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from the Sparta Expositor,
October 29, 1996

Scott's Gulf Update:

Doyle Loses Contract

Staff Writer

Saving scenic beauty

This is one of many scenes from the bottom of Scott's Gulf.
Pending the decisions of Bridgestone/Firestone, it may be saved from the destructive nature of man.

In an announcement by Bridgestone/Firestone representative Trevor Hoskins, it was revealed potential Scott's Gulf purchaser Charles Doyle has lost his final option to purchase the 15,000 acres.

Hoskins stated, "We no longer have a contract with Charles Doyle on Chestnut Mountain (his name for the area)."

Hoskins added Bridgestone/Firestone would be taking additional steps to consider their options. He commented, "We have taken the property off the market, while we reevaluate our position."

He continued, "The land has been for sale many years, but we have consistently said we would not sell it to anyone who would not use it in a manner which was acceptable to us."

In the October 7th issue of the Expositor, it was disclosed potential buyer Charles Doyle has been previously charged with "Felony Theft of Timber" in Michigan's Leelanau County.

According to sources in the Leelanau County District Attorney's Office, Doyle purchased approximately 425 acres of land adjacent to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshores near Leland, Michigan. The case records state the previous land owners, an elderly couple living in Florida, sued to regain ownership of the property due to Doyle's lack of payment to them for their land.

However, before the owners could regain ownership, Doyle had removed over $24,000 of timber from the property. The court records also reveal Doyle resold sections of the land to new and different prospective landowners.

According to the attorney for the original land owners, Doyle never made any attempts at further payment beyond the amount he originally

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put down, which was $40,000 on a $300,000 purchase. When interviewed, the original land owner commented she and her husband sought to regain their property because Doyle "didn't make his payments."

When contacted, Doyle's version of the purchase was somewhat different than the court case records. He stated he bought the property from a "group of people" and he had not removed any timber except for "road access and building sites."

On October 11th, Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson forwarded a letter to Masatoshi Ono, Chairman/CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone, about the Scott's Gulf property. Thompson's letter read, "I have been told that Bridgestone/Firestone is aware of the environmentally sensitive area of this land, and that it is the company's hope to find a suitable buyer that will preserved its environmental integrity. If the company cannot find such a buyer, I would like to work with you to explore other opportunities regarding its disposal. Scott's Gulf would be an excellent addition as a Tennessee park or wilderness area. In addition, there may be other federal options that could be examined."

White County Executive Tommy Denton added, "I'm very pleased with the news release from Bridgestone/Firestone officials. This will give us the opportunity to continue our efforts, along with the support our state officials and officials in Washington have offered in securing the Scott's Gulf property. All of the elected officials that represent this area have offered their support to help secure funding for this project, because they also see the future of this area being an asset to White and adjoining counties."

Hoskins' final comment concerning the Scott's Gulf area was, "The reason we no longer have a contract is because the buyer was not able to fulfill its obligations under the purchase and sale agreement. It has absolutely nothing at all to do with lobbying efforts concerning the future of the land. However, we appreciate the interest during the period while there was a contract in existence on this property, and we plan to take the interest into consideration as we reevaluate our position. We will be willing to have discussions with interested parties, once we've seriously considered this project."


[Any typos in this article are my own and not those of the Sparta Expositor or its staff. - Editor]

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