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A Story about the Almanac's Reporting

Original post made by John P. Johns, CPA, another community, on Apr 26, 2010

Last Friday I wrote Renee Batti to let her know that I would not be comming by her office to present her with documentary evidence of how the Police Department tampered with a laptop computer I returned to the Town and of having falsified evidence tags associated with the raid on my office when I was suspended.

The reason for my reluctance to meet with her was my concern over the lack of journalistic integrity that the Almanac News has displayed in recent months.

In that e-mail to Ms. Batti I let her know that I would consider taking legal action against the Almanac News for libel if it were to continue making the Topliff report available on its website.

Regrettably, my request to the Almanac News and Mr. Gibboney's has so far gone unheeded.

I would urge the Almanac News to reconsider.

The text of my e-mail message to Ms. Batti is below:

fromjohn johns <>
toRenee Batti <>

dateFri, Apr 23, 2010 at 6:53 PM
subjectRe: meeting at the Almanac

Hi Renee

Please accept my apologies. I was up in Alaska this week. I was home catching up today and was not inclined to travel to the peninsula. I also was under the impression that you would call or send a note to confirm your availability.

I also wanted to let you know that my reluctance to travel to the Peninsula is also due to the fact that I continue to have serious doubts about the ability to report what is happening in Atherton with any degree of objectivity or completeness.

For example, I provided you a written statement concerning my settlement. While you quoted the Town's written statement verbatim you did not afford me the same courtesey.

You have also failed to make any mention of Ms. Lewis' permit fraud even though I have provided you with documentation of what is arguably criminal conduct on the part of a member of the City Council and a former member of the General Plan Committee.

I was also dismayed by your reporting of Mr. Buckheit's victory in court last December. Your paper made no mention of an Atherton police officer's testimony under oath of a police report having been falsified. Instead your paper reported it as though it were an unsubstantiated allegation on the part of Mr. Buckheit. Worse, your paper took statements of Mr. Wagstaffe, who wasn't even present at Mr. Buckheit's trial as though these words were gospel.

I feel as though Mr. Buckheit's experience with your paper is particularly on point. If you slant the news in his case, how can I be assured that you will not make me out to look like a disgruntled former employee who remains on a crusade against the Town?

Additionally, I find myself distressed that the now discredited Topliff report remains available for download on your website:. Web Link

As you know this report has been thoroughly repudiated as a result of the Council's award of a resolution of commendation for my meritorious service.

It is for the reasons stated above that I must ask your good paper as a show of good faith take down the link to the Topliff report before I sit down with you to be interviewed and to present my evidence of police misconduct.

In addition to a show of good faith, I respectfully submit to you that by continuing to make this report accessible on your paper, your paper is displaying a reckless disregard for the truth and that by doing so it risks substantial liability in the form of economic damages.

I have already lost one $90,000 contract to a competitor as a result of the Topliff report having been downloaded from your website, I do not intend to lose another.

It is for this reason that I must advise you that if the Topliff report is not removed from your website within five days, I will ask my attorney Mr. Jon Parsons to take legal action against your paper.



On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 2:48 PM, Renee Batti <> wrote:

Hi John. I thought we were meeting here at 10:30 this morning. Hope all is OK. -Renee

Renee Batti
News Editor
The Almanac
3525 Alameda de las Pulgas
Menlo Park, California 94025
(650) 854-2690, ext. 211

Comments (1)

Like this comment
Posted by saul leibowitz
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Apr 27, 2010 at 7:55 am

The Almanac News should be very careful with Mr. Johns. By the Almanac news own account, Atherton spent $400,000 to defend itself only to pay out $225,000 to settle the matter.

Mr. Johns gave Atherton a thumping on a shoestring budget. Imagine what he can do to the Almanac News with a solid case and with a war chest of nearly a quarter million dollars.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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