Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
eBay seller Lucas Smith (left), from online auction page
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The eBay seller who first offered – and then promised to reveal to WND – an alleged Barack Obama birth certificate from Mombasa, Kenya, has dropped communications with a team of people offering to help him verify the document, only fueling belief the sale was a scam.
As WND reported, an eBay seller known originally as “colmado_naranja” claimed to have an authentic document from Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa proving Obama’s birth there at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961.
WND followed the ongoing saga, as “colmado_naranja” attempted several times to sell the document, or photos and stories surrounding it, on eBay, only to have the auctions repeatedly removed by site administrators.
Eventually, the seller promised to make a YouTube video of his story and reveal the “birth certificate” to WND. Neither promise was fulfilled.
WND also launched an investigation into “colmado_naranja,” which led through several online aliases and reported collaborators, including Dawnella Wilson, “InspectorSmith” and, eventually, Lucas Smith, a former resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who still claims to have possession of the document.
Smith, whose background includes a lengthy criminal record and a reported attempt to sell his kidney to a man in need of organ transplant, nonetheless insists that his motives are above board, even if his past looks dubious.
“I do have a background. I’ve made mistakes in my life,” Smith told WND in an email. “It took a guy like me to go and get tangible proof about Obama. I don’t mind breaking a few laws or policies here and there. I don’t mind paying the military in foreign countries to look the other way … The military [in Africa] will grant you access to anything for just a few dollars. People are starving. So yes, it takes a guy like me to get things done once in a while.”
When WND, however, pressed Smith to offer any evidence of the document’s validity – a birth certificate number, a photo of the embossed seal on the alleged document, anything – Smith balked.
“I’m going to have to meet with my attorney before we can go any further,” Smith told WND in a phone interview. “I’d rather have a middle man go between WorldNetDaily and myself.”
Smith did then authorize a public relations agent to speak on his behalf and hire an attorney, but after several unsuccessful attempts to get Smith to offer any proof of the document’s authenticity, the agent has since withdrawn his representation, fearing that the alleged birth certificate sale may have merely been a money-grabbing fraud.
The agent, Sean Boyer, is a Pennsylvania businessman who contacted Smith through eBay. He told WND his goal was simply to help bring the alleged document into the light for possible verification.
WND negotiated with Boyer on how best to coax further information from Smith and worked behind the scenes to prepare processes for authenticating or disproving any document Smith might produce.
“The Obama birth certificate that I listed on eBay was not a hoax. I repeat, NOT A HOAX,” Smith insisted.
When pressed to produce evidence of his claims, however, Smith told WND in an email, “I won’t be bullied into posting a video. I won’t adhere to any time deadline.”
“I stated I was going to make a video and then go to WND and Joseph Farah, but I never gave a timeline for that,” Smith told WND over the phone. “In retrospect, I shouldn’t have mentioned that.”
Smith’s hesitancy to cooperate eventually cost him the support of his agent and lawyer, too.
“Smith has broken promise after promise to deliver on his claims,” Boyer told WND.
“On Sunday, July 19, it had been five days without a response from Smith, after a number of attempts had been made to contact him by email and phone messages,” Boyer said. “Smith may be stalling for time as he attempts to sell whatever he may have privately through contacts that he told me he was able to develop while advertizing on eBay. Consequently, [Smith's attorney] and I agreed to withdraw our representation of Smith, and he has been notified by email to that effect.”
WND Senior Staff Writer Jerome Corsi traveled last year to both Kenya and Hawaii looking into Obama’s history. He said despite contacts in government offices, the help of others and even the offer of financial reward, the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa would not confirm Obama’s birth there nor provide access to records.
“When I was there, I tried to get records from that hospital, but I couldn’t do it,” Corsi said. “The hospital either had no records or wouldn’t release them.
Corsi earlier wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the eBay seller may have somehow obtained a genuine document but stated only that his efforts in Kenya proved fruitless.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.
WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, his Punahou school records, his Occidental College records, his Columbia University records, his Columbia thesis, his Harvard Law School records, his Harvard Law Review articles, his scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, his passport, his medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard in Pennsylvania
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.