Scroggins Lawyers Want Out? Sensitive Material?

Scroggins - Tom Shepstone reportsTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Yesterday was another day in court for Vera Scoggins, the fractivist tormenting local landowners and it was a day of strange revelations and stranger questions.

Vera Scroggins was in Susquehanna County court yesterday for hearings on three motions, two brought by Cabot Oil & Gas and another brought by her attorneys. It was a an eye-opening day and more for the questions it raised than the answers provided by the court. Susquehanna County Judge Kenneth Seamans found her in violation of the preliminary injunction he had previously issued and reserved decision on the other two motions. It was, though, what we learned in the debate over those second two motions, which came later in the day, that produced some startling revelations and even bigger questions.

The Scroggins Riddle

The big story was one of those enigmas wrapped in a riddle, in fact. We learned, for example, that three of Vera Scroggins attorneys (she is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU and a group known as Public Citizen) have requested to withdraw their appearances as her attorneys. The implications of that fact raise a pretty fundamental question; namely, what in the world did Vera Scroggins do that was enough to get the ACLU to want out? These are after all, the people who represent communists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and every other offensive group imaginable. Offending them is next to impossible. Yet, Vera Scroggins managed to do it.


Vera Scroggins and Two of Her Attorneys

It was unclear from the testimony exactly what it took for Vera to turn the ACLU against her, but we did get clues. Letting her attorneys negotiate a settlement and then reneging appears to have given her a head start. We learned, for example, the Scroggins and Cabot legal teams had come to a settlement agreement last month, but Vera scotched the whole thing by refusing to sign. That alone might be enough to offend most attorneys and cause them to withdraw, but we’re talking the ACLU here, so it would seem to take more.

The testimony didn’t get into the details but there were tantalizing hints as to what that more might be. It came during a very odd moment of the sort you almost never see in a courtroom, unless it’s a scene from some drama production like Inherit the Wind, when Clarence Darrow put opposing counsel William Jennings Bryan on the stand.  The Cabot team called two members of the Scroggins team as witnesses in their case. The debate was over a Cabot motion to enforce the settlement agreed to among the attorneys for both sides.

Something Bad?

During the debate, Cabot’s attorneys offered some impressive case law to support their position that reneging wasn’t permitted and the judge reserved decision on whether or not to actually enforce the verbal agreement. Testimony leading up to that point, though, turned to questioning about what exactly derailed the settlement and it was during that discussion that the issue of returning personal photos suddenly arose.


Scroggins Giving Tour

It appears the Cabot attorneys, prior to the hearings, had, as is normal, subjected Scroggins to interrogatory requests for information. In the course of complying with those demands, she apparently inadvertently (supposedly) shared personal photos, financial information and private journals. How this was even possible is difficult to explain given all the material first went through her attorneys to ascertain relevance before being passed on to the Cabot lawyers. One suspects they had already tired of her and weren’t paying attention. She has a habit of wearing out friends, after all.

Regardless, the material obviously must have gotten to Cabot’s attorneys. The testimony by the Scroggins attorneys, who apparently continue to represent her under court order, described the material as “accidental” and “sensitive.” They were exceedingly cautious in their answers to questions, as one might expect, and did all they could to avoid answering by asking repeatedly for repeats, one even resorting to a “I’m having trouble with truth in this context” explanation when asked if e-mails he had written were truthful. He kept protesting he wasn’t being evasive, but ending up answering that one by saying “I believed what I wrote.”

There was a lot of that sort of parsing of words yesterday, but when Cabot attorneys asked this Scroggins attorney if there had been a “hiccup” in getting her signature on the settlement agreement, he admitted there had been one. Upon further questioning as to whether the “hiccup” revolved around the an issue of returning personal photos, it came out that Scroggins apparently wanted Cabot to either return the photos or agree not to refer them to criminal authorities.

Some of that testimony was subsequently struck from the record for lack of relevance to the matter at hand but the line of questioning and the answers delivered in open court suggest something bad. Scroggins clearly wants to ensure it doesn’t see the light of day. One can only speculate as to what that might be and we won’t do it here, but readers familiar with Scroggins various associations and social media trail will have lots of questions. One hopes investigative reporters will as well.

Giggling No More

We noticed a discernible decline in the volume of school girl giggling from the rogue’s gallery of Scroggins supporters in the audience during this portion of the hearings. Even they apparently recognized this was a more serious matter than the detailed arguments earlier over whether or not she had violated a preliminary injunction barring her from Cabot well pads and access roads.

They had been squealing and giggling every time Vera and her angry ally, Matt Ryan, smirkily introduced some line into their testimony about supposed contamination when the question had nothing to do it with it. The sheer childishness of it all was revealing. It reminded me of the kid in the souped up chevy trying to get attention by squealing out his tires on Main Street. That was the tenor of the fractivists present.

And, what a rogues gallery it was. Former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, now living in Ithaca in a natural gas heated home in Ithaca was there and showed off a bit of his hair-trigger anger when questioned, totally captivated by his own brilliance. There was also: Alex Lotorto, the serial protestor; Isaac Silberman-Gorn, the paid protestor; a man dressed in Arabian attire; another man adorned in some maharishi outfit, the gigglers from Allentown; Bradford County fractivist Bill Ferullo; Bill Huston, with camera in hand; a forlorn protester from Connecticut; and Craig Stevens, the motormouth trial lawyer hack.

There were about 50 people there altogether, including perhaps a 15-20 fractivist types, court officers, reporters, witnesses, lawyers, gas supporters and the like. I noticed exactly one person there who actually spoke for the landowners of Susquehanna County and she told me “If these people ever knew what this woman [Scroggins] was really like and how she has tormented our lives…” Unfortunately, that individual didn’t get to testify or speak to the cameras, which is the problem, of course. Vera Scroggins knows how to capture attention. That’s what she’s all about.

Scroggins got away without being penalized for her violation of the injunction in this instance (she had entered into a Cabot access road on one of her tours) but a violation it was the judge declared. He also effectively further restricted her by clarifying what an access road was and making it explicitly clear she was not to ignore plainly worded signs in clear view labeling it as such.

That, of course, gave some benefit of the doubt to her and there’s little doubt from the snarky nature of her testimony that she deserved none of it. She made one ludicrous claim after another about not being able to read signs at 50 feet but, nonetheless, being able to read them at 200-300 feet. She, too, resorted to weasel wording to explain the unexplainable, saying at one point she didn’t read the clear no trespass warnings, relying upon her “automatic view” instead.

She tried to conveniently forget her own earlier testimony calling the road on which she trespassed an access road.  She even argued at another point that a sign identifying an access road entrance only referred to an entrance to the access road and not the access road itself, using a Clintonian “It means to me..” excuse, combined with the ever-present smirk.

It’s All About Vera, As It Always Is

She didn’t get away with it, of course, but she didn’t get penalized either, much to the chagrin of our Susquehanna County landowner who has had to put up with this nonsense.  One can’t fault the judge. He’s obviously looking at the bigger picture and in that bigger picture the credibility of Scroggins is evaporating faster than the water in a boiling teapot.

Still, although Scroggins repeatedly told the court yesterday it was her intention to always comply with the preliminary injunction, that wasn’t what she told WNEP back in March regarding the first injunction:

But she won’t commit to following these terms.

“If I have to go to jail to protect my planet and my life, and to expose this industry, then yes.”

It’s funny how attitudes change inside the courtroom, isn’t it? Six months ago she was ready to defy the court and the world to protect “the planet.” Yesterday, it was all about her, saving herself and what she “honestly believed.” So goes the fractivist down the road of self-deceit. She’s deceiving fewer and fewer others every day, though, and that’s what’s important. Even her lawyers want out as she scrambles to keep something apparently bad well hidden.

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24 thoughts on “Scroggins Lawyers Want Out? Sensitive Material?

  1. One can speculate on what has poisoned the lawyers on Vera but here is one for you. Lawyers are about money even if they are blindly altruistic to their client. You don’t suppose Vera played the poor me financially card and Cabot lawyers found out differently IE possible fees from foundations , foreign news networks and so on. In the face of that the ACLU lawyers indeed might see possible liabilities being attached to representing a very uncooperative client whom they probably pleaded Veras indigent status to a judge whom might be a bit ticked right now. As soon as she did not sign she should have back in court to face the judge .

      • Well apparently 6 people here believe I have something right here to your single like which is probably a self like. I will
        repeat in a different way Lawyers are all about money just like Al Gores global warming apocalyptic pronouncements. Vera pleads the poor me case and the leftist lawyers get sucked in. How much does she get from tours by the likes of Yoko Ono and Russian Today TV? Perhaps the money trail leads to Putin or the Saudis ? Josh Fox has had connections to the OPEC vested interests. As Tom stated the ACLU will stick with a repulsive KKK to defend their freedom of speech rights but something is very much a game changer with this woman for these lawyers . If you don’t think Cabot and the Industry haven’t hired PIs to dig some stuff on Versa then I have some Al Gore Carbon Credits to sell you sucker

  2. like children they behaved
    when bilbo scroggins was deposed
    like mad woman they raved
    not guilty the aclu supposed

    thought they smart crackers
    when ryan began to speak
    giggling no frackers
    then began to leak

    this just cant be they said
    ACLU in retreat
    bilbo scroggins has a mighty fine head
    but the truth she scant beat


    • you talk about children and then write in rhymes ! Maybe you need to find out what it’s all about before you let your stupid fly ,but then again this seems to be pare for all you gassers who don’t know what really goes on !

      • Too funny – so no frackers believe that Dickinson, shakespeare, Neruda are all ‘children’ because they wrote in rhymes – well I guess this is a great example of their analytical capabilities … and then we wonder why they cant figure out the fracking debate

      • In light of your intolerance of the writing of a clearly more creative and insightful mind that you infer to be childish for expressing a salient thought in relevant and meaningful verse, would you like someone to post videos of obstructionist fracktivists childishly playing bongos, banging on water cooler bottles, dancing in the streets, parading puppets, and offering irrelevant street theater?

        How about a video of Bill Huston meditating on the stand at SRBC hearings? That sort of attention seeking is real mature!

        How many irrelevant poems and factually bankrupt songs penned by anti-gas ideologues would you like to have posted here? For to do so would clearly show that it is really the anti-gas protestors who are doing, writing, and saying anything (including lying) like attention seeking children!

        Forget propagandizing as in the case of the fictitious content offered by Josh Fox and others. I’m referring to plain and simple fact and content devoid childish attention seeking by way of obnoxious noise, actions, and rhetoric. The antis have the corner on that market!

        And your factually devoid and insulting post amounts to no more than an elementary school playground taunt of desperation after being defeated by fact and wit.

  3. Wow….. someone needs a hobby. Feels like someone’s always at our throat. No one is out to mess up the earth. I’ve been in tha feald for a while now and every place I’ve been thay try hard not to mess the pad up. I’m happy to see the jobs and opportunity here. Drill, drill, my frends…..

    • plenty of issues go on because you get a pay check from it all you are blind to what it does.Don’t worry we will make notes for you !!

  4. Kinda of amazing isn’t it? The mighty and powerful Big Gas Biz is afraid of 63 year old grandmother. I wonder how it would be different if the Gas industry could actually defend themselves in an open manner. Case in point, New York Gov. candidate Rob Astorino had to reschedule his pro-gas drill pad tour in Pa. Why? Because the press was not invited, the drilling operator apparently had big problems with that.. cloak and dagger eh Mr. Shepstone? Hide the truth, and silence the opposition,,what a great way to run a business.

    • Media are on gas tours all the time so there’s something wrong with your story. Moreover, no one is afraid of Scroggins. Rather, they’re determined to stop her trespassing and harassment of landowners.

      • Interesting. I don’t know Vera but the lawyer “having trouble with truth in this context” is something that really sums up for me the fundamental problem with the antifracking movement and activists. They have ENORMOUS trouble with truth. They may be allergic to it.

        I thought I would pass on some “independent” “news” for you Tom and also tell you that because of the Williams Rockaway pipeline project I met the following groups or representatives of the groups over TWO years ago. In person– more than one group or the actual people in the prior articles (the writers or people in the article)– Green Party, Food and Water Watch, Josh Fox’s mother, The Mother’s Project, United for Action, Sane Energy Project, Occupy the Pipeline, Sierra Club NYC and Atlantic chapters, and the group CELDF. Later on I also interacted personally with leaders of Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy. I don’t know Vera but I’m familiar with her social network for sure.

        I’ve also tried in the past two years to no avail to have “reporters” or publications either retract stories on this project that are really problematic about the Rockaway Project. Recently I found that a link to a story (nearly fact free) by Al Jazeera no longer works after such an effort but I have no way of knowing whether this is because I wrote to them or not.

        What I’m telling you Tom is that not only was I sympathetic to the antifracking activists cause, I worked with these people briefly in 2012. It was very apparent to me even two years ago that this “trouble with the truth” thing runs very very deep and I learned this very very quickly. I’ve also had these activists call me out personally on their social network sites. When I say they are bullies I mean that they have attempted to bully me and to silence me. I’ve had the Indypendent news censor me if you can believe that. The radical newspaper publishers are censoring me–that I find interesting.

        I am the most unlikely person to be communicating here to you and I am pretty surprised to find myself so opposed to a large group of people calling themselves environmentalists.There is something very troubling about this movement and the way these activists operate and it seems to me that the press is failing when it comes to them and this issue. Now that is frightening to me. A candidate for governor photographed in front of the You are Here map of infrackstructure. The map was produced probably by the least credible people I have ever met. These are the people at Sane Energy– specifically Clare Donahue, Kim Fraczek and Patrick Robbins (the latter two also leaders of Occupy the Pipeline.) I’m not sure that Owen Crowley is also still with them but there but I think I’ve come close to the heart of this movement and I don’t think I will ever see something as nuts again in my life. The environment tv? This is simply nuts with cameras making videos and I’ve met one of them too. At some point a journalist has to cover this. It can’t just be pro-gas people.

    • Actually the company and the drilling contractor can decide who they will/won’t let on location. If they were in the middle of a complicated process on the rig, or if they were fishing for a lost tool, had cementers and casing crew on site, or running a completion operations or well stimulation, the company man doesn’t exactly have time to be shepherding around a gaggle of reporters and politicians who have no idea of the dangers on active location.

  5. Well Mitch if indeed the Nat Gas wished to silent a 63 grandmother then could do it with a Simple Slapp suit. The woman was purposeful in first going before a court defendng herself because it adds to the Poor me narrative . Funny thing is about these big bad companies is they don’t resort to a tactic like Josh Fox employed in regards to His not relevant statement when answering Phelim McAleer Statement on lighting ones tap on fire. That is big Eco for you using terms like Climate Change Denier much like Holocaust Denier .

  6. I did not sign the final injunction settlement, because I do not want Cabot to have the power to tell me and others where we can stand and park on public roads and where I can stand on private properties where I have permission from the landowners… and that is my only reason; and you can ask my lawyers the reason and verify this if you want to truly know the truth; I get no funds from foundations or foreign new networks and you will not find any proof of that submitted to the court or Judge; if you want to find out the truth, then call any of my attorneys: like Gerald Kinchy at 570 888 5072 , Scott Michelman in Washington, DC., and Witold Walczak in Harrisburg , Pa….I rather go to trial to prove I want to have the same freedoms as anyone else in my county and country to move about freely on public roads and private properties where I have permission….

    • Really? Watch the videos in this instance where you went on a private property without permission, pretending to be an agent of DEP, only to be escorted off the property by the landowner. No has personal freedom to impersonate public officials or trespass in this fashion.

    • Relying on attorneys provided by the ACLU is relying on foundations. Once again the double standards and failure to acknowldge the full context of the situation on the part of the anti-gas activists is evident in your own post. How ironic, hypocritical, deceptive, and sadly typical.

      No you don’t have the same freedoms. You abused your freedoms and now they are limited. Your actions and behavior have led to your consequences that you don’t want to submit to. Your twisted ideology has led you to think that your above having to deal with consequences. Once again the double standards and failure to acknowldge the full context of the situation on the part of the anti-gas activists is evident in your own post. How ironic, hypocritical, deceptive, and sadly typical.

    • Really Vera?? where to park on public roads? NO you don’t park, you just stop at any time, in anyplace and do not care if you are blocking traffic(I know, I have been in this position of being unable to pass you) you yell at the people of this community when you are asked to move (again I know) you are disrespectful to all that do not agree with you, you act like a spoiled child being told NO….As for trespassing, lets discuss how many landowners told you to get off their property, and you refuse. How about distracting the working man while they try and do a very important job, one which we all would like done safely without disruption!!! This is why Cabot has done this, Cabot is doing everyone a favor, Your community is cheering Cabot on !!!! Thankfully someone is trying to make you be responsible for your behavior.


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