George Christie, the disgraced Hells Angel who has a book to sell, has been trying to win his argument with his former club by outshouting everybody.
During his career in the Hells Angels, Christie beat a murder charge; he was accused of being part of a conspiracy to sell vast quantities of prescription medications to high school students; and he was accused of trying to burn out his competitors in the tattoo parlor business. He has bragged about avoiding service in Vietnam and he was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps reserve where he served as a telephone repairman. He literally sat on a throne in the club’s Ventura clubhouse and expelled other members and seized their motorcycles whenever he needed spending money. He went out of his way to draw attention to himself and ingratiate himself with celebrities who embellished their own charisma by associating with a real, live Hells Angel. Former members remember him as a “con man” who swindled his own club and friends of his former club.
There are sordid stories about Christie as well. But for the last 30 years, Christie has polished an image as a bright, reasonable, likeable Hells Angels spokesman. The public at large assumed he must have been an important member of the club because he presented himself as a spokesman for the club so often. Angels remember a guy who just couldn’t shut up.
Why He Quit
Factually and provably, Christie quit the club after a respectfully regarded member of the Oakland charter sent him a letter advising him to quit. That letter read:
“You just don’t know when to shut up. So just shut up and keep oral COPulating with your law enforcement buddies. You don’t have to open and close every door for everyone. If they want to be involved they don’t need you to involve them. They can do it themselves. This Club would be much better off if you’re not a part of it. Stick your head back up your ass and quit letting the cops pull it out every time they need a motor-mouth to fill in the blanks with words that are yours not ours. Our words are ‘I have nothing to say,’ not the endless hours of ass kissing, mumbling, jerk-off mouth bullshit you talk with law enforcement about our Club and its members. The Ventura Police Department and all the other law enforcement agencies are laughing at the Ventura charter behind their backs because you’re still in the Club. The cops know as long as you are in the Club, they can manipulate the Ventura Charter.
“If I am wrong I will see you at the South Run on May 21, 2011.
“I said it before and I am saying it again. For the benefit of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, the Ventura charter members and yourself, QUIT THE CLUB.”
After Christie suddenly and unexpectedly quit the club, his status was changed from “retired” to “out bad no contact.” Angels who are in a position to know say that the expulsion was inevitable, that Christie knew it was coming and that one reason he voluntarily quit was to avoid expulsion. After being kicked out of the club, Christie lied to outsiders about his status and continued to wear his club insignia. He was also arrested for trying to burn out his competitors in Ventura. He was probably actually guilty of that.
A source has told The Aging Rebel that Christie had discussed the scheme with him before carrying it out. The source claimed to have told Christie not to do it because “it was stupid” and Christie did it anyway. Christie faced life in prison. He arranged a plea deal and wound up doing seven months. Christie has vehemently and repeatedly denied that he was treated leniently because he agreed to cooperate with the FBI.
Late last month he told a self-described writer, director, comic creator, actor, producer and former major drug dealer named Seth Ferranti, who writes for Vice: “If they want to say I’m ‘out bad,’ I don’t have a problem with that, but they’re also inferring that I am an informant, which is absolutely not true. If I am, who did I testify against, and what trials did I testify at? There’s no paperwork on me. The US attorneys sealed my case files (over the allegations of arson and conspiracy to commit arson against rival tattoo parlors) because there are ten informants in it. From that point on, all the records were sealed. They seal cases all the time, and I was the only one who went to jail.”
Christie’s explanation might sound reasonable to people like Ferranti, but the fact of the matter is that Christie was not the only defendant in the case. He was just the only one whose case was sealed. The names of all the informants appear in the public filings of the cases against Christie’s co-defendants. Sealing Christie’s plea deal was not done to conceal the identities of the confidential informants. It was done to conceal the contract Christie made with the Department of Justice. Christie may very well intend to testify against his former club brothers. A former friend of the Christie family thinks the Christies are planning a move to France. It is also possible, that Christie may have told the FBI everything and the FBI, like many of his former Angels acquaintances, found most of what Christie had to say to be incredible. The FBI might have found that Christie was a good source of background information. He has been talking to police for years anyway. Prosecutors may simply have discovered that what he has to say probably wouldn’t hold up under cross examination.
What is undeniable is that police had Christie cold, he virtually escaped punishment and he came out on the other side with a television show and a major book deal. It might be cynical to wonder why, but one clue is a statement by a Ventura detective named Terry Medina near the beginning of an interview he conducted with Christie, “I’ve been after you for a long time dude,” Medina declares. “You know why? A lot of people have poured their hearts out to you and have copped to a lot of dirty deeds to you.”
None of this is to say that Christie didn’t make the smart move when he debriefed with police. It is only to say that one cannot be a police informant and a righteous motorcycle outlaw simultaneously.
For years before he was thrown out of his former club, Christie took pains to insult club founder Sonny Barger. That has only gotten worse in the last couple of years. Last Thursday, the New York Daily News ran a feature article by book editor Sherryl Connelly that began “Sonny Barger, the notorious and feared leader of the Hells Angels, was actually a hell-raising hypocrite who relied more on his biker mystique than actual menace. In his new book Exile on Front Street: My Life as a Hells Angel and Beyond, Barger’s one-time heir apparent George Christie exposes his ex-boss as snitch, a wife-beater and a phony.”
Within the first two hundred words of Connelly’s story, Christie accuses Barger of being a delusional snitch and Barger’s ex-wife Noel of being an FBI informant. Christie, apparently, realized this after learning that Barger had called his ex-wife an ambulance when he knocked her out in a nasty domestic dispute.
“‘An outlaw didn’t dial those three numbers … it’s the same as testifying,’ Christie fumes,” according to the Daily News. “’Sonny had been the model of the wild, unbending outlaw. But living with an informant? Beating a 14-year-old girl? Calling 911. Those were things a Hells Angel didn’t do.’”
Connelly seems oblivious to the irony in Christie’s self-righteous accusations. She can’t be expected to know about Christie’s rumored ménages à trios with teenaged girls but by now she should have heard the widely circulated tape recording of one of Christie’s many chats with police; the one in which he admonishes his children, “Hey! Be quiet. I’m trying to talk to the police here!”
Barger has had no comment since last September about any of these attempts to assassinate his character. An acquaintance of Barger’s, who took pains to make clear that he was not speaking for the Hells Angels founder, suggested that Barger has recently had nothing to say about Christie because, “You can’t win a shit fight with a monkey.”
Multiple sources who know both men have all offered the same explanation for Christie’s accusations. “George wants to be Sonny.” “He pretends he was Sonny.”
Whether Barger is annoyed or sanguine about the insults Christie is hurling at him, a number of Angels on the West Coast are annoyed enough to keep making Christie an offer he keeps refusing.
At the beginning of August, an alternative weekly newspaper named the Ventura County Reporter ran an open letter titled “A Challenge to George Christie.”
“Ventura, SFV, Dago and So Cal Motorcycle Club charters offer you $2,000 to take a three-part polygraph test regarding your upcoming book, Exile on Front Street, and the Outlaw Chronicles television show,” the brief, open letter began. “You were dishonorably kicked out of the motorcycle club, yet you continue to profit by using the club’s name and logo in the media. While a few in the general public may believe you, we were there and know the truth. We will prove that multiple claims in your show and book are lies! Contact [email protected] The letter was signed “William Gunner Wolf, Ventura.”
Christie has been openly contemptuous of the offer. Last week on an internet radio show hosted by a woman in Milwaukee named Cindy Mich, Christie said “Of course I’ve been challenged to take a lie detector test by Sonny.”
Mich agreed the challenge came from Barger, not Christie’s former club brothers. “Oh yeah. I can imagine that. ‘Cause I’ve read that…Basically I’ve found this on social media, where it is. It clearly asks you to take a polygraph test to prove whether you’re lying or not.”
Christie explained for some minutes that everything in his current book had to be true because his publisher, Thomas Dunne, extensively reviewed his book to ensure that the publisher could not be sued for libel. Since most of the tales George tells fall into the category of “club business” the publisher felt confidant that the motorcycle club would not bother to counter the sort of gossip Christie is selling. Although, the only defense against libel is that a statement must be “provably true.”
Cable channel History, which ran a televised version of Christie’s stories, tried to avoid libel with the disclaimer: “This program recalls past events and behaviors as recalled by George Christie and other featured individuals. The content of this program reflects only the views and experiences of those individuals as they relate to the people and events described, and not the views of the network or producers.”
Last week, Christie told Mich that one of his objections to a lie detector test is that they “don’t work…. But you know, Maybe if Sonny wants to take a lie detector test I guess maybe I could take one too.”
Yesterday, the Hells Angels were back in Christie’s face again. This time the letter in the Ventura County Reporter was titled, “A challenge to George Christie, Part II.”
This one read:
“Predictably, your response to our challenge was a lengthy dissertation or, to quote Shakespeare, ‘much ado about nothing’ on why you won’t take a lie detector test. The net result is the same. You have declined to take the test. This is not a challenge from Sonny Barger. This is from the Dago, SoCal, Ventura and SFV charters in California and the Nomads in Washington. We are hereby offering you double the original $2,000, to $4,000 in cash or cashier’s check or money order, which you can donate to any charitable cause or keep for your family. We simply challenge you to take a three-part polygraph test administered by reputable third parties who are professionals in this specialized field. You don’t even have to pass it. Just take it. Any reasonable person would conclude that, if you are telling the truth in your book and on the History Channel, you will gladly accept the challenge and the money. Here is your chance to extinguish all reasonable doubt, of which there is an abundance. What could be easier? You can reply publicly in your blog as you did before, or privately to [email protected]
Again it was signed “WIlliam Gunner Wolf, Ventura.”
This nasty publicity push by Christie may end soon or it may never end. If it continues and grows it seems a shame that Celebrity Apprentice is no longer on the air. It might have been fun to see how Christie made out.