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Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.
Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.
Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.

ABC 33/40 got it wrong
by Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.

Last Thursday on the 5 o’clock news, ABC 33/40’s opening statement was:

A former employee with the Birmingham Housing Authority filed a complaint today (10/24/13) against the Agency. The former employee filed a document with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. He claims a supervisor with the Authority falsified Section 8 documents. He says he worked as an inspector with the agency until he was terminated last year. He alleges a supervisor cleared houses and apartments for use even though they failed inspection. We received response from the executive office for the Housing Authority. It says, quote, the allegations are completely inaccurate.

On last Wednesday, ABC 33/40 sent a request to the Housing Authority to respond to the allegation. It’s the policy of the Housing Authority to not make statements refuting the claim or never to comment on an employee’s dismissal. The reason for this is just plain old common sense: (1) There might be litigation; (2) They do not wish to destroy the credibility of an employee or former employee.
What’s wrong with the statement is the person in question stated that they ‘were going to file a complaint with the District Attorney’s office.’ The former employee attempted to file with the D.A. and was advised that before the D.A. could take a complaint they must have filed a complaint with the City.
The following day 33/40 reported that they erred when they stated that the person had actually filed with the D.A. 33/40 showed the person in question on TV coming out of the police headquarters stating he had filed a complaint.33/40 reported:

We reported yesterday that the former employee filed a complaint with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. That was incorrect. Although the former employee went to the D.A.’s office – he was apparently told he had to file police report before any steps could be taken. That’s what Coke did today.
The executive office of the Housing Authority says the agency sticks by its original statement that the allegations are completely inaccurate.
Jesse Lewis, who handles public relations for the agency, also tells ABC 33/40 the former employee filed a similar complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But it found no truth in the allegations.

In another ABC 33/40 update on the story:

A former employee with the Birmingham Housing Authority has now filed an incident report against the Agency. This morning the former employee filed the report with the Birmingham Police Department.

The problem with this is they never produced the document filed. I have called the police department on three different occasions requesting the documentation and they have said no claim has been filed against the Housing Authority. Something is wrong. Incidentally, this same person had presented his case to Six On Your Side and they refused to run it because it was a two-year-old case and there was no evidence of filing.
If 33/40 reported that the person in question had filed a document with the police department and there’s no copy produced, this is terrible news reporting. In the event they reported that he had filed a document knowing he had not filed is even worse.
I want to make this perfectly clear, I have not seen such a document from 33/40 and the Birmingham  Police Department says no document has been filed.
Speaking of the media, the problem in this story is Brandel Chamblee made his announcement on the Golf Channel that Tiger Woods should receive an “F” as a cheater even though he won five tournaments, stating that any victories should be considered invalid because Woods was caught for rules violations, each of which he was penalized for.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, voiced his frustration earlier in the week:
“There’s nothing you can call a golfer worse than a cheater. This is the most deplorable thing I have seen. I’m not one for hyperbole, but this is absolutely disgusting. Calling him a cheater? I’ll be shocked, stunned if something is not done about this, something has to be done. There are certainly things that just don’t go without response. It’s atrocious. I’m not sure if there isn’t legal action to be taken. I have to give some thought to legal action.”
Chamblee tried to remove the taste of his foot from his mouth by making a public apology on Twitter:

Golf is a gentleman’s game  and Im not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse. And on –– I wish to ask to apologize.

The problem is if he made the announcement on The Golf Channel he should apologize on the Golf Channel, but he tweeted his apology. Some people question Chamblee’s sincerity, his dislike for Tiger is very obvious for he consistently criticizes Tiger at every opportunity. I don’t know he has done enough to be fired, but I do think that the spokesperson for the Golf Channel should say that words from Chamblee are not the opinion of the Golf Channel but his personnel comment.
If he wanted to make a public apology, Chamblee should have done so the same way that he made the initial comments – in an article of actual statement. While Twitter has clearly become a means for writers and athletes alike to have their voices heard, it is not the correct stage to apologize to the best professional golfer on the PGA Tour this season. Not only were the comments offensive, but a Twitter apology seems like yet another slap in the face to Woods.

e-mail: jjlewis@birminghamtimes.com

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