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The Pedigo Bay fire was an arson. That is a fact.

By Scott Tibbs, September 7, 2007

We have all seen people knowingly make false claims in order to gain a political advantage. It is an unfortunate reality in politics, and sadly both Left and Right are capable of such dishonesty. But some Leftists here in Monroe County are taking lies to a new and shocking extreme. Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) claimed that the Pedigo Bay fire in 2002 "was never determined to be arson. It appears to have been an accident." This claim is based on an article last year in the Bloomington Alternative.

As a refresher, Pedigo Bay was a low point in local politics. The Earth Liberation Front had burned down homes that were under construction in the name of protecting the environment. Earlier that summer, the Animal Liberation Front firebombed a poultry distribution plant. Two years earlier, the Earth Liberation Front attempted to burn down Monroe County Republican Party headquarters to protest Interstate 69.

The claim that the Pedigo Bay fire was not arson is absolutely ludicrous. The following is from the Herald-Times, shortly after the fire:

Officials have determined a fire that leveled a partially built luxury home in the controversial Pedigo Bay development last week was deliberately set.

Pam Bright, spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal's office in Indianapolis, confirmed the fire that gutted the home early Thursday morning was arson.

She said the investigation is continuing, and referred all further questions to the Perry-Clear Creek Fire Department.

Jeff Calabrese, the department's assistant chief, said an accelerant was used to start the fire but refused to give further details.

Just as Nazi sympathizers deny the crime that was committed against millions of Jews, Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) denies the crime that was committed here in Monroe County. Obviously, the Holocaust was an exponentially worse crime than the Pedigo Bay arson, but denying the fire was an arson nonetheless places Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) in the same intellectual tradition as Holocaust revisionists.

For the past five years, it has been universally accepted that the Pedigo Bay fire was an arson. Democrats (including Scott Wells, Chris Gaal, Andy Ruff, Jeffrey Willsey, Brian O'Neill, Mark Stoops, Bill Hayden and Lucille Bertuccio) called a press conference to condemn the arson.

Over a year after the ATF report that Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) and the Bloomington Alternative were touting came out, Bloomington Alternative editor Steve Higgs made the wild claim that Republicans "probably set the damned thing". The Bloomington Alternative is hardly a reliable source on this matter, after what Higgs wrote.

Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) isn't the only local Leftist who is peddling this blatant and brazen lie. Pedro Roman, who was appointed to the Utilities Service Board early this year, joined in as well. Roman's support of the untruthful rants of Greg Travis (husband of County Council member Sophia Travis) represent everything that is wrong with politics today. Truth is a distant second to party loyalty. Such hyper-partisanship poisons the political atmosphere and should be shunned by all who desire reasonable and civil political discourse.

That isn't the only case of historical revisionism related to Pedigo Bay. Shortly after the arson, local resident Kevin Shiflet said in a County Council meeting that Wells claimed to have been told that something was going to happen. This led to a defamation lawsuit that is still dragging on five years later. What was truly said in a conversation between those two can never really be known; it is a matter of which of those two someone chooses to believe.

But some local Leftists aren't satisfied. They are actually claiming that Wells was accused of setting the fire. That simply did not happen, and they know it. Everyone else knows it too. Wells was not accused of setting the fire. If Shiflet's account of his conversation with Wells is false, Leftists have a cause to complain. By overreaching and fabricating attacks on Wells that never took place, they weaken their cause and undermine their own credibility.

I am stunned by all of this. Literally stunned. I cannot believe that local Leftists are attempting to rewrite history that is only five years old. Do they really think they will get away with it? Do they really think that people do not see through the lies? What could possibly be the motivation for attempting to cover up an act of eco-terrorism? I call on all local Democrats to repudiate the attempt by two high-profile Democrat Party activists to rewrite history. The people of Bloomington and Monroe County, to say nothing of the victims of eco-terrorism, deserve far better than this.