Bigfoot Encounters

"Skunk Ape is skunked"
By: Dan Meek July 09, 2002


Copyright July 2002 The Everglades Echo:

David Shealy of Ochopee, was recently defeated in his attempt to secure money from the Tourist Development Council for a Skunk Ape Expedition. Jim Coletta, the Chairman of the Collier County Commission responded to Shealy in a letter dated May 31.

The letter stated in part: "Please feel free to work through the appropriate channels to bring your proposal back to the TDC Board if you so chose, but please remain aware that approval for funding by the Tourist Development Council in no way constitutes approval by the Board of County Commissioners. In the past, the Board of County Commissioners has refused to approve the use of Tourist Development Funds for your "expedition", citing that your usage of the funds for capital expenditures was inappropriate.

Shealy told the Echo that he was disappointed, but not surprised with the decision. I think that it's irresponsible ignorance for these government officials not to be able to see the big picture," said Shealy "They don't understand what I am trying to do." Shealy said that when he sees the amounts of money that the TDC is giving away to various things and he doesn't get it."

They gave hundreds of thousands of dollar to an Internet company," Shealy told the Echo. "I think that they just play favorites. They give to their friends. It's the same people that they eat cheeses with at the local hotels." Coletta's letter went on to state, in part; David, I have known you for some time and I know that you are an honest man who would not lie or mislead anyone with false hope. In that vein, you and I share the same qualities: that honesty is the most important part of any relationship. With that said, I must tell you that I believe that it would be wrong for the Board of County Commissioners to allocate funds from the TDC to promote the existence of the Skunk Ape.

If such an animal does reside in the Everglades, it serves the tourist promotion business interest best as an legend and would lose its tourist value if an expedition was funded and returned with less then credible proof. Then again, if it was found and harmed in any way, the resulting backlash from the animal's rights contingent would be total." Shealy said that he had mixed emotions about Coletta. "I consider him a friend and I believe that he is trying to do a lot for the people of this area. I give him credit," said Shealy. "But sometimes I think that he makes decision to stay in the click, he moves and helps the people that think like him.

Shelly said that he recently had an interview with a television station in Miami and in hopeful that he will be able successfully kick-off a local show.

Article courtesy kimba d'michi
Copyright Everglades Echo

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