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Letter to the editor: Lewis County News claims don't resemble journalism
This is addressed to Chronicle Publisher Chad Taylor. You recently wrote a commentary about some claims being made by Mike Hadaller and his attempt to paint a picture of corruption when it comes to your business dealing with the Silver Agency (see commentary at the top of this page). I appreciated your editorial and your explanation of the business you have conducted between the Silver Agency and others.
On Thursday morning, Lewis County News shared what they purported to be documents that proved you lied in your article. They are claiming that you have done business with the Economic Alliance of Lewis County to the tune of $85,000, not the “less than $20,000” you stated in your article. I looked at the documents they shared. The total for those transactions came to $10,551.54 I believe. So, I asked them to clarify. They then edited their post and included an invoice from Silver Agency for $30,000 that was made out to the Economic Alliance. After looking at it and digging into other readily available information I could see that it was a “pass through” transaction from the Lewis County .09 fund for spending related to flooding efforts and outreach. You may not know, but I sit on the .09 committee. As a member of that committee, I am aware of this type of transaction where the Economic Alliance helps administer these .09 funds. It is not uncommon, and I personally do not consider these transactions to be solely between the Economic Alliance and the recipient, but the .09 fund and the recipient.
I will say that I wish you had thought to clarify this “pass through” in your article, but I can easily see (and rightfully so) how this was overlooked as a transaction with the Lewis County .09 fund and not the Economic Alliance. This transaction was voted on and unanimously approved by the Lewis County Commission in an open public meeting Oct. 25, 2022. There is very easily available documentation, so any claim that there was an attempt to hide this transaction is silly to me.
There is a clear pattern of Mike Hadaller claiming conspiracy to try to discredit a project he disagrees with. I made the mistake of engaging Mr. Hadaller in discussion on the Lewis County News Facebook post. I shared with him that I am not either for or against the project and that I wish it was just debated on its own merits and not used to sling mud in long standing personal disagreements. He then proceeded to say that I was somehow financially benefiting and was a “good old boy.” I had to Google Fortescue, to make sure I knew how to spell their name. I want to make sure I don’t miss their check in my mailbox!
The Lewis County News's attempt to declare this some sort of smoking gun is — I don’t even know. Not anything that resembles journalism.
As I have said, I am not for or against this project. I want to hear all the facts and decide for myself. But when one side of an argument resorts to hurling insults and peddling outright lies about conspiracy it makes it really hard to hear anything else they have to say.