Zoo Supervisor Secretly Recorded ‘Poison’ Meetings

Posted on: 9:50 pm, November 13, 2012, by , updated on: 11:05pm, November 13, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – John Huffstutler said he was fired after our original Fox Files investigation.  A former Saint Louis Zoo supervisor says he has proof of a cover-up.  This follows our recent Fox Files investigation into reported poisonings of three zoo employees and a policy `Never To Call 911. `

John Huffstutler said his bosses pressured him to keep quiet and pushed him to change his story.  He couldn`t believe what they were saying, so he started secretly recording them.

Huffstutler said he was the 2nd person poisoned.  His cup of coffee tested positive for what the zoo describes as ‘a minute amount of motor oil.’  Two other workers also claim they were poisoned, but Huffstutler said employees remained in the dark.

I asked him, “How do zoo employees not know what`s going on?
Huffstutler responded, “No one has told them I was told to be quiet about it.”

I caught up with him last week outside of zoo grounds and asked him, “Is it true you may have been poisoned?”
Huffstutler responded, “Yeah, uuh yeah, mmmhm.”
(Hayes) “Do you know what it was?”
(Huffstutler) “You probably have to get with the zoo on that.”

After our story ran, the zoo fired him.

I asked him, “Are you upset with us?”
(Huffstutler) “No, I felt I told the truth uhm, and uh, unfortunately they have taken many steps to indicate to me they are not so interested in the truth.”
(Hayes) “Do they seem interested in who`s doing it?”
(Huffstutler) “No, not to me.  They seem interested in covering it up.”

Now listen for yourself.  Huffstutler said he began recording meetings.  First, listen to internal relations vice president Wyndel Hill sounds like he mocks Huffstutler for worrying about drinking motor oil.

On Huffstutler’s recording he identifies Hill who says, “One drop. One single drop. Wow.”
(Huffstutler) “Well my next question would be is it dangerous?”
(Hill) “To me it`s no different than chewing tar and as a kid I chewed tar all the time.”

Then Huffstutler said his boss Earnest Frost appears to pressure him to keep quiet because of a possible lawsuit by Regina Haywood, who was the first person to claim she was poisoned.

Huffstutler identifies Frost who says “Gotta keep this s*** ramped down.”  Later you can hear him say, “If I were you I would just, just, just, try to keep it as quiet as uh… Wyndel and Dusty, they`re concerned and i understand they`re just concerned about the zoo getting caught up in (unintelligible).  The institution’s own manager, to say and agree with her almost guarantees her a win.”

Huffstutler identifies HR director Dusty Deschamp who sounds like he`s trying to control Huffstutler`s testimony.

You can hear “That`s what we`ve been trying to do for three weeks, to get you from over here in this camp to back to the middle so we can, you know, so you can manage the department so we can protect the whole crew and the whole zoo.”

Zoo spokesperson Susan Gallagher responded in an e-mail.  Here is what she said in its entirety. “The Saint Louis Zoo is not aware that any conversations were recorded. If any recordings were made, this was done without the knowledge or consent of anyone in Zoo management who may have been a party to the conversation(s). The Saint Louis Zoo’s management has been open about this issue with all the employees involved in this issue. We had several discussions with these employees to help them understand the need to stick to the facts—-that there was no evidence of any poisoning nor was there any evidence of adverse health effects. The Zoo management conducted an extensive investigation and was not able to conclude that any Zoo staff member had tampered with any beverage. The Zoo followed all appropriate measures in responding to the incident, seeking medical services and testing the materials involved in the alleged tampering.”

Statement From The St. Louis Zoo
The Saint Louis Zoo is not aware that any conversations were recorded. If any recordings were made, this was done without the knowledge or consent of anyone in Zoo management who may have been a party to the conversation(s).  

The Saint Louis Zoo’s management has been open about this issue with all the employees involved in this issue.  We had several discussions with these employees to help them understand the need to stick to the facts—-that there was no evidence of any poisoning nor was there any evidence of adverse health effects.  

The Zoo management conducted an extensive investigation and was not able to conclude that any Zoo staff member had tampered with any beverage.   

The Zoo followed all appropriate measures in responding to the incident, seeking medical services and testing the materials involved in the alleged tampering.  

E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ChrisHayesTV
Join Chris on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV

Previous story:

Zoo Employees Claim Co-Worker May Be Poisoning Their Drinks