DeFilippo's problem is bad faith

Forum Extra

November 05, 1991|By Larry S. Gibson

DOES Frank DeFilippo intentionally lie or does he just have unreliable sources? I have asked this question for years. DeFilippo's article, "Schmoke, Gibson rewrite the rules of political bossism" (Other Voices, Oct. 31), provides the answer.

This article revealed a continued disregard for the facts which DeFilippo has demonstrated on previous occasions in his frequent attacks on the Schmoke administration and me. But this time he cannot hide behind unnamed sources.He made statements which he knew or should have known were untrue.

DeFilippo stated, "When Schmoke was elected mayor in 1987, his transition headquarters was set up in the law offices of Shapiro and Olander."

This is not true. The Schmoke transition headquarters was set up in the "Blue Room" on the second floor of City Hall and headed by Clarence Bishop, who had no connection with any law firm. A call to the mayor's office would have provided this information.

Commenting on fees earned by Shapiro and Olander for city work, DeFilippo said that type of work "was performed by the city solicitor's office under previous administrations." DeFilippo knows this is not true.

As former press secretary to Governor Mandel, DeFilippo knows that the state, the counties and Baltimore city for many years have used private law firms for complex financial transactions and to represent quasi-governmental entities.

DeFilippo knows what the "Red Book" is and knows that `D governments must used "Red Book" law firms when selling bonds to raise funds. In fact, DeFilippo wrote an article in 1988 about Shapiro and Olander's being selected by the state to handle the bond work for the Camden Yards stadium.

DeFilippo's article described the new president of Baltimore's economic development agency as "an attorney with virtually no experience in the high-rolling world of economic development." He cited Honora Freeman's two years in law practice and two years in City Hall.

He failed to mention her 10 years of experience on the staff of Baltimore County Executives Theodore Venetoulis and Donald Hutchinson dealing with financial, development and planning matters.

FTC As to the recent "Save Our Cities" march, DeFilippo stated that "Gibson assumed the role of City Hall press secretary. Gibson called newsrooms and editors in attempts to arrange news coverage of the event."

Not a word of this is true. I did not call a single newsperson about the march. Nor do I believe any reporters or editors told DeFilippo that I had.

This article answers the question I posed at the outset because these types of errors cannot be blamed merely on unreliable sources. DeFilippo's problem is not just bad data. It is bad faith. ,, Frank DeFilippo makes up things and reports them as if they were facts. He is a political fiction writer.

Now that my original question has been answered, a new question emerges: Why does this newspaper permit its readers to be repeatedly misinformed by a writer with so little regard for the truth?

Larry S. Gibson, a lawyer, is Mayor Kurt Schmoke's campaign chairman.

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