Sunday, October 19, 2008

A lot of questions left on the table

Since I broke this story last week, the Goode campaign and Jerry Meadors have responded. Unfortunately, their response has done nothing to clear up suspicions.

First, as I've said repeatedly, the biggest part of the story is the $150K that Goode directed to Jerry Meador - the homosexual writer and producer of Eden's Curve. The response we have been given is that a) the earmark came after the movie was filmed and b) it was solely for the purposes of theater renovation.

These responses are just patently off-point. It really doesn't matter that the actual filming of the movie took place in 2001; the movie debuted in 2003. At that point in the production cycle, you are still looking at marketing and distribution expenses. Further, first-time movie producers are famous for going into deep debt in order to fulfill their dream. Was the $150K used to retire debt or defray any expense whatsoever having to do with Eden's Curve? We haven't been given an answer to that question. A cynic may even say that it has been studiously avoided. One more note: as Meadors himself has admitted, Eden's Curve was shown at Gay Film Festivals around the world. Where did he get the money for those excursions? If he could afford such fabulous extravagance on his salary as theater director, why in the world did the North Theater need an earmark?

Next - as noted in the video above - this was Linwood Duncan's first and only role in any widely distributed film. (I don't know what kind of home movies he's made). He told a newspaper that he didn't read the script of the movie or watch it after it came out. Does that sound truthful to you? If you were offered a big Hollywood break... if you had a speaking role in a film... wouldn't you at least watch it? Wouldn't you read the script to find out what the movie was about? If you worked for a politician with a national reputation that included an anti-homosexual Republican-style family-values component, wouldn't you at least read the script your homosexual childhood friend brought to you before committing to appear in his movie?

I'll add to this post over the next few days; until then, if you see Virgil Goode, Jerry Meadors or Linwood Duncan, see if you can pin them down on these questions.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lou Barletta (R candidate for PA-11)

The nature of my work is such that many of you readers feel compelled to email me information about people that may have done some unsavory things. Many of these "tips" are non-starters; they either nearly impossible to investigate, or they are just so extreme that it's difficult to take them seriously unless they are somehow substantiated. A coupla weeks ago, I received a tip that I thought was pretty incredible. There wasn't much by the way of substantiation, so I almost set it aside. But something pulled me back. The tip was this: that Lou Barletta, Republican candidate for Congress in PA-11 - and nationally known for the aggressive anti-illegal policies he implemented as Mayor of Hazleton - had impregnated a young Latino girl. I ended up making some calls; before I knew it, I was on the ground in Hazleton investigating. As a result of my investigation, I chose to write a letter to the Mayor and personally deliver it to him. First, here is the letter:

Accountability Moments
Charlottesville, VA 22901

October 1, 2008

Mayor Louis Barletta
c/o City of Hazleton
40 N. Church Street,
Hazleton, PA 18201

Mayor Barletta:

I am a progressive investigative blogger at, and I run

I base my work on the idea that government works best when elected public officials are asked pointed, sometimes inconvenient questions to serve the public interest.

Several weeks ago, I received tips from several readers about a story in which you had allegedly impregnated an underage illegal immigrant a few years ago. I was dumbfounded at first, as I considered it highly unlikely that someone who had made such efforts to fight illegal immigration on the national stage would have engaged in such behavior.

However, after investigating the story I think there is enough to be concerned about to ask you to answer some important questions to quickly address this matter:

• Did you father a child out of wedlock within the last 5 years?
• If you did so, was the female you impregnated a minor at the time?
• If true, was the mother of the child in this country legally?
• If you have had an illegitimate child, have you taken financial responsibility for him or her?
• Is it true that you sent the young mother and your illegitimate child to New Jersey to stay out of public view?
• If these allegations are true, did you -- in any fashion -- use taxpayer resources to address, handle or cover-up such a situation?

Mayor Barletta, I take no pleasure in asking these questions, and I sincerely hope there is an innocent explanation for this situation. Practically everyone I met in and around Hazelton gave me details about this situation, and they expressed a mixture of outrage at your behavior and fear of reprisal if they were to come forward publicly with the knowledge of the story.

I hold out no hope that if these questions were put to you privately that you would answer them, and, as a public figure who has worked to gain fame on the immigration issue, I think it’s important to ask you to clear up this important matter.

Please note that nobody has paid me to do this, and I have had no contact with any political organization or campaign.

Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

Best regards,
Michael Stark

Here is the video - beneath it you will find a transcript of our conversation.

Stark: Mayor Barletta! My name is Mike Stark. I came all the way from Virginia to see you. I'm with Accountability Moments. I want to give you this letter and
I wanted to know: Did you impregnate a 15 year old Latino girl, and then move her to Union, New Jersey...

Barletta: Where?

Stark: Union, New Jersey - and whether or not you used taxpayer funds to hide or cover it up in any way at all?

Barletta: It's a lie. This is the first time I've ever heard this before.

Stark: That's the first time you ever heard this?

Barletta: Yeah (nodding head)

Stark: Well, that's what I needed was an explicit denial.

Barletta: One other point...

Stark: {I take hold of his arm in a friendly way and I notice it is shaking.} Why are you shaking?

Barletta: I’m not shaking… Listen, listen… This came up in my last race in the primary. When I ran last time - for Mayor - we heard this was being said and supposedly a girl was going to surface. Of course, she never did. We found out who had this supposed story and had our police chief question him. Nothing. Nothing.

Stark: When was that primary you had?

Barletta: The last time I ran. For Mayor. And what happened was we had the police investigate and nothing ever came of it. But we know this is how they are going to come after me. They did it before.

Stark: I want to be discreet. I don't want to say the name. (I lean in) Can you
explain why a girl named J*** disappears from the Hazleton High yearbook for three years?

Barletta: Who?

Stark: J****

Stark: So do you own any property in Union, New Jersey?

Barletta: No. No. No. No. My police chief investigated... wait... Here he is right now, let me introduce you.

Barletta: (says something to chief that I couldn’t make out - asks the Chief to
talk to me)

Stark: Well, I want to be discreet here. I don’t want to…

Barletta: Go ahead and tell him…

Stark: Well, Chief, I have been investigating and what I have come up with is evidence that points to the mayor having impregnated an underage girl. I came here to ask him directly.

Chief: Who told you that?

Stark: Several people.

Chief: Really? (scowls)

Stark: Well, thanks - looks like you guys got a really good turn-out here. Take care.