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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Date Aired or Published 10/5/13 and 12/11/13
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Chronicle Herald
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner: David Jackson
Location: Halifax
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

1.For the first investigative piece published by The Chronicle Herald, Eva Hoare was contacted by a source in Guysborough County in early September 2013 - with information that a piece of Crown land and the community's dreams for it had been dashed after their warden Lloyd Hines took over a small community-based company that had acquired that parcel to join it to an existing co. property. The locals were upset their land and the prosperity promised, never materialized. They believed mismanagement - allegedly by Hines, who had taken over the company - led to its demise and the loss of their cash investment, not to mention the former Crown land that was now owned (twice over) by outside interests. The inception of the company - called the Guysborough Tourist Complex Ltd. - and its history until present comprised more than 30 years. Hoare and fellow reporter David Jackson interviewed dozens of people - many of whom were former investors in the Guysborough Tourist Complex the company Hines had taken over), and traced the history of its inception through government, court, property and joint stock registry records, and sought out German and Californian investors - who bought the Crown land - to find out what really happened. They learned the Crown land had been flipped to foreign interests by Hines almost as soon as it was acquired from the government - leading many to question if the former warden ever intended to make a go of the community company. They also acquired financial records of the complex going back to the 1980s, showing how it had become a prosperous going-concern. They interviewed Hines, who to this day has not provided all business records he indicated he would, for three hours. Hines went on to win the Guysborough seat in the provincial election last fall, a few days after the initial piece was printed. Many political insiders believe the piece may have played a role in keeping Hines - a well liked, longstanding Liberal - out of cabinet. 2. For the second investigative piece, Hoare and Jackson dug even deeper - after learning that while he was involved with the Guysborough Tourist Complex, Hines managed to conduct a questionable land trade that saw he and his wife acquire an oceanfront piece of property owned by the company - and its numerous Guysborough investors - without anyone's knowledge. Hoare and Jackson only learned this part of the story - the land acquisition, by extensive records digging. For the desirable waterfront property, Hines and his wife swapped a piece of unusable (for building under the county's construction guidelines and requirements). Hines and his wife have refused to disclose how much they paid or if they paid at all for the waterfront property, which is currently assessed at nearly $400 thousand. The value of the inland 3,300 sq. foot piece that was used to trade for the waterfront land - isn't known as it was too small to build on. Hoare and Jackson sought out shareholder after shareholder - all of whom said they were never notified about the land swap. The shareholders of Guysborough Tourist Complex maintained they should have had a say in the transfer to the Hineses. The shareholders also believe there should have been a legal obligation to notify them the waterfront land was available for a purchase or a swap. Hines was interviewed again and said his lawyer would be able to provide details about how the swap was legally conducted. Later, a spokesman for the Liberal caucus, of which Hines is a part, said that lawyer had died. Hoare and Jackson extensively dug through property, county, court, and registry of joint stock records. As stated earlier, Jackson and Hoare learned of the acquisition by painstakingly piecing together decades of records. Thank you for your consideration.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

Management at this newspaper provided Hoare in particular (Jackson had been covering the election and new government's installation) with extensive time to work on this piece. Editors were provided to help assemble and display the story properly - including a presentation editor and our newspaper's graphic designer. Our presentation editor worked to lay out the story in a comprehensive fashion, while the graphic designer worked hours to make the work sing visually. Our bureau person in Antigonish went out on a boat to take photos of Guysborough Tourist Complex lands. Numerous interviews were conducted over a number of weeks - and records searches were done by both Hoare and a title searcher hired by The Chronicle Herald. The Herald's senior management staff and editors and our lawyers were involved in the effort.

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