The Wall Street Journal is on the Gorilla Story, and has this speculation from a couple of locals who've done some independent cyber-sleuthing:
Several landowners say they've been told the company would employ a technology or process not currently used in the U.S. That may point to a new type of fuel creation, such as a plant that converts coal into a liquid fuel that can be put into regular diesel engines, a process in use in several countries. Such a facility could generate electricity and produce ultraclean diesel, jet or other fuels.Read it all here at the Wall Street Journal.
In the past few weeks, Messrs. Cody and Curry stumbled onto some tantalizing new evidence. They got word that a man named Richard E. White is the "R.E. White" whose signature is on land-option papers filed at the courthouse. Mr. Cody searched the Web, and found a detailed biography of a Richard E. White of Findlay , Ohio , who's a former senior executive at Marathon Oil Corp.
Mr. White, who played on Indiana University 's 1953 national-championship men's basketball team, retired in 1999 from Marathon , where his work included real-estate transactions. "We think he could be involved," says Mr. Cody. "But we don't have DNA."
Across town, Jason Quam, 39, took up the Gorilla hunt last month, deciding that if he knew the buyer's identity and finances, he would have a stronger negotiating position. His parents, Andrew and Judith Quam, have been talking to the buyers about agreeing to an option to sell 144 acres at a price of $5,250 an acre, about twice what farmland had been fetching in recent years. Jason says he's also trying to get more for a 9-acre plot he owns.
Last week, he had a breakthrough: After hours of digging online, the younger Mr. Quam downloaded from the Web site for Hancock County , Ohio , a mortgage document signed by a Mr. White for a home in Findlay . The signature -- "R.E. White" -- matched the signature on the Elk Point documents. Mr. Quam says there's little doubt a major energy company is behind the Gorilla, and Mr. White is consulting for it.
Mr. White didn't respond to repeated calls to his home for comment. Paul Weeditz, a Marathon spokesman, says the company is not involved in the project.
For now, Mr. Quam is holding out for a better offer. "I'm playing hardball," he says.