Mr. Connolly and Mr. Spina,
A brief response to your weak reach of a story yesterday.
I sent you full documentation of how Ms. Dunn ordered the Grassroots table (document attached). But you chose to omit that from your story, trying and failing to link the FBI, Grassroots and CAO. Again, an inconvenient truth? Facts getting in the way of your conclusion? Or is it something more malicious? Perhaps this will come back to haunt you? The e-mail urging approval of the Grassroots dinner expenditure was from former employee Keri Socker and the approval and check was ordered by Jenine Dunn — the former board chair and an IRS tax examiner.
For the first time you quote, under the cloak of anonymity, a former employee. Isn’t it general journalism ethics to characterize the sources you award anonymity to, so readers can judge the source’s and your credibility? One former employee you’ve obviously spoken to did fine work at the CAO and moved on for his own career reasons. Is it not another inconvenient truth that he’s the son of one of your key reporters? You don’t find that to be reader relevant?
You have repeatedly asserted that the CAO was being “investigated” by the FBI. Yet, your May 1, 2019 diatribe merely asserts that the whomever your “reporters” claim to have spoken to told them that the FBI was “asking about links with the Grassroots political group”, “interested in any financial links between the CAO and Grassroots or key Grassroots figures, among other things.” Reporting that some third party said that the FBI asked them about any relationship between the CAO and Grassroots is not the same as reporting an FBI “investigation.” This alarmist, slanted innuendo-laden phrasing used by you and your surrogates is exactly what is meant by “yellow journalism”, i.e. journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration. You continue to report the attempted termination of myself by a faction of the Board, without stating the fact that seven days later the full board voted to rescind that attempt and has never raised the issue in any Board meeting since. But, of course these are documented facts.
You claim you cannot publish my responses to your slanderous, dishonest “reports” because my statements contain contested facts. Yet, virtually everything that you and your surrogates report contains non-facts, innuendo, provable errors and outright lies. Everything I have sent you, I have backed up with documentation.
In your summary at the end of the story about what you imagined transpired, you’ve gone back to saying an audit was launched and that board members were removed to stop it. Your repeated assertion that any audit by CTBK was authorized by the Board, let alone started by CTBK, cannot be an error. You already have the attached document that proves your and your reporters’ statement is a lie.
You focus on $2,500 the CAO spent supporting the Grassroots annual fundraiser, deliberately minimizing that this sum was spread over several years, not a single sum.
You further state that Maurice Garner served as the director of Neighborhood Services for the CAO in 2006. That statement is completely untrue. I have served as the CEO of the agency since 2002. Maurice Garner was never employed by the agency during this time. However, even if he was, what would be wrong with someone having a job? That demands a correction.
Your entire article is based on what your “reporters” say three other people say about what the FBI said. Nothing you cite indicates any role or relationship between Steve Pigeon and the CAO on any level. Yet, your “reporters” bend over backwards to form an innuendo to that effect.
At some point there must be an accountability for these vicious lies and innuendos being perpetrated by you and your surrogates at the Buffalo News.
With More Respect Than Your “Reporting,”
L. Nathan Hare, CEO