Out of Stormy Past, UPI's Two 'Mystery Men' Have Covered Long Distance (Part 1)

June 20, 1982

...Had only Small and Overgaard been involved, it is likely that hardly a word of concern would have been spoken about the sale of UPI. But, then, there were also the Nashville "mystery men" -- Ruhe and Geissler -- with their controversial pasts.

When the news broke that they were involved, the same question was asked on Wall Street in New York and on Fleet Street in London as on Union Street in Nashville: "Who are Ruhe and Geissler?"

As ancedote after ancedote trickled out to fill the information vacuum about the two men, it prompted a second inquiry: "Where did they get the money to purchase United Press International?"

For they, indeed, had been labor organizers, civil rights demonstrators and war protestors during most of the decade of the 1960s.

Both of them are active members of the Baha'i faith, an Eastern religion founded in Persia in the 19th century and considered an "exotic" creed because it was little known in American culture.

Ruhe's father is one of nine international leaders of that religion. He left the United States 14 years ago to move to Haifa, Israel, the world headquarters of the Baha'i faith.

Neither Ruhe nor Geissler earned an undergraduate college degree, but both received master's degrees in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst -- without writing a master's thesis. It was not required under the program they pursued.

The dean of the school of education at Amherst, Dr. Dwight Allen, is a national leader of the Baha'l faith.

Both Ruhe and Geissler, after leaving the University of Massachusetts, worked on the national staff of the Baha'i church in Wilmette, Ill., until five years ago.

As information about the two "mystery men" began to come out, another important question emerged:

Was there "Baha'i money" involved in the purchase of UPI?

{josquote}Was UPI now to be under the financial control of the Baha'i faith?{/josquote}

Only a few weeks before, the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon -- the so-called "Moonies" -- had started a newspaper, the Washington Times, in the nation's capital. Was UPI now to be under the financial control of the Baha'i faith?

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