DougRoss@Journal, DBKP December stories Confirmed:
Eric Montross Angle Valid
[The following is published not to toot our own horn. Okay, okay--maybe a little. The impetus is to record where this information was first published; as well as how much time elapsed before a member of the traditional media confirmed it.]
Another part of the John Edwards story uncovered by bloggers was confirmed--almost eight months after it was first reported at DBKP and DougRoss@Journal.
The Raleigh Telegram--which didn't let readers in on the scandal until days ago, and which ran an editorial citing Edwards' "continuous denials" as a reason for its non-coverage--confirmed, in a pair of stories yesterday, that ex-NBA star, Eric Montross was indeed involved in the scandal--most likely, unknowingly.
Rielle Hunter Stayed In Chapel Hill Last Year and UNC's Montross Rented House To Edwards Worker both confirm that Andrew Young was staying in Montross' house--in the same Governor's Club gated community that the Enquirer reported that Rielle Hunter was staying.
Although it is not known by this newspaper who owned the house that Rielle was living in, it has been confirmed that Young was renting his house from former UNC basketball star Eric Montross.
Montross is well-known to Tarheel fans for being the star center of the UNC NCAA Championship team in 1993, before going on to a ten year professional career in the NBA.
[The Telegram's earlier "continuous denial" quote was one, among others, that prompted DBKP to write John Edwards Scandal: The Myth of the Edwards’ Denials on August 7--one day before John Edwards quit denying the affair. It seems that the Telegram was stung by taking Edwards' October denial of the affair--when it was deniable, since the Enquirer had published, at that point, only some unnamed sources about an unnamed "other woman"--at face value and has been busy making up for lost time.]
On December 27, DBKP published "John Edwards Scandal: Rielle Hunter Housed by Former NBA Player". It left details of a tip we'd received from someone describing themselves as, "someone who partied with Rielle in LA".
We'd hoped that by publishing the info, that it would excite the curiosity of just one reporter in the MSM--maybe who was also a sports fan.
But, it was a blogger, Doug Ross, who responded to our article within minutes [John Edwards Love Child Saga, the NBA and the MSM] with the name of Eric Montross.
Doug did some detective work--work that any MSM reporter could have done in December, as The Telegram proved just yesterday--and ran down Montross. As Ross related:
"Okay, so I was curious. Went to OpenSecrets and did a donor lookup."
The only ex-NBA player and heavy Edwards donor I found is Eric Montross, who is listed in Chapel Hill. That's not to say Montross is hosting Rielle, but if the DBKP story is accurate, he's someone for the MSM to check into.
As Doug Ross, DBKP and the rest of the world was to discover: no one in the MSM did check it--until The Telegram did.
Now, for the first time, we can tell a bit of the story behind our December 27 story.
We received a credible tip about Rielle Hunter living in Eric Montross' house at the Governor's Club. LBG, after about 10 hours digging, discovered in December much of what The Telegram published yesterday, and from many of the same sources. From yesterday's Telegram:
Young and his family rented the substantially large house at 32340 Archdale Drive owned by Montross and his wife in the Governor's Club subdivision. Montross actually lives in another house over the county line in Orange County, according to tax records.
An online newsletter for the Governor's Club community called "Ginny's Community" welcomed the Young family to the neighborhood and mentioned them by name along with their new address.
According to a real estate listing on the Chapel Hill Realty Group's website, Montross' house at 32340 Archdale Drive that Young rented was formerly up for sale at an asking price of $1,425,000, although according to Chatham County, the assessed tax value is $1,658,822. Although the property is listed as "sold" on the real estate website, the Chatham County records do not indicate that a sale took place and Montross has owned the house since 1993.
DBKP's efforts were redoubled on December 26-27 in an effort to locate exactly which house Rielle Hunter was living in. It wasn't known if the Youngs had relocated to another nearby house when Hunter appeared in the Governor's Club, or if, more likely, our tipster had some of the info right.
We just could not tell.
So, we left messages in the comments sections of several NC blogs--including one in the Chapel Hill, NC area--appealing for someone nearby to do some legwork. The comments and emails went largely unanswered.
The decision was made to publish our story the way we did. We knew from the Enquirer's December reports and LBG's digging that Hunter had been in the house at 32340 Archdale, but we couldn't say for sure she was living there. It was hoped that by posting something, it might excite a reporter in the Raleigh area to check the information out.
As it happens, that occurred--over eight months after our story and Doug Ross'--was published; after John Edwards' Nightline appearance green-lighted the Edwards scandal for the major press organizations. to cover.
Several weeks ago, in the wake of the Enquirer's reporters' confrontation with Edwards at the Beverly Hilton, interest in the Montross angle was renewed. On July 31, Radar published John Edwards’ Money Man: Fellow Tar Heel Eric Montross?. In the story, Radar took a look back at Ross' and DBKP's stories seven months earlier:
In a follow-up story published on December 19, the Enquirer reported that after word of the affair got out, Hunter moved into a home owned by an Edwards supporter in the exclusive Governors Club, a gated community less than five miles away from the Edwards HQ in Chapel Hill and only a few blocks away from the Young residence.
Here's where things get weird: five days later, a right-wing blog called Death By 100 Papercuts received a tip that the house Hunter had moved into was owned by a former NBA player who had contributed money to the Edwards campaign. Doing some digging, Doug Ross reported that the only former NBA player who had donated money to Edwards was Eric Montross, a UNC graduate who was drafted by the Boston Celtics back in 1994 and ended his NBA career in 2003. Montross gave $4,600 to Edwards during the 2008 election cycle; he was described as a "big backer of John Edwards' White House bid" by CNN. (Edwards went to UNC law school.)
We took note of the Radar reference in John Edwards Scandal: Birth Certificates, NBA Players and the Waking of the MSM the same day.
Less than a week later, Radar seemed to be backpedaling, however [Eric Montross Would Like You to Know He's Never Met Rielle Hunter, Thank You Very Much]. Radar then said:
Last week, we culled together some thinly sourced material from around the Internet and posted an (admittedly) wildly speculative theory about how Tar Heel and former professional basketball player Eric Montross was the guy paying off both John Edwards' alleged mistress Rielle Hunter as well as Andrew Young, the professed father of Hunter's (Edwards?) kid. Which would be news to Eric Montross! "I don't have anything to do with this," Montross told Radar by phone. "Whatever is going on with Edwards, I can tell you unequivocally that I am uninvolved."
Both Doug Ross and DBKP were relegated to the ranks of the "thinly-sourced". A letter was dispatched to Radar detailing how Montross' name had come to be connected with the scandal, along with the observation that DBKP "believed Montross didn't know Rielle Hunter".
Today, Radar commented on the Raleigh Telegram story with some interesting observations: [Eric Montross Back in the Picture!]
A little while ago, we floated an admittedly crazy theory that former NBA player, UNC alum, and John Edwards supporter Eric Montross not only owned the Chapel Hill house Rielle Hunter was reportedly staying in after Edwards knocked her up, but also that Montross might have been the mystery man paying off both Hunter and professed baby daddy Andrew Young. Montross vehemently denied having anything to do with anyone involved in the scandal ("I am 100 percent detached," he said), and soon after Texas lawyer Fred Baron was outed as the money man, and we assumed that was that. But it turns out Montross isn't totally insulated from the whole scandal: the Raleigh Telegram is now reporting that Montross rented a house he owned in the exclusive Governor's Club development to none other than Andrew Young—and that the house was just a few blocks away from a home Hunter herself was living in.
Granted, that doesn't mean Montross knew anything other than that his tenant had a crazy chick for a neighbor (it's still unclear who rented Hunter her home), but it's not like Young found him off of Craigslist. How much John Edwards actually told him is anyone's guess. The Telegram also corroborates an earlier story from the Enquirer in which it was reported that Hunter was an occasional dinner guest at her neighbor Young's house. (Young is married with kids.) Given that it's not exactly common practice to have the woman you've supposedly had an out-of-wedlock child with over for supper, the most logical conclusion to draw is that Young—surprise!—isn't the father of Hunter's kid.
We're just hoping all this gets us out of that "thinly-sourced" category.
[This past Thursday, DBKP and Doug Ross again collaborated to beat the MSM to the punch on the Fred Baron story: John Edwards Scandal: Is Fred Baron the Enquirer ‘Hush Money Man’? and [Rumors Run Wild: Is Fred Baron the Wallet for John Edwards Scandal. The next day, Fred Baron began releasing his statements that he was involved in moving Rielle Hunter around the country.
Doug Ross was emailed in the early afternoon with our info; but was away at the time. In the meantime, a Radar commenter had posited the names of both Baron and ex-Dallas Mavericks coach, Don Nelson.]
DBKP knew Rielle Hunter had been in Eric Montross' house back in December: either as a guest or a lodger. Then, there was no way of knowing the particulars. Today, it's still not known if Eric Montross knew about it; in all probability, he didn't.
We're only happy that aspects of our stories were finally confirmed.
We just wonder what took so long for someone else to "get some feet on the ground" to check them out.
images: dbkp file; Radar