[meteorite-list] Fredericksburg meteorite and politics of science

From: Dave Freeman mjwy <dfreeman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 22:10:04 -0600
Message-ID: <4600B01C.9010807_at_fascination.com>

Dear Steve;
In both cases it appears as a case of this "consortium" thinking they
were invincible and when in fact in the free enterprise world, money
talks and well, we know what walks..... Maybe Mr. Wasson's consortium
needed to be burned a time or two to learn a lesson. He who hesitates is
lost, time waits for no one. Lead, follow, or get out of the road.
Very fascinating story! Thank you for sharing!
Dave Freeman

Steve Schoner wrote:

>To all,
>Notwithstanding, I do not intend to step on anyone's foot now, but I
>must weigh in on this issue. Bear with me, this will be a long post...
>First, I make initial contact with a Mrs. Hodges or was it "Hodge" (I
>think one or the other was her name) up in Alaska. She called me long
>distance after seeing my meteorite identification site. I can't
>remember which year it was, but I think it was 1999. She informed me
>that her husband might have a 100 lb iron meteorite outside the house.
> I was intrigued by her description of it. I asked her why it was
>outside, and she said it was used to prop up an ash can. I told her to
>send me a fragment of it. She then said that it was solid iron and
>would bend or dent rather than fragment. I told her how one could
>remove a fragment if it was sold iron. Remove a piece with a carbide
>hack saw. But do not overheat the piece as this would destroy the
>crystal structure needed to identify it as a meteorite. Her husband did
>as I instructed and I received a 190 gm end piece two weeks later.
>Thoughts went through my mind. This meteorite did not look like
>Odessa. It's oxide was too thin, and the oxide surface of the endpiece
>had some definite angular crystals where pieces had broken off, perhaps
>in flight. I thought, hexahedrite, or maybe an ataxite. I was not sure.
>So, I took a 20 gram sliver of the endpiece, polished and etched it. I
>then thought, hexahedrite, but maybe an ataxite. I had no doubt that
>it was a meteorite.
>I called Mrs Hodges back with the information. She told me that she
>always suspected that it was a meteorite. Then the subject of where it
>was found came up. She told me that it was found in Texas, but was not
>sure where. But since she was in Fredricksburg, TX she thought that it
>may have been found near there. She told me that when they moved to
>Alaska they brought it up there as an unusual "rock." But they did
>not place any value on it so they used it as a support for an ash can.
>I asked her to take it out of its place as an ash can prop and bring it
>inside as it is quite valuable. She said "really that ugly thing? How
>I told her I did not know as tests would have to be done. After that I
>would get in touch with her again. Now, being that I was at the time
>involved with Dr. Wasson on my abortive Meteor Crater project, I
>contacted him. After I told him I had received an iron from a person
>in Alaska, he wanted me to send a piece to him. I kept the larger end
>piece and sent about 20 grams of the cut and polished section that I
>had made from it. After he got it, he contacted me by phone, very
>excited that it was indeed a hexahedrite. Now, Dr. Wasson had
>established a "consortium" or interested institutions to purchase
>meteorites that I sorted out of the thousands of meteorwrongs that I
>regularly receive.
>Now I will divert from the so called Fredericksburg, TX meteorite, for
>a moment...
>One of my "identifications" was the infamous "Lamont, KS Meteorite" I
>was the first to recognize it as a mesosiderite after its finder, Mr.
>Haas send me a piece sometime in 1994. Dr. Wasson's so called
>"consortium" was to buy it. And for my efforts I would get no less
>than a mere 5% of the main mass. Initially, all of it was to go to
>the institutions as I was the one that originally recognized it. I had
>worked out a deal with Mr. Haas where we would obtain it for about
>$10,000. Dr. Wasson's "consortium" would forward to me the $10,000. I
>would fly out and consummate the deal. And according to our deal I
>would get for my efforts, no less than 5% of the meteorite, that would
>have worked out to 1.8 kilos. Dr. Wasson then said to me that maybe we
>should let the dealers know that "we had heads up" on this deal. I was
>not keen on that at all, as I thought that this could create problems.
> I strongly advised him not to contact the dealers, as I was the one
>that made the identification. But... Dr Wasson contacted Marvin
>Killgore, and Bob Haag to let them know of our find. Then no sooner
>had this happened that Bob Haag flew out KS to see the meteorite. He
>offered $20,000 then and there. Mr. Haas deferred, thinking that it
>was worth much more. Haas was "star stuck." He even thought that this
>meteorite could be worth $100,000. I tried to talk him down from the
>clouds to a more realistic value. But the "auctions" began over the
>telephone. Dr. Wasson's "consortium" competed with Bob Haag and Marvin
>Killgore with Mr. Haas as the auctioneer. It was bad. Bob Haag upped
>the anti and outbid himself shortly after his KS visit, with a bid of
>$38,000. I even went out to KS with Marvin to look at the meteorite
>before the stupid bidding began. Marvin Killgore and Bob Haag wanted
>it all, but after I spoke with Mr. Haas concerning the scientific value
>of this meteorite, Haas agreed that "no matter what the deal was, half
>would no matter what go to Dr. Wasson." The bidding went from Bob's
>$38,00 and stopped. $50,000 it was. Mr. Haas flew out in his private
>plane to Tuscon, and delivered the meteorite to us. I gave him the
>"consortium's" check of $25,000, and Bob and Marvin each gave $12,500.
>I then oversaw the cutting in Tuscon ensuring that Dr. Wasson got
>exactly half. And that is the way it was. Dr. Wasson got half, and
>Haag and Killgore got the other half which they split. I got from Dr.
>Wasson a 900 gram endpiece, but did not get the other 900 grams from
>Killgore and Haag, so I lost out on that. So went the story of the
>Lamont, KS meteorite.
>Now back to Fredericksburg...
>Dr. Wasson wanted this meteorite, and I asked him how much the
>"consortium" would pay? He was not sure, and asked me to work out a
>deal with Mrs Hodges. I called her and we spoke of meteorite prices.
>She had heard that one Texas meteorite sold for $10,000 and wondered if
>she could sell it for that. I said that it was possible and that I
>would get in contact with Dr. Wasson. I did so soon after, and said
>that I could get this for $10,000 in hand. Forward me the money and I
>will fly up there and get it, I said. Dr. Wasson deferred and said
>that he had to go through the "consortium" to come up with the amount.
>So it was, a week, then another on and on. I don't remember it as
>being a year, it was less than that. I spoke with Mrs Hodges several
>times as she was getting anxious to sell, and was wondering if I had
>gotten any information from Dr. Wasson. And I was getting anxious,too,
> knowing very well that she would probably contact dealers if we waited
>too much longer. I contacted Dr. Wasson, and expressed my concern that
>she would contact another if we did not act soon. Still Dr. Wasson
>deferred to the "consortium" to come up with the cash. I had a lot to
>lose in this delay as I would have received 20% of the 100 lb mass.
>The delay was driving me nuts. I think I called Mrs Hodges one more
>time, and she still had it waiting for us.
>A few more weeks went by, and then I found that Mike Farmer had flown
>up there and bought it with cash in hand.
>Needless to say, I was crestfallen. I could have bought this meteorite
>if only I had the cash in hand. I am not a big time dealer. I did not
>have that amount of cash in hand, and for me this is always been an
>avocation; just a bit more than a hobby. I always hoped to work with a
>university or a "consortium" of such, but they let me down in this deal
>and also the Lamont deal.
>>From now on, such will not be the case.
>If out of the thousands of samples that I may receive in the years to
>come, if I get another real meteorite, I will seek a private benefactor
>to make an immediate purchase, me getting 10 to 20% for consummating
>the deal
>Steve Schoner
>IMCA #4470
>P.S. The above is as accurate as I can remember. Unfortunately, when I
>was in recovery from my brain affliction, I could not for nearly 4
>months use my computer. I had to re-learn everything. Most of my
>files that were online were eliminated as I yahoo does that if you do
>not log on for a few months. So, all of my e-mail with Mrs Hodges (if
>that was her name) was lost.
>Re: [meteorite-list] Fredericksburg meteorite and politics of science
>Michael Farmer
>Mon, 19 Mar 2007 21:28:56 -0800
>Actually, you threatened in your post that if I did
>not answer you in time, it would be posted.
>That it is paired with Richland, that is great news, I
>see the date on it is 2007, so Dr Wasson has ignored
>my emails for years, and finally finished the job,
>still without emailing me back.
>At least the question has been answered once and for
>Jason, please do not write me privately and demand a
>response in a given time. I work for a living, I can't
>jump at my keyboard to meet your time demands.
>There was nothing in my email, but a history of the
>controversy about Fredericksburg, not exactly a
>private discussion, which I will not post.
>Michael Farmer
>--- Jason Utas <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>>Ahh, well, I guess it wasn't to be....off list that
>>I'll start by letting Mike have a good look at the
>>quote he just put down.
>>Note "approved meteorite."
>>You suggest that I said that it wasn't a meteorite.
>>I, as you can
>>clearly see, stated that it was merely not approved.
>> Read it if you
>>don't believe me...
>>I responded to every issue brought up in your third
>>privately. Read it.
>>As you can see, I pretty much agree with you....way
>>to wait for a
>>response before posting again.
>>The issues in the fourth paragraph I addressed as
>>well - privately, a
>>good few minutes ago.
>>Furthermore, it seems clear to me now that it was
>>merely not submitted
>>because it was a paired piece of Richland. If it's
>>not a new
>>meteorite, it shouldn't get a new name; we all know
>>Please don't do this again next time I respond
>>privately to you.
>>After I clearly did not publicly post my initial
>>off-list response to
>>the list, there was no reason for you to respond to
>Meteorite-list mailing list
>Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
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Received on Wed 21 Mar 2007 12:10:04 AM PDT

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