David Stone
Main Street WIRE copies, unread, untouched after two weeks
Main Street WIRE copies, unread, untouched after two weeks

I haven't seen the complaint Main Street WIRE attorney Marc Jonas Block filed against me and the Daily in Supreme Court. Others have, including other local media. Word spread around Roosevelt Island. From what I've learned, I'm disgusted by some of it but, also, puzzled over why an attorney would chose to build a community crushing case on a tapestry of misinformation.

Main Street WIRE Complaint Against the Roosevelt Island Daily

I read a summary posted  on the Roosevelt Islander blog because I was asked to comment. I wanted to see what was published and if WIRE Editor Briana Warsing also had something to say.

Dishonesty jumps right off the page. I can't be sure if Block knows he's circulating a web of dishonesty or just repeating what he's been told. But something I learned earlier from Frank Farance, who Block also attacked, was far worse.

Far worse.

Suggestion of Adultery and Workplace Misconduct

When Block publicly released his complaint on behalf of Warsing and the WIRE, he published a crude claim that I accused Warsing and Publisher Dick Lutz of having an affair.

Imagine that, if you can. 

In a time of hypersensitivity about workplace behavior, Block lets loose a salacious suggestion that someone who knew and worked with both believed they were romantically involved. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth than any suspicion about happily married, forty-ish Warsing and seventy-seven year old Lutz.

Block lifted an "inappropriate relationship" quote out of context form an article about how my tentative agreement with the WIRE was severed. The article makes clear that I was referring to a business relationship that I suspected involved a sub rosa arrangement for retaining Warsing in the WIRE Editor position I'd been promised.

A mutual friend in whom Warsing confided her intentions later confirmed my suspicion.

And anyone who knows me or is a regular reader here knows that, if I meant affair, I'd have written "affair."

What unsettles me more is that Block is a Board Member of RICCD, an organization that makes claims to high moral standards and community building.

Spreading unfounded gossip certain to embarrass a local family with young children isn't the stuff of high ideals.

Rearranging Time to Fit a Preferred Narrative

After that nuclear blast, everything else pales, but moving on, the WIRE complaint invents a fictional sequence of events in which Warsing is promoted to Editor in July, 2016, after my relationship with the paper collapsed, according to the Roosevelt Islander post. It says I then attacked her with unfounded accusations, apparently out of resentment or jealousy.

Proof that this is a lie can be found in the January 9th, 2016 Main Street WIRE. Scroll down to page 2 and glance at the masthead. Warsing is Editor, Lutz Acting Publisher.

Warsing actually took the position many months before, but because this is the oldest WIRE issue available, it's the most reliable source for refuting the lie.

I was being groomed to take over the editorship by the end of June as Warsing, according to multiple emails from Lutz, was leaving to join her husband in California. Thereafter, I'd work as Editor and Publisher as he had for two decades

The Truth About When and Why I Left the WIRE

From what I read in the Roosevelt Islander summary, Block suggests that I abruptly walked out on an agreement to take over the WIRE on April 13, 2016, quoting me correctly as writing, "Time, I think, for me to step aside then."

But it's completely out of context and wildly misleading.

Quick background: I was jarred into mistrust when Lutz, after we'd been working on the transition for a couple of months, balked at giving me complete details of the WIRE's finances. I was able to pinpoint where only about half of $6,000 a month in revenues went.

What wasn't I being told? And why?

But then, I became frightened when he sent me two peculiar emails, insisting that Warsing be kept as Editor until the end of June and, among other claims, writing that he had a previously undisclosed contract with her.

What We Know About the WIRE Warsing Complaint

These were deeply weird because I never suggested that she should leave sooner unless she was eager to get her family together under one roof again.

WIRE Owner Jack Resnick asked me to meet him for lunch to discuss Lutz's emotional, unanticipated reaction to my plans for upgrading the WIRE to biweekly publication, year round, and deliver it by direct mail, an idea Lutz liked until he "parlayed" (his word) with Warsing.

After our conversation at Fuji East, during which neither of us could figure out what Lutz was upset about, Resnick promised to make an effort to calm him down. I never heard another word from either.

I decided to put my detailed plans for taking over the WIRE, as agreed back in February, in writing. To read a copy of that email, click --> Proposed WIRE Plan / April 13, 2016

Foolishly, I now realized, I'd never put our agreement in a formal context. But, you know, Lutz was a friend for ten years. I trusted him. I trusted Jack Resnick. These guys were respected pillars of the community. I also trusted Briana Warsing.

I didn't think a contract was necessary. A handshake should be enough between friends.

I addressed the email to Resnick, Lutz, Warsing and Webmaster Jeff Prekopa.

Although I keep hearing stories coming from WIRE sources about how I walked out of a deal, no one ever responded to that proposal, the only one that was ever on the table.

I never withdrew it. It wasn't accepted or even commented on. Period.

My second email for that evening was shared only with Lutz and Resnick because it involved financial information that I thought they might not want shared. You can also download the email along with the thread in which Resnick responds --> WIRE Financial Proposal / April 13, 2016

"As of June 25th, the WIRE balance sheet needs to show a plus side of at least $15K, which is what I understand Jack’s WIRE investment to be. For that purpose, we should consider cash on hand, accounts receivable and payable, including taxes and miscellaneous not yet recorded," I wrote, in part.

At nearly sixty-eight, in debt, my retirement savings nearly drained by family emergencies and depending mainly on a social security check, I was in no position to take on debt nor had I ever agreed to.

The financial proposal is the only email to which anyone replied.

Resnick wrote, "We're not anywhere near an agreement on going forward," citing conversations with Warsing and Lutz but providing no details.

And what was Warsing doing in that conversation anyway? As far as I knew, she had no investment in the WIRE, and wasn't she... leaving?

My proposal was nothing new, just a restatement of what we'd agreed on two months before. Maybe it was me they didn't like, or maybe the agreement didn't suit them anymore.

I don't know, but it's still painful and frustrating. The stories they tell others finally make their way along the grapevine to me, and every one them has me as the bad guy, the villain who walked out for no good reason.

But this inexplicable sequence convinced me I should not risk my future on the trustworthiness of Lutz or Resnick.

They hadn't thrown me a curve. They'd thrown me a knuckleball. I had no idea where they were coming from, still don't, but left field was a fair possibility.

Finally

Warsing tells the Roosevelt Islander that they prefer private discussions with me rather than litigation and strangely suggests I'm not interested. First I heard of it.

And it's odd too, because if they'd been willing to talk openly in April, 2016, we'd never have arrived at this ugly place. We might have worked things out or decided to end the agreement, but at least I'd have a clue about what the problem was.

(Just for the record, Warsing also accused me of something new: theft.)

At first blush, it seems to me that making a case designed to intimidate me, put the Daily out of business and ruin my reputation, based on provable misstatements of fact, is a poor place to start a discussion.

I'm no angel, but I do know life's a two way street until somebody runs you down.

Our community deserves better than this.

  1. Proposed WIRE Plan / April 13, 2016 (51.96 KB)
  2. WIRE Financial Proposal / April 13, 2016 (59.48 KB)