Sayeth Grisham: No UVA case connection!

John Grisham denies recent reports his latest novel, The Associate, was inspired by a Charlottesville case.

Although a January 26 Washington Post review of John Grisham's latest book, The Associate, leads with a description of the infamous UVA 12-step apology case and says the case is "central" to Grisham's new story, the author himself disputes that claim.

In a statement sent to local media on January 29, Grisham says, "I did not fictionalize the UVA case nor base any part of my novel on it."

According to the review and a January 27 interview with Grisham on NBC's Today show, Grisham’s latest protagonist is a recent law school grad who is blackmailed with a cell phone video purportedly showing him in a room three years earlier when two of his college friends have sex with a college freshman who may or may not be conscious.

The real-life 12-step apology case involves a 1984 sexual assault in a UVA fraternity house, and the assailant's decision to apologize to his victim as part of a Alcoholics Anonymous program more than 20 years later.

Although one of The Associate's characters also reportedly apologizes as part of a 12-step program, Grisham made no mention of the Charlottesville case on Today. Instead, host Matt Lauer referenced the Duke Lacrosse case, which Grisham confirmed is mentioned in the book.

The real 12-Step apology case victim, Liz Seccuro, earlier expressed enthusiasm at the reported connection between Grisham's fiction and her real life experience. Told of Grisham's subsequent denial, she declines comment.

The author of the Post article, Patrick Anderson, stands by his review.

"With all due respect to John Grisham, I don't think any objective person could read his novel and read accounts of the UVA case and not see a direct connection between them," writes Anderson in an email. "To say his book is fiction is beside the point. Fiction is often based on fact–- fact that is, of course, changed in various ways to suit the writer's needs. I assume Grisham is denying the obvious at the request of his or his publisher's lawyers."

Anderson, however, adds that he doesn't hold the denial against Grisham.

"I wish him well," he writes.


Grisham's stuff sounds like fiction but I know of a few law grads who took advantage of women -- and just like the character, they will always have that cloud hovering, never knowing when their pics or videos -- or weblogs with details - will surface.

I believe TV's "Law and Order" has already produced an episode similar to this site. I haven't had the pleasure of reading Mr grisham's current book, but I'm sure, as Timmy pointed out above, Mr Grisham had the opportunity to review many Charlottesville headlines devoted to campus sexual assault, starting with the articles in The Hook since 2004. Mr Grisham, if you want to write a sequel ... please call! There's enough information on my website ( to write 2 more books about campus sexual assault, the coverups, the student reactions, the effect it had on local elections, the lawyers and their $50K retainers, the Dept of Education's investigations ....... all real life "stuff" that reads like fiction but is actually fact.

Did I dream through Grisham's appearance on Charlie Rose to think he mentioned this UVa case in relation to the current book? :"I'm stealing it, but I'm not making it up" @ 23:00 or so.

It is my understanding from the Daily Progress article "Airport Considers Expansion" Jan. 17th 2008 "An 800-foot extension for the airport’s runway is projected to cost $50 million or more, mostly due to the fill needed to level the ground. Hutchinson said she believes the airport can come up with up to $25 million in part through state grants and the FAA, but will need to find additional funding through grants and the community.
that most of the cost is for fill and it is also my understanding that would be in the $40 million dollar range making dredging the South Fork Rivanna even cheaper.Ms. Hutchinson goes on to say"
“All FAA discretionary funding is tied up until 2015 for safety issues at other airports,” Hutchinson said. “The more creative we are, the easier it is to get some funding.”

Hutchinson said the airport might have an easier time getting funds if it starts work on the runway. The airport recently received the FAA’s environmental approval for a runway extension."

Why aren't our local officials jumping for the chance to bring the airport and RWSA together on this and help with the creative solution the airport is looking for to fund this project? They have the go ahead from the FAA already. This could save water ratepayers millions of dollars and give us much needed water for many years in the future.
And we could give up the 112 foot Dam Foolishness!

don't worry the tree huggers will get their way. they will SPEND 150 million or more of taxpayer money so that the frog and salamanders can be free at last free at last thank green peace we are free at last.

dredge the resivoir. It will have to be dredged anyway at some point. Get it over with since the cost of dredging will only go UP

There should be a " after community at the end of the first paragraph. The second paragraph that most....are my own comments. For a more thorough report read the entire article by googling daily progress airport expansion

People need to understand the Ragged Mountain Reservoir is basically a holding pond. It does not have sufficient inflow to support itself which is why it is filled from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir. Look on a topographical map. Do you see any stream of significance flowing into the reservoir? One good truck spill of something toxic on I-64 can eliminated a source of water for Charlottesville. The expansion of the holding pond puts too many eggs into one fragile basket and the holding capacity actually flows under the Interstate. I think I’m glad I own a well.

Sugar Hollow is filled by the Moormans River which is a mountain stream that is virtually sediment free. Moormans River flows down below Free Union and at the confluence with Mechums River, a Piedmont Plains stream, the south fork of the Rivanna is born. The Hook left Mechums River off their map as if it does not exist. Mechums River, being a Piedmont Plains stream, is the reason the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir has a sediment issue. We have three types of streams, or rivers in Virginia: Mountain, Piedmont Plains, and Coastal Plaines. Mountain streams are clear like the Moormans River at most times. The Piedmont Plaines have streams with high clay banks and they generally run fairly reddish when in flood stage because of sediment carries. The coastal plain rivers are signified by a falls line like Point of Rocks on the Potomac, the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and the James river in Richmond. Which is also the demarcation line where those rivers become tidal.

My father was on the old Water Control Board of Virginia before it became the Department of Environmental Quality. I grew up walking, canoeing and kayaking many rivers and steams in Virginia. I still cannot understand the omission The Hook made by leaving out Mechums River because the discharge in cubic feet pet minute is far greater than that of Moormans River. They didn’t even mention the pumping station on Mechums River that was constructed and abandoned. I have to state that the Hook’s research is superficial at best. Dig deeper Hook! You don’t have a clear picture!

Regarding the dredging: It’s great if the airport can use some of the muck, but it is really not a long term solution. I think there should be an on going dredging project in place and it should send the sediment over the top of the dam and down the river. That is where it was naturally headed before the river was dammed, so send it on its natural course. Then you don’t need trucking and all the wasted expense of handling the muck. And funnel the over spill at the dam into hydroelectric to power the pumps to dredge the muck!

And another source of water should be considered in this area. There will naturally be much resistance for this, but I would rather see the 100+ million to expand a holding pond with the Ragged Mountain Reservoir be put toward something else away from a major highway.

Thanks for the article and statistics. Three important numbers missing: 10.6, 18.7, and 1977. The first two are average daily water demand now and in year 2055 (MGD=million gallons per day), and allow calculation of how many days of water supply we have. The 1977 drought is too controversial to mention because Collins and Fife are in the story.

They were local officials (Housing Authority chairman and City Councilor, respectively) in 1977, the first mandatory water restrictions. Collins was RWSA chairman leading up to the drought of 2002 with much experience but didn’t tell anybody there was a precedent for the 2002 restrictions. His experience is tantamount to no experience. He and Fife allowed then exec. Director Larry Tropea to go around falsely saying 2002 was the worst drought in history. A simple look at monthly precipitation from Office of State Climatology at UVA showed 2 droughts more severe than 2002. (They will email you the Excel spreadsheet of monthly precip since 1899 at McCormick Observatory.)

“It would be easy to dismiss the group as malcontents who weren't paying attention during the numerous public meetings leading up to the widespread approvals. However, these individuals are prominent citizens-- including a former mayor and a vice mayor-- who are well-versed in the area's water history. Collins is a former chair of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, the agency charged with keeping the water flowing to Charlottesville and Albemarle County taps, as well as a newly elected director of the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District. Another, Kevin Lynch, even voted to approve the plan while he was on City Council.”

I’ve been at many of those meetings. Collins is a Johnny-come-lately. Yes he was RWSA chairman but was replaced with Mike Gaffney, who has been more effective pushing his agenda. In Dec. 2007 at a city council public hearing, Collins displayed much political theatrics and bully tactics to assert he had done things he had not done. This is a group of disgruntled, discredited, partisan ex-officials who were asleep during the many meetings and forums. RWSA director Frederick is right.

According to the article, we have 2.55 billion gallons (2,550 MG). (514 + 360 +1,155 + 521)(MG)= 2,550MG. Since the article and RWSA website don’t give average daily demand, I refer to figures given at the Sep. 13, 2007 forum. Daily demand = 10.6MGD.

(2,550MG / 10.6MGD) = 240 days (8 months) of water, more if we conserve.

The article doesn’t give total supply in 2055. But if you substitute 1,590MG for Ragged (514MG), you get 3,626MG of water. (3,626MG / 18.7MGD)=193 days (6.5 months). If we build new Ragged and demand does not increase (growth stops), we’ll have (3,626MG / 10.6MGD)=342 days (almost a year).

Why doesn’t the article tell us how much water we have in terms of something meaningful? In 1977 RWSA used days of supply but subsequently used other metrics such as percent of capacity and feet below top of dam. The article says the 2002 drought has prompted the new ragged, but the 1983 Buck Mountain reservoir was not inspired by the 1977 drought. Why didn’t a regular reporter cover this story? The subjects probably insisted knowing that Hawes has been in the community longer and understands not to mention 1977.

As a testament to Collins’ and Fife’s legacy from the ‘70s, Kevin Lynch and Betty Mooney wanted replacement land for the trails to be replaced and expanded to higher ground. It’s so easy and customary for local government to take land that it’s now the first option considered, not the action of last resort. I’m glad the article said Mike Gaffney “de-listed” Buck Mountain reservoir, an acknowledgement that RWSA intends not to keep its eminent domain obligation, that the public use be a reservoir. The agency refuses to give the land back to its rightful owners.

For a more coherent and succinct (15 paragraphs) historical summary, and meaningful maps and graphics, and links to my coverage of this issue since 2001, check out my blog.

Can you eat a Spinymussel? Who comes up with this stuff like mussels and owls? The way I see it, the water would save the owl, since otherwise developers would build roads and the owls would get hit by cars.

These resiviors are makin me thirsty....

why not just pump the sediment over the dam at a rate of 3% per year which would offset the 1% that goes in and take out the 20% we lost in about 10 years, then just roll it back to 1% perpetualy after that. Seems like a cheap envrionmentally friendly way to do it to me.

Dear Citizens For a Sustainable Water Supply,

Sink your teeth into the water issue and hang on like rat terriors.
I've just made a quick read but am distressed at the inexplicable indifference to the use of our funds, and the seeming reluctance on the part of Mr. Frederick and Ms. Hitchinson to take another sane, considered look at the new possibilities for our watery future.

Many of us were happy with the original plan, not because we liked the financial arrangements, but because we wanted water we wouldn't have to slurp out of the James. If we had known of the current options, I think we would have been far more enthusiastic.

C'ville strikes me as sometimes careless in its use of funds, and carried away by whatever exciting project comes to the city's desks. Yes, we must spend to be greener and to maintain our good reputation for forward thinking and interesting architecture, but we don't have to be cavalier.

Give Council another, stronger nudge.

P.S. On a lighter note, the dredging process might bring up dead fish from the bottom of the reservoir, which would likely benefit Panorama's excellent PayDirt compost and bring them on board.

Free speech today writes:

"Do you see any stream of significance flowing into the reservoir? One good truck spill of something toxic on I-64 can eliminated a source of water for Charlottesville."

There are already significant streams that flow into the Ragged Mountain that go under I-64. Look at the map.

On siltation of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir:
At a recent meeting about water quality in the Rivanna River, a speaker from DEQ said that without intervention, the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir will eventually come to an "equilibrium" -- which means it will be very shallow and sediment will flow over the dam on a regular basis. But they said that's not necessarily where the problem lies. It lies with storm events.

Storms will turn the reservoir into a giant "mixing bowl" stirring up loads of sediment that will then surge over the dam. That is when the major damage will be done.

It is beyond comprehension that anyone who cares about the Rivanna River can back the current water plan that is designed with the assumption that the South Fork will silt in.

It is in writing. Check out the documents for yourself.

Ms. Provence has done the area a great service with this article.

She has taken a difficult -- and generally boring story -- and made it readable, understandable and important. No doubt serious discussion of the water situation will arise from her article.

thank you, Ms. Provence, and The Hook for being willing to take a challenge of writing about important -- but potentially boring -- subjects.

If you agree after reading this excellent article that our officials should seek a new cost estimate and feasibility study of restoring the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and also the Sugar Hollow Reservoir by an experienced environmental dredging company please visit the web-site created by the Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan to let your voice be heard. You will find there the entire timeline of how decisions were made, see even more graphs,maps and pictures of the South Fork and Ragged Mt. Reservoirs and learn how you can contact city and county officials, who ultimately bear responsibility for whatever plan we end up with.

These companies will come free of charge just to bid on this job as Hawes Spencer, editor of the Hook, reported on WINA on Friday on the Coy Barefoot show

Oops. I seem to have gotten confused with the author. I saw Kevin Lynch and Joe Mooney on city council tonight. Reading my coverage of the Feb. 9, 2005 council meeting, I see Lynch was active on the dredging issue. He had some ideas. But he didn't show leadership and initiave. One thing I've learned in politics: if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Now that the research has been done, the dredging position carries more weight. Why didn't Lynch do the leg-work when his position on city coucil would have added more weight. At the same Feb.9, 2005 meeting, Frederick said, if dredging is not selected as a water supply option, it should not be ruled out as a routine maintenance need.

Betty, I looked on your blog, extremely biased. Of interest: "South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and Watershed: Reflecting on 36 Years, Anticipating 50 years" 2003. several mentions of 1977 but no mention of 1977 drought that prompted the city/county's first mandatory water restriction and the 1983 Buck Mountain reservoir now being used as wetland mitigation for Ragged Mountain reservoir.

"The initial study of the SFRR reported in 1977 that there were no significant problems with metals or other potential toxins in the reservoir. There is no reason to believe there has been any change in this status. The finished water is comprehensively analyzed annually and is meeting all standards."

Betty, what is your group's motivation for excluding the 1977 drought as part of our local water history? So people can't go back and research to find new insights to solve today's issues if they don't have a starting point? I tell people what's going on in Cville. But they don'y believe it til they see it with their own eyes.

Bob Newhart writes: “There are already significant streams that flow into the Ragged Mountain that go under I-64. Look at the map.”

Looking at a map is irrelevant. Streams of “significance” in Virginia have gauging stations that record the level of rise and fall in streams day by day, week by week, and year by year. Then, through measurements to get a cross section, you can estimate the cubic feet of water per minute flowing down a stream or river. Where is the data that historically tells us, since the dams construction, the cubic feet of water flowing into the reservoir each and every year? If the streams are as “significant” as you state, why does Ragged Mountain need to be filled from Sugar Hollow?

If you research you will find that RWSA Watershed manager is a former Gannett Fleming employee