August was a busy reader-feedback month. A lot of that was driven by the Aug. 25 column on Phillip Morgan, who conducts estate sales, and the court cases against him by people who claimed he owed them money.
Not everyone appreciated that column. Claire English of Roanoke, who lives in Morgan’s neighborhood and knows him through attending his sales, was one.
She called the day after the column ran and said it wasn’t up to standards she’s come to appreciate in The Roanoke Times. Among the terms English used were “sensationalist” and “tabloid journalism.”
As she read the column, English felt like “there are so many big issues. It just seemed like focusing on one small business person when there are so many people being taken advantage of by big businesses,” she told me when we talked.
She asked herself, “what is the point? To drag someone through the mud?”
I also heard from Carol Glover, who has known Morgan four or five years and has used his services. She called about the “misrepresentation of Phillip.”
“I have had nothing but good results from Phillip, and I have recommended him to many people. And they have had good results with him,” Glover said in a voicemail. “I am absolutely appalled by the entire article.” I was unable to reach her Friday.
Glover’s name was on a list of people Morgan had supplied as references. Before the story ran, I called two of them but not her. One declined to talk to me for the column. The other didn’t return my call.
That wasn’t the only feedback I got regarding the Morgan column, however. People from four states — California, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia — called or emailed and related experiences with Morgan that left them feeling like victims.
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