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Angry Palin neighbor rented house to writer to get back at her for ‘delinquent bills’

By John Byrne
Friday, May 28, 2010 8:54 EDT
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A neighbor of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got so angry for what she says was unpaid bills for renovations that she decided she would try to rent her house to someone who wanted to look into Palin’s life as a result — what media reports are calling “revenge by rent.”

And she did: a non fiction writer took up her offer.

Palin immediately accused the woman of enabling a “stalker.” Her husband has built a 14-foot-tall cedar fence around her property (photo below).

“No one is stalking anyone,” the novelist Joe McGinniss, Jr., wrote in response to an email from a Palin supporter, according to Politico‘s Ben Smith, defending his father’s decision to rent the house. “A woman was renting her house and sought out the author because the Palins had crossed her (owed her money for renovations she had done at their request and never paid her for). So she knew McGinniss was writing the book and found him and offered him the house.”

He added: “[I]f you were writing a biography of Tiger Woods and had the chance to move in with him, or his pool house, or rent next door or down the street from him — it would be journalistic malpractice not to. As a writer, you go where the story is, get as close as you can to it. People who write about politics, campaigns, they travel with the candidates, stay in the same motels, ride the bus, eat breakfast, hang out any and everywhere they can to get access. It’s pretty basic. We want to read the work of someone who is as close to their subject as possible. That’s called reporting. And when it’s for a book about someone, all the more important to be close….

“He’s not stalking or peeping or peering or meddling,” he continued. “He’s simply fulfilling his obligations to his publisher and his readers and himself — to get as close to the subject of his book as possible. You’ll never see tabloid photos or depictions of backyard activities. He’s a professional writer with great integrity and an amazing sense of fairness.”

Palin’s neighbor claimed she got more lucrative offers from the National Enquirer, but turned them down.

Palin said her husband, Todd, had been “trying to get hold of [the neighbor] all winter long”… “for fear of something like this happening.”

 
 
 
 
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