I woke yesterday morning to find an urgent plea in my email. One of my eight loyal readers was crushed that they missed the post I wrote about Cheryl Lein’s past misdeeds. My reader told me that every five minutes that day they kept pushing the refresh key hoping to read what I had promised to write about this ancient offense.
As I said, I don’t particularly care if anyone who did catch the post – in its four brief hours online – prints it out and passes it around. But to honor Art’s request I told this anxious and disappointed loyal reader that I would send the full text to them on the condition they promised never to leak it. I trust them. I sent it on but asked them for their opinion by writing:
One of the folks who saw it online before I replaced it told me this made me look like I was out for blood. Of course, I am. But, is that how it strikes you?
This is their response to the forbidden post and my question about its being blood thirsty:
Huh….that’s what Art made you take down? I suppose it’s revealing information from a closed meeting, even if that closed meeting happened during your previous term on the School Board. Is it libelous? …… Having been on the Board at the time, the trouble for you would more likely be revealing a closed meeting rather than libel.
No, it doesn’t strike me as “out for blood,” but I’m sure my impression is affected by knowing you. If I didn’t know you, maybe I would think that. I’m not sure.
Mostly it just confuses me. I don’t see how it has anything to do with Art Johnston or the current Board’s attempts to get him thrown out.
The rumors are starting to resemble a game of telephone. The version I heard had a number of significant differences, several of which are demonstrably not true……
But I still don’t see any link to Art Johnston.
Anyway, thank you for trusting me. I won’t ….. share this email. I was just being nosy.
And here’s my reply:
[Dear Loyal Reader],
I sort of agree with your “Huh.”
The explanation for your very good question is more convoluted that I would wish. I’ve had Jana H. and George Balach both ask me why this breech of professional ethics from twelve years ago makes any difference at this point. I’ll get to that but first….
The one thing I reposted from that original post was Mary Rice’s attempt to say I was fuzzy about what happened all those years ago. That’s was her evasion when I asked her if she would want to rely on a known liar as a witness in court.
Much of this part of the story comes down to what Cheryl Lien did more recently and why Mary Rice went to such lengths to shield Lein and why I was hogtied by our Attorney, Kevin Rupp, Chair Miernicki, and more recently by our HR Director, Tim Sworsky, over the release of any private data whether innocuous or libelous. It’s painfully apparent to me that it’s because the powers-that-be regularly play the game of character assassination. Their target for the past year has been Art Johnston. That did not pan out for them very well and three school board members who played the game are retiring in disgrace.
But Art is not the first victim of this. His is only the most spectacular case of this tactic’s use. I was the first recipient of this treatment when I ran against Judy Seliga-Punyko for the school board in 2007. Until recently I never considered that Judy was a part of my public beating. However, I may have been giving her too much credit. She certainly has had her fingerprints on many more such character assassinations since that time. Loren Martell has also suffered from it as did poor hapless I.V. Foster and now Art Johnston.
Mary Rice was a useful tool to obscure Cheryl Lien’s role in an attempt to harass Johnston and later to assassinate his character. She was paid a cool $47,000 to do this, only her work was done in the ‘court of public opinion’ not in a court of law, until Judge Davis put a none-to-hasty stop to it.
This is nothing new. Hillary Clinton has had her character attacked over things like Benghazi and whether she had her old law partner murdered over Whitewater. Of course, sometimes the assassination has merit as it did when Bill was accused of multiple dalliances. I sure hate to see that national nonsense rear its ugly head here in Duluth. I also resent it when the assassins hide behind the Civility movement one minute and then come out all guns blazing when they want to attack someone.
Cheryl Lein’s actions should be explained because the Tribune never challenged Mary Rice’s role in the character assassination. Over and over again the Tribune characterized the Rice report as being fair and impartial. It was anything but that.
My Thou Shalt Not series is simply my attempt to explain how all the back stabbing has been deliberately invented and deliberately concealed behind a false reverence for the data privacy laws.
Next in the Thou Shalt Not Series: My Loyal Reader Challenges Me