Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown’s Lawyer sets the record straight with Daily Breeze reporter. After several attempts to amiccably encourage the Daily Breeze to accurately report the facts, Mayor Chris Brown’s Attorney, J. Tooson sets the record straight in his communication to Daily Breeze reporter Sandy Mazza. Below is the communication. On behalf of Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown, I’m writing to formally demand you immediately retract and clarify your false and misleading article published on April 5th entitled “Hawthorne mayor piling up unpaid debts, racking up City Hall travel”.
You have 10 days to comply. The retraction shall be published in the same conspicuous manner as your original article. Should you choose not to comply, we will not hesitate in pursuing you and your direct employer and affiliates to the fullest extent of the law. Your conduct was beyond reckless in publishing this false and misleading article without engaging in any prior due diligence to verify the article’s content. All of the Mayor’s travel, which was approved on the City Manager’s credit card, has had a clear city purpose. In your article you falsely claim Mayor Brown organized a twelve thousand dollar trip to Washington to meet with federal lawmakers and other government officials.
This trip was organized by Enviro Communications, Inc., who was retained by the Hawthorne city council through 5-0 vote. You also falsely claimed Mayor Brown stayed at the Hyatt at the Pike in Long Beach costing the city of Hawthorne six hundred and forty one dollars. Mayor Brown did not stay at this hotel. In fact, a former city hall employee made the reservations and personally utilized the room. Subsequently, this former employee promptly reimbursed the city of Hawthorne after realizing she used the city’s card to pay for her personal stay in lieu of her personal credit card.
In addition, you falsely reported Mayor Brown personally “dined on more than $200 in sushi” while on a trip to New York. This two hundred dollar bill was an expenditure on meals for three people; Hawthorne City Manager Michael Goodson, Finance Director Rickey Manbahal and Mayor Brown over a three-day stay on a trip. The purpose of this trip was to discuss a community energy aggregation program with an aim of reducing the costs of electricity for the residents of Hawthorne.
You also falsely claimed the city of Hawthorne paid both flight and lodging for Hedako Brown to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington. However, the facts are Hedako stayed home in Hawthorne and never attended the conference. You also characterized the remodeling of the Mayor’s office as less than transparent and implied it only benefited the Mayor. This construction covered not only the remodeling of the Mayor’s office but also provided for necessary compliance updates for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the Finance Department, Business Licensing Department, and administrative offices.
This construction was approved through a 5-0 vote by the city council. The construction lasted approximately two months and was clearly noted on the front page of related staff reports. This retraction demand does not constitute a complete or exhaustive statement of all my client’s claims of inaccuracy with your article. Thank you for your prompt cooperation in this matter.