WWBT- 12 on your side contacted by E-mail only.
First letter (ignored)
After second letter demanding some sort response or notification of receipt
"If we needed more information we would have let you know." - The volunteer who replied also suggested a contact, so some effort was made to provide support. We had already contacted the office they suggested.
WWBT response to 3rd letter (Directed to Curt Autry, not the "on your side volunteer staff":
From: rrjackson [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
To: Curt Autry
Sent: 6/21/02 4:38 AM
Subject: Re: toxic home
First, thanks for your reply. I did not initially contact Call-12,
or anyone for that matter, in this "inappropriate" manner. The station
was simply made aware of a building defect which can cause property
damage and can produce toxins in Richmond area homes, including low
level carbon monoxide, well over a year ago. This had happened in our
home. The information was not considered worthy of investigation or news
worthy for whatever reasons at that time by 12 on your side. Simply
ignoring such information is irresponsible and inexcusable regardless of
how it is received. We were eventually advised to contact local building
inspectors by someone after a second contact attempt for support, but
these inspectors had already visited the home, which the reporter would
have realized had they actually looked into the story. I know the
station has no legal obligation to assist with or report anything it
receives, and I was not suggesting it does. My suggestion is, viewers
who may have been unknowingly exposed to toxins and experienced symptoms
of poisoning may not understand your explanation that your news station
has no obligation to investigate or report information that could have
warned and prevented their suffering. I'm sure you are aware low level
CO, which the defect in question has been shown to cause, can be
contributory to things such as miscarriage and fetal demise. Will
affected viewers politely respond to the fact that WWBT had no legal or
moral obligation to investigate or inform them of that potential risk,
where local officials failed to make proper inspections, and a powerful
builder sought to cover disclosure of their building errors? Also
consider at the time we contacted 12 on your side, unknown to us, a
toxic mold was forming as a result of the defect. We became even more
seriously ill for several months thereafter, and did not know the
specific reason for some time. We did not know cellulose fibers in an
HVAC system could cause a toxic mold to form. Also during this time, our
attorney had sent us forged documents designed to kill any chance at
legal support. Ryan Homes had also denied any liability, even though
liability was documented and sent to them, and they added that their
warranty did not apply to our home's problems even if they were
responsible for the damages they saw in photos sent to them. The total
lack of support severely worsened our situation.
Over the last two weeks, about a dozen local people, including our
doctor, have suggested we contact 12 on your side, and we have to keep
telling them we already have. That contact is just another page in our
current horror story, and their suggestions have become frustrating. As
far as I am concerned, your station refused to cover the story long ago,
and prolonged the damages and ongoing misery which could have been
substantially reduced. You DO NOT clearly see what my problems are, and
as you will eventually see, you should have looked before you wrote and
gave an uninformed opinion. Words chosen were specific only to WWBT, and
well deserved. Please note all past and future correspondence, or lack
of, with WWBT are posted and available for public viewing. Your station
is one of dozens, if not hundreds of news organization we will continue
to pursue for fair coverage. Aside from being abused and suffering
losses, there is a moral obligation to inform the public of the risks
this defect can cause, and we will follow through on this point
regardless. This is in fact a growing national problem, as well as a
final reply (contact with WWBT discontinued once it was determined they could not or would not investigate our situation.
The complexity and litigious nature of your situation requires the sound counsel of both a real estate attorney and a personal injury lawyer. Sadly, I am neither. But - I can wish you the best in your future endeavors to bring this situation to a satisfactory resolution.
About my contact with 12 on your side and this page.
Curt Autry was at least thoughtful enough to give a serious reply, when he did not have to. I believe the volunteer staff that apparently took my first e-mail requests for support did the job they were paid to do. Undoubtedly, the station helps some people with simple problems, but the dire circumstances and initial handling of our problem created a negative connotation, and low expectations by my third contact attempt. I did not actually expect a meaningful reply. I do not agree with how the station over looked issues of public concerns our perspective story should have raised, and should still be raised. I, and dozens or possibly now hundreds of others who recommended the station for support, were also disappointed to find that 12 on your side had already been contacted and showed no interest. I believe that certain issues in our story may still emerge from the shadows as a local crisis that was overlooked. I believe the station did address the toxic mold issue at that time which was likely raised by our story, but not on our behalf. I only saw some sound bytes about the story while in our motel. As a rule I don't watch their news or local real estate advertising programs any longer.
In my opinion, approaching media, such as "12 on your side" with a story, is not necessarily about having a good story, as much as about selling your story through like a product, particularly if it requires real effort to understand. As explained in Mr. Autry's reply, we are competing with the masses for story position, which in some ways is a frightening perspective on news coverage, and qualifications thereof. I was admittedly not in a condition to "sell through" at the time of contact, but was more reacting from crisis than with tactful negotiation, though I did feel that the original on your side volunteer's reply and lack of concern to our crisis insensitive and offensive considering my perceived severity of our situation at that time. But now, in a more clear state of mind, I understand the high volume of people in crisis or need for various reasons, and I understand that the volume of request can be too overwhelming to objectively view each one, regardless of content. Sometimes there really is nothing an organization can do to help someone, even though they may want to, or see the need.
During the time of my contact efforts with the station, we were living in our first motel, trying to recover from toxic home exposure symptoms. My home office was still in the evacuated home, as was my PC and internet connect-ability for the most part. I was trying to contact anyone possible as quickly as possible, much out of desperation, while spending much of my work time at the home in a respirator, to avoid or limit additional toxic exposure. Much of this website covering problems with Ryan Homes was originally developed under these crisis conditions mentioned above. The Ryan pages were initially for the purpose of outreach, as it is a complex situation that required several photos and a good bit of documentation and explanation. Our mission plan is evolving, as we seek to help others avoid the unnecessary years of crisis and confusion we experienced, if or when our ordeal ends.
RYAN HOMES Defects and Damages
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