$15 mil. Timber Theft

AltamontNY altamontny at aol.com
Fri Feb 13 01:54:12 EST 1998

Don Staples wrote, in reference to Timber Theft:

> .... any more stories of crime in the forest?

Another timber theft, or actually 4 of them.  Ten years ago this month a nearby
landowner shook hands with a logger on a deal for a limited amount of timber on
her land, agreeing that payment would be based on the mill tickets which he
would show her.  Of course, the guy was going to several mills, and she was
seeing only the slips from one mill.  Meanwhile, two other property owners
thought that as long as the logger was working on the neighboring land, they
might as well get him too, and there was some more handshaking.

The logger still wanted more, so he came on our land, without our permission,
and cut some 28-30 dbh red oaks.  We don't live there, and found out when
another neighbor told us the logger was on our land, and had even left his
business card with the neighbor, in case there were any other people who wanted
his services!

Landowner #1 discovered that the logger had taken about $30,000 in additional
trees that he did not pay for.  Landowners #2 & #3 never received any payment
at all.  We tried to take him to court, without success.  I subsequently
learned that there were dozens of others who claimed the same logger had either
stolen trees, or had not paid for ones he was supposed to cut, or both.  One
was a Nature Conservancy preserve!

Imagine our surprise when we received a letter 3 or 4 months ago from the
logger who had "visited" our forest 10 years earlier, and wanted to do business
with us now!  The 3 other victims also received the same letter.   Here it is,
spelling errors and all:

                                          Gerald Durkee
                                        (phone number)

     Let me introduce myself.  I'm Gerald Red Durkee of Fort Edward,
N.Y., and I have been in the logging industry for over twenty years.
     While checking a landowners boundry lines at the county building - I
notice you have (  ) acres in (    ) on map # (  ).  If you would like me
to, I would walk your wood lot and see if any of your trees are
harvestible- free of charge.  I would give you an estiment on how much
your wood lot would be worth to you.
      I am a small business(3 men), I have insurance and do not believe
in clear cutting- I take only the older mature trees that are worth good
money- leaving the young trees to grow.
      I have several excellent markets I pay the landowners top dollar.
      I hope to hear from you-  
                                                       Thank You,
                                                        Gerald Red Durkee
                                                        R.D.#1  Ft.Ed., N.Y.
                                                        (phone number)
Although we were not successful in taking him to court, perhaps the court of
public opinion will bring some justice. <vbg>

AltamontNY at aol.com

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