At the March 3 Littleton City Council meeting, Councilmember Carol Fey accused the Independent of misreporting her words in an article following a January meeting on refugee resettlement.
Fey claimed the Independent's reporting has tarnished her reputation, and that when she reached out to us, we told her it was “OK to print incorrect information because (the reporter) knew what I meant anyway."
We told her no such thing. The Independent stands by our reporting, and we can back it up.
Here's the background:
At the Jan. 7 city council meeting, council was asked to approve a resolution affirming that refugees could continue to be settled in Littleton, as has been the case since 1980. The resolution needed to be approved quickly to ensure refugee resettlement agencies could continue their work unhindered. Fey voted against the resolution.
Read the article here.
Read the section of the article regarding Fey's comments here.
Fey alleged the short turnaround time was an effort to keep council from taking a closer look at the issue of refugee resettlement, saying activists waited months after a presidential order to bring the issue to council.
Fey specifically accused former Littleton Mayor Susan Thornton of making an “end run” around council procedures to push the item onto council's agenda.
Watch Fey's comments, which run from 49:22 to 54:27 here.
Read a transcript of her comments here.
But Jennifer Wilson, the head of the International Rescue Committee, a refugee aid agency, first brought the issue to council through phone calls and emails in October, and several times in November and December, Wilson told the Independent. Refugee activists began raising concern about the issue in open council meetings in mid-December.
Our reporting accurately reflected Fey's comments, citing concerns from constituents and about council process, and revealed that activists said they had been contacting council for months.
Wilson also personally rebuked Fey's accusation that activists waited until December at the Jan. 21 meeting.
Watch Wilson's comments, from 58:10-1:01:28, here.
On Jan. 23, Fey wrote to the Independent:
“In your article about council's Jan 7 vote on refugee resettlement you said that I named Susan Thornton as the former mayor knows how to follow procedure to get items on council's agenda—and how to circumvent it. I want to point out—as you likely already know—that I quite intentionally didn't mention a particular person. It's not correct of you to say that I named her. Of course, many could guess. But that's a different matter.”
Reporter David Gilbert wrote back:
“Here's what you said: 'The chair of Immigrant Pathways Colorado knows as well as anyone how to properly introduce an issue for council consideration, and knows how to circumvent normal process. She's a former councilmember and mayor. She founded the Littleton Leadership Academy.'
"That describes exactly one person, who introduced herself as the chair of Immigrant Pathways Colorado not half an hour before you spoke. It's not a guess.”
Watch Thornton's introduction at the Jan. 7 meeting at 25:14 here.
Fey's comments clearly refer to Thornton, who is also the founder of the Littleton Leadership Academy.
After the email exchange, the Independent did not hear back from Fey. Her next commentary on the article was at the March 3 meeting, where she accused the Independent of misconduct.
Watch her comments, at 15:27 to 17:52, here.
Read a transcipt of her comments here.
The Independent does not believe it is OK to print incorrect information, and we did not do so. Fey should hold herself accountable for the consequences of her actions.
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