Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Tales of Miss Fortune
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Tales of Miss Fortune

Patrick Sullivan - November 4th, 2013  

The anonymous woman decided to drive from her downstate home to Traverse City to attend the sentencing of a man she had never met.

Miss Fortune, as she calls herself on her blog, “Glistening, Quivering Underbelly,” had developed quite a relationship with David Lee Hunter, convicted scam artist.

She followed the case against him and his subsequent flight from the state to a level that got Hunter’s attention -- he became a disgruntled commenter on her blog while he was on the run. She said he threatened her in an effort to get her to stop writing about him.

Hunter was just one of numerous topics Miss Fortune landed upon since she began her blog in 2011. The posts about Hunter attracted others who had things to say about the Charlevoix man.

Miss Fortune heard from other people who had complaints about Hunter’s behavior to the point that she was able to track his travel across the country, helping Traverse City Police detectives get Hunter back in jail.

On Oct. 25, Hunter, 39, was sentenced to 23 months to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to fraud.

The Northern Express caught up with Miss Fortune while she was in town and had a chat about Hunter and her blog.

Northern Express: What’s the name of your online persona and why don’t you want to tell me your real name?

Miss Fortune: My online name is Miss Fortune. I prefer not to reveal my true name simply because I write about a lot of sensitive issues and I don’t want to expose myself or anyone in my family to any kind of danger or harm.

Express: What do you want to say about your background and how did you get into doing this?

Fortune: I have spent quite a few years in advertising and marketing, I spent almost 10 years in New York City and about that same amount of time in the suburban Detroit area.

I’ve always been interested in underreported stories; stories that people don’t hear a lot about or read a lot about. I wasn’t able to find information about certain things so I just decided, why not start doing it myself? I mean, I have in a sense been a content provider, being in advertising.

Express: A lot of the stories you write about originate in Traverse City. You are not currently based in Traverse City. What’s your connection to Northern Michigan?

Fortune: I’ve long wanted to move to Traverse City and I do have friends here and I have done some work with companies in the area. And that’s my goal -- to move here.

Express: One of the Traverse City stories that’s found your snare is the case of a man, David Lee Hunter, who was charged with fraud in Grand Traverse County for renting out a house he didn’t own to unsuspecting people. He was charged and then he skipped town. How did you decide to start writing about him?

Fortune: Last fall I had been looking at some additional stories to write about, just kind of pulling some ideas and seeing what was happening, not taking a story that somebody else had written and mimicking it, but just saying, ‘Gee, do I have questions about something else?’ And I had read David Hunter’s story and what struck me about it was that a classic Craigslist rental scam is usually done online or at arms’ length, but he allegedly rented a home --

Express: I don’t think it’s ‘allegedly’ anymore.

Fortune: I know. Alright, let’s just put it out -- he pled guilty. He rented a home and then held an open house and he rented it out to six people or parties as if he owned it, which I thought was extremely brazen.

And I kept coming back and thinking, ‘Gee, I can’t really find too much about this guy, other than a local television reporter from a few years before who interviewed him when he claimed to have had a ruptured aneurism. And knowing that normally when you have an aneurism that ruptures it means you’re dead, it just kept tickling the back of my mind. I thought, let me just write a little story about him and see what happens.

Express: And then after you posted something online, the information you had began to snowball.

Fortune: Probably about two months after I wrote the original story, I received an email from a woman in Washington state who said, ‘I think the guy you wrote about is staying with my sister and brother-in-law and scamming them.’ And it turned out it was David Hunter.

He had stayed with this family in Vancouver, and they had known each other and they had all lived in Hawaii and stayed in touch casually over the years. Out of the blue Dave calls up and says, ‘Gee, I’m going to be passing through, can I stop by and stay for a couple of days?’ They didn’t know anything was going on. They didn’t realize that he was basically on the run and their was a warrant out for his arrest (in Grand Traverse County.)

Express: And then you followed Hunter to California and Hawaii. You followed some of his business ventures as he was on the run, which looked pretty shady. He was promoting a concert in South Africa? How did you keep track of what he was up to?

Fortune: He claimed to be working with people who were in Cape Town, South Africa, working to put together entertainers and financing for a music festival that was supposed to be held this December in Cape Town. And he was posting this on his Facebook page.

As more stories were written about him, more people started coming out of the woodwork and saying, ‘Oh, he scammed me, too, and this is what he did.’ So I was getting screen captures (of Hunter’s Facebook page) saying, you know, ‘I signed a contract with Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj and we’re going to fly everybody down on the plane together,’ and I’m thinking, this doesn’t even make sense. This guy doesn’t even have a credit card. How can he be putting together all of these things? And so I started writing about them and that raised his ire and he ultimately started to comment directly on the blog.

Express: And while he was commenting on your blog, you were in touch with the Traverse City Police, who were looking for him

Fortune: Yes. I was initially in contact with the prosecutor’s office who put me in touch with Detective Evan Warsecke, who was working the case. We’ve only had email contact, and he said, ‘When you do have a tip or a lead, forward it to me.’ So things were going on back-and-fourth until probably about mid June, when I heard from the director of security at the Sheraton Waikiki who said. ‘Hey, this guy was at our hotel bar and he tried to walk away from a check. I checked him out online and I found your blog.’ So we exchanged a few emails and then he wasn’t around the resort in Hawaii anymore and I kind of lost track of him.

Express: And then he turned up in Chicago.

Fortune: I realized he was in Chicago. I had gotten an email from somebody through the blog who said, ‘Hey, I’m friends with a woman, and it looks like she’s going to Chicago to meet David Lee Hunter. It looks like he’s coming in from Hawaii.’ And so he started sending me Facebook screen captures, which I forwarded to the detective.

And finally the woman posted a picture, and she said that she was at the Aloft O’Hare Airport hotel. I called the hotel and asked for Hunter and they said, ‘Hold on, please,’ like they were going to switch me to the room. So I just hung up.

I waited a day and I heard from my tipster and he said ‘there’s no activity on Hunter’s Facebook page, I wonder if something is happening.’ I kept checking the Cook County Jail inmate database and on July 16, low and behold, boop, there he was.

Express: And since then he’s been returned to jail in Grand Traverse County and sent to prison. And this just started out as a small blog post about somebody you found interesting because of the way he was approaching the scam he was doing.

Fortune: Yeah. It seemed like sort of an outsized way to do it. He was so confident that he could actually look at his victim and say, ‘Oh, yeah, this is my house.’ The things that interested me about David Hunter were the complicated ways he’d put together his schemes. He claimed at one point to be the executive producer of the Marvin Gaye biopic. He claimed to be the head of an entertainment company. He claimed to be the head of an apparel company. And he had all of these almost official-looking documents, but when you look at them a little closer, you can see that they’re basically a patchwork, when you misspell certain words, and certain things are not right. But to the casual observer it looked legitimate.

Those are the things that interested me.

That somebody who grew up in a really small town in Northern Michigan, who didn’t go past high school, was really that smart.

Check out the Glistening, Quivering Underbelly blog at: http:// glisteningquiveringunderbelly.blogspot. com

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