"And he just kept saying, 'No, we're primarily looking for oil,'" Turner recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, I get that. That "primarily" word is what's hanging me up here.'"
Inside the controversial binder were five single-spaced, water-soaked pages headed: "Talking Points for Selling Oil and Gas Lease Rights." Page footers read, "Proprietary - Do Not Disclose."
Skidmore and Turner said several points in the notebook were used by Bucher when he talked with them. One encouraged pitching leases to men who "are more likely to sign than women." Another stressed emphasizing the search for oil, not natural gas exploration.
The memo also advised appealing to customers' patriotism by emphasizing that China bought more oil than the U.S. last year. "Fear of foreign encroachment is the biggest asset we have in selling our development strategy," it said.
Stunned, Skidmore and Turner took the notebook to Victoria Hennessy, president of the environmental coalition.
Without waiting to verify its authenticity, Hennessy scanned the document and posted a digital version on the coalition's website. She called the media, informed lawmakers. The memo went viral and quickly drew national and international comments.
Back at West Bay Exploration's offices in Michigan, Gibson couldn't believe his eyes.
"The first time I read it, I really found it humorous. It was kind of like a 'Saturday Night Live' skit: 'How not to train a landman," Gibson said.
Gibson says Bucher feels horrible for the stir over the memo.
"I would have to assume that it's 100 percent fabricated," Gibson said. "I can't see any reasonable oil company producing a document that would contain anything like that."
At the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, executive vice president Tom Stewart's phone began to ring. His email lit up. Calling the situation "Landman-gate," he's convinced the memo is a hoax - appearing at a critical political juncture when the Republican-led state Legislature and GOP Gov. John Kasich were poised to enact a new law allowing drilling on all Ohio state lands.
"For it to appear on the side of a road while this debate was going on is just too convenient," he said. "And in Yellow Springs, of all places."
Democratic state Reps. Teresa Fedor, Dennis Murray and Mark Okey asked DeWine, a Republican and former U.S. senator, to investigate.
The village passed a resolution in May calling for a statewide moratorium on fracking.
DeWine's inquiry neither validated the oil and gas industry nor appeased environmentalists. But he posted tips on his website to protect landowners from unscrupulous tactics by oil and gas companies.
The environmental coalition's Hennessy would still like to see the document and notebook fingerprinted to solve the mystery - even if an environmentalist is found responsible. The memo and details of DeWine's findings are posted on the group's website.
So the question of the memo's legitimacy remains unanswered.
"There are people in town who could write it, and who are militant enough to want to do something like this," Skidmore said. "But since it matches up so well with the things he said ..."