RE: State's position on funraising


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: State's position on funraising
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 14:03:56 -0400
From: "John Sugg" <john.sugg@creativeloafing.com>
To: <wilson@citicom.com>
CC: <plainjanee@aol.com>
Steve, I will included your relevant comments in anything else that I
write. A few quick questions:

Court records show that (1) you have stated that you hid money under
Your bed and (2) you didn't file income tax returns for several years. Should
these facts be considered when evaluating your claims about fundraising,
especially since you have never made public an accounting of your
fundraising?
The IRS says that funds collected as you have must be reported as
Ordinary income, unless there is a proper tax-exempt entity in place.
(The IRS also said there is no special exemption from filing as you 
aid during the  litigation -- but I'm not going to deal with  that nor did I give the
IRS spokesman your name or other information.) Have you reported your
collections as ordinary income? Or do you have a tax-exempt entity? If
neither, please explain.
               ______________________________________________________
               "Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity
                  in the context of professional journalism."
                         -- Hunter S. Thompson
John Sugg
Senior Editor
Creative Loafing
Atlanta, Georgia
John.sugg@cln.com
404-614-1241
-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Wilson [mailto:wilson@citicom.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 1:21 PM
To: John Sugg
Cc: nskene@comcast.net; 'Jane Akre'
Subject: Re: State's position on funraising
I appreciate the more-civil tone as well as the time to adequately
Research and respond to your latest inquiries.
Shown below is our reponse.  For your convenience, it is also attached
as a Word file.
I again appeal to your journalistic ethics and ask, regardless of what
opinion you may wish to express. which is of course your right, please
report our responses accurately and fairly.  And who knows, in light of
this new information you might even wish to re-evaluate your unfounded
suspicions and the false conclusions to which we believe you led your 
readers earlier.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Statement of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre
 
We filed suit against Fox and posted our website on April 2, 1998.  We
Did so without any appeal for financial support and rejected all such
offers, prepared to fund the estimated $50,000 out of our personal savings.
Nearly a year later, after we had well surpassed the $50,000 mark and it
Was clear the battle would be longer and many times costlier than our
Lawyers originally estimated, we re-evaluated our situation.  In the Spring
of 1999, we posted a new page on our website which said, in part:
 
"When we filed our lawsuit in early 1998, we vowed to each other that
we’d never ask anyone for financial help. We wanted to avoid even the
appearance that we are motivated by personal gain….We hope you agree that
it is not fair that any single family should shoulder the entire burden of 
aging an expensive legal battle for truth and honesty on the public airwaves, 
specially when the opponent is the biggest, richest media empire in the world.”
There was no suggestion in that posting that we were destitute when we
changed course and invited “all of you who will benefit from our
struggle to help support us in any way you can.”   The support we suggested,
by the way, included more than helping with legal costs—supporters were also
urged to lend their time and their talents to send messages directly to Monsanto
and the mainstream media, as well as invite us to speak to interested groups.
Prior to establishing what we called The Citizens’ Fund for the Right To
Know, we inquired about what legal requirements, if any, we needed to
meet. Just as the Florida Bureau of Consumer Assistance states on its website
today, we were told, “Individuals or groups who solicit donations for a
particular individual or family in need are not required to register
with the State.”  We were further advised to establish a separate account for
gifts received and we did so before we invited support and accepted a
dime.
 
Following the overturn of our jury victory, our “Help Jane & Steve”
Webpage was updated to announce appeal of the appellate court decision.  The
update—which followed the same language about the fairness of any single
family shouldering the entire financial burden of such a battle—said, in
part:

“Although not as expensive as the trial, this appeal will run up our
legal bills even higher at a time we were just hoping to get back on our feet. 
The cost of appeal to Florida’s Supreme Court, if necessary, could be tens of thousands
 more dollars out of our family bank account.”
We did not mean to suggest we were down and out.  The reference to “at a
time we were just hoping to get back on our feet” was intended to convey
that we had hoped the matter would have been favorably settled by the
court so that we could put all of this behind us and get on with our lives on
the same footing we had before the struggle began.
“Back on our feet” referred to our hope that the emotional and family
turmoil caused by the suit would be over, we could both finally resume
fulltime our careers with fulltime work in our field, and personal