“Jackson Communications brought light to questionable practices focusing national scrutiny on an issue to ensure fairness in the legal process.”
Heirs to the rural estate of John Boone inherited 300 acres of undivided land in 1922. One hundred acres were lost to the federal government due to a war effort. Over the last decade a developer pursued the remaining 200 acres through a hostile land take over. He took advantage of Georgia’s complex partition laws buying segments of land from a few family members asserting he had acquired a majority. He then executed a series of legal maneuvers to force the sale of remaining land. Family members refusing to sell contacted Jackson Communications to expose intimidation tactics, questionable land purchases and to bring light to legal proceedings to ensure fairness.
This is by far one of the most difficult accounts in Jackson Communications history. It occurred in two phases and lasted over three years. Before we could strategize or develop an action plan, we had to pore over hundreds of pages of complex legalese regarding partition land laws and work hard to grasp an understanding of regulations. In Phase 1 we were contacted only months from the eviction of an 82 year old family member due to the forced sale of her land. She refused to sign the bill of sale and would not pick up the check from the courthouse after a judge ruled in favor of the developer. The family needed time to replace legal representation they asserted had been compromised by the opposing team. We created an action plan targeting national media. Our key messaging focused on the impact the loss of land had on an octogenarian who spent her life on the property. We utilized visual imaging to enhance our story. We also created strategic selling points to convince a national broadcast media outlet to commit resources to covering the story including time and a financial commitment traveling to rural Georgia.
We were successful in placing media in over 55% of targeted print outlets locally and regionally including a cover tease and two page spread in the Atlanta Business Journal. We secured national broadcast coverage from CNN that mirrored our key messaging delaying impending eviction proceedings. The coverage also caused a shift in legal positioning from the opposition who abandoned some of the questionable tactics making the process more equitable. We received a Golden Flame Award for our work, the highest given from the Atlanta Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. Phase 2 is currently underway to protect the last remaining 100 acres of land. Our work has become more complex and tactical. We consulted on strategies and executed written communications that halted a move to block our client from leasing family owned land to seasonal farmers. Our research and diligence led us to connect with legal organizations working to influence partition laws aiding our client’s defense of their land. Early efforts have been very successful spurred by the passage of new heirs partition land laws requiring more transparency. Stay tuned for the national media rollout in Phase 2 coming soon.