Folks, I hate to rain on your parade here.
I too heard of this some years ago. The individuals involved live less that 200 miles from me and as I've always felt that where there's smoke, there's fire, I wanted to dig into it a bit.
I personally have contacted many of the participants there including:
The editor of the newspaper in which that article appeared. It's a right-wing newspaper, yes, and that explains the vivid style in which it is written. However, many of the facts are true and can be verified by court documents, etc. I've contacted him about 4 times, and the last time the conversation was very open and lengthy. (About one hour.)
The lawyer involved. I contacted him by both telephone and email. The case was very real, and he was livid about the uncivilized manner that he was treated by the WTBTS lawyers. He's based in Maryland. Also, it appears that Hansen still owes him $26,000.
The F.B.I. office in Medford, Oregon (the nearest office). The agent I spoke with was quite candid. Not only was there a huge and lengthy dispute, but it went into the courts. He had some very strong advice for me: "Whatever you do, DON'T get involved with either of those parties!" (The WTBTS or the Hansen's, et. al.) When I mentioned that I was raised as a JW, he just rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air. LOL!
Both the editor and another party (a minister of one of the local churches) were parties to the law suit. As with the editor, I've spoken to the minister at length.
I have the address and telephone numbers of both Alvin Hansen and his son, and am planning on making a trip down there soon to meet and interrogate them. There is definitely some fire here, and I intend to find out how much.
I can tell you a few things: 1. The suit against the WTBTS was real, but it involved a unique strategy. 2. Hansen had recruited quite a crew to back him, including some of the more important men of the town. 3. The WTBTS managed to win the suit on appeal by demonizing Hansen as a wild-eyed radical, and Hansen played into their hands. (I reckon most of us would have been radicals too, after 18 years.) 4. Apparently they could have still won, but Hansen got cold feet there at the last, which left a bad taste in the mouths of some of his backers.
In short, folks, I'm surprised that you are so quick to discount this as a hoax. I sense that there is a real gold mine here for us, although the information is in a very raw form. It needs to be thoroughly investigated and organized, and I haven't had the time to do it --- yet.
Finally, those of you who know me know that I am extremely outspoken. I have no compunctions at all with beating the Society over the head, publically or otherwise, and have done it many times. I posted my intentions on those other threads, and shortly after that one of the Society's trouble-shooters got a message to me. That message consisted of Prov. 26:17 --- "As one grabbing hold of the ears of a dog is anyone passing by that is becoming furious at the quarrel that is not his." What was being referring to was not mentioned. However, that was the only dispute that I was involved in at the time. You can draw your own conclusions.
So again, folks, let's not be so fast to scoff at this.