I’ve long found that when people start screaming after you write, you may be on to something.
Yesterday’s piece about ethics charges against Kathie Gannon appears to have elicited one from Monica Parrott. She apparently takes issue with my attempt to, you know, talk to her before writing a piece that questioned her actual level of involvement in the complaint. Last night, she responded to my request for comment with the digital equivalent of a shotgun on the doorstep, replete with legal threats, character attacks and a baseless accusation of a “personal and intimate” relationship with Kathie Gannon … who I would have trouble picking out of a lineup.
It’s glorious reading.
Monica Parrott’s email, July 8, 2014:
I am appalled and frightened at your heinous actions towards me, a private citizen. Your behavior in this matter is extremely disconcerting and I feel threatened by your aggressive actions towards me that are both harassing and your threats terroristic in nature and in fact. I have been contacted by many reporters regarding this filing, none of whom have been disrespectful or threatening. Your actions are beyond the pale for legitimate news reporters and your attacks against me indicate that you must be driven by your personal and intimate relationship with Commissioner Gannon that should be investigated.
It is the right of citizens to file complaints and you who call yourself a watchdog against political corruption have shown yourself to be both extremely biased and totally under the control of certain elected officials and clearly your mental state is questionable due to your vicious attack against a citizen who is just seeking the truth about the actions of an elected official. Instead of reporting the news, you are seeking to twist the focus onto the whistle blower. And just like other abusers, you blame the victim or the witness to the abuse for the injury.
I am notifying you officially to not contact me again for any matter or purpose. Do not come anymore to my place of work, my home, or to the homes of any of my family members or associates. You may not call me at any location at any time via any device or method and I am notifying you that if you do I will be forced to file for a restraining order against you and any of the employees, reporters, contractors or otherwise agents of Peach Pundit, Neon Flag, LLC or their affiliates. You may not attempt to contact me via email or any other electronic means of communications. Doing so will be interpreted by me as threatening to me and my unborn child’s personal safety and I will seek immediate response from law enforcement. Any further contact will be construed as authorized by Neon Flag, LLC, Peach Pundit, their owners, assigns and management and I will vigorously pursue criminal and civil damages against it for their sanctioning of terroristic actions of you, their agent.
As an elected official yourself, you should be investigated for mental instability and incapacity to serve in elected office. You are out of control and lack the moral turpitude and discretion required for a legislator and public servant. I am requesting an investigation by the Attorney General and the Governor of the State of Georgia as to your mental stability and legal capacity to serve under Georgia Law.
At least she spelled her own name right this time. The email address was [email protected] CC’d … well, everyone. All the commissioners, the DA, Pine Lake’s mayor, Sam Olens, Gov. Nathan Deal and others. I responded — not to her, mind — to all of them with this:
Well. That was fun to see in my inbox.
Needless to say, Ms. Parrott apparently doesn’t care for what I wrote, and her message here reads like a wagon cart full of rabid wombats … although in my humble opinion it’s a higher grade of syntax than her ethics filing.
Ms. Parrott, unbidden and without previous contact whatsoever, emailed me her ethics complaint directly. I reached out shortly after reading it with two quick emails to Ms. Parrott to clarify her allegations. The emails consisted, in total, of “Monica. I write for Peach Pundit. I’d like to write something about this. May we speak later tonight?” and “I’m at 678-824-4187. May we speak today about this? I’d like to write about it.” This morning, I called her listed number with a similar message and I stopped by her (apparently former) place of employment while I was on the way back from Wal-Mart, about a mile from my house. Given my take on her filing — a strong suspicion that someone else was involved — I wanted to ensure I had made every reasonable attempt to contact her for comment, as any responsible writer might.
All of this has given her the vapors, as you can see. I have yet to actually communicate with her.
I stand by my published commentary, barring additional information.
Mr. Olens, Mr. Deal, Mr. James, Chief Conroy — feel free to call me if you think there’s something to investigate, although the phrase “strategic lawsuit against public participation” comes to mind — Ga. Code Ann., § 9-11-11 rather restricts Ms. Parrott’s authority to seek a restraining order for “harassment” by reporters seeking comment when she’s made a public filing on a matter of grave public concern, i.e. ethics complaints in DeKalb.
The rest of you know where to find me if you want to talk.
I’m not interested in discouraging people from filing ethics complaints — far from it. We need every construction manager and shop owner who has been rolled for a campaign contribution or told to hire someone’s politically-connected cousin to step forward. Nor do I want to discourage whistleblowers — although that term, correctly applied, refers to government employees reporting unethical behavior, not private citizens.
Here is the distinction between the ethics complaints against Kathie Gannon (and Jeff Rader) and the other ethics complaints floating around right now. The people filing complaints against Elaine Boyer and Sharon Barnes-Sutton and Larry Johnson and even interim CEO Lee May are willing to answer questions. They are eager to do so. We know who they are.
Parrott has asked me not to contact her, which means questions go unanswered. How did she obtain county records in her complaint for which no Georgia Open Records Act request has been made? How did she manage to misspell her own name in multiple places on her filing and in her email address sending out the documents to reporters? Why her? How did she come to her (apparently erroneous) conclusions about Joe Arrington and PRISM — Joe tells me that it’s not a 501(c)3 organization. On what basis does she describe Viola Davis’ income as “questionable?” Why are the “demographics” of the commission district related to her concerns about Park Pride relevant to a discussion of ethics? Is she suggesting that Gannon’s activities have racial motivation?
I suppose Parrott would prefer we simply speculate. But she has an open invitation to talk, despite … all of that … whenever she wants.