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Best Gadfly St. Louis 2007 - Michael Allen

With his cardigan sweaters, thrift-store slacks and librarian glasses, Michael Allen doesn't look the part of a rabble-rouser. But over the past year, his investigation of hundreds of curious land deals in north St. Louis led to front-page news. On his Web site, Ecology of Absence (, Allen painstakingly documented how developer Paul McKee Jr. has assembled some 650 properties on the north side through various shell companies under names such as Blairmont and VHS Partners. Allen later reported on McKee's attempt to pass state legislation that would grant tax credits to developers who'd acquired tracts of land totaling more than 100 acres (read: him). McKee has yet to make public his plans for north city but has expressed frustration that Allen's exposure may now make it impossible for him to assemble additional properties. Kind of reminds you of the villain's final confession in those old episodes of Scooby-Doo: "I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
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Hey Trouser-snake-head,

If there are footmen why don't they simply report what they have uncovered themselves?


Congratulations Michael ! Keep up the good work. It's important to keep tabs on the goings on around town. It doesn't matter whether you collect the information from 100 sources or dig through public documents to uncover potential conflicts of interest. What matters is that you've got the drive and the guts to publish things that make many others squeamish and nervous.


Michael R. Allen hardly does any work and is wrongfully given this title. He does more to improve his own situation than he does to help the community or reveal any information about quiet deals being done in the city. Ask his footmen what he has discovered on his own, and you will find that it is very little, if anything.


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