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A huge, but not a biased, mistake
February 18, 2013 - Jessica Collier
I'm getting some feedback from people making incorrect associations, so I'm going to clear up a few things here.
I did, in fact, make a huge mistake when I reported on Saturday about what I thought were the ACR's marina properties being foreclosed on.
As soon as I discovered that I had confused the names of the limited liability companies involved in the ACR, I wrote and posted online on Sunday morning a correction.
I apologized profusely to Mike Foxman when I realized what had happened.
The mistake happened because I was working with a list of what I thought were ACR-owned properties that I drew up a few years ago. I don't remember how I compiled the list, so I'm not sure how I included the unrelated properties.
County Treasurer Bryon Varin is familiar with the ACR properties, so normally I don't need the related tax ID numbers to get info about their tax status. But Varin was out of the office starting Friday and through the end of this month, so I had to give tax ID numbers to people in his office to get the info I was looking for.
What I reported had nothing to do with any emails I got from anyone. There was an email sent from a resort opponent to the Enterprise (apparently he sent a different, more inflammatory email to others in town) about Lawson's home foreclosure. Some have suggested that I wrote what the email said without checking any of the facts, and some have suggested I followed the email's advice due to a bias.
That's not true, though. I had already been working on the home foreclosure story for a week or so. I printed the 150-200 pages of documents related to it when I was in Malone Feb. 7, and I had intended to work on it long before getting an email in the middle of last week.
I would never use anonymous information from an email without verifying the info independently, and I did not in this case.
I want to make it very clear that I am not apologizing for reporting on the development group being behind on its taxes, and I am not apologizing for reporting on the Lawsons' home foreclosure. Foxman barely addressed my mistake when I talked to him about it but was far more concerned with the Lawsons' personal financial issues.
It's the Enterprise's job to report what's going on with the resort. The boots-on-the-ground partner's personal finances being such a problem are, by all means, relevant and newsworthy. They can, by all means, have an impact on the resort's success.
We've reported on the ACR being behind on its taxes in the past, and this was an attempt to follow up on that. Lawson's personal finances have also been made an issue in the past, and they are still.
Lawson has a lot of investments throughout town, beyond the ACR even, and the fact that he may lose the house he lives in here has implications.
The people who have financial interest in the resort may not like that information being detailed in a news story, but it's already public, available to anyone who requests it from the county. There are a number of people without those biases in the area who are waiting to see what will happen with the ACR, and this is one indicator of how things are going.
Also, people who are using this as an example that I never report positive news in Tupper Lake are incorrect. I report on what's newsworthy. Often that can be negative, but a lot of times it can be positive, or it's often neutral.
My co-worker Chris Knight put it well in this column, "The good news and the bad news."
Anyway, here's your chance to give it to me in the comments!
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