Submitted by Sheila Ray Lancaster
Let me start by saying I have contemplated for a while how and what to say in this letter.
I have been reading and keeping track of the stories and editorials on the Nucor deal. After much deliberation I have decided that based on your media accounts of this story that you the paper are biased in your opinion. I will give you research to back some of what I am about to say. I have graduate degrees in business and have been trained therein. First in management, then conflict management and lastly in human resource leadership, therefore, I feel like I am adequately qualified to discuss what I am about to embark upon in this letter.
I will start with definition of business terms: A merger is when two companies combine into one company, transferring ownership either through stock swap or cash payment, in the end both companies surrender their stock and issue new stock. (Investing Answers) A takeover is the purchase of one company by another company, which includes the control of a usually smaller firm through purchase of 51 percent or more of its voting shares of stock. (Business Dictionary) A buyout is the purchase of the controlling stock or shares of a firm by its own management. Purchased by a publicly traded firm of its outstanding stock in an attempt to stop a takeover or to take the firm off the stock market for converting it into a private company. (Business Dictionary) A hostile takeover is the acquisition of a target company by another company by going directly to the target company’s shareholders, either by making an offer or through proxy vote. The difference between a hostile and a friendly takeover is that, in a hostile takeover, the target company’s board of directors do not approve of the deal. (Corporate Finance Institute) After looking at what has been offered with the Nucor deal and CGB it is fairly safe to say that the deal was a buyout. Going back through former articles from the courier Journal this deal was brought about with former Governor Matt Bevin and his team and the CEO of Nucor John Ferriola that was the beginning along with the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority which voted to offer the $40 million in state incentives and will provide another $30 million in incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program. (Courier Journal) Obviously if a company is offered enough money they will sell out. CGB was offered $12 million for its 15 acres and Nucor agreed to pay CGB another $8 million in the spring of 2022 if the terminal located outside a 5-mile radius of the property. (Courier Journal) So, CGB was willing to take the offer and as the old song goes take the money and run. I have heard some people say they don’t understand why the county let CGB out of their contract this might help answer that question. “If the company that originally signed the contract is sold, the original agreement is no longer binding, as one of the parties no longer exists.” (Lawtrades.com)
I have never known of a company to invite the public in or ask for the public’s opinion in any of the business acquisitions defined above. Here are a few local businesses that have sold out and the public had no say, not even the customers had a say in how they felt about the buyouts. Pamida sold to Shopko, First Federal Bank sold to Community Bank and Community Bank sold to Wesbanco, Rite aid sold to Walgreens. There were no public hearings and yet we have gotten the changes like it or not. Board of trustees and CEO’s make the deals in what they think is in the best interest of their company and the stockholders. There are other cases in other counties that could be named but there is no point in doing that.
Another definition is professional journalist and that job revolves around researching, writing and reporting news stories. The Society of Profession Journalists preamble believes that the public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. There are four principles in which the society goes by and those are: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, be accountable and transparent. (Society of Profession Journalists) Based on this information I find that the fair and thorough reporting along with accurate information has been lacking in the coverage of the Nucor, CGB deal. Chad Hobbs you decided to call out anyone that has disagreed with the biased opinion of the paper, and that bias has obviously been against Nucor and for the farmers. You also stated that you were doing the right thing for the people of Meade County, I have spoken with my neighbors and others in this county and you Mr. Hobbs are not doing this for ALL the people in Meade county you are only doing it for the farmers. You spoke as if you were the editor of the paper as to what the paper prints and how. You talked about picking up the gauntlet, it would appear that you are intent on your decision to try and make others look like a fool. I could care less about your anonymous Conrad Doyle if he or she feels the need to hide from his or her true identity so be it. But you have not shown much professionalism in your attacks. Oh yes and your statement about pushing the American farmer to the brink of extinction, maybe you should look at the large American farmers out west for instance, the mere few hundred acres on farms here pale in comparison to truck farms and company farms that are contracted to the food industry. Most small farmers but not all small farmers either work a public job or their spouse works a public job to supplement their income. Most small farmers realize that depending solely on the farm for income is very risky at best.
I have some questions that I would like to know if anyone can answer. First is this the new face of the Meade County Messenger, that they have become so unprofessional that they allow their reporters to attack verbally in print fellow citizens just because those citizens see a different side of things than that which is being published in this paper? Chad Hobbs stated that Webster gives the definition of an editorial as being an article that gives the opinion of the editors or publishers, if that is the case then I see exactly how biased the paper is with the continuing run weekly of rants from Conrad Doyle. That would mean that the paper has little respect for local officials or anyone that fails to have the same opinion as them. Has anyone from the paper tried to get the opinion of or even care about the thousands of Meade countians that work in manufacturing, and drive to Louisville, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, or Corydon? My next question is since there seems to be a controversy over people not supporting the farmers in this community, I would like to know where the farmers and anyone else including the messenger staff buy their milk? What dairy products do all of you buy? What brand of chicken do you all buy? I will be quick to tell you that if any of you don’t buy Deans products especially milk you were part of the problem in putting Kentucky farmers out of business, yes there is proof of that. Kentucky farmers went belly up because Deans would no longer pickup there milk because it was to costly and Walmart has their own processing plants now so they are able to sell their milk much cheaper. Chicken, who buys store brand over Tyson? Do you realize that Kentucky farmers supply Tyson? So, Mr. Hobbs try and ponder those aspects and think if you or those you support have helped or as you might say caused the American farmer to be on the brink of extension or should I say Kentucky farmers.