Image via Wikipedia
The Dow Jones Local Media Group, Inc.-owned Pocono Record today gleefully reported on the outcome of a two-week libel trial against the daily in Monroe County (Pa.) Superior Court brought by real estate developer Gene Percudani and his company, Raintree Homes, over the paper's 2001 investigative probe of unsavory home sale tactics, including the use of inflated appraisals.
After reviewing hundreds of documents and listening to two weeks of testimony, the jury took two hours, less time than required to concoct a dubious home appraisal, to find Percudani failed to prove the allegations against him and his business in the Pocono Record's series, "A Price too High," were false. The articles by former Record reporter Matt Birbeck, a defendant in the case, detailed the practice of inflating the value of homes in the Poconos sold to vacation-home minded New Yorkers, which resulted in a surge of foreclosures.
The Pocono Record account of the trial outcome cited the testimony of the author of a 2004 state-commissioned foreclosure study that found Monroe County was fifth in the nation in the number of residential foreclosures.