Who Are They Really? And Why it Matters for Any Negotiation or Relationship

August 8, 2022

File it under life imitating art, a little slice out of John le Carré or a heaping portion of The Amerikans, a real life potential spy story that has a moral applicable to your medical group or your facility, and to your business dealings in ways that perhaps you’ve never imagined.

According to evidence offered by the United States government in connection with the ongoing prosecution of Walter Glenn Primrose aka “Bobby Edward Fort”, and Gwynn Darle Morrison, aka “Julie Lyn Montague”, Walter and Gwynn both attended the same high school (from 1970 -1973) and then the same college (1976-1979) in Texas; they were married in 1980. Things took a financial turn when, on December 21, 1987, their house was lost to foreclosure, a scenario not unlike the fate of many in the then recession. But that’s where the story diverges from the expected.

An affidavit filed by a federal investigator disclosed that in 1987, Walter and Gwynn obtained birth certificates for deceased American born infants and assumed their names. Walter became Bobby and Gwynn became Julie. The investigator further alleged that Walter/Bobby and Gwynn/Julie obtained Texas driver’s licenses and social security cards under their assumed names and then remarried as Bobby and Julie.

Along the way, “Bobby” obtained multiple U.S. Passports under that assumed name. And for some overlapping times, Walter also applied for and obtained a passport under his actual name. False identity passport allegations are made against Gwynn as “Julie”.

The allegations continue from there to include later-issued fraudulent state and federal identification documents, including, for Walter/Bobby, false Department of Defense identification, for, it turns out, Walter, as “Bobby”, enlisted and served in the U.S. Coast Guard for twenty years and held a secret clearance. Following his military service, he became employed by a defense contractor.

In support of their motion to detain Walter and Gwynn without bail, the current charges being related to the false federal documents, federal prosecutors allege that Walter/Bobby traveled out of the country without reporting foreign travel as was required per his secret clearance, that the two used additional aliases, that Gwynn/Julie had lived in then-communist Romania, and, to top it all off, that investigators discovered old photos of the couple wearing what have been identified as KGB uniforms.

With Whom Are You Dealing?

Although the news over the years abounds with stories of fake doctors, that’s not where I’m going with this, although, to be sure, if one can fake one’s way to a security clearance, it’s not out of the question.

Rather, on a more practical and extremely actionable scale, how much do you know about the people with whom you deal, their motivations, their interests, their pasts, their dreams, and where they think they are going? What do you know about their education (checked it?), their certifications (are the certifications even real or just another set of funny initials?), their prior jobs? How much do you take those and other attributes into account when negotiating with them, when hiring them, when enlisting their support, when cajoling them, or when holding them at bay as competitors?

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