Talk:Finn M. W. Caspersen

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Featured article Finn M. W. Caspersen is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 25, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
April 12, 2014 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Finn M. W. Caspersen/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Edge3 (talk · contribs) 03:54, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Hello! Thanks for the work you've put into this article. A few things to work on before I make my final determination on whether to grant GA status:

  • Thanks for jumping into the fray on this one, I look forward to addressing your insightful comments.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:26, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The portrait is a non-free image, and I don't think the fair use rationale is sufficient. I do not think that the photo significantly improves the readers' understanding of the topic, nor do I think that its absence would impede that understanding. Please see Wikipedia:NFCC#8 and consider having that photo deleted.
  • Reply: WP:NFCI #10 on the list where non-free images can be used: "Pictures of deceased persons, in articles about that person, provided that ever obtaining a free close substitute is not reasonably likely" I'll add something to the image's rationale. I seem to shrug my shoulders on image use issues because everyone has a different opinion on what is and isn't allowed or how to interpret it and it's more frustrating than it's worth. So while I see no problem the way I read it, I'm tempted to think your reading of it may be overcautious. So I asked an editor who I encounter at FAC doing solid image reviews for her opinion. --ColonelHenry (talk) 04:13, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Follow-up - I asked Nikkimaria about the NFCC issue, and her response is here: [1]. She said that it looks like the NFCC rules were met, but that I could augment the rationale in two specific ways (which I will do forthwith). Hopefully this satisfies your initial doubts.--ColonelHenry (talk) 05:47, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
It does satisfy my concerns. Thanks for checking with Nikkimaria. Edge3 (talk) 04:19, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
  • In the lead section, this source is used for the following sentence: "Buildings and endowed professorships have been named in his honour." You shouldn't have to cite this sentence, especially if you provide more details on the buildings and professorships later in the article. (e.g. in the Philanthropy section. Instead, you should use the citation for the previous sentence: "He described education as his 'particular love' and regarded it as 'an investment in the future—an investment in human capital.'" Please remember that all direct quotations must be sourced with inline citations, per WP:MINREF.
  • Done - I actually think that citation was for the quote in the previous sentence and somehow migrated a little bit. Moved the ref to the previous sentence/quote.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The citation for this source in the lead is also unnecessary, especially if more details are provided later in the article. I personally recommend that you keep this citation out of the lead, but I also understand that you might have a reason for keeping it there.
  • Done - Unneeded citation removed. --ColonelHenry (talk) 04:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "For four years he served as a town commissioner in Jupiter Island, Florida an exclusive upper class enclave, until his resignation in 2009 before his death. In the aftermath of this death by suicide..."
  • Wouldn't you need a comma after "Florida"?
  • The way his suicide is mentioned seems surprising and unexpected. Perhaps you could say "until his sudden resignation in 2009. He committed suicide a month later, after details emerged..." Please feel free to rephrase as you wish. I might have to revisit this sentence later anyway, once I've had a chance to read the rest of the article.
  • Done - I revised the passage. I am hopeful that the clarity is improved. The details of the financial problems/tax evasion emerged a few days after his death, just to be clear.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:45, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I'll revisit this passage after I've read everything else, and I'll let you know if more edits are needed. Edge3 (talk) 04:19, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "financial problems stemming from alleged large-scale tax evasion in connection with offshore tax shelters, and illegal activity by UBS, a global financial firm from Switzerland, and LGT Bank, a private bank in Liechtenstein." -- Too long and distracting to the reader. You don't need to explain what UBS and LGT Bank, since that's what the wikilinks are for. Also, it's not clear what you mean when you refer to illegal activity by banks. If the banks committed crimes, then why does that affect Caspersen. Please try to summarize Caspersen's financial troubles as clearly and concisely as possible.
  • Done I revised this and removed the negative implications of "illegal activity" which is too complex to elaborate on in the lede, where it is discussed at length later. I hope my revision clarifies the matter.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:45, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Those are my comments for now, having just finished looking through the lead and skimming the rest of the article. I'll take a closer look over the next few days. Edge3 (talk) 03:54, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Early life and education[edit]

  • Shouldn't you add a comma after "a Norwegian immigrant"?
  • You first mention Finn M.W. Caspersen, then you mention Olaus Westby Caspersen, Finn's father. It is confusing to say "Caspersen's father" because of the prior references to Finn and Olaus. Perhaps saying "Olaus's father" would be more consistent with "Olaus's widowed mother".
  • "Olaus's widowed mother and siblings had emigrated earlier"
    • First you mention Olaus's immigration to the US, then you mention that he had lived in Norway. We should consider switching the order of these sentences, so that the paragraph follows chronological order a bit more closely.
    • Perhaps it would be better to say "immigrated to the US" instead of "emigrated". You refer to Olaus as a "Norwegian immigrant", so it would be consistent to refer to his mother and siblings as immigrants.
      • Reply..."Emigrate" is the more specific denotation and used deliberately. "Emigrate" = leave one's country to settle in another permanently; "Immigrate" = to come to a country of which one is not a native, either for permanent residence or for tourism. While "emigrate" is used frequently in the States (and on seemingly even footing with "immigrate") and while the more accurate word would be "emigrant", "emigrant" is unfortunately not used in American parlance because the American idiom has conflated its definition with the more frequently used "immigrant." --ColonelHenry (talk) 02:36, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Caspersen frequently visited Norway as a child, vacationing there during summers after 1947" -- I think this should be a separate sentence. It doesn't need to be combined with the sentence about the family's homes in New Jersey and Florida.
  • The details of his education (such as graduation dates and the fact that he was a boarding student Peddie School) do not appear to be supported by the given source.
  • Done Added a Peddie School source for the graduation date. In 1959 it only was a boarding school, they weren't day students at the time...but since I can't find a source quickly for that, I'll remove the boarding reference.--ColonelHenry (talk) 02:48, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Who was the "undergraduate at Wellesley College"? The wife or the mother-in-law?
  • Done. Barbara, the wife, was. The mother-in-law went to Radcliffe and Bryn Mawr.--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Do you think that it's important to include the names of the in-laws? To quote WP:BLPNAME: "The names of any immediate, ex, or significant family members or any significant relationship of the subject of a BLP may be part of an article, if reliably sourced, subject to editorial discretion that such information is relevant to a reader's complete understanding of the subject."
  • Reply - I do believe its significant, and I added more context to establish its relevance.--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Business career[edit]

  • In this section, you refer to his father as "O. W. Caspersen", but you use "Olaus" in the previous section. I think you should be consistent in how you refer to Finn's father.
  • Done - Employed the name Olaus consistently.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:21, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The following does not seem to be supported by the NY Times source: "In 1972, Caspersen began in the legal department at Beneficial Corporation, a large American consumer finance firm. Four years later, in 1976, he was named the firm's chief executive officer. Beneficial was established in 1914 in Elizabeth, New Jersey by Clarence Hodson." Perhaps you could rely on the Vanity Fair source for verification?
  • Done - must have been a careless error on my part. --ColonelHenry (talk) 04:34, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Would it be appropriate to mention the role of Finn's mother in Beneficial Corporation, according to her NY Times obituary?
  • Done - added line about her role as a director/growth of company.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:34, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Hodson and O.W. Caspersen reorganized the firm ... under Hodson's and later O.W. Caspersen's leadership" -- This seems redundant. I think you should take out the second part. Also, what do you mean by "later"? Did O.W. and Hodson not work together from the very beginning?
  • "Beneficial under the younger Caspersen's leadership expanded into credit finance and offered credit cards" -- What was the company doing before the younger Caspersen came along? Was it not already doing credit finance?
  • Reply It was in consumer finance (loans) before, the younger Caspersen expanded the company into credit finance (cards).--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:38, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Harbour Island wasn't purchased by Caspersen personally, but rather by Beneficial. I think this should be made clearer.
  • Perhaps you should mention that Harbour Island was known as Seddon Island before Beneficial Corp. bought the land.
  • Where does the source say that Harbour Island is "only 150 yards off of Tampa"?
  • Done removed as superfluous...the source, btw, was the 1985 Gainesville Sun article. --ColonelHenry (talk) 04:49, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Harbour Island was described as an industrial wasteland inhabited by wild pigs" -- I also couldn't find this in the source.
  • "For 15 years Caspersen envisioned transforming the island into a bustling waterfront with offices, shops and restaurants, much like Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor." -- Caspersen isn't even mentioned in the source, and the source says that the project was only six years in the making (not 15). I'm also having trouble finding any mention of Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
  • Reply Caspersen was running Beneficial, and was in most of the press pieces as being the face of the project (a few articles cited here), so it's logical to mention him as spearheading that vision. I revised it to "Caspersen and Beneficial". 15 years was calculated from when the island was purchased to when Beneficial dumped the project...because of that issue, I'll just reduce to "several" years.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:49, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done - 15 years and Baltimore mentions back in, after sources added.--ColonelHenry (talk) 05:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Caspersen ran the Beneficial for 22 years" -- Remove "the". Also, this source says 20 years, not 22.
    • Done - "the" removed, and Reply - 1976 to 1998 is 22 years. Newspapers tend to estimate or round numbers when they don't have the information quick at hand.--ColonelHenry (talk) 01:06, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Regarding Knickerbocker, the article says "a large percentage of these assets were Caspersen's own assets". This does not appear to be supported by the source.

Political activities[edit]

  • "Thomas Kean Jr., currently a state senator" -- Avoid "currently", as per WP:PRECISELANG.
  • "As an avid equestrian, Caspersen dressed in period costume drove incoming governor Kean and his wife, and outgoing governor Brendan Byrne to an inauguration party..." -- This sentence could be improved for clarity.
    • Done - clarified this passage with a revision.--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:58, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
    • You need commas before and after "dressed in period costume".
      • Reply - this suggestion is rendered unnecessary by the above revision (which has a few more commas).--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:58, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
    • It's also important to mention that he was driving a carriage. Otherwise we wouldn't know why it's important to say that he's "an avid equestrian".
    • Mentioning the resemblance to a "Currier & Ives print" seems unnecessary, unless it enhances the reader's understanding of the topic.
      • Reply it was mentioned in the Vanity Fair source and adds a visual point of reference since no image of the event is available. And it goes right to the providing atmosphere attached to the upper-class social milieu of Kean and Caspersen.--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:53, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "In 2000, Caspersen and his wife donated $602,250 to political campaigns, making them the eighth-largest political donors in the U.S. that year, according to Mother Jones magazine." -- Copied verbatim from Vanity Fair. Please rephrase.
    • Done Fixed and reorganized. When I sandboxed that, I had a prefaced that with according to Vanity Fair, etc. and in quotations.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Personal life[edit]

  • The details about his wife are already redundant with the info provided in the "Early life and education" section.
  • Reply: Agreed, I'll address that in a few minutes.--ColonelHenry (talk) 01:56, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Is it necessary to mention that Golden is a Harvard alum with a Pulitzer Prize?
  • Reply I thought it was salient to note that Golden was (a) a journalist (b) a well regarded one, and (c) a fellow alumnus, since he was criticizing a Harvard alummus for creating privilege for his kids. The context wouldn't be as revealingly ironic if I just said "journalist Golden". Since it was a criticism of Caspersen, I wanted to qualify the Golden's street cred.--ColonelHenry (talk) 01:56, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "The Caspersens had two homes in New Jersey—in Andover and Bernardsville in areas described as "in New Jersey horse country", a 6,500-square-foot waterfront estate Westerly, Rhode Island, and in Jupiter Island, Florida." -- This sentence is confusing. Did they have four homes in total? Was the waterfront estate in Rhode Island only, or did they also have one in Florida? Also, did they own these homes at the same time, or at different times?
  • Reply: Owned all four homes simultaneously before his death. Not sure if the Florida residence is waterfront. FYI: The farm in Andover is currently on the market. How do you recommend I rephrase that?--ColonelHenry (talk) 01:56, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done - think my minor revision clarifies it.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:06, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • @Edge3: - I've addressed these four sections, please do let me know if there are additional issues with the above. I look forward to your suggestions for the remaining three sections of the article.--ColonelHenry (talk) 05:30, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, I noticed the edits. Thank you for your thoughtful responses! I was busy this weekend doing some shopping and preparing for the holidays. I'll resume the review tomorrow. Edge3 (talk) 05:35, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Death and aftermath[edit]

  • "It is reported that Caspersen's name was turned over to federal investigators by Swiss banking giant UBS earlier in the year..." -- The NY Times source didn't explicitly mention that UBS had turned his name over to investigators.
  • Done - vanity fair draws the UBS connexion a bit more directly.--ColonelHenry (talk) 00:41, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • In the fourth paragraph (beginning with "According to The New York Times...") you cite the NY Times source three times. I suggest reducing them to only one citation, but it's up to you.
  • Done I removed one that was oddly placed (ie. why cite a sentence twice?) I wanted to be extra-cautious since it's a biography containing a legal allegation (still technically unproven because it was made moot by Caspersen's death) and thought more citations to cover the material.--ColonelHenry (talk) 00:45, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I couldn't verify that he was cremated. Does the source say this?
  • The phrase "memorial service" in the American idiom indicates cremation. A "funeral service" indicates that there's a body in a box.--ColonelHenry (talk) 00:24, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think there's enough information for us to make that kind of conclusion. The Star Ledger source has the word "funeral" in the title. Also, the "memorial service" entry on Wiktionary says that it is synonymous to "funeral". Due to the ambiguity, and since it's not crucial to the reader's understanding of the topic, I suggest removing "Caspersen was cremated" from the article. Edge3 (talk) 02:20, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done. Removed. I can agree with that logic, although looking at photos from the Star-Ledger's print edition, there was no casket in the church. --ColonelHenry (talk) 02:31, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Equestrian and rowing sports[edit]

  • His involvement in the Princeton International Regatta Association is not mentioned in the NY Times source.
  • Done - it was in the row2k.com source at the end of the paragraph.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:47, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The boathouse and race course should be discussed separately. Currently the article mentions them as if they are interchangeable. (First you note that Caspersen funded the boathouse, then you mention that the race course was the site of Olympic team trials.) Please reorganize for clarity.
  • Done - Hopefully that makes it more clear.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:44, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Red XN"boathouse is located at the Mercer Lake Race Course was the site" -- This is awkward sentence construction. I would suggest using "boathouse is located at the Mercer Lake Race Course, the site..." Edge3 (talk) 23:43, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done as suggested, but with an em-dash.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:54, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Red XNAlso awkward: "and the facility...and is used by Peddie..." Perhaps you should split the sentence into two separate sentences? Edge3 (talk) 23:43, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done split and revised the sentence.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:54, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Peddie and Lawrenceville schools are mentioned twice in this section.
  • Reply They are, but it would be less clear if they were omitted.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:44, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Peddie, Lawrenceville, the Hun School, and high schools in Mercer County, New Jersey utilize the facility along with USRowing, the US National Team, the Mercer Junior Rowing Club, along with PNRA and PIRA" -- This is long and difficult to follow. Please reorganize.
  • Done - Revised the sentence.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:44, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Education[edit]

  • The Vanity Fair source mentions only that Caspersen was on the board of Peddie School, and the Dean's Advisory Board (not the Board of Trustees) at Harvard Law. I couldn't verify his board memberships at Drew and Brown.
  • Done - Not Drew, removed...only his wife served. Brown listed as an emeritus trustee at time of his death (indicating he was an active board member earlier since no one becomes an emeritus initially) in Star-Ledger source added. Harvard clarified--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:25, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "a student center serving to house student organizations, journals, and social activities as the Caspersen Student Center"
  • Instead of "serving to house", I think "housing" might be better wording.
  • Done - Has to be the most awkward construction I've ever written. :) Revised.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:28, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • A period is needed at the end of this sentence.
  • "some have criticized Harvard's decision..." -- Do we know who?
  • Reply - Most of it was spoiled college students and faculty looking to complain, and a few bloggers/opinion people. I'm surprised I neglected to add a few citations on this because I recall reading through many in the Harvard Crimson and other newspapers. Standby for sources. --ColonelHenry (talk) 17:33, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • ω AwaitingYes, I would appreciate the extra citations. Please add them. Edge3 (talk) 23:33, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done (partially) - I added a source from The Weekly Standard, and will have to go through some college papers for editorials/prominent letters there.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:55, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks. My main concern is that you should avoid attributing this viewpoint to "some" people, as per WP:WEASEL. Edge3 (talk) 16:49, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done - rephrased as "Harvard's decision to name the facilities after Caspersen was criticized, citing the alleged tax evasion."--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:12, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "citing his alleged tax evasion as a reason" -- "as a reason" is redundant with "citing" and should be removed.
  • The description of Drew University seems unnecessary, since the reader can easily click on the wikilink to learn more about Drew. Also, you already mention in the "Personal life" section that his wife earned her doctorate degree there.
  • Done - Removed the redundant doctoral degree reference, rephrased and reduced the descriptive content.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:06, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "$5,000,000" should be changed to "$5 million", per MOS:NUMERAL. Same with "$10,000,000" in the next paragraph.
  • The source doesn't indicate that he joined the board of Peddie School in 1976.
  • Done - Added another source. joined 1970, chaired since 1976.--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:59, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The source says "Caspersen Campus Center", not "Caspersen Student Center".
  • Can you verify that the Hodson Trust has given $118 million "since 1985"? I can't find an exact year.
  • Done - Corrected - The Hood College page was published 2010, but I found it is based on a press release from 2001 (source from Hodson added) reflecting the period from 1976 to 2001.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:13, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Additional comments[edit]

Note -- I added some content this morning regarding personal life with sources (regarding his equestrian accomplishment--and a sentence or two I moved from the philanthropy section), also about the Hamilton Farm and USET.--that you may want to review.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:08, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I saw your edits. Thank you for adding that extra content! I have a few more questions:
  • What is the source for the following sentences? "It purchased Parliament Leasing in 1977, and First Texas Financial Corp., a savings and loan, in 1978. In 1977, Beneficial entered the reinsurance business through subsidiaries, but this business caused significant financial losses in the 1980s. Beneficial later downsized this business and restructured with an emphasis on its second mortgage business." Edge3 (talk) 23:33, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done Added a slew of sources.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:51, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I couldn't verify that he "won the four-in-hand competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show". Could you please check the source? Edge3 (talk) 23:33, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done - Sports Illustrated. --ColonelHenry (talk) 15:39, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "The Hamilton Farm property was owned by Beneficial and located next to the corporation's headquarters and was deeded to the team at Caspersen's urging." -- The word "and" is used twice here. You might have to split this sentence. Edge3 (talk) 23:37, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

 Pass - Well done! Thank you for your contributions to this article, and for addressing the concerns that I listed above. Edge3 (talk) 18:24, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Attorney's letter[edit]

Hello. I would like to initiate a discussion of the Finn Caspersen wiki page. If you look at the history of today's changes, you will note that I initiated changes, based on a blog that includes a letter from the lead attorney who represented the Estate of Finn Caspersen. The attorney's name is Denis Conlon, and he had a long career at the IRS before going into private practice. See http://www.mbslaw.com/d_conlon.html The letter says that the IRS vindicated Caspersen and directly refutes the New York Times article that is a primary source for the previous version of the wiki page. The New York Times article relies on an anonymous source. We all know that major newspapers make mistakes -- particularly when relying on a single anonymous sources. See Wall Street Journal in lead up to Iraq War. At the very least, don't you think that the wiki page for Caspersen should acknowledge that there is a disconnect between Caspersen's lawyer, who has gone on the record, and one anonymous source in a New York Times article? How do we blindly rely on one anonymous source and discount someone involved who goes on the record? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.229.240.30 (talk) 01:12, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I'd agree that if the IRS vindicated Capserson then it would be worth adding to the article as it stands, my question would be why we only have a letter on a blog as evidence of that. Pardon my ignorance but are the results of IRS investigations not on the public record somewhere? Would it not have been reported in other newspapers? Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:54, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Let me answer your question as to whether Caspersen's vindication would be reported in newspapers by discussing the process of a civil tax fraud case in the United States. The IRS and Department of Justice effectively act as the prosecutor, gathering evidence and coming to an internal determination of the taxpayer's liability and culpability. The taxpayer may accept that IRS determination and pay that amount which would not necessarily be published in a newspaper. But if the taxpayer contests it, then the case goes to trial in tax court. The results of the actual court case would be publicly available. In this instance, Caspersen's estate provided all information to the IRS, which eventually determined that he had overpaid by $7,000 in one year and had a technical fine of $14,000 in another year (a year in which he had $2.7 million of income). But because nothing was contested in a court of law (Caspersen's estate would have no interest in contesting the IRS's determination in their favor), it was not published in newspapers. Maybe it is not surprising since that the NY Times article was so wrong, since it relied on one anonymous source for all the specific allegations. Anonymous sources often provide inaccurate information, either intentionally (because they have an axe to grind -- and what business titan like Caspersen doesn't have enemies) or unintentionally, because the source's understanding of the facts is simply wrong. For one of a million examples, look at this recent journalistic fiasco at Rolling Stone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_on_Campus The Caspersen wiki entry suffers badly because it (i) relies totally on one anonymous source in the New York Times article, which is regurgitated in the Vanity Fair article, (ii) the IRS process did not create a public record and (iii) the Caspersen family must have just tried to move forward with their lives, instead of going on the public relations offensive. What is the result of this stew of these three ingredients? I would argue that the result is that the wiki article in its current form is grossly inaccurate. I looked at the talk page history, and I am impressed with the pedantic approach to verification of each sentence -- indeed of each word. It's darkly ironic, then, that the most provocative theme of the entire article -- that Caspersen was a tax cheat -- appears to be totally wrong. If you don't agree with my previous edits, then why don't you try to fashion some yourself and acknowledge that the attorney for the estate of Caspersen says there was a vindication and that the previous media articles were inaccurate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.229.240.30 (talk) 11:27, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

  • To IP 72.229.240.30 A user who reverted edits on this article yesterday asked me to take a look at this issue. Writing that we shouldn't trust the New York Times because other news sources get it wrong now and then is a logical fallacy (i.e. your reference to the egregious example of Rolling Stone's UVA rape article). Comparatively, it would be the equivalent of saying Finn Caspersen and his supporters lack credibility because other rich people got in trouble. Stick to the facts of the matter at bar, not to straw men and fallacies of comparison. The fact is: The New York Times is a reliable source per WP:RS (Wikipedia's policy on what constitutes a reliable source to support statements in an article). The New York Times is seen by the world as the arbiter of what is "fit to print" and what can be relied upon in the diverse media and information marketplace. If you disagree with their coverage and think it libelous, sue them. Comparing the New York Times and Vanity Fair pieces to a letter from an attorney who answered a question for the article subject's son is untenable in that with the latter there is an obvious a conflict of interest and that undermines both the edits made on this article and the reliability of the letter to support them as a source. In particular: the blog posts a "private and confidential" letter to the article subject's son Samuel. It is the sole post on said blog. Either the subject's son as recipient of the letter or someone connected to him posted it on the blog. By deduction, that means either he or someone connected to him sought these edits on the Wikipedia article. Reliability requires third-party sources not connected to the article subject. This ensures their lack of bias and objectivity. The blog and the letter do not have that reliability or any severability from the subject. The New York Times, Vanity Fair, by comparison, are given the deference because of their years of reputation, editorial policies, and the good will of time and content for being a reliable historical source. If your letter is picked up by the news media (even as a correction which is unlikely), specifically mentioned in the reliable news media as adjudged by a reasonable Wikipedia contributor in an unquestionably reputable news source, the article can be changed. At present, the letter's use to bolster a claim is both a conflict of interest given its closeness to the article subject and its unreliable as a substantive source (it is a primary source which is rarely used to substantiate an objective statement). Lastly, many of the IP edits on this article, dealing with the decedent's financial issues and trying to soften the mentions of "suicide" seem to be close to locations where the Caspersen family resides or does business, or by parties that possibly are associated with the Caspersen family. These contributors seem to focus their efforts on this one article. While this may be coincidental, it looks incredibly suspicious and you as well as other IP editors ought to review Wikipedia's conflict of interest policy and state their affiliation. JackTheVicar (talk) 12:16, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

I would like to thank the authors of the previous comments, which I find quite educational. I certainly respect and appreciate both the wiki procedures and the dedication of the likes of Jack the Vicar and Ian Rose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 38.94.135.52 (talk) 13:49, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

  • TO IP 38.94.135.52 and IP 72.229.240.30: I know that if reliable sources reported the information you have uncovered as stated in the attorney's letter and his investigation, I would be moved to revise the article to reflect their statements in a respectable fashion. It would not completely remove the New York Times and Vanity Fair information but would open the door to compare the older reports with the newly discovered information by stating something along the lines of "earlier reports said x, a subsequent investigation refuted the claims of x" with the requisite facts. To completely remove the information from the earlier reports would be a disservice to history and would remove an opportunity for the new information to directly counter and refute by comparison the older reports. If the historical record is to be corrected, it is appropriate to point out where it previously went wrong to further cement the credibility of the amended or corrected record. I would suggest to Mr Caspersen's son, and his attorney, that they ought to consider seeking media coverage in the way novelist Philip Roth took to The New Yorker to refute the claims in several third-party sources that a character in his novel The Human Stain was based on one person when Roth asserted repeatedly (to limited avail) that it was not so and the character was based on another person. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Stain#Anatole_Broyard_controversy and http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-wikipedia.html). You may consider contacting the New York Times' ombudsman (which I believe is now called their "public editor") at http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/contact-the-public-editor/?_r=0. I cannot guarantee that any third-party reliable media sources will run with your information. After all, it is six years after their initial coverage of Mr Caspersen's death. However, if you are successful in getting your information into the public view in a reliable source, it would behoove either myself, User "Ian Rose", or any other responsible Wikipedia contributor who happens to come upon it to incorporate such material into the article accordingly. I hope that this conversation and suggestion is edifying and assists you in this concern. JackTheVicar (talk) 12:58, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

A few points in light of today's news:

1. the blog source given for this "attorney statement" is not up to wikipedia's standards for a citeable sources, period. Nor can an attorney's statement on behalf of a client ever be considered NPOV. I don't have a problem with the article mentioning these facts, but right now the article appears to me give a phony authenticity to what could be a coverup of actual questions about Caspersen's honesty. Committing suicide as a means of passing ill gotten gains to legatees by avoiding prosecution (which would disgorge the illegal profits) has been in the news several times lately, it would appear that people actually do this, so why not Caspersen? 68.175.11.48 (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
2. the NY Times is widely recognized as being among the most reliable sources of information in the US. Even when they quote anonymous sources they take pains to corroborate and 2nd source the information, so the statement above that "news media make mistakes" while factually correct is a very weak argument when it comes to questioning information published in the NY Times. And now the NY Times today has republished with no qualifications, no references to the POV attorney's statement, the allegations against the senior Caspersen in their article mentioning that his son has now been arrested on financial fraud charges. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/business/dealbook/private-equity-executive-accused-fake-investments.html 68.175.11.48 (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
I'd advocate that the attorney's letter be better sourced, and that qualifications be added to indicate that attorneys quite frankly cannot be trusted when they state that their clients are innocent. I'm not expert enough to know what the IRS is capable of pursuing after somebody has died, but UBS and other institutions have paid huge fines for aiding US tax evasion and I have not seen enough (or any) evidence that Caspersen was not involved. 68.175.11.48 (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

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