Students strike gold after mining company rights a wrong
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Three students who were never paid essay prizes promised to them by a scam business last year will be paid their reward today by another company, GoldSpring Inc., of Virginia City.
A Canadian company called HE-5 Resources that said it was planning to mine on the Comstock set up the local college scholarship contest last fall. It called for 300-word essays answering the question “Why is mining important to Nevada?”
The company, which has now disappeared, offered three scholarships.
Now, Scott Jolcover, a director at GoldSpring, said his company is giving the students $1,000 scholarships because “we just don’t like mining getting a black eye.”
Goldspring is planning to hand out the checks today to the winners, Nadia Tung, Dartanyan Perry and Madison Ryan, along with a tour of its operations at its Investor’s Day Barbecue.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Perry’s mother, Angela Frisina. “It’s just really awesome.”
Frisina said she was shocked when she got a call from GoldSpring, especially after months of frustration trying to get HE-5 Resources to pay her son.
When HE-5 first announced the contest, it put out a press release from its office in Canada to potential investors, and company directors spoke in glowing terms of why it was offering the prize money.
“People around the table said, ‘Let’s put money into the future instead of putting it into the past,'” Serge Ollu, HE-5 Resources company vice president, said in a Sept. 28, 2007, column by Nevada Appeal Editor Barry Ginter called “Mining company offers a golden opportunity to help fund college educations.”
Tung, then in the fifth grade at Bordewich-Bray Elementary, Perry, then in seventh grade at Eagle Valley Middle School, and Ryan, then in fourth grade at Pinon Hills Elementary School in Minden, were picked as winners by Nevada Appeal editors, who were asked by HE-5 to serve as judges.
But, after the judging was completed, HE-5’s officials didn’t pay the prize money. Numerous calls and e-mails by the Nevada Appeal and by Frisina produced repeated assurances of payment, but no money for the students.
HE-5 Resources’ stock became almost worthless by the end of 2007 following an aggressive marketing campaign that caused the stock to peak in July 2007. The company, which never did more than initial drilling, failed to pay thousands of dollars to several businesses in Northern Nevada.
Jolcover said today’s event will allow people to “feel, touch and smell the company instead of just looking at it one dimensionally on a Web site.”
– Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.