Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown: News article ‘offends all notions of neutrality’

SHARE Dorothy Brown: News article ‘offends all notions of neutrality’
SHARE Dorothy Brown: News article ‘offends all notions of neutrality’

I normally do not respond to newspaper articles in fear of retaliation from the newspaper. Over the years I have “suffered in silence,” while article after article attacked my character, my skills and abilities, my family and the hardworking employees of the clerk’s office. But I have decided that #enoughisenough, #nomore, #timesup, #itsabouttime.

On Jan. 31, Chicago Sun-Times reporters Jon Seidel and Robert Herguth wrote a front-page story that included statements I believe meet the U.S. Supreme Court’s standard for actual malice against a public figure, which is when a “statement is made with knowledge of its falsity, or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false”(“More job selling allegations in federal investigation of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorthy Brown”).

SEND LETTERS TO: Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purpose.

The reporters based their story in part on a letter from Mrs. Beena Patel’s defense attorneys that requested copies of testimonies of individuals mentioned in a more than two-year-old warrant application. Mrs. Patel is an honorable retiree of the clerk’s office and Mr. Sivasubramani Rajaram is an honorable man; neither deserve how they have been treated. The reporters also based part of their story on the U.S. Attorney’s written response to Mrs. Patel’s attorneys.

First, the headline, “More job selling allegations in federal investigation of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown” was patently false. There are absolutely no statements made in either of the letters or the related court filing that support that duplicitous statement. It is a knowing falsity and demonstrates a reckless disregard for the truth.

In addition, the statement made in the article that “…a newly filed court record provides further evidence that [job selling] not only was true, a number of people were either involved in the illegal scheme or knew about it” is also patently false. There are no statements made in either of the letters or in the court filing that support that outlandish claim. Again, it is a knowing falsity.”

I can state with full confidence that clerk’s office hires are selected from computerized lists, using an algorithm based on the Shakman rules. Our human resources staff make the offers from the produced list with no involvement from me or other management.

Then, the article’s attack on Mr. Wasiu Fashina was both cruel and cowardly. Mr. Fashina is the consummate professional and for reporters to attempt to damage his reputation by flinging unsubstantiated and untrue accusations is irresponsible on their part.

In conclusion, there were no additional allegations contained in the letters or court filing to which the reporters allude. I believe that they intentionally contorted and conflated information to make it appear as though there is new evidence and/or new witnesses in this case.

In my opinion, this story offends all notions of neutrality. I demand an immediate retraction of these patently false statements, but I reserve the right to seek further legal actions. Newspapers shape public opinion, therefore, it’s imperative that reporters not abuse the first amendment right of “freedom of the press.” So, I say: #enoughisenough, #nomore, #timesup, #itsabouttime.

Dorothy Brown, clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County

Stopping the spread of Asian carp

The barrier described by the U.S. Army engineers can be overcome with flooding and other technical problems allowing the fish to spread into the Great Lakes. Separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi water basin is the only reliable method to prevent the spread of Asian carp.

Fish cannot walk or drive… they swim. Asian carp need a water connection to get into the Great Lakes. Disconnect the Mississippi basin and the Great Lakes.

Nicholas P. Kondelis, Oak Brook

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