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Experts stingy with the facts on Rosewood

An unseemly little fight has broken out among those who have researched and written about the 1923 Rosewood massacre.

Gary Moore, the writer who uncovered the massacre and wrote about it for the Times in 1982 and for the Miami Herald in 1993, is demanding $10,000 to testify and provide information for a legislative committee that is reviewing the massacre.

And on Friday, some of the university professors hired by the Legislature refused to answer questions at a hearing because they would have to divulge information they plan to use in a book.

Dr. Maxine Jones, R. Tom Dye and William R. Rogers of Florida State University; Larry Rivers of Florida A&M University; and David R. Colburn at the University of Florida were hired by the Legislature last year to investigate the claims of Rosewood victims and file a report.

Since they submitted their report in December, the professors have continued investigating the story but said they are reluctant to disclose some of the information that is not in their report.

"We're still researching, we want to do a book on Rosewood," Rogers told lawyers attempting to question him during a hearing Friday.

In a lengthy report released earlier this week, Moore is critical of the $75,000 spent by the state to look into the case and accused the university professors and others of doing sloppy work that ignores some of the Rosewood survivors who might be entitled to damages.

Stephen Hanlon, an attorney with Holland & Knight who represents the survivors seeking damages from the state, said he tried to hire Moore to help him with the case but found him "impossible to work with." He has now decided against hiring him.

Assistant Attorney General James A. Peters, the state's counsel in the case, is attempting to call Moore as a witness and wants access to some of the tape-recorded interviews with survivors who are no longer alive and other documents Moore gathered during his investigations.

Moore, reached at home in Tupelo, Miss., said the lawyers want him to turn over his material gathered over 10 years without compensation.

"This whole claims case has gotten under the control of a vociferous group of people that weren't at Rosewood," he said. "That's a shame because some of these survivors need the money. They've had all kinds of things happen to them."