David Stone
Main Street WIRE Suing the Roosevelt Island Daily
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Although the newspaper had never objected or asked for a single correction, the Main Street WIRE left a Cease and Desist letter with our concierge on Election Day, claiming defamation among other things. Here is our response.

According to the law dictionary, "Defamation of character is a term that is used to describe when false statement is written or spoken about an individual with the intent of harming or slandering their reputation."

In the letter we received, no individual was named. The lawyer, Marc Jonas Block, who shares a street address in Manhattan Park with the WIRE, referred only to the WIRE as his client.

We are aware of no other instance where a competing newspaper tried to silence another, using this tactic. Freedom of the press and speech are treasured pillars of support all journalism rests on, and this action places both in jeopardy.

Dr. Jack Resnick, a nonresident physician, is listed as owner of the Main Street WIRE.

Specific items in the Cease and Desist letter suggest that former editor and publisher Dick Lutz is involved as well as current editors Briana Warsing and Kelly Turner, although none are named.

Here is our response to Mr. Block. Emailed copies were also distributed to Resnick, Lutz, Warsing and Turner.

Roosevelt Island Daily Answers Legal Challenge by the Main Street WIRE 

November 9th, 2017

 

Marc Jonas Block
Marc Jonas Block PC
40 River Road, 19H
New York, New York 10044

Re: Cease and Desist

Dear Mr. Block

Thank you for you letter, dated November 7, 2017. It’s always best to get these things out in the open.

First, a correction…

The Roosevelt Island Daily is not a “blog.” We use software designed to help create online newspapers, not blogs.

Regarding item #1, the email list we use: This complaint rests on a claim that the list was “improperly retained in April 2016.”

I can assure you that the list was freely provided by Dick Lutz, the WIRE editor, no strings attached, when I expressed a wish to start sending out news alerts, a valuable service to the community discontinued by Lutz some months before. Lutz agreed and sent the list along with instructions on how to upload into my own account.

The list has never been used for any other purpose. And just to clarify, I was not then nor ever have been an employee or contract agent of the Main Street WIRE. The email exchange between Lutz and me, which I’ve retained, does not contain any restrictions on its use or any demand that it be identified exclusively with the newspaper.

My relationship with the WIRE changed — the circumstances may become relevant if legal action is initiated — but my interest in keeping the community informed did not. I have actually, on multiple occasions, alerted readers to useful articles in the WIRE as well as other local and national publications, although the primary purpose is to inform people about the immediate status of public transit and other conditions affecting their daily lives.

There is no harm here to the WIRE and no violation of any conditions under which the mailing list was voluntarily conveyed to me.

Item #2 is a bit of a surprise because neither the WIRE nor anyone connected with it has ever reported any “False and unsubstantiated statements…” to The Daily. Had they, we’d have given it serious consideration.

Like any responsible newspaper, The Daily has a corrections policy. That is, we retract and/or correct anything we publish subsequently shown to be false or inaccurate. We would never and, to our knowledge, never have violated that policy.

Should the WIRE or anyone connected with it provide evidence of falsity or of defamation or libel, we will give it our immediate attention and retract, correct and/or apologize as warranted. Here again, however, I need to remind you that no such claim has ever been made by the WIRE prior to your letter.

As for the instance cited in your letter “voluntarily aligned with racists,” etc., I reviewed our records and can document the specific incident in detail.

In summary, while noting that we are not aware of any occurrences of defamation or libel, we readily agree that we will not publish any “Defamatory statements against the WIRE, both the entity and the newspaper, as well as officers, directors and employees thereof,” as you have requested.

In turn, we ask that your client promptly make us aware of any perceived violations of this pledge, so that it can be addressed in a timely manner. We are not interested in nor do we stand to gain from libeling or defaming anyone.

Tortious interference, Item #3, involves inducing a breach of contract. We are not aware of any such activity.

Again, I thank you for bringing these concerns to our attention and look forward to seeing any evidence the WIRE has involving inaccurate, false or dishonest reporting in The Daily. We promise to give it our immediate attention.

Respectfully,

 

David Stone, Editor and Publisher
The Roosevelt Island Daily