Writing in Public Response Years Ago with Regard to Strathmore Development Company Were not Intended to Allege or Imply Illegalities

I have received a letter from Attorney R. Christopher Cataldo, demanding retraction of anything I wrote on Public Response years ago concerning Strathmore Development Company or Scott Chappelle that alleged or implied corruption, illicit schemes, criminal, or other wrongdoing.

I never intended to make such allegations and tried my best to stick to publicly available facts and documents concerning projects by Strathmore and its affiliates. The context was the City Center II project in East Lansing that involved bonds backed by full and credit of the city of up to $30 million that required successful completion. The publicly available documents relating to Strathmore and its affiliates were necessary for risk assessment on the part of city officials and the public.

Although these documents showed various foreclosures, legal actions, etc. that might have reflected negatively on this risk assessment, I never intentionally suggested any of this was illegal. I admit having expressed shock at what was apparently legal in commercial real estate dealings and with the willingness of city officials to pursue the project under these circumstances.

I was recently asked to comment for East Lansing Information about the indictment of Mr. Chappelle, at which time I stated I had many years before shared the documents I had located related to Strathmore with the FBI, some of which I had privately believed crossed the line to mortgage fraud, but since nothing had come from that, I surmised the FBI had concluded there were no illegalities.

I believe I had mentioned publicly, years ago, about sharing documents with the FBI, which were the same documents I provided city officials and DDA, to which Strathmore personnel were privy. I have no way of knowing whether these documents I shared had any impact of the investigation that has led to the indictment. 

I have no doubt documenting foreclosures, tax liens, etc. reflects badly on companies and individuals. I have, however, studiously tried not to allege fraud, corruption, or anything illegal involving Strathmore or Mr. Chappelle.

– Eliot Singer

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