Some points to consider when reading Portland Press Herald pieces about my dad…..
Over the past several weeks, a number of defamatory articles have been published in the Portland Press Herald about Greg Brooks and Sub Sea Research, written by Eric Russell. These articles called into question the validity of Brooks’ claims regarding the billion-dollar cargo he believes to be on the SS Port Nicholson wreck. Russell is relying on evidence presented to him by two investors, Denny Denham and Susan Gallagher, as well as additional material obtained from a deposition completed by former contractor for Sub Sea Research, Kevin LaChance.
Brian Ryder, also a contractor of Sub Sea Research, recently put together a response to these points. He addressed the claims that Gallagher made about Brooks spending the investor money for himself, and provided facts about the “luxury” vehicles Gallagher stated were in Brooks’ possession. He also offered up information about the investor relations from the company’s point of view, and went into further detail about the outside salvage company hired to help complete the mission, DEEP Down, and the possibility of a mole in the organization. These are all valid points to consider when looking at the full story.
A number of crew members gave depositions, most of them very positive. Kevin LaChance’s was the sole negative. It is worth noting that LaChance, who served as the company’s Remote Operated Vehicle pilot, was let go in the fall of 2013 when the company ran out of funds. At that time, money was being raised and LaChance was asked to “hold on” until the funds came in. Despite this being the same for every single contractor on the ship, LaChance was extremely angry about this turn of events and told Ryder and other crew members he would make it his mission to “bury Greg”. Around this time, he was offered a job with DEEP Down, who had a lawsuit in place against Sub Sea Research.
The question remains why the Portland Press Herald is choosing to only publish one side of this story. There are a number of facts that could be shown to the public; Brian Ryder presented a few in his testimonial, and various other crew members gave their own side of the story in their respective depositions. These depositions were in the custody of the court and the lawyers representing both the U.K.’s SS Port Nicholson and Brooks’ limited liability company, Sea Hunters.
It is interesting here to note that these depositions were considered court evidence and were not privy to the public. How did the Portland Press Herald obtain LaChance’s deposition? The thread could potentially be traced back to Preti Flaherty, one of the law firms representing the United Kingdom and the Port Nicholson wreck. This law firm also represents the Portland Press Herald. If this is not the avenue by which the Press Herald acquired LaChance’s deposition, why wouldn’t they consider the opinions and experiences of any other crew members, and attempt to acquire the depositions given by Ryder and other contractors? Why would they not even contemplate putting Ryder’s article in the paper, to at least offer readers some contrast of opinion? To continually ignore any other forms of evidence seems to point towards a bias on the part of the paper.
Why would the Portland Press Herald want to present information with a bias? There are a number of possible reasons. The amount of people who want to acquire this shipwreck is large. One is Dan Stochel, a previous investor to the Port Nicholson project who formed his own salvage company and attempted to gain the rights to the wreck as far back as 2011. Another, of course, is the UK government, who have continued their attempt to stake claim to the wreck since 2008. Brooks has held the rights to the wreck since 2008. To defame Brooks and his company would be an awfully subtle, clever way to sway the court over to the UK’s side. That the Press Herald only ended up with LaChance’s deposition, when other crew members’ in the pile could potentially contradict it or shed more light on the story, is a little puzzling. A shared law firm, an illegally obtained deposition, and a slew of one-sided articles all seem to be pointing toward some kind of hidden agenda.
The main goal of a publication should always be to provide readers with a representation of the facts. The refusal to consider both sides of the story, and to find someone who can strike the balance of a non-biased piece of journalism is highly suspicious. Mainers are intelligent enough to form their own opinions. Respect them enough to show them the full spectrum of this multifaceted story.