TIGHAR accused of racketeering in Earhart plane recovery project

Oh, this story just keeps giving and giving. Does this suit provide more evidence that TIGHAR is fishing for money?

Aircraft group denies Wyoming man’s claim it withheld 2010 discovery of Amelia Earhart’s plane –  Newser.

A Delaware aircraft preservation group denies a Wyoming man’s claim that it found pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart’s missing plane in 2010 but sat on the news so it could solicit him to pay for a later search.

Timothy Mellon, son of the late philanthropist Paul Mellon, filed a federal lawsuit in Wyoming last week against The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery and Richard E. Gillespie, the group’s executive director. Mellon, who lives in Riverside, Wyo., claims the group solicited $1 million from him last year without telling him it had found Earhart’s plane in its underwater search two years earlier.

Mellon’s lawsuit says the 2010 search in the waters around the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii, captured underwater images of the “wreckage of the Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart when she disappeared in 1937.”

The suit claims the aircraft recovery group intentionally misrepresented the status of its exploration to Mellon last year, telling him a discovery of Earhart’s plane was yet possible if he supported the search. The lawsuit states Mellon contributed stock worth more than $1 million to the 2012 search and accuses the organization of engaging in a pattern of racketeering to defraud him.

This is plausible but they REALLY didn’t find the plane. They just keep telling people that they are getting ever closer. This is the best quote from the story: “As a layman, it is hard to see, unless you know what you’re looking at it,” Stubson said of the footage, which he said he couldn’t share. “Much of it relates to the landing gear and parts that are unique to the landing gear.”

Gosh, it sounds like a Blobsquatch! Use your imagination, it’s really there. Can’t you see it?

But I have to admit I am confused about this story. Why would he think they actually found it? Just to scam him out of more money? Their claims about the plane are VERY DUBIOUS but they do solicit money to continue their operations. They certainly like to play the public as well. Regardless of how this case turns out, it is suggestive that they string along their investors as well as the public.

See our previous stories on their evidence:

Did TIGHAR find Earhart’s plane? Possible possibilities are not very impressive | Doubtful News.

The search for Amelia Earhart’s plane ends with conflicting reports | Doubtful News.

  2 comments for “TIGHAR accused of racketeering in Earhart plane recovery project

  1. Natty Bumppo
    June 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    This makes very little sense. If they found the plane they would likely be able to use that for more fundraising if they decided to salvage either the plane or parts of it (with preservation) for placement in a museum. Not to mention the production of a much more compelling documentary and publishing of a book (or whatever). In addition it would be quite a coup for the operation and would no doubt increase donations to the general coffers to fund other projects. Assuming the money donated (from whatever source) was mostly spend on the actual expeditions, Nikumaroro hardly seems to be an idyllic vacation spot to lounge about on with donated money. While supporting some vegetation and pesky wildlife, the lack of the bare essentials for a doable diet (unless you really like coconuts, coconut crabs and rats) and no surface water (combined with awful heat), it would be really low on my list of vacation destinations (even if someone else was footing the bill)..

    I don’t know if I would call Mellon an investor – an investor is someone who hopes to not only recoup their investment to make a profit. – I don’t see that as happening in the best of circumstances in this situation (unless the Electra was, for some unknown (and very hidden) reason carrying a large cargo of platinum bullion . Being a contributor is, IMHO, a more accurate term.

    On a rather ironical note I suspect that some who would like to give any credence to this lawsuit are also likely to be opposed to TIGHAR (for whatever reason) in general and by giving any credence to this lawsuit they have to perforce admit that TIGHAR is right in its theory about the final resting spot of the elusive Electra. One would have to engage in some interesting mental gymnastics to have their cake and eat it too in this situation.

  2. spookyparadigm
    June 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I know the issues are very different, but the first thing that sprang to mind when I read this post, was this:

    “The 2003 conspiracy fiction novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown makes reference to this book, also liberally using most of the above claims as key plot elements;[20] indeed, in 2005 Baigent and Leigh unsuccessfully sued Brown’s publisher, Random House, for plagiarism, on the grounds that Brown’s book makes extensive use of their research and that one of the characters is named Leigh, has a surname (Teabing) which is an anagram of Baigent, and has a physical description strongly resembling Henry Lincoln. In his novel, Brown also mentions Holy Blood, Holy Grail as an acclaimed international bestseller (chapter 60) and claims it as the major contributor to his hypothesis. Perhaps as a result of this mention, the authors (minus Henry Lincoln) of Holy Blood sued Dan Brown for copyright infringement. They claimed that the central framework of their plot had been stolen for the writing of The Da Vinci Code. The claim was overturned by High Court Judge Peter Smith on April 6, 2006, who ruled that “their argument was vague and shifted course during the trial and was always based on a weak foundation.” In fact, it was found that the publicity of the trial had significantly boosted sales of Holy Blood (according to figures provided by Nielsen BookScan and Bookseller magazine[25]). The court ruled that, in effect, because it was published as a work of (alleged) history, its premises legally could be freely interpreted in any subsequent fictional work without any copyright infringement.”


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