More Lies from The SPOTLIGHT — April 27, 1998
Thursday, April 9, was an eventful day at the Liberty Building where The SPOTLIGHT is published. Heavy and continuous rain, the failure of the telephone system and two key computers and an attempt to subvert Liberty Lobby’s mail delivery combined to make it a day to remember.
Moreover, every Thursday is the day that The SPOTLIGHT goes to press and, in the newspaper business, missing deadline is unheard of. All the people who work on the paper call Thursday the “deadline day.” So it was the worst possible day for problems.
Actually, the day began Wednesday afternoon when the two computers used for setting type and preparing pages began to signal problems. But when Thursday dawned, the trouble began in earnest when all of the telephone lines began going down because of heavy and continuous rain the night before and into the day.
In all, there are 12 lines that service the busy Liberty Building at 300 Independence Avenue, which is just three blocks from the Capitol Building, two blocks from the House office buildings and the Supreme Court and across the street from the Library of Congress’s Adams Building.
The 12 lines service the business needs of 30 employees who keep things humming. Without telephone and faxes, things slow down.
When the two key computers used by production manager H. Lamar Whitmore and her assistant, Paul Angel, to produce the paper started misbehaving, Editor Andy Arnold and Managing Editor Fred Blahut knew this deadline day would be special. Andy and Fred are very sensitive to anything that might threaten the timely weekly production of the nation’s premier news weekly.
In the newspaper business, missing a press deadline can never happen without the worst consequences. In the 22 year history of The SPOTLIGHT, it has never happened. If the motto in show business is “the show must go on,” in the newspaper business it’s “the press deadline must be met.” And every Thursday afternoon, by 5 pm or before, next week’s paper is on the way to the waiting web press to meet the mailing schedule of early Friday morning.
When the first employees of Liberty Lobby — The SPOTLIGHT’s publisher — arrived at 7 am on Thursday, already telephone lines 546-5611 and three others it feeds were down, as was The SPOTLIGHT’s exclusive line, 544-1794 and two lines dedicated to faxes. Only the circulation and subscription line, 546-5621, and two emergency lines remained.
This was serious but not as bad as what was to come. When security officer Dallas Naylor, who picks up the mail every day, got to the post office he was told that all of the mail for Liberty Lobby and The SPOTLIGHT, as well as other groups headquartered in the Liberty Building, had been impounded.
It seems as if Judge Runston G. Maino, the California Superior Court judge who, on November 21, 1996 found Liberty Lobby liable for $2,650,000 plus interest (SPOTLIGHT, Dec. 16, 1996), in his zeal to close down Liberty Lobby, had been up to more mischief. Taking the advice of Bryan D. Sampson, an eager-beaver collection lawyer employed by a group of criminal conspirators who have been trying — with the aid of the Church of Scientology and the ADL — to close down Liberty Lobby since 1992, Maino appointed a receiver, Thomas F. Lennon, of San Diego County. Lennon believed he had a right to take all of the mail addressed to Liberty Lobby, even if addressed to Washington, D.C.
It turns out that on April 6, Lennon had written a letter to “Postmaster, Washington, D.C. 20003” and ordered the post office to seize the mail. To support his position, he enclosed an order secretly and improperly issued by Maino on February 3 without notifying Liberty Lobby’s California attorney, J. Brian Urtnowski. Lennon demanded that the mail be sent to him so that he could open it and take the money. This was a malicious attempt to hoodwink the Postal Service.
This is why, at the last moment before SPOTLIGHT No. 16 went out the door, a bulletin was inserted on page one warning subscribers that a serious problem had developed with the mail.
Fortunately, the following day, Friday, April 10, Maino had scheduled a hearing on another matter — whether Liberty Lobby officials could cite the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions about Liberty Lobby assets. In this, attorney Urtnowski was joined by Texas civil rights lawyer Joe Alfred Izen, a specialist on the Fifth Amendment.
When asked about the order to seize mail — especially mail in Washington, D.C. — he (Maino), realizing his blunder, ordered Sampson and Lennon to immediately cease their unlawful efforts and to return all of the mail to Liberty Lobby unopened.
So although some folks' mail that arrived on April 9 or 10 will receive a delayed response, they and all correspondents may be assured that Liberty Lobby and The SPOTLIGHT are back on schedule with all systems “Go” and with no nosy lawyers reading their mail.
As for the illegal activities of Sampson and Lennon and the secret order issued by Maino, attorney Mark Lane, in Washington, will be reacting appropriately against such blatant illegal and unconstitutional behavior.
Says Lane, “There are many problems here, not the least of which is the attempt by government agents to shut down a newspaper. This is directly prohibited by the First Amendment. In addition, Lennon, in order to unlawfully seize the mail, sent a copy of Maino’s order to the Post Office.
"Lennon knew, or should have known, that the order falsely stated that Liberty Lobby had been represented when the order was issued,” he added. “In addition Lennon should have known that he had no right to seize mail in Washington, D.C. based upon an order from a local judge in California.”
Izen added that since even the IRS can't open mail, it is unlikely that a California judge has that power.