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Thanks for "Stolen youth"

Your article, "Stolen youth: How a 15-year-old was railroaded by Durham justice" (May 23, cover story, by Mosi Secret) was both shocking and heartbreaking. It's not often I read something in the newspaper that I can't forget for days. Thank you for this excellent piece of investigative journalism.

Patty Ayers
Chapel Hill


Unfair to George Tate

I read Jeff Stern's article and I feel Stern and the Independent owe the George Tate family a front-page apology ("In pursuit of John McCormick," cover story, May 16).

Stern insinuated that Tate was involved in mortgage fraud. I am a real estate appraiser, and I have worked for the Tates since 1992. Appraiser fraud is typically involved in most mortgage fraud schemes. In roughly 50 assignments, the Tates ordered appraisals from me without any value pressure.

The Allisons are in a rough spot, and my heart goes out to anyone working multiple jobs at Dorothy Allison's age. However, they are not strangers to real estate transactions. They were involved in the sales of 12 properties between July 22, 1950 and their sale to McCormick on Feb. 9, 1995. In fact, Dorothy Allison and her family sold property to George Tate on Nov. 1, 1983. The Allisons' deeds of trust show a variety of lenders were involved in mortgaging different properties. With this many closings, deeds of trust and properties, surely the Allisons knew their way around a closing table.

While George Tate admittedly had problems with IRS, this involved back payroll taxes and not real estate transactions.

George Tate cannot defend himself. It appears that Stern's research was incomplete, as he presented the Allisons as real estate neophytes. To use conjecture to impugn Tate's reputation is unconscionable. I am incredulous that Stern and the Independent presented this article as "investigative" reporting.

Shannon Julian
Chapel Hill

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