"I don't think I'm being a conspiracy theorist here, or paranoid," disgraced former "Today" show anchor says in first interview since being fired.
Matt Lauer believes he's being taken advantage of in a legal dispute because he's an "easy mark" due to his sex scandal that got him axed from "Today" show last year.
The disgraced news anchor participated in his first interview since getting fired from the NBC morning show back in November over allegations of "inappropriate sexual behavior," but the allegations weren't the focus of the chat. Instead, Lauer spoke to Radio New Zealand from New York Tuesday because he's currently in a legal battle over a piece of land he purchased in New Zealand in 2017. Lauer said he thinks the government there is after a piece of his property because he's fallen on hard times.
"I don't think I'm being a conspiracy theorist here, or paranoid, but I believe the groups are in some ways, unfortunately, taking advantage of some difficult times I've been through over the past six months and I think they see me as an easy mark," Lauer said. "I think this is why this fight has been chosen now."
Lauer's fight in New Zealand is with the Walking Access Commission and Department of Conservation, who are seeking an easement on a 40 kilometer road that winds through the property Lauer leased. The government groups are arguing the public should have more access after hearing multiple reports that the public has been denied access.
"This easement that's been proposed is being proposed to solve a problem that does not exist, and that's the misinformation that's out there and it's out there on purpose," he said.
"Show me the logs of the people, of Walking Access [Commission] and other people, of all the people who they say have been denied? They don't exist," Lauer added.
Lauer told the radio station that he wouldn't have taken the lease if he knew there was unrestricted access to the land.
"The fact is I bought this property after going through that process and being told one set of circumstances exist," he said. "And now a year later they're coming to me and saying, 'Let's change the rules of the game'. I think anybody would find that disturbing."
"In the year and a half or year plus that I've owned it, I've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the property," Lauer continued. "And now a year later they come and say, 'Oh wait a minute, we granted you this lease under this set of rules. We'd like to change the rules.' I don't think that's fair."