August 26, 2007
Is the Ted Haggard Fundraising Letter for Real? [Updated]
Questions about Zip Codes and children's ages mixed with a lot of abuse at Colorado Confidential.
[New information added at end of post. 8/26/07, 10:10 PM]
Apparently KRDO consumer affairs reporter Tak Landrock has been in ongoing contact with Ted Haggard, and he believed the letter (see my earlier post) was genuine enough to go with the story. And so did experienced reporters at the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Associated Press. (AP religion editor Eric Gorski used to write for the Gazette and was the Denver Post reporter who covered the Haggard scandal as it broke last November. Eric should be close enough to the story to have reliable intuitions.)
Nevertheless, some people posting comments at Colorado Confidential are questioning the letter's authenticity.
The Zip Code for the alternate address in Scottsdale is not an Arizona Zip Code--although a 9 is just one key away from an 8. And the ages of Ted's children don't exactly match the ages another reader calculated based on information in the Wikipedia article on Ted--but then Wikipedia is not always the most reliable source and more than one father in history has been hazy about his children's precise ages.
No sign yet, however, that Ted or anyone close to him has denied that the letter is the genuine article. And KRDO broke the story almost four days ago.
In addition, readers at Colorado Confidential point out that with a slight adjustment in the Zip Code, that Scottsdale address is a private drop box operated by a fund-raising company. The letter may not be exactly from Ted's hand, but from an agency representing him. That could explain the question about the children's ages.
By the way, don't click on the Colorado Confidential link unless you want to scroll through a lot of abusive comments and--ummmm--colorful language.
[Updated 8/26/07, 10:10 PM]
Apparently the letter is genuine. I just received the following e-mail from Tak Landrock at Channel 13.
I just read your blog and I can tell you 100% that the e-mail from Pastor Ted Haggard is from him. I spoke with him on the phone Saturday evening.