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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Wall Street Perks Outrage; Election Fraud Fallout; Sweat Lodge Deaths; Eva Longoria-Parker Gets Political
Aired October 20, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, breaking news: for the first time, an ex-follower of self-help salesman James Arthur Ray is speaking out about what happened to her inside one of the sweat lodges. How he told her to stay in the heat even though it would feel like dying; little did she know how right he was. Three people are now dead, "Crime & Punishment" tonight.
Then bank robbery. Millions of dollars for private jets, limos paid to executives at companies getting bailed out with your money. They were getting richer while their banks were foreclosing on you and you paid for it.
Tonight, find out who got rich on your tax dollars. We're "Keeping them Honest."
And later, Eva Longoria on being a Latina in America and what it's like trying to break stereotypes of Latinos in Hollywood.
First up the breaking news: for the first time a look inside the Arizona retreat run by the self-help salesman James Arthur Ray and the sweat lodge ceremony that killed three and sickened many more.
It comes from a former insider, someone who knows firsthand how it worked, who saw the warning signs and now regrets not coming forward sooner.
Gary Tuchman has the exclusive. He joins us now with the breaking news -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, exactly one year before this tragedy, at the same place in Arizona at the same event in a sweat lodge run by James Arthur Ray as many as 20 people got sick, according to a woman who is in the sweat lodge.
And it appears no doctors or police were aware of it. Her name is Danielle, her husband's name is John. In this picture, the man they used to revere James Arthur Ray is in the middle. Daniel says some of the sick were delusional. One of the victims was unconscious.
Meanwhile, an attorney for one of the victims who've died says when 48-year-old Liz Newman arrived at the hospital she was admitted as Jane Doe. The attorney says Liz Newman's family found out she was in the hospital not from James Arthur Ray or as employees, but from the news media. There are more startling details to the story which we'll bring to you a little later in the program -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right Gary, we'll have more with Gary later in the program tonight.
But we've been looking into a story today that is, well, frankly, it's another example of how your money, taxpayer money, spent on bailing out companies ended up in the pockets of rich executives of those companies.
Now there was a lot of talk about limiting the pay of top executives at companies that got billions of dollars in bailout money. But what we're just learning now is that a number of these top executives were at the same time being given more perks, things like private jets and free chauffeured limousines.
We're talking about millions of dollars worth.
So even as they were getting taxpayer money to save their companies and even as they were cutting back on loans to struggling homeowners and small business people, they were getting more free stuff.
So we think it's important to know who got what. You have to name these people. You have to hold them accountable. You have to "Keep them Honest."
Joe Johns has been looking into it all day. Who got what tonight? He's "Keeping them Honest" Joe, what did you find?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, its great work if you can get it. And the fringe benefits aren't too bad either.
CEOs from companies that took billions of dollars from the government got huge perks last year when they were also getting huge bailouts, bailouts with your tax dollars.
We're talking about personal use of corporate jets, free company car and limousine use, paid dues for country clubs. And what's most amazing is that during 2008 when the economy was going down the tubes and when their companies were pulling in billions of dollars in bailout funds, their perks were going up.
According to fresh data from Equilar, the executive compensation research firm now we're going to do this in ascending order so we save the best for last.
Number three on our list, CIT group and the CEO Jeffrey Peek, he got a whopping 75 percent increase in his perks. Perks of $250,000 the year his company was getting bailed out. Most of it was in personal aircraft, plus, $71,000 for car and parking privileges. We called CIT and they said no comment.
Our number two, Bank of America and CEO Ken Lewis. Bank of America received $45 billion in bailout money plus tens of billions in loan guarantees. The B of A chairman Ken Lewis raked in $275,000 in perks. Almost all of that was personal use of corporate aircraft.
When we called the bank, they asked us what we meant by the word perks and promised to call us back but didn't. Lewis' perks increased 30 percent as compared to the year before the bailout. Published reports say Bank of America will no longer allow executives to use corporate jets for personal travel starting this year.
And number one on our list, GMAC Financial Services and its CEO Alvaro de Molina. He got almost $5 million in perks, including $2.3 million for using the corporate jet and $2.5 million that the company paid in taxes. So far, Mr. De Molina didn't have to.
It was a 32 percent increase over the year before. The company told us that whopping increase is artificially high because he only joined GMAC in the middle of 2006. GMAC also says, once they started getting TARP money in late 2008, they stopped using the corporate jets, stopped paying taxes and that the CEO also gave up his bonus last year. GMAC did get $13 billion in bailout money last year.
COOPER: Yes, it was 2007 they said he joined.
Joe, how did they get away with this? I mean is this just an accountability loophole in the TARP program? Executives get their salaries cut so the company then turn around and just increase the perks?
JOHNS: Anderson that's exactly how it sounds. And we're told that Kenneth Feinberg, the guy the Obama administration has named to keep his eye on the largest bailout participants, can actually weigh in on perks.
He's expected to make some decisions about executive compensation by the end of the month. And we do know the administration has been turning up the heat lately. The problem is, Feinberg is only focusing on the top seven recipients of government money.
COOPER: And what about capping the executive salaries? There was a lot of noise a while ago about that or over the past couple days as reports coming out of banks like Goldman Sachs, planning on paying out bigger bonuses this year than they did even in 2007 the year before the economy imploded.
So there is obviously a lot of outrage about that.
JOHNS: Well, don't expect Congress to enact a minimum wage if you will, for CEOs any time soon or a maximum wage. In fact, talking to the House Financial Services Committee today, it is pretty clear they feel uncomfortable limiting the pay of CEOs who got bailout money once that money is paid back. Or if the CEO works for a company that didn't take bailout money, the government really doesn't have a say.
It's a free market economy. But they can give shareholders more input and that's what some in Congress have been trying to do -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, "Keeping then Honest" tonight. Joe I appreciate it, thanks.
Let's "Dig Deeper" now on these excesses but also the other kind of bonuses that may be completely legal, especially with nearly 10 percent unemployment, people are just outraged about this stuff. Home foreclosures at record highs, credit still tight for a lot of small business owners.
With us tonight Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio who's sponsoring legislation that imposes an additional income tax on employees and ex-employees of companies that got bailout money; also David Walker, who is America's Chief Penny Pincher when he ran the Government Accountability Office during the Clinton and Bush years.
Representative Kaptur, what about this? I mean, why are the big wigs, these executives in the financial industry getting these perks when their companies were being bailed out with U.S. taxpayer dollars?
REP. MARCY KAPTUR, (D) OHIO: Because no one is standing up to them.
COOPER: So they can just get away with it?
KAPTUR: They just get away with it. There is a culture of greed and excess that operates at the highest levels. And there are many people that are intimidated by that. We need a country that changes its values from one of greed and excess to a culture of responsibility and prudence, certainly in the banking sector.
They should be leaders in helping our country dig its way out of this financial mess that we're in. But they're part of the problem, not part of the solution.
KAPTUR: I have a bill to recoup those bonuses.
In addition to that, we need 1,000 agents at the FBI in the areas of mortgage fraud and securities fraud because if we can't recoup it through taxation, we need very diligent investigation. Because control fraud is a distinct possibility in many of the securitization schemes that were developed. And the FBI has been seriously under- funded.
COOPER: We'll talk to David and the Congresswoman on the other side of the break.
Let us know what you think join the live chat at AC360.com.
A lot ahead.
They pushed their bodies to the breaking point before they even step inside those sweat lodges. An insider -- a former insider speaks out tonight.
Also new clues to the alleged balloon boy hoax emerging as a more complete version of the 911 recording comes out. We're actually going to play you the key moments; we never heard this before until today. You can decide for yourself, were they faking? And is there an Oscar category for any of this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. HEENE, BALLOON BOY'S FATHER: I think my 6-year-old boy...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's wrong?
HEENE: He got inside. And it took off. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Where is he at?
HEENE: He's in the air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Strange the way things worked, President Obama is in New York tonight on a political fundraising trip. He's asking people for money while telling them to support regulation to keep them from turning your tax dollars into their swanky perks.
Hitting up Wall Street executives in one breathe and taking shots at them next. Here's what he said earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So if there are members of the financial industry in the audience today, I would ask that you join us in passing what are necessary reforms. Don't fight them, join us on them. This is -- this is important for our country.
And when I hear some folks who have just been taking taxpayer bailout money suddenly say what? What do you want from me? When I hear stories about small businesses and medium-sized businesses not being able to get loans despite Wall Street being back very profitable, that tells me that people aren't thinking about their obligations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is President Obama at a fund-raising dinner earlier tonight in New York.
Back now with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and former Comptroller General David Walker. David, I think we have your mike fixed. Well, I just want to re-ask you the question...
DAVID WALKER, FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: What were you asking?
COOPER: I asked you before which is, I mean, a lot of folks out there don't get it, why these executives should get more perks and at the same time that their companies are getting bailout money. Does it make sense to you?
WALKER: Well, they shouldn't, Anderson. The fact is we had a problem with the executive compensation and perks before the bailout. We have a problem after the bailout. There's a problem with the corporate governance system.
Frankly, the federal government has done an extremely poor job of regulation, oversight and design of the bailout program. There's a shared responsibility here.
COOPER: And what do you think, David, is the solution?
WALKER: Well, I think the solution is the government ought to its job. It ought to do a better job with regulation, with regard to oversight. It should not regulate executive compensation.
I mean, frankly, if the government was on a pay for performance system, it would owe money. The fact of the matter is that we need to strengthen shareholder rights. We need to also have tougher capital requirements. We have to have risk-related premiums for a number of these institutions.
We ought to not give them access to the Fed, the borrowing from the Fed. There's a number of things that we ought to do. And Washington is still waiting.
COOPER: Representative Kaptur, you introduced a bill as you mention that would recoup 100 percent of bonuses paid out by any company that received TARP money. But why should these companies be forced to abide by rules that weren't in place last year when they were offered the money?
KAPTUR: Well, because America needs it right now. And I think they should be leaders. They should be leaders for the country. They should try to make up to the country some of the -- for some of the damage that they have done.
And I agree with David, that in fact, we need an entire new financial architecture for our country. We should be taking some of these institutions into receivership. We should not be rewarding them. We should be working out the loans on their books and dealing with the people losing their homes across this country and resolving this in the normal way.
We are trying to deal with this in a very abnormal way. And it's getting worse all across this country. More unemployment, more foreclosures; fewer bank loans being made and more money poured into the top.
COOPER: But let me just play...
KAPTUR: We're not getting the economy to unfreeze.
COOPER: Let me play devil's advocate with you, though. There are plenty of folks who say, look, we need to give these top executives these perks or bonuses in some case in order to retain good executives, in order to get these companies back on track.
KAPTUR: Well, you know what? If that's what it takes, they certainly made a mess of it. I think we need a whole new set of people, in fact.
I would support legislation to not allow any of these executives who have been involved in these terrible, terrible schemes to have any relationship with the federal government or do business with the federal government again.
COOPER: Let me ask David, what do you think about that?
WALKER: Look, the fact is for any system to be successful and sustainable, you've got to have properly aligned and integrated incentives, adequate transparency and appropriate actability.
With regard to pay, that doesn't exist right now. And we need to do something about it. But it needs to be done through the governance system, not through legislation.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Representative Kaptur, I appreciate you being on the program.
KAPTUR: Thank you.
COOPER: And David Walker as well. Thank you very much.
WALKER: It's good to see you Anderson.
COOPER: You want to know who else is making big bucks in bonuses and you're tax dollars? You can find a list at AC360.com.
Just ahead tonight, why a one time dedicated follower of that guy, James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru or self-help salesman, whatever you want to call him, well, a onetime insider speaking out tonight. Why she was under such pressure to stay silent even after three people died in one of his sweat lodge ceremonies.
Also tonight, the story that -- well, it just keeps on going: new tapes, new recordings, the anguished mom on the phone and 911. Is she actually an anguished mom or should she be a best supporting actress? Hear the new 911 tapes, first time we've heard this today. Make up your own mind. You're part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYUMI HEENE, BALLOON BOY'S MOTHER: But we can't find him, our 6-year-old Falcon. And my other son said Falcon was in there at the bottom of the flying saucer. He said he was in there. Anyway, I -- I -- I can't find him anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Ahead on "360," breaking news and exclusive details about the sweat lodge deaths: a former follower of James Arthur Ray says, she saw the dangers firsthand and now regrets not coming forward sooner.
First, some other important stories, Erica Hill has a "360 News and Business Bulletin."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a "360 Follow" tonight, the Chicago teenager we told you about who was cleared of murder charges in the beating death of honor student Derrion Albert says he is blessed that prosecutors cleared him. Eugene Bailey speaking with CNN says "He considered Albert a good friend and approached police after the beating" to offered his help in the investigation.
Bailey also said this about stopping youth violence in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EUGEN BAILEY, TEEN CLEARED IN BEATING: If they can open up the Agape Center to the community, the whole community and not partially, we all can have activities to do sports, give them something to do. And if we all come amongst each other as friends and family members and stop with the violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: In Washington today, President Obama meeting with Iraq's prime minister. And said he plans to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next August with all other troops to be out of the country by the end of 2011. Mr. Obama also said he's watching closely for Iraq's parliament to pass an election law needed for a critical nationwide vote in January.
The College Board says higher education is pricier than ever; I hope you're sitting down for these numbers. Tuition and fees at private four-year schools up 4.4 percent for the 2008-2009 School Year to more than $26,000, that's just tuition and fees.
Public four-year universities spiked more than six percent with in-state students paying more than $7,000, out of state students shelling out more than $18,500.
And Indianapolis police say the 23-year-old man you see in this surveillance video has turned himself in. Gregory Smith pointed a gun at a cashier in a pay day loan office. But the robbery took an unusual turn. The two ended up praying together for nearly ten minutes after the cashier began crying and talking about God.
The cashier said Smith told her that he has a 2-year-old son to support and times were hard. He also asked for a hug before steeling $20 from the cash drawer. He took her cell phone and told her to hide for 20 minutes and took the cash. There you have it.
COOPER: Bizarre. Still ahead tonight, Afghanistan's botched election and why it's a problem for the U.S. today. Hamid Karzai agreeing to a runoff today. How does that change the picture or does it? "Raw Politics" coming up and Michael Ware joins us ahead.
Oh and Erica the story that just keeps on giving. That's right, another 911 tape from the balloon boy extravaganza released today. You can decide if the Heene's are just acting. But wait, that's not all, Erica Hill.
HILL: There's more?
COOPER: Oh, there's more.
HILL: It really is like an early Christmas, Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: We also have Richard Heene's theme song. That's right. He wrote a theme song for a possible show about science. Enjoy.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD HEENE, BALLOON BOY'S FATHER: Weather, climate, the whole universe. You can do the show.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai came under extreme pressure today and agreed to take part in a runoff vote next month. U.S. Senator John Kerry has been in Kabul leaning heavily on Karzai to concede he did not win the August 20th election, widely seen as fraudulent.
Yesterday an independent review invalidated nearly a third of the votes that Karzai got back in August. So now that he's finally admitted, what seemed obvious to a lot of people, what is to prevent the fraud that derailed the August election from actually happening again and what is at stake for the U.S.?
Michael Ware joins us now, well, he's spend a lot of time in Afghanistan since 2001. Can this vote even take place? They're saying two weeks from now.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes I know, it's a huge task. And in fact as the Secretary General of the United Nation said, it's a huge challenge; just logistically. I mean the last election there was 7,000 Afghan and international observers.
You know, they now are saying maybe we would get 5,000 together. And the actual election workers, you have to gather them back together. The U.N. and others have to pay for it. You've got to get rid of those who were involved in the fraud in the past, dispose the investigations into that. You've got bring in new people and retrain them.
COOPER: But they're saying if it doesn't happen by two weeks from now, then the snow is going to come and...
WARE: Because of snow.
COOPER: ... and bad weather is going to come in to a large part of the region.
WARE: That's right. So there is an imperative. I mean, timing is very important here as with the conflict, as with the war itself. The snow in Afghanistan has to be seen to be believed. And even the war itself grinds to a virtual halt. Holding an election in that kind of period is impossible.
COOPER: But clearly, there is a debate going on within the Obama administration. I want to play something that Rahm Emanuel said on John King's show "STATE OF THE UNION."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if in fact, you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether in fact, there is an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So that makes it sound like the Obama administration is going to wait. But then you have Defense Secretary Gates coming forward, and he says and I quote, "We're not just going to sit on our hands, waiting for the outcome of this election and for the emergence of a government in Kabul."
WARE: Yes. It's hard to tell which way they're going to go. I mean and what the chief-of-staff says is there is some truth in it; there is also some deviation there.
I mean, to a degree, it doesn't matter who the government is I mean, whether it's Hamid Karzai returning or Abdullah Abdullah. In many ways in Afghan eyes, it's one bunch of crooks versus another. Either way, that government, whatever form it takes, is going to have to rely on America and its other partners like India, Iran, even China.
COOPER: If Abdullah Abdullah...
WARE: So it's going to need them.
COOPER: If Abdullah Abdullah comes in, though, does he get rid of all the governors and stuff that Karzai has appointed and put in new people?
WARE: Well, that's going to be coming for Abdullah Abdullah and yes, I'm sure there will be changes. He'll want to put his own imprint upon it. But in terms of the U.S. war fighting effort, I think this is just politically buying the administration time.
WARE: In terms of the strategy, in terms of the fight, you don't need these two weeks plus waiting for the recount.
WARE: You don't want these two weeks. You just want to get on with the fight. War doesn't wait for elections.
COOPER: Yes, Michael Ware, I appreciate it.
The Obama administration needs a credible partner in Afghanistan. That's what they've been saying. So will this runoff which Karzai is likely to win actually provide one?
Let's talk "Raw Politics" with CNN's political contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala; also Kevin Madden, former spokesman for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. So, Paul, what about this? I mean, Rahm Emanuel saying essentially the White House wants to hold off a troop decision until the election is resolved.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No.
COOPER: Robert Gates is saying that's not really practical or sensible?
BEGALA: Right, Mr. Emanuel did not say until the election. He said until we assess whether there is a credible partner. In other words, can Hamid Karzai who is both corrupt and inept emerge as somebody changed? Can he adapt? I'd say I'm a strong doubter of that.
But he didn't say we'll wait until the election. I think John Kerry actually said that over in Afghanistan who is doing great work for our country.
BEGALA: But what Mr. Emanuel said is we have to have a credible partner. This was putting pressure on the government. And I would note that within 24 hours of Mr. Emanuel's comments, Karzai folded. So it looks like American pressure is having some effect.
COOPER: Kevin, though, I mean Karzai has been in power now for years. And over the last eight months of the Obama administration or however long it's been. You would think by now they would know whether or not he was a credible partner.
KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR MITT ROMNEY: Well, right. And, you know, I think it's a rather elusive goal trying to find political stability there because I think for the last two years, and you can even argue that for maybe the last 10 to 100 years there's been -- you know, Afghanistan has essentially been a political tinder box. They've had rife corruption both in the government and as well as in any sort of regional authorities that they have across the country.
So, you know, the president is in a difficult position where he's looking to get as much leverage as possible. But he's increasingly setting himself up for elusive goals. And the most important thing right now that the troops on the ground need that American security needs is somebody to make a very firm decision and give the mission a clear direction there.
COOPER: Paul, do you think the president risks, you know, incurring more criticism, obviously from Republicans but just from voters out there in general by not making a decision?
BEGALA: Yes, but I think that's a short-term risk. There's no doubt that this (AUDIO GAP) time he is taking is causing -- is taking its toll. You're getting more and more people wondering, is Barack Obama tough enough? Is he decisive enough? I suspect he weighs that against the long-term implications of making the wrong decision here. So I think he's taking a short-term hit to get the long term peace right.
But to me, the key question -- I have no idea what the key question is to the president -- but to me the key question is that will they ever have a credible partner? Kevin is right. This government has been corrupt since day one. It's been inept from day one and I guess I would take one or the other. I guess I could take a corrupt government if they were capable.
But this is the problem. If the McChrystal report is right, I think it is, we have to have a government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is credible and effective. General McChrystal uses that acronym GIROA which is Government of the Islamist Republic of Afghanistan 99 times in a 66-page report. That's how critical it is.
And I got to tell you, I don't see it. I don't know if you do, Kevin.
COOPER: Kevin, that's the key to a counter insurgency. You talk to anybody -- any expert on the subject will tell you, you know, it has to be in support of a government that people can get behind and believe.
We were just there on the ground. And what The marines are trying to do is convince local people in these outlying village that's the government actually cares about them and is going to help them in their lives. And, yet, there's no evidence. And there hasn't been any evidence of that for eight years now.
MADDEN: That's right. And that is, again, the hard task. I think one of the problems is that how does -- by far I'm not a policy expert when it comes to the military decision that's should be made on the ground. But how is it that you support the political decisions with a very clear message?
One of the big problems with the president's deliberative style here is that the deliberation is starting to look like both timidity and hesitation. And that timidity and hesitation is emboldening many of our enemies on the ground.
If we look at Iraq and the surge there, that surge in Iraq sent a very clear message to the insurgents there that we were not leaving. And that we had a very clear message. And that helped the military success of that operation.
BEGALA: But the surge followed the Sunni awakening. Iraqis in Iraq decided that they were going to take on al Qaeda where as they had not in the past. That turn, even more than the American troop presence is what turned Iraq around. I don't see any Sunni awakening in Afghanistan.
COOPER: Michael Ware is nodding. Michael what?
WARE: Yes. His point is absolutely valid. But the opportunity for an Afghan awakening has presented itself. A lot of the tribes in the south, a lot of the former veterans of the Soviet War have been sitting back or have been neglected by the Karzai government or others are now stepping up and saying we're ready to be these militia.
COOPER: So that's a possibility?
WARE: That's a distinct possibility. And Karzai's brother who was in Kandahar is already running a pilot program and the military's watching that closely.
COOPER: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Michael Ware, Kevin Madden, appreciate it; Paul Begala as well.
Tomorrow, my exclusive interview with the former leader of Pakistan; I'm sitting down with Pervez Musharraf. How does he view the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda as his country comes under increasing scrutiny from the White House and under increasing attacks from their own Taliban?
I'll talk to him about that tomorrow.
Up next though tonight, a lot ahead. Breaking news: three people died, we know, in that sweat lodge tragedy. More than a dozen were sickened. What happened inside that sweat lodge?
Tonight a woman who attended another sweat lodge ceremony led by the same guy, the same controversial spiritual guru or self-help salesman, whatever you want to call him, she brings us exclusive details of what went on.
And later, on a far lighter note and more bizarre note perhaps, Carrie Prejean. Yes, she continues to be in the news. Pageant officials want the ex-Miss California to pay up. Wait until you hear why. The story, ahead.
COOPER: I want to get back to our breaking news we told you at the top of the hour. The exclusive new information connected to three deaths of people during a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona. These new details are coming from an ex-follower of the self-help salesman who led the ritual, James Arthur Ray. In 2007, Ray told Larry King how he helps people. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ARTHUR RAY, SELF-HELP SPIRITUAL LEADER: We all have a special purpose and a mission to fulfill in this lifetime. And part of my passion is helping people really understand what true wealth is, that state of well-being, finding their unique gifts and then using the secret to create the life that really they're meant to create and meant to live in this lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, investigators looking into the sweat lodge tragedy say that Ray is not cooperating with them. Tonight a woman who attended a similar sweat lodge ceremony last year has lots to say about it.
The woman spoke to our Gary Tuchman who joins us now from Chicago with this exclusive report -- Gary.
TUCHMAN: Anderson, one year ago at the very same retreat during the same type of sweat lodge ceremony led by James Arthur Ray, at least 20 people got quite sick, including one woman who was unconscious.
That's what we're being told by one of the people who was in that sweat lodge during the 2008 event. That woman's name is Danielle. We have a picture of her. She's on the left. Her husband John is on the right. We're not using their last names. In the middle is James Arthur Ray wearing a shirt that says death to death.
Daniel's explanation for that -- she says Ray tells his followers they should not fear death. Danielle decided to tell us some disturbing information that has not been publicly known because she says she has lost respect for a man she revered after Ray's lack of a reaction to the three deaths.
She was going to talk to us on camera today but acknowledges the impression by people still faithful to Ray that she should not do so. She canceled the interview saying she was confused and conflicted.
But she is aware we're reporting what she told me off camera. And according to Danielle, James Arthur Ray told the 60 or so people in the boiling hot sweat lodge, quote, "You will not die. You may feel like it but push past it."
I spent an hour in a Native American sweat lodge last week in Arizona. It is brutally hot, it's physically challenging even in the best of circumstances. So imagine what it's like for people who earlier that week finished a 40-hour fast.
That's what Danielle says happened in 2008, with Ray telling the faithful to fight through desires to leave the searing heat. Danielle says that when the event was over about one-third of the people were quite sick. Some of the victims delusional, some of the people seemed to speak in tongues. One woman was dragged out unconscious. That same woman, says Danielle, was at this year's sweat lodge, too, and was not a casualty this time.
None of this as far as we know, was ever reported to medical or law enforcement authorities -- Anderson.
COOPER: Gary, I understand there are some disturbing allegations from one of the victims' families. What are they saying?
TUCHMAN: Yes, we just found that out a short time ago. And the information is this -- Liz Newman died this past Saturday after being in a coma for 9 days. Her family says that neither James Arthur Ray nor anyone from his company called the family until the day after she died.
And in a letter from the family attorney, this troubling information, quote, "We only learned of the tragic incident through family in Arizona and through media coverage. She had been admitted to the hospital as a Jane Doe. No one was available to make an identification of the patient upon admission to the hospital."
COOPER: Is there any response from Ray?
TUCHMAN: At this point, James Arthur Ray is still not talking to reporters. His spokesman says his only statements right now are on his Facebook page in which he expresses regret.
A homicide investigation is under way, Anderson. But James Arthur Ray is still attending seminars. He's talking up his gospel and drumming up business -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. It's about the business. Gary, appreciate it.
Coming up, "LATINO IN AMERICA:" I'm going to talk to with Eva Longoria-Parker about Latino in Hollywood and why there aren't more Latinos on TV and in the movies.
And the latest on Richard Heene, Mayumi and balloon boy: the original 911 call has been released. We're going to play it for you and even more bizarre and ridiculous, Richard Heene wrote his own theme song. It's our "Shot of the Day."
Here's just a little preview of the catchy ditty.
COOPER: Tomorrow night, CNN presents "LATINO IN AMERICA," a 2- part special on how America's largest minority has shaped and changed our country. Soledad O'Brien is hosting the ground-breaking report. Here's a preview with a look at what it means to be Latino in Hollywood and she kicks it off with some words from Eva Longoria- Parker who joined me for an interview after the piece. Take a look.
EVA LONGORIA-PARKER, ACTRESS: I've never played stereotypical parts. I've never played a maid. I've never played a gardener. I've never felt like, you know, "Desperate Housewives" had an overly ethnic line with me, story line regarding Gabriel and me. And we've never been, like, "Come on over for tortillas," you know?
Let's write this down. Starting at stage left.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Latinos to really change the way Hollywood works, Longoria-Parker believes they have to control the product. She's the executive producer and host of ABC's "Alma Awards," celebrating Latinos in entertainment.
LONGORIA-PARKER: I find you have to live by example, which means if more Latinos want to be in Hollywood, then more Latinos have to be the creators behind the camera.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
O'BRIEN: A Hollywood icon, actor Edward James Olmos, is also making decisions as a director and producer.
EDWARD JAMES OLMOS, ACTOR/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Action stations.
O'BRIEN: Olmos plays Commander William Adama on "Battlestar Galactica."
OLMOS: Reset the clock, 33 minutes.
I've been waiting to meet you my whole life.
O'BRIEN (on camera): What's your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jonathan.
O'BRIEN: Well, you look at a kid like Jonathan, who is 12. You have to imagine that he's thinking, "Well, if the commander in 'Battlestar Galactica' is a Latino," and he clearly is a Latino, there's a whole bunch of possibilities open there.
OLMOS: Yes. And that's exactly what happens. You just are allowed to dream. It's not brain surgery. We're not helping, you know, cure cancer. But we are working directly with self-esteem and self respect.
COOPER: From "Desperate Housewives" to human rights, Eva Longoria-Parker is an actress, an activist, and as you just heard, reshaping the role of Latinos in Hollywood. Eva Longoria-Parker joins me now.
Thank you so much for being with us. You know, you tried to stay away from playing stereotypical roles, as you talked about. You're really, I guess, one of the few Latina superstars right now in Hollywood. Do you think the entertainment industry needs to do a better job representing Latinos and Latinas?
LONGORIA-PARKER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
I think people talk about the progress being made. And I think we've made progress. Obviously, I'm on TV, and I'm on a great show.
But, you know, there was a time where in the 50s you could name five leading Latino men. We had Ricardo Montalban; we had Cesar Romero; Anthony Quinn, leading men who carried movies. And today, I don't even think you can name three.
I don't think, as a community, as a Latino community we can sit back and just expect roles to fall in our lap. If we want these stories to be told or to be shown, we're going to have to write them, produce them, direct them and create the opportunities for ourselves.
COOPER: One of the major topics in "LATINO IN AMERICA" tackles, obviously, immigration. You said in the past that you wish the president had approached reform with a time line that was -- I think the term you used was a little more aggressive. What would you like to see in terms of reform?
LONGORIA-PARKER: You know, I believe 100 percent in this administration. And I'm very hopeful that -- that immigration will be tackled. It's saddening that it's been on the national agenda for ten years, not just with this administration, the past two administrations. It's time to tackle it.
And what I would love to see is the authority to be taken out of the state and localities that are enacting and enforcing these punitive laws. I think Congress has to deliver one message for one nation with one immigration policy. It has to come from the top.
COOPER: It's interesting, you know, when you look at some surveys and stuff, some Americans sort of view Latinos as foreigners somehow, as people who have immigrated only recently. There are actually a lot of Latinos who have been in America for many generations, your family included.
LONGORIA-PARKER: Yes. We're -- I'm ninth generation American. I'm more American than most Anglo people I meet. You know, my family has the same land from the 1500s, the late, you know, 16th century, early 16th century. We're on the same exact land.
My family was under five different flags without ever moving. We never crossed a border. The border crossed us.
And that's a common story with a lot of Mexican-Americans and a lot of immigrants who were particularly in Texas and the southwest and California when -- when the land was lost in the Treaty of Hidalgo (ph).
OOPER: You've been working on a documentary called "Harvest" on migrant farm workers. In particular, you're looking at child crop workers, almost all of which are Latino. And it's actually prevalent here in the United States. I don't think a lot of people realize. LONGORIA-PARKER: Yes. And, you know, I've been an advocate for farm workers for many years. And I was surprised to find out the use of child labor in America in this country, who has some of the strictest import, export laws. We won't -- we won't take a shirt made in China by a child. But yet in our own country, 25 percent of the food we eat is harvested by a child.
So "Harvest" is a documentary that hopefully will humanize the issue. The kids in these fields, over 500,000 kids are working in the fields. Most are American; 80 to 90 percent are American children.
And this is the problem we're having. We're having a mixed nationality family. So what do you do? How does immigration reform address those kind of families?
COOPER: Yes. Dividing a lot of families instead of uniting.
COOPER: Eva Longoria-Parker, really appreciate you being on the program. Thanks.
LONGORIA-PARKER: Thank you. Thank you.
COOPER: Quick reminder, you can catch "LATINO IN AMERICA" tomorrow and Thursday nights, 9:00 Eastern time, right here on CNN. We'll be on right after the program at 11 p.m. both nights.
Next, new tapes just released in the balloon boy saga. Some say what you hear is fake fear as Richard Heene calls a 911 operator. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. HEENE: How the heck are we going to get him down?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
R. HEENE: Listen, I called the FAA. They told me to call you guys. I would have thought that they could -- you know -- I don't know. Send something up. Is there a helicopter or something?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He also called the TV station.
Anyway, speaking of things maybe not being what they seem to be, beauty pageant payback. Carrie Prejean walked away with some plastic surgery that was paid for by Miss California pageant officials. They paid for her breasts. Now they're planning to sue. They want the money back.
COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica. HILL: Anderson, new information about slain former NFL quarterback Steve McNair coming from text messages. Those texts show McNair's mistress was stressed and struggling with financial problems just hours before police say she shot him to death and then killed herself. It happened back in July.
Sarah Palin, kicking off press for her new book with none other than Oprah Winfrey; Oprah's production company says her sit-down on November 16 will be the former Alaska governor's first stop on the day before her book is released. It will also be the first meeting for the 2008 Republican VP candidate and the queen of talk. Winfrey was a supporter of then-candidate Barack Obama during last year's presidential elections.
Miss California USA officials now demanding Carrie Prejean repay the $5,200 it says she borrowed to get breast implants.
COOPER: She's had breast implants?
HILL: I know. I know. In a beauty pageant.
The move comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Prejean in which she claims pageant officials violated privacy by telling reporters her breasts were fake. But wait for it, Anderson Cooper. Here's the kicker. Pageant lawyers say the truth is no longer private as soon as Prejean took part in the nationally-televised swimsuit competition. And there you have it.
COOPER: Ouch. Ouch.
HILL: On a much more serious note, still plenty of questions in the balloon boy saga. The FAA confirming to CNN today it still hasn't found record of a call from Richard Heene, though they are still looking for it. They don't keep track of all calls that come in.
Heene says did he call the FAA first after that homemade balloon took off last Thursday. The FAA is also investigating the incident.
And we're learning more about the Heenes' 911 call. TMZ posting the first part of that call to police before it was transferred to the sheriff's department. Here's the new tidbit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. HEENE: My family and I made an experimental flying saucer. It wasn't supposed to fly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. OK.
R. HEENE: We thought this thing was tethered. I think my 6- year-old boy -- I think he got inside. And it took off. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Where is he at?
R. HEENE: He's in the air. MAYUMI HEENE, MOTHER: We can't find the 6-year-old Falcon. And my other son said Falcon was at the bottom of the flying saucer. He said he was in there. But -- anyway, I -- I -- I can't find him anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, Mayumi.
For tonight's "Shot:" the musical stylings of Richard Heene. See, the man allegedly behind the balloon boy hoax, he didn't just want to be a reality star. He wanted to sing the theme song for his own reality show.
COOPER: I mean, it just gets better. He probably wanted to produce it and write it. He sings it. TMZ posted the theme song on its Web site. They say it's for a show he had in mind called "Psyience Detective," spelled P-S-Y-I-E-N-C-E.
HILL: Love that. It's so hip.
COOPER: That's what the kids love. The kids love that kind of spelling.
Listen and enjoy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. HEENE (singing): Watch Richard Heene, Psyience Detective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is that it?
HILL: Do you need more than that?
COOPER: Here's more. Here's more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. HEENE (singing): ... secrets of dirt you get your information watch Richard Heene, Psyience Detective. Richard Heene, Psyience Detective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And you thought "Yearning for Zion" was good.
COOPER: You know what's sad? Is since I first heard this, I cannot get that out of my head now. HILL: You've been singing it every commercial break.
COOPER: "Richard Heene, Psyience Detective," for hours now.
HILL: I have a feeling it is not the last time we'll play "Richard Heene Psyience Detective" on this program.
COOPER: We have the whole catalog of, like, creepy music from people in news stories. The polygamist guy; he has a whole album.
HILL: Warren Jeffs, "Yearning for Zion".
COOPER: Warren Jeffs. All right. Oh, Mayumi.
HILL: Need some more Mayumi.
COOPER: I feel like we haven't heard -- haven't heard enough from Mayumi. I feel she is like -- anyway.
HILL: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say there may be more to come.
COOPER: Right. Yes.
That does it for "360." Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night at 11:00.
"Larry King" starts right now.