Company teaches a hard lesson to students

It may be summer break, but Dartanyan Perry will be going back to school having learned a hard lesson. As his mother, Angela Frisina, puts it, "What are they teaching kids ... how to be a con artist?"


The "they" she is referring to is a company that called itself HE-5 and tried to position itself as a legitimate business, with a goal of extracting precious metals from the Overman Pit. As part of that effort, they announced a scholarship essay contest for kids last year and asked the Appeal to serve as judges. Many students researched and wrote essays on the question, "Why is mining important to Nevada."


The prize money, said company officials, was to be $2,500 for each winner, and they gushed that they, a "socially responsible corporation," wanted to "give back to the children of Carson City."


Now, approaching a year later, they've paid no money to the winners " Dartanyan, Nadia Jung and Madison Ryan. Angela has called them many, many times, as have I. And always, they politely pretend to be embarrassed at their oversight and promise to send the prizes out immediately.


It didn't matter who we talked to within the company, the story was the same. Among those involved in this apparent deceit (the scholarship contest was likely devised to make the company appear legitimate to potential investors) were the company's CEO, Denyse Raynault, the company's vice president, Serge Ollu and their controller, Jean Michael de Montigny, along with Andrea Cortellazzi .


Most recently, Angela talked with Cortellazi, who promised to FedEx the checks the next day. Another empty promise.


"He knows he can get away with telling me that because it's in Quebec," she said.

Angela would love nothing more than to knock on their door and tell them what she thinks of the lesson they've taught her son. Now she's considering hiring an attorney. That would likely be an expensive proposition, but if it could help ensure they don't deceive others in the same way, it might be worth it, she said.


"It's wrong to use children in that fashion," she said.


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Chuck Muth, whom you can read elsewhere on this page, writes a lot of shocking things, but come on ... "Don't vote!"?


It's hard to admit this, but, even though I don't agree with those two words, I do agree with his overriding message " make sure you're educated before you go to the polls. There are substantial differences between the backgrounds and views of the candidates and, if we don't choose wisely, we could be paying for it for years to come.


How do you get educated?


Here are several ideas. First, the Appeal printed an extensive election guide last Saturday, the first day of early voting. You can find that information and more on our Web site, www.nevadaappeal.com. Just click on the "Election '08" icon and you'll find information on the candidates on your primary ballot. (We even asked each candidate, "Have you ever been arrested?")


Sometimes, it's helpful to see candidates in action and, fortunately, you have two more opportunities before the primary election day of Aug. 12.


The first is Wednesday at the Plaza Hotel Rosewood Conference Room (located at 9th and Plaza streets), a forum hosted by the Carson City Democratic Central Committee. It starts at 6:30 p.m. with the six mayoral candidates, then will progress to city supervisor candidates.


Another non-partisan forum, this one by the Carson City Democratic Women's Club, will be on Saturday, Aug. 9 at Grandma Hattie's Restaurant, 2811 S. Carson St. Supervisor candidates will begin speaking at noon (you can order an optional buffet luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. for $12). For more information or to make buffet reservations, call 885-9917.


You'll be able to ask questions at both events.


If you can't attend either, you can see the candidates in action by viewing a previous forum on the Internet, thanks to Access Carson City. Just go to the Web site www.acctv.org. and click on "Town Hall Meetings."


If you're still not sure after all of that, my suggestion is that you give the candidates a call at home. That's right, interrupt their dinner if you have to. They're applying to represent you, after all, and if they want to do that well they need to be available to their constituents.


Many of them are listed in the phone book. Some of them supplied their phone numbers for their profiles at the nevadaappeal.com Web site, and most of the rest can be found at the Carson City Elections Department Web site, www.carson-city.nv.us/Index.aspx?page=1981.


If you take advantage of any of the opportunities above, I'm sure that even Chuck Muth would agree strongly with this: VOTE!


Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at bginter@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1221.

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