fact?
RESEARCHER: Yes. I think that’s possible; I believe that if the Department of Health did that, it made an error by replacing the wrong name. Instead of replacing the “duplicate” name, they actual replaced the one that was not identified as “duplicate.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Did you see that irregularity in any other section of that particular birth index?
RESEARCHER: No, I did not.
MRS. RONDEAU: And is “irregularity” how you would characterize it?
RESEARCHER: I would characterize that as an anomaly, yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: So did the report have a different setup?
RESEARCHER: Yes. It’s a supposition at this point in time. I suspect that they have a standard report which includes the print parameters in all of the aforementioned indexes but this index was slightly different, and it’s quite possible that a custom report was generated because Mr. Obama’s registration was inserted or it perhaps does not fall within that date range.
MRS. RONDEAU: So if someone entered his name after the fact, for example, in 2007 or after?
RESEARCHER: Or in 1981, if it was a foreign birth registration.
MRS. RONDEAU: And then they entered it as “August 4, 1961″?
RESEARCHER: I don’t know. I suspect that what the DoH did is created a custom report to identify all births that were registered between 1960 and 1964, and added Mr. Obama as an additional parameter, regardless of when he was actually registered or added to the database. I think that it would be helpful to gather some more information from someone who has a little bit more technical knowledge than I do in regard to databases. I have some, but I am by no means an expert. Based on my reasoning, I think that’s what happened.
MRS. RONDEAU: To your knowledge, does the Hawaii Department of Health maintain handwritten books? Mr. John Charlton, Founder and Editor Emeritus of The Post & Email, had requested copies of handwritten birth index pages some months ago. Do you know if they still maintain those or if they’re available to the public?
RESEARCHER: I don’t know for certain. I have extensively reviewed a document titled Department of Health Specific Record Retention Schedule, which states that they have to maintain permanent records of the various indexes: General, Certificate of Hawaiian Birth, Late/Delayed Registrations and Foreign Births. It does not specify in which form the records must kept or if obsolete indexes must be retained and archived. I suspect that when they went to a computerized system, it’s possible the handwritten indexes were destroyed since the computer database and the back-up tapes became the new “permanent” index.
The DoH has maintained all along that it does not have any handwritten indexes and another dedicated researcher verified that the State Archives does not possess them either. I don’t know if they did any intentional destruction or not or if they are being less than forthcoming in regard to the handwritten indexes’ existence.
MRS. RONDEAU: Does that go for any year span?
RESEARCHER: Yes, I believe if they’ve destroyed anything intentionally or otherwise, it’s really unfortunate, because of the historical value from an archive standpoint. As I stated, it very well could be that the DoH still has these handwritten indexes and they are just denying it and thus denying access.
MRS. RONDEAU: Mr. Charlton had requested copies of handwritten pages but received something entirely different. He received a computer printout at no charge, which is unusual.
RESEARCHER: I believe he received a copy of what appears to be the index for Certificate of Hawaiian Birth from which they had redacted some information but included more information than they were required by law to provide. All they are required to release for birth and death indexes is first name, last name and gender. It was printed on what I call old-fashioned green bar paper, and it had been redacted before being sent to Mr. Charlton. When I finished reviewing the first set of indexes I requested, I wanted to verify the Dunham/Soetoro marriage, and I wanted to review the 1955-1959 birth index. I actually had the opportunity to speak with Jesse, the supervisor, because he happened to be at the window where I made my second request.
I asked him directly whether or not the birth indexes also included Certificate of Hawaiian Births, Late/Delayed registrations and Foreign Births and he told me “no.” The indexes only covered births which had occurred at a hospital or at home and were registered within the legal parameters of a normal registration. I then asked if I could see the other indexes, to which he replied “no.” It was not clear based on his response if they did not exist or that I could not see them.
MRS. RONDEAU: So do you think he was holding back something that you had asked about?
RESEARCHER: I would say he was informing me in sort-of an indirect manner that they didn’t have them, and even if they did, I couldn’t see them.
MRS. RONDEAU: And you said one of those was the Delayed/Late registration index book?
MRS. RONDEAU: What would that have in it?
RESEARCHER: I think the parameters would look identical to the General Birth index except that it would be identified in the header that it was the Late and/or Delayed Birth Index.
MRS. RONDEAU: If someone had been born in another state or country and moved to Hawaii with parents or other relatives, is that the book in which that person’s name would appear?
RESEARCHER: If they were born in another state, it is hard to say in which index they would appear. I think it would depend on the circumstances and timing of the registration. The DoH Specific Records Retention Schedule makes no mention that it is required to retain an index for births that occurred in a different state. Based on that, I believe they would appear in the General or Late/Delayed index, depending on the timing of the registration. If it was an out-of-country birth, I believe the name would appear in the Foreign Birth index which would include the same parameters as the General Index with the exception of the header; it would be identified as the “Foreign Birth Index.”
MRS. RONDEAU: But you were not allowed to see the other index books?
RESEARCHER: Correct. I then asked if I could have a copy of those specific persons’ index data if I requested it, and I was told “No, I could not,” because it would contain way too much information, and I said, “Well, what if you redacted all of the information with the exception of what appeared in the birth index?” and again, I was told, “No.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think that was an irregularity or was that in conformance with their state statute?
RESEARCHER: I really think it’s in conformance with the state statute. The administrative rules for the UIPA law require them to make reasonable accommodations, not only to inspect records, but the rules also allow the release of copies. I didn’t ask for a copy of an index page, since I had made my own images, but I do believe that they are legally obligated to provide a copy of a page had I requested one. There are other researchers, including Mr. Charlton, who have obtained copies of pages containing vital event index data.
MRS. RONDEAU: So are the Department of Health’s responses haphazard? Do they say “yes” when they feel like it and “no” when they don’t?
RESEARCHER: No, I didn’t get that sense at all. Again, I did not ask for a copy of a page. Had I asked for a copy of a page and they had told me “no,” I was prepared to pull out the requirement that says that they have to provide a copy if requested in the form that the requester wants it, but I didn’t ask for it. In hindsight, that was probably an error on my part. As for dealing with the DoH from a remote location such as the Mainland, I think their responses are “haphazard” as you said.
There was one other noteworthy thing that happened at the Department of Health. Not recalling that I had actually viewed Mr. Obama’s index data, when I took back the last set of index books I reviewed, I said, “Well, I didn’t find the name that I was looking for” and that I was looking for Mr. Obama’s. The clerk looked really puzzled, and she went back and pulled out the book and pulled out a page from the binder and brought the single page over for me to view, which I took over to the counter, and I made an image of that as well. So I have an image of it in the book and as a single page. I thought there was something nefarious going on the first time when I thought it wasn’t there when they produced it on-demand, but it was in the book when it was in my possession, and the image I have absolutely confirms that I scanned it the first time when I had it.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was there anything unusual about his name on the single page?
RESEARCHER: The only other observation that could be made about the Obama entry in the index is that they had highlighted it with a yellow highlighter.
MRS. RONDEAU: Were there any other names highlighted?
RESEARCHER: His was the only one that I saw that was highlighted.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did the clerk make any comment about it?
RESEARCHER: No. Both images that I have are in color and it was apparent to me that they were one and the same page.
MRS. RONDEAU: But someone highlighted the name.
RESEARCHER: Yes, I think it was just to help people out. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only person who has gone into the Department of Health looking for Mr. Obama’s index data.
After that, because of some information that I had obtained from another researcher, I began another leg of my investigation. There is speculation that because Mr. Obama has a certificate number that is higher than the Nordyke twins who were born on August 5, 1961 at Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital, yet their births were registered on August 11, 1961, three days after Mr. Obama’s was allegedly registered and that he is using the certificate number of another infant born within a certain date range and registered on August 11th which was a Friday and no later than Monday, August 14th. It depends on what time of the day the Nordyke twins’ birth certificates were processed; the certificate number that Mr. Obama was allegedly assigned was likely assigned the same day as the Nordykes’.
Editor’s Note: Please see the Nordyke twins’ birth certificates at the end of this article.
MRS. RONDEAU: What is the relationship between the certificate number of the Nordykes and the number on the FactCheck-Obama document online?
RESEARCHER: The Nordyke twins’ birth certificate numbers are either 151-1961-010637 and 151-1961-010638. The birth certificate posted online in an article by WorldNetDaily last summer had certificate number 010638. Mr. Obama’s certificate was allegedly processed on August 8th and has the number 010641, which is three or four numbers higher than the higher Nordyke twin certificate number. I have confirmation from the DoH in response to UIPA requests I made last winter that the numbers were not preprinted on the form. The numbers were assigned by the Department of Health when the birth registration was accepted by the State Registrar, and only in the DoH main office located in Honolulu.
MRS. RONDEAU: So as a birth occurred and the information reached the Department of Health, a number was assigned.
RESEARCHER: Yes, and I believe that regardless of the actual birth date, they just assigned the next sequential number when the birth registration was processed. I don’t think there is necessarily any attempt on their part to order them by birth date.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is there any other information that you think our readers would like to know about?
RESEARCHER: I think that is a significant anomaly. Based on the information that’s been gathered thus far and the procedures used by the Department of Health during this time period, I just don’t think that it’s feasible that Mr. Obama’s certificate number could possibly be three or four numbers higher and accepted three days earlier than those of the Nordyke twins, which leads me to believe that that number belongs to another person and in all likelihood, it could belong to the infant or young child that was born within a certain date range whose birth was registered on August 11th that later died shortly after the birth or within a couple of years. I really can’t elaborate beyond that since there is still ongoing research to see if we can identify the person certificate number 010641 could possibly belong to. We’re trying to obtain some official HI documents that will aid in our research with the generous help of The Post & Email Legal Fund and its donors.
MRS. RONDEAU: There have been reports and affidavits signed by licensed investigators that Obama is using a social security number that had been previously assigned to someone, and the Social Security Administration has been quoted as having said that numbers are never reassigned. And now your research raises the question as to whether or not his certificate number could have previously been assigned.
RESEARCHER: Yes, we’re trying to ascertain to whom it may have been actually assigned and explore the possibility of obtaining a certified copy of the long-form birth certificate which, contrary to what has been reported, the DoH still issues. I don’t know where I’ve seen the statement supporting the Department of Health’s contention that it now issues only a Certificate of Live Birth, but it’s not true. When I was at the Department of Health, I observed a woman who was directly in front of me in line order a copy of her long-form birth certificate. She was told that it would take about a week to obtain. She made arrangements to pick it up at the DoH office in lieu of having it mailed to her since she worked across the street.
MRS. RONDEAU: So they do still issue the long form. That announcement they made last year could have been a smokescreen to legitimize the COLB that appeared online.
RESEARCHER: We have two document requests in process. Again, in all likelihood, if the Department of Health were going to reassign a number to give to Mr. Obama, it would probably be one that belonged to an infant that died shortly after birth or a child who died within a couple of years. With the help from donors to The Post & Email’s Legal Fund, we would like to obtain two sets of other official HI documents that we can cross-check against to speed up our research efforts.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you have any idea of the cost of what you’re requesting now?
RESEARCHER: We know the cost of the first set of documents because it was previously quoted in the AP article and based on what another researcher was informed when they made an identical request. Contrary to what was reported in the AP article, a researcher submitted payment to the DoH for the requested documents and it was rejected due to a fine-print technicality that time for the requester to respond had run out. That point is disputed by the researcher. I estimate the cost for those documents to be in the $100-$115 range. I think it really depends on the shipment method the requester specifies and the corresponding costs. I estimate the cost of the other documents we requested to be within the same range.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did they deny the other researcher’s request legitimately, or do you think they were simply looking for an excuse not to send it?
RESEARCHER: I think they were looking for an excuse not to send it.
MRS. RONDEAU: Given that, what causes you to believe that you or whomever requests it will actually obtain it?
RESEARCHER: Because I’ve asked for it directly, and the other person’s request started back in the winter for the handwritten index; their request was very similar to Mr. Charlton’s.
MRS. RONDEAU: And the Department of Health is maintaining that there are no handwritten records?
RESEARCHER: Yes, and then they offered a computer printout, and then some time had elapsed. The Department of Health has a rule that if the requester doesn’t respond within 20 days, they consider the matter closed. The requester did provide payment once they knew how much it was, and I believe within a seven-day period, no less, so I really think that they rejected it without due cause.
MRS. RONDEAU: So they could have fulfilled the request and were using a technicality to deny it?
RESEARCHER: Yes. I sent a UIPA request last Saturday requesting the identical document, and I actually referenced the AP article that you recently wrote about in which the DoH Communications Director Janice Okubo stated it was available for $98.75 but that no one had come forward with the funds to obtain it. Thanks to the generous donation from The Post & Email Legal Fund, I have already remitted a payment along with the request.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is there anything you’d like to add about your investigation?
RESEARCHER: No, other than please keep contributing, if at all possible, to the Legal Fund. The Post & Email has been the only source of research funding for private citizens such as myself, and your donations are needed in order for us to be able to reveal the truth, once and for all.
Tags: Barack Hussein Obama II, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., Barack Obama Sr., Certificate of Hawaiian Birth, Certificate of Live Birth, Certification of Live Birth, Chris Strunk, Christopher Strunk FOIA request, FOIA, Hawaii, Hawaii Department of Health, Honolulu, Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star Bulletin, Janice Okubo, John Charlton, Lolo Soetoro, Madelyn Dunham, Maui, Mercer Island, Molokai, Nordyke Twins, Polk's Directory, Punahou High School, Specific Record Retention Schedule, Stanley Ann Dunham, Stanley Armour Dunham, The Post & Email Legal Fund, UIPA Law