Though Microkhan can’t claim to be the most journalistically rigorous blog on The Tubes, we do strive for a certain amount of fairness. And so we feel compelled to publish a response to last week’s post regarding the Tall J Foundation, they mysterious American mining concern that recently drew the ire of Bougainville’s president. He accused the company of misleading members of a tribal group involved in negotiations to reopen the long-shuttered Panguna copper mine. In our account of the controversy, we specifically called out one Stephen M. Strauss, and noted that his name appeared in court records involving a Securities and Exchange Commission case. Much to our delight, Mr. Strauss saw fit to offer a defense on Microkhan—it’s reprinted verbatim below:
I wanted to clarify a couple of mis-statements that you have made in your article. I am the Steve Strauss that you are speaking about and yes that is me in Olive Branch, MS. Other than that your story is very inaccurate. Tall J has been involved in Bougainville for the past 18 months. I have lived with the Me’ekamui for 9 of those months in Panguna. During that time i have never met President Momis nor has any of the people that are associated with Tall J. This has been confirmed by Ruben Sierra who is an attorney and works with the ABG -Ruben ran for President against President Momis and came in third. He approached the President and confirmed that we had never been introduced (our other partner spent 4 weeks awaiting a meeting with President Momis but he was unavailable).
We had an ex partner named Stewart Sytner who still claims affiliation when speaking to the tribe with Tall J. He resigned in 2009 by his own choice and in May of 2010, he attempted to steal 60k from us. Stewart and his partner Tom Megas did meet with President Momis earlier this year. Stewart and Tom Megas are part of a company called BCIT a public company and if you read the posts about them, you will realize they are the group behind the failed meeting in Cairns, they are the ones that are creating unrest with the tribal group- we don’t know who that group that you mention is – we have never had a meeting with or spoken with anyone claiming affiliation with that group-they claim President Phillip Miriiori but he has always been with the Me’ekamui Government of Unity (i have documents signed by President Phillip under the MGU letterhead). We have only dealt with President Phillip Miriori of the Me’ekamui Government of Unity – the government group organized by the 13 paramount chiefs of Bougainville and who is working closely with the ABG – the only real point of conflict between the ABG and MGU is what to do with the Panguna Mine – a dispute that we have stayed completely out of and offered no opinion on), with O’orang Mining and Exploration (a PNG organized company) with whom we have a services contract to assist them in the clean up of the tailings (over 7 miles from the Panguna Mine)….our project has been submitted for approval to the ABG and we have a landowners group that is under contract with O’orang. We have over $500,000 worth of equipment in Panguna area and we have developed a good solid relationship with the people.
Lastly as to the Chilmark fiasco, the pump and dump scheme involved a total of $60,000. I never sold a share of stock while i was CEO of Chilmark. The interesting point that i would like you to investigate is the company that purchased Chilmark was a company called IBIE – guess who the chairman of the board of that company was when they purchased us? guess who gave me all of the information for the press releases that were issued ? if i told you Stewart Sytner would you be surprised? I am an idiot for working with him and have promised never to get near anything he ever does again. I can substantiate all of the emails for the press releases, the theft of the 60k and anything else that you may wish to verify.
That’s a lot to chew over, and I’ll leave it up to y’all as to whether you believe Mr. Strauss or think he doth protest too much. But it’s worth mentioning that Stewart Sytner does seem to have a strange connection to the so-called Government of Meekaumi. And his name pops in some investment forum searches, particularly this one where he is alleged to have posed as a Papua New Guinea diplomat.
Mr. Sytner, is you’re out there, please feel free to respond to Mr. Strauss in the comments below. If you keep it civil, we’ll push your words onto Microkhan’s front page. We’re all about being the blog of record for Bougainvillean business.