Defending David Prenatt

As someone with a long-time relationship with David Prenatt I read with great interest the October 21 article “Bad Dream or Ponzi Scheme?”. But while it makes for suspenseful reading, it tells only half the story.

I was particularly troubled by the absence of candor and openness in failing to acknowledge an unnamed player from whose perspective this story was reported: Joe Cole, who has a longstanding relationship with The Independent. Also not mentioned was the fact that Diane Nathan [one of the plaintiffs] has a history of launching numerous lawsuits in Santa Barbara.

Using such inflammatory words as “Ponzi scheme” without substantiation conjures up recent images of truly despicable individuals who were known to have engaged in fraudulent and deceitful behavior. An exhaustive reading of the public record offers no factual support for such claims against Mr. Prenatt. In fact this article ignores 75 percent of the public record. Is that fair?

While there was such outrage over the $153,000 Mr. Prenatt was paid (by mutual agreement with his partner, Atul Patel) for securing the financing, there is no mention at all of the millions of dollars Mr. Patel [allegedly took] from the partnership in the form of “investments” with family members as well as hidden “management fees” for the partnership’s hotel properties.

If this publication felt inclined to write about Mr. Prenatt and his creditors, it had an obligation to report fully. Fortunately, Mr. Prenatt has availed himself of a legal system that provides a forum for all the evidence to be considered fairly. I would expect when that process has concluded this publication will be equally committed to reporting that story.

Chris Meagher replies: I did not speak with Cole nor did I get any information from him for this story. As well, Nathan is but one of several people levying allegations against Prenatt.

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