She was a force of nature …
Thomas Calabrese … The Honor Initiative was a 501c3 charitable foundation based in Rancho Santa Fe, California and its Chief Executive Officer was Mariah Martine. The entire west wing of the palatial estate served as the headquarters for the charity and the twenty five acre property was immaculately maintained by a full time crew of ten while the inside was cared for by a domestic staff of twelve. The grounds were designed by a world renowned landscape architect and combined California native plants, fruit trees and vegetable gardens as well as a spacious forest green lawn. At the far end of the property were two hundred solar panels that supplied more than enough power for everything on site. The original interior of the mansion was cold and pretentious and no expense was spared to transform it to warm and elegant and it included the best elements of several world famous mansions including the Hearst Castle and The Biltmore while maintaining a uniqueness of its own.
There were six tennis courts and an expansive salt water pool that resembled a South Seas lagoon with large stone boulders, waterfalls, palm trees and thatched cottages. There was a stable, corral and trails that weaved their way through the picturesque property. A twenty four hour security staff provided roving patrols and a command center monitored two dozen surveillance cameras twenty four hours a day.
There were always two chefs and a kitchen staff on duty in the state of the art commercial kitchen and a twelve car garage contained among others; a Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini, Tesla and Porsche. A three man staff made sure that every vehicle was meticulously maintained.
Mariah Martine had an executive assistant, fashion consultant, personal trainer, and nutritionist on her staff and the Honor Initiative kept legal, investment and investigation firms on retainers. She also flew to Beijing, China every six months for routine testing by a Traditional Eastern Medicine physician who had Mariah on a specific protocol of herbs and minerals based on her body composition and DNA.
A Gulfstream G650ER private jet was parked at the Carlsbad Airport and a hundred fifty foot superyacht was docked in the San Diego harbor. There were homes in Mexico, Europe, Bahamas and Australia and the operating costs for the foundation including salaries and maintenance of its assets was slightly over nine million dollars monthly and after paying these expenses thirty per cent of the incoming monthly donations actually went for charity and the other seventy per cent went into various investment and bank accounts.
How could any charitable organization get away with this type of flagrant abuse? The answer was simple; The Honor Initiative fell under the protective umbrella of “Zephyr” a unique organization that was comprised of very powerful men and women. These individuals had the ability to overtly control the global economy and governments in every country in the world, but chose a less evasive method of conducting their business.
The definition of Zephyr is a “soft gentle breeze” and that is exactly how the members conducted their activities; like a gentle breeze that encompassed the globe, barely noticeable, changing and manipulating the environment just enough to reap massive profits while constantly increasing its tentacles of power. Mariah was recruited by Zephyr when she was only twenty four years old and has been richly rewarded for her efforts since that time. The path to Mariah’s affiliation with Zephyr was as unique as the woman herself and her unique upbringing.
Mariah’s father was French and her mother was Spanish and while she inherited the best of both European nationalities, she also had physical characteristics that defied the logic of genetics. She stood six foot tall, five inches taller than her father and nine more than her mother. Mariah was lean and athletic with long legs that seemed to stretch from the tip of heaven to the beginning of a man’s imagination. Her hair was the color of the midnight sky and seemed to glisten when the light hit it just right and it didn’t matter if it was starlight or sunlight. When Mariah let her silken tresses fall loosely upon her shoulders, she was reminiscent of the glamour queens of Hollywood’s golden age, sultry and alluring and when she wore it up, her face was a flawless work of art exposing high cheekbones and emerald green eyes. She defined style, grace and class and her voice was as smooth and silky as a love ballad sung by a torch singer.
Her parents were immigrants and worked low skilled positions; her mother was a maid and her father was a gardener. When she was a child, she would often go to homes in Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch with her mother or father to help them with their assigned duties and because she was such a precocious and lovable child, families were happy to have her around.
Mariah was extremely intelligent and knew exactly how to ingratiate herself to everyone regardless of position or wealth and even as a child nothing intimidated or overwhelmed her. She would see the man of the house working on his collection of antique cars and when Mariah got home, she’d study and learn about the vehicles so that when she returned she could carry on a substantive conversation. It was the same when she went with her mother, Mariah would learn everything that the woman of the house found interesting then discuss it with her in detail. It marveled people to see a ten year old girl speak so maturely, sincerely and with genuine interest with everyone she met.
When Mariah was a freshman in high school, she began working as a clerk and receptionist at a real estate firm that specialized in multi million dollars estates in San Diego County. She researched the business from top to bottom then approached the managing partners of the agency with a business proposition that if they let her conduct private tours of the most expensive listings and if through her efforts the property was sold, she would receive a percentage of the sales price. It wasn’t long before Mariah became the top earner at the agency without ever being old enough to be a licensed agent. When she became a sophomore Mariah took a second job with an event planning company that specialized in gala fundraisers in order to expand her list of influential contacts and was making a six figure income by the time she graduated high school and had an investment portfolio that hovered near two million dollars.
When her grandmother who lived in Nice, France became ill, Mariah paid for her parents to move back to Europe and financially supported them and paid for her grandmother’s ongoing medical care. She volunteered her unique skills at several high profile charitable foundations to learn first-hand about fundraising and when she started The Honor Initiative, dozens of people were ready to contribute and from that point on, it was a meteoric rise for The Honor Initiative.
Mariah began labeling a long list of expensive products that included among other things; wristwatches, ball point pens, bathrobes, lotions, candy, wines and clothing and had her landscaping crew package fruits and vegetables from the gardens located on the grounds. Personalized Gift baskets were sent to dozens of people monthly, not just to acknowledge donations, but also for personal occasions, such as anniversaries and birthdays. Mariah knew that the best way to maintain a high cash flow was to keep her charity relevant and in the public eye so she also sponsored numerous projects and events, both locally and around the world.
She organized monthly conferences for billionaires at her mansion and whenever a deal was successfully completed, the parties involved made a charitable donation to The Honor Initiative. Mariah had borderline obsessive compulsive disorder so she needed things to operate on a strict schedule so her day was planned from the moment she awakened at 4:30 am. From five to six, Mariah went through an intense workout with a personal trainer; six fifteen to seven thirty was designated for infra-red sauna, steam and shower then dressed and ate breakfast from eight to eight forty five. From nine to ten thirty, she inspected the grounds and met with her employees and from eleven to twelve thirty she contacted contributors to the foundation while eating lunch then took a thirty minute lunch power nap. From one fifteen to two thirty Mariah met with her investment team and accountants to discuss financial issues.
The meeting with her Chief of Security, Ron DeAngelo began at three and lasted until 3:55pm and four to six was was reserved for personal appointments and that would conclude her daily work schedule. Mariah would take a forty five minute swim from six fifteen to seven pm then have dinner at seven thirty before returning to her private quarters. She entered a Hyperbaric Chamber for five hours of oxygen therapy and much needed sleep at exactly 1130 pm. Mariah made it emphatically clear to her staff how important her routine was so she immediately knew it must be something important when the intercom in her room flashed and buzzed. She looked at the clock and saw that it was One am and stepped out of the hyperbaric chamber and answered the call, “Hello Jeremy.”
Jeremy was the security guard at the front gate, “I am very sorry for disturbing you, Ma’am, but there are some FBI agents demanding to see you. What do you want me to do?”
Mariah could see six men in suits standing in front of the gate on the surveillance monitor in her room, “Escort them to the conference room and inform them I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” then made several phone calls before getting dressed and walking to the other end of the mansion. The main reason for law enforcement’s unannounced arrival in the middle of the night instead of waiting for regular business hours was to catch her off guard so by the time Mariah entered the conference room she was fully alert and at the top of her game, “Good morning gentleman, please be seated.”
There were six agents and it was obvious which one was in charge because he immediately sat at the head of the table without hesitation and ordered, “Sit at the other end, Miss Martine.”
The other agents waited until Mariah sat down before they took position on both sides of the table. The man in charge was visibly nervous and tried to give the impression that he was a busy and important man by pulling out his phone and looking at it for two minutes while keeping everyone waiting. Mariah was amused by the transparency of his tactics so she used the time to make eye contact with the other agents and develop an empathetic connection with them. Three members of the staff brought in a large plate of sandwiches and a fruit and vegetable tray with several types of dip and a selection of liquid refreshments.
“We grow the fruits and vegetables right here on the property, they are organics and extremely fresh, help yourself, gentlemen,” Mariah offered, “If there is anything else you want, don’t hesitate to ask.”
The agents looked at the appetizing food and were just about ready to reach for it when the man in charge finally spoke, “I am Field Office Director Kevin Mooney of the San Diego FBI office,” he lingered on each word to emphasize his credentials, “Miss Martine, I can make your life extremely difficult if you refuse to cooperate.”
“I am a very cooperative person,” Mariah smiled, “so there is no reason to make anything difficult.”
“What is The Honor Initiative’s relationship to global terrorism?” Kevin Mooney asked.
“There is none,” Mariah answered and decided now was the time to take control of the situation, “Let me fix you a plate and get you something cold to drink.” When she walked to the other end of the table and held out the plate, Kevin Mooney angrily slapped it out of her hand.
“You seem to be having muscle spasms, I should really call the paramedics,” Mariah responded, “because I know you wouldn’t do that on purpose.”
A wise man would have picked up on the signals that he was not dealing with just any woman, but Kevin Mooney was a lifelong bureaucrat and he was many things, but a wise man was not one of them, “I’ll shut this damn place down and padlock the gates! I’ll get the IRS to dig into every financial record of The Honor Initiative and I’ll not only do that, but I’ll investigate your donor list. Don’t play games with me!”
Mariah controlled her rage and calmly replied, “Those are interesting proposals that you put forth. Leave your phone number and I’ll call you after I’ve thought them over.”
“Handcuff her,” Kevin Mooney ordered his men, “We’ll finish this conversation downtown.”
Mariah pressed the button on the remote and the large television screen behind Agent Kevin Mooney came on and in split screen were five men on a teleconference call.
The other FBI agents could see the screen and immediately recognized some of the men even though Kevin Mooney was oblivious, “I said, handcuff her!”
Finally one of the agents said, “Sir, you may want to look behind you.”
When Kevin Mooney turned around, his face turned ashen white.
Mariah smiled, “I didn’t think you would mind if I had some of my board members and advisors listen in. You might know them, but in case you don’t,” Mariah pressed a button and the name and title of each man appeared beneath their faces which included two United States senators, two retired generals and the foundation’s lawyer.
“Agent Mooney, These gentlemen would like to give you their opinions on what you’ve just proposed,” Mariah turned to the other agents, “Why don’t we give your boss a little privacy,” and led the agents to the big screen sports lounge, “You can relax here, I’m sure it won’t be long.”
Three minutes later, Kevin Mooney staggered out of the conference room, perspiring heavily and stammering, “I am so very, very sorry. Please accept my apology…I…I…I… ”
Mariah put her hand on the man’s shoulder, “You are under a lot of stress and have a very difficult job so no explanation or apology is necessary. I thank you for your service to this country.”
It was the next afternoon and Mariah was meeting with Ron DeAngelo, a retired New York Police detective who had moved to San Diego for the weather and met Mariah at the Del Mar racetrack where he was doing private security for a horse owner. His only client now was The Honor Initiative and Ron was fiercely protective of Mariah and assumed the role of a surrogate father to her so when the incident with the FBI happened and he wasn’t around to intervene, he became extremely angry.
“How are you doing?” Ron asked.
“I’m fine; it may take me a couple of days to get back on my schedule.”
“For what?” Mariah asked.
“I should have known what the FBI was up to,” Ron was obviously upset with himself.
“You can’t know everything.”
“I’m paid to be pro-active, not reactive,” Ron shook his head in disgust.
“We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this,” Mariah lightly touched Ron’s hand, “what do you know about this FBI agent Mooney?”
“He’s a weasel, a political appointee whose only qualification is that he’s a kiss ass,” Ron answered, “He’s on suspension right now, but I can get him fired if you want.”
“A weasel on the inside is always better than an unemployed bureaucrat on the outside,” Mariah smiled, “We can use him in the future so let the appropriate authorities know that I would appreciate it if he didn’t suffer any disciplinary action.”
“Why is it that I knew you were going to say that? I met with Mooney this morning and told him that if it was up to me that his career in the FBI would be over then I told him that the only reason that he’s still got a job is because of your forgiving nature.”
“This is just one of the many reasons why you’re so good at your job, you always see the big picture,” Mariah said, “He asked me about the foundation’s ties to terrorism, what do you know about that?”
“Mooney told me that he was investigating Abulla Pawani Suttain, the billionaire Dubai businessman and the trail led here,” Ron answered.
“Why don’t you..?”
Ron quickly interrupted, “I’ve already started my own investigation and found out that Suttain has been using The Honor Initiative’s name.”
“That is why people donate so much money to us, pay to play, just ask any politician how that works,” Mariah replied.
“It’s more than that; it has been made to appear that you’re actively and directly involved in Suttain’s criminal enterprises instead of just providing a place for the deals to happen.”
“If that is the case then we need to stop him because that’s not a line that I want anybody assuming or believing I’ve crossed,” Mariah cautioned, “Be careful, like most billionaires, he won’t like it if he finds out he’s being investigated.”
“I’m always careful,” Ron smiled.
“Then be extremely careful this time and don’t do anything until we knew for sure how deep it goes.”
Three weeks later, Ron found what he was looking for and it was considerable in nature; Suttain was working with President Omar El Fashir of Sudan to pillage the country’s oil reserves and gold deposits. El Fashir was using his share to fund his brutal private army and live like a king with homes around the world while Suttain was adding tens of millions monthly to his massive fortune. One of his manipulative tricks was to use the Honor Initiative’s humanitarian efforts to smuggle weapons and various contraband in and out of Sudan and it was on a routine raid at the Ports of San Diego and Long Beach that the F.B.I found evidence that led them to Mariah Martine.
Ron DeAngelo exited his home in LaCosta and was on his way to discuss what he had found with Mariah and prepared to pull out of the driveway when a man walked up to his car so he rolled down the window, “Can I help you?” and without saying a word the man emptied the ten round magazine of his weapon into Ron’s head and body then reached in and grabbed the blood splattered folder off the seat.
End of Part One