I am the author of the article that Kent posted to this forum. It's an investigative report that is being run simultaneously in Chronogram and Planet Waves. The Planet Waves version is longer and illustrated, with more details and is a bit more readable.
I am an investigative reporter and my specialty is fraud and crimes against the environment. I have written for Sierra, The Ecologist, The Village Voice, Huffington Post and many other publications.
I've been following this group of cases since 1997. I first covered them for Woodstock Times and then assisted the New York Times in completing its coverage several months later.
I've been developing the current story for about three years. It takes a long time to understand this kind of thing. In doing my research I have followed the chain of title of every property involved, nearly all of it focused on the Curran Farm and its adjoining properties.
The piece has been through several layers of fact checking, including by my editors at Chronogram and the editorial team at Planet Waves. I am as confident as I can be that I've got every fact right.
Before the piece came out, I spent an hour and 20 minutes with three of Mohonk's top officials in a recorded interview -- with Hoagland, Knapp and Reed -- who insisted that they had a real claim to the property but who would not answer any of my questions about their chain of title. They seemed to expect me to take them at their word, without proof of what they were saying.
Conversely when I interviewed those on the other side of the case, particularly dragging Mike Fink and Chris McGregor through hours of interviews, they were prepared to prove everything they were saying with deeds, title searches and other documents that established what their claims.
I never take a source at their word in a story like this without proof of what they are saying in authenticated documents, and I will drill them and track and memorize documents until I am certain that I understand what is going on and can explain it from memory.
In this case that took a while. I have lived with a map of the Curran Farm and its various subsequent chains of title on my kitchen wall for years, gradually understanding where all the pieces fit together.
It has been a long, interesting and challenging project. I have a lot more to tell.
Edited by webmaster (08/05/13 12:35 PM)