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[ Part One of the report ] [ Part Two of the report ]

Part One of the report by Randall Sullivan, published in the Oct. 11, 1981 edition of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Sunday Oct 11, 1981


'The spy who loved me': An officer's battle with obsession

First of two parts, concluding next Sunday.

She quoted from Chaucer at breakfast but had preferred talk of stakeouts, surveillances and undercover busts over drinks that night.

She bore an exotic name that suited her aquiline features - Theodora Nordica D'Orsay - but called herself Teddy, wore a red sweatshirt with the emblem of the New Orleans Police Department on the shoulder, and was sitting with three patrol cops from the Los Angeles Police Department's Venice division when Mike Ruppert met her at the bar of Brennen's Pub in Marina del Ray during December of 1975

"it's not too often you meet a woman who is beautiful, intelligent, literate and witty siting in a bar with a bunch of police officers," Ruppert said. "She was definitely somebody I wanted to see more of."

Ruppert got Teddy's phone number at breakfast. They went to dinner the next weekend then spent most of the next 15 months together. Even after Teddy disappeared in March of 1977, she would remain in Ruppert's life as the catalyst for his career collapse, his obsession with intrigue and his eventual doubts about his own sanity.

It was never clear, especially at the beginning, precisely what Teddy was doing with her life.

She was vastly more versed in the vernacular of law enforcement than any police groupie Ruppert had ever encountered. And she knew people or seemed to. Teddy dropped the names of not only undercover investigators but of suspected organized crime figures like Dan Horowitz and Hank Friedman. She brought home a story once of a visit to the hotel rooms of an apparent Mafia weapons dealer who kept a cache of machine guns in his closet but insisted to Ruppert that she had gone there with friends, "good guys."

Lacking any visible means of support, Teddy explained that she had saved money.

[Pull Quote: "His story was incredibly detailed and with many names and dates, all of which appeared quite logical. At not time were the patient's associations loosened or was his story incoherent. His thought processes were lucid. He appeared fully oriented in all spheres. Clearly, he is a bright individual with no major weaknesses." -From the Woodview-Calabassas Psychiatric Hospital "Discharge Recommendation" prepared by Dr. Robert A. Cole, Feb 2, 1978, regarding Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Ruppert.

"OK, I tried to go along with the idea that I was crazy, since that's what the department wanted me to do. But my doctor said I was totally sane. And if I was sane, then something really strange was happening. And it went back to Teddy." -Mike Ruppert, Sept. 26, 1981 End Pull Quote]

Late night calls to Teddy from men who asked for her even when Ruppert answered a phone registered under his own name and what Ruppert described as "cryptic phone messages" left on the answering machine went unexplained.

Teddy was out two or three nights a week - off drinking with her friend Linda Covington, a Brennen's bartender, Ruppert was told. When he heard from Linda that Teddy had disappeared early in the evening on one of those nights, Ruppert did not make the obvious assumption that she was seeing another man. Instead he imagined clandestine operations and undercover identities.

Not long after Rupert and Teddy moved into the same Culver City apartment in March of 1976, she left for a vacation in Hawaii. When Teddy returned to Los Angeles, Ruppert was not interested in stories of waterfalls and white sand beaches, and certainly not of men with darkly tanned torsos. Ruppert insisted that she tell him the truth. What was the "deal," he demanded to know. He hammered her with questions about the specifics of the "operation." At 3 o'clock in the morning, exhausted, Teddy "confessed" that she had been in Hawaii to participate in an exchange of a huge load of government-issue automatic weapons for several kilos of processed, uncut cocaine.

Teddy fell asleep to the sound of Rupert alternately chortling and demanding "further details."

Ruppert had been warned early on by another policeman that Teddy was "a party girl," but he saw that as "a cover."

The aura of adventure Teddy cloaked herself in appealed to Ruppert's own sense of singularity.

He was "not your average cop," Ruppert said, and he had plenty of evidence to support that claim. Ruppert was far more intelligent than the average LAPD recruit, an honors graduate from UCLA who had verified his intellectual gifts by obtaining membership in MENSA, the organization for people whose IQs are in the top 2 percent of the population. One of the former commanders said he had heard Ruppert had the highest IQ in the LAPD.

A political science major at UCLA, Ruppert was attracted to the "sense of mission" that had been inculcated inside a police department run then by the nations fore-most spokesman for "Don't like cops? Next time you're in trouble, call a hippie" law enforcement chief Ed Davis

He had attended college as "a shorthair surrounded by longhairs" during the early 1970s, Ruppert said, and he was drawn to the sense of camaraderie shared by the officers of a department that was then successfully passing itself off as the finest police force in the world.

Ruppert and his closest friend at UCLA, Craig Fuller, now a highly placed White House aid to President Regan, had frequently discussed -- as they stood on the sidelines of campus demonstrations - how much more effective they could be if they got inside the system and became part of its inner workings before calling for change.

"I entered the police department sincerely believing that someday I would be chief of police in Los Angeles," Ruppert said.

It did not seem such an unlikely forecast at the beginning of his career. Ruppert was valedictorian of his Police Academy class in 1973 and earned solid "outstanding" ratings on his personnel reports over the next four years.

While his commanding officers praised him with four official commendations and 13 citations, some of his fellow patrol officers were a bit rattled by Ruppert. He was obsessed with his career. As a young white man from Orange County thrown onto the streets of a black ghetto wearing a blue uniform, Ruppert was known for his relentless pursuit of "hypes," heroin addicts. Other officers said he never took the uniform off, that he worked in his sleep.

Ruppert's field reports, a former sergeant of his said, were the most elaborate and descriptive in the department., "a pleasure to read each one a complete story."

His new girlfriend, Teddy D'Orsay, not only accommodated Ruppert's obsession with police work and his endless extrapolations, she enhanced them, building on the idea that each small case was spiraled upward into the criminal organizations she had infiltrated.

[Pull Quote: During the course of the next 10 months Ruppert began to document evidence - much of it still on file with the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and the LAPD - that would support his theory that he was living with a CIA agent. End Pull Quote]

In May of 1976 Ruppert and Teddy went to Las Vegas, where he was enrolled in the US Drug Enforcement Agency training program. In Las Vegas Ruppert asked Teddy to marry him. There were things she had to discuss before she could answer, Teddy said. The couple drove to Ensenada, Mexico, for a short vacation.

In the Bahia bar, Ruppert loudly demanded to know where Teddy got her money. In a stage whisper that was overheard by people at nearby tables, Teddy told him that Rupert had already assumed, that she was "working for the government in an intelligence capacity involving organized crime."

Ruppert pounded on the table, shouted in triumph. Teddy began to shake her head, looking frightened. It was just a joke, she said, Didn't he get it? But Ruppert was still pounding the table, repeating again and again, "I knew it. I knew it."

Teddy shrugged her shoulders and finished her drink. OK, she said, you knew it.

During the course of the next 10 months Ruppert began to document evidence - much of it still on file with the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and the LAPD - that would support his theory that he was living with a CIA agent.

The intrusions on their home life, the phone calls and Teddy's disappearances increased.

Ruppert bought Teddy a present, a pistol, an off make F1 Garcia 380-caliber automatic.

"She had it field stripped in 10 seconds," he recalled. He took Teddy to a practice range and discovered "she was as good a shot as I was."

She had been trained by the government, Teddy told him, and smiled.

One night during the fall of 1976 according to Ruppert, he was awakened by a phone call from a man who asked for Teddy. He handed the phone to her, lying in bed next to him. When Teddy hung up, she told Ruppert that Carlo Gambino, the Mafia don of dons, had died that night and the West Coast mob was meeting in San Francisco. She would have to fly up there that night, Teddy said.

For once, it occurred to Ruppert: to secret business, national security, undercover assignments, what better cover could a faithless lover have?

The next morning, driving to work, Ruppert heard a radio news announcement of Gambino's death and of the mob meeting in San Francisco.

Teddy insisted later that the trip to San Francisco had nothing to do with Carlo Gambino, whoever that was. She had been planning the trip for a week, she said. It was all a coincidence. She couldn't remember any phone call the night before she left. She advised Ruppert to take deep breaths.

Ruppert's speculations upon his live in love's "business" began to assume international proportions during the last month of 1976.

Teddy had been a childhood friend of Minou Haggstrom's, the American educated niece of Shah Reza Bahlavi of Iran. Teddy and Minou had carried on an occasional correspondence between Culver City and Tehran during the early months of 1956, but at the end of the year the letters from Iran began to arrive more frequently. Teddy talked about the danger Minou was in, how important it was to get her out of Iran soon.

Ruppert decided that the envelopes arriving from Tehran did not contain personal letters but rather encoded messages.

He began to see that it all fit. Even the bullet hole in Teddy's car fit.

He discovered the bullet hole on March 1, 1977, one year to the day since Ruppert and Teddy had taken the apartment in Culver City. Their relationship was deteriorating. Teddy was out more, gone overnight occasionally. Ruppert was complaining more about "the disruptions of our home life."

"I'm blowing your cover, right?" Ruppert said.

Teddy showed him the bullet hole in the driver side door of her 1965 Ford Comet - a perfect car for a secret agent, Ruppert had decided, because it was "sound mechanically on the inside, a heap on the outside, the kind of car you don't notice." Someone had tried to kill her in her Comet, Teddy said, she had to get out of town.

Ruppert now believes Teddy put the bullet hole there herself, with the gun he bought her, but at the time he believed her story.

Two days later Teddy was gone without a goodbye. A month passed without word from her.

One week after Teddy's disappearance, Ruppert's mother, a marginally successful realtor in Fountain Valley, was approached in her office by four men with Italian surnames who asked her to help arrange the purchase of a $45 million parcel of real estate.

Mrs. Ruppert, who made her living selling occasional $70,000 tract houses, calculated that her commission on the deal proposed by the Italian gentlemen would be $750,000. Panicked, she called her son and told him she thought she was becoming involved in something illegal.

Mike Ruppert took the names of the men who had proposed the $45 million deal to two members of LAPDs Organized Crime Intelligence Division, Lee Goforth and Charles Bonneau.

Goforth and Bonneau ran checks and informed Ruppert that one of the four men did have "an association with an important organized crime figure" but that it was not a close association. They scheduled another meeting with Ruppert.

At this gathering, Goforth said he noticed that Ruppert appeared "agitated."

"I asked him if there was something else besides his mother's deal and he said, yes, there was," Goforth recalled. "Then he went into all this weird stuff, this theory about his girlfriend, the double agent, being behind it all.

He and Bonneau attempted to check out the name Teddy D'Orsay with "at least one federal intelligence agency," Goforth said, and "nobody had heard of her, they said." Mike Ruppert's name had been passed along during these inquiries as well.

It was after his initial meeting with Goforth and Bonneau, Ruppert said, that "the harassment started." Hang up phone calls and cars tailing him to and from work. He found his apartment searched, he said, and the only things missing were two photographs of Teddy. He began to drive with his gun on his lap and slept at night with it under his pillow.

Five weeks after Teddy's disappearance, Ruppert received a post card from a small town outside Atlanta, Ga. - "Having a great time, wish you were here, Teddy."

One more month after that, 10 weeks after her disappearance, Teddy called Ruppert from New Orleans, where she was "working on something important," and gave him a phone number and an address in suburban Gretna, near the Belle Chase Naval Air Base.

(Part two continues the story of Ruppert's obsession with Teddy, which leads eventually to his resignation from the LAPD to "save my life.")

<END of PART 1>

[ Part One of the report ] [ Part Two of the report ]


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