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News Link • Corruption

The Fate Of Galt's Gulch Chile

My husband and I purchased an option on 1.25 acres in July 2013. Others bought 10- or 25-acre lots and some invested in the agricultural side of the venture; extremely savvy investors committed small fortunes. GGC has been an unexpectedly wild ride since then.

Shortly after purchasing, I received an unsigned email through the webform of a site I maintain. It informed me that GGC was a fraud. One reason: GGC lacked water rights. In Chile, purchasing surface land and water rights are two separate processes. GGC is desert terrain, rather like California, and water rights are absolutely necessary for a community to be established. I responded to the email but the message bounced back to me. I did a search on the email's IP address and it became apparent that the sender had used an anonymizer.

I forwarded the email to the two joint owners of GGC: Jeff Berwick and Ken Johnson. Jeff was and is still a trusted friend; I did not know Ken. My inquiry was not hostile but it stirred quite a reaction from Ken. They immediately recognized the source as a former employee who had threatened to tell people "like me" about the problem if they did not pay him hush money. (The emailer was also an old movement acquaintance of mine.)

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