Water Engineer Surfaces, Says Scott McInnis Lied
Breaking: Our local ABC News station got an on camera interview with Rolly Fischer, the water engineer Scott McInniss blamed for his plagiarism while working as a $300,000 paid fellow for the Hasan Foundation. The interview will be on air in 20 minutes, but they have this article up now:
The man Scott McInnis blamed for the plagiarized material in an article on water rights told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia, the candidate for Governor lied and he wants to set the record straight.
In an exclusive interview, Rolly Fischer told Ferrugia, he did not know his research was going to be used for articles for which McInnis was paid $300,000 by a private foundation.
Ferrugia asked, "Rolly, is Scott McInnis lying to us? "Yes," said Fischer.
The 82-year old Fischer said, "I never knew about the foundation or any foundation Scott was associated with."
"Did you know how he was using these?" Ferrugia asked.
"No. I had this sophomoric assumption that he wanted them for his own inventory," said Fischer.
Fischer said, he was paid a few hundred dollars per article and he believed the research was simply going to McInnis for education on water rights in Colorado in preparation for a 2008 U.S. Senate campaign.
"It was my impression Scott was looking for background information," said Fischer.
This is what I speculated last night:
If I had to speculate, I'd say McInnis called Fischer as an adviser, not a research assistant; Fischer sent him material that might be helpful, including Hobbs' article; and that was the end of his involvement. McInnis says Fischer is willing to accept responsibility. But for what? Sending him the Hobbs article to give him ideas for his own, or drafting a plagiarized article. I'll bet it's the former, and Fischer doesn't cop to plagiarizing.
There's more, from the CBS article:
"Did you know these were to be published somewhere?" asked Ferrugia.
"Absolutely not. This was a private communication between Scott and me. I mean, I knew it was a private communication," said Fischer. "I did not know that he intended to submit that as his personal work."
Fischer said he thought he was doing a favor for a family friend and was appalled when, this week according to Fischer, the McInnis campaign sent a letter to Fischer, for him to sign.
It gets worse. Here's the letter McInnis sent him to sign:
I am writing to express my sincere apology for failing to provide appropriate attribution for the research I provided for the water articles we collaborated on. While my mistake was not intentional, it is nonetheless clear that this material needed footnotes.
This mistake was solely my own and I recognize that my work fell short of the expectations you had when you included me in this project.
Again, please accept my deep apology.
Rolly didn't sign it. He says:
Fischer said he would never sign the letter.
Ferrugia asked, "He wants you to take full responsibility?"
"Oh, yeah," said Fischer.
"What do you think of that?" asked Ferrugia.
"I think it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong," replied Fischer.
Still, Fischer says McInnis should stay in the race:
"Do you believe he ought to pull out of the race?" Ferrugia asked.
"No. I think he ought to hang in there and rattle and I think that the primary will be very tough," said Fischer.
So did Fischer sent him Hobbs' article, but didn't say it was written by Hobbs and McInnis thought Fischer had written it so it was okay to submit it as his own because they were friends?
Fischer was being paid, but paltry amounts, certainly not enough for an original article. It makes his contention that he was being paid to assemble research, not write articles more credible. The one question the interviewer didn't ask (at least in the written version) was whether Hobbs name was on the article he sent McInnis. If the live version answers this, I'll update.
Update: In the on camera interview, Fischer says McInnis paid him $100 a month. He said that had he known McInnis had intended to publish the material he sent, he would have personally visited Justice Hobbs and asked for permission. He didn't even know McInnis was being paid for articles or a fellow with the Foundation.
The interview was very compelling, watching this 82 year old man, hunched over and with a cane, who clearly didn't want to hurt McInnis but resents the intended stain on his reputation. When asked if McInnis lied, he really didn't want to answer. After a couple of tries to deflect the question, he answered with a simple "Yes", followed by ""[He's] a long-time friend who has gotten himself into this kind of box. He's smarter than that. He's smarter than that."
That part almost seemed spliced. I'm not positive his "yes" was in response to "Did he lie?" but the station says it was.
They also didn't play the portion where Fischer said McInnis should stay in the race, the interviewer reported that at the end.
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