ELi Retracts Four Articles by Candidate Altmann

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Saturday, April 4, 2015, 4:45 pm
Alice Dreger, Publisher of ELi

As Publisher of ELi, I am retracting four articles by Erik Altmann, including one article on the land sale charter amendment and three Council Capsules done by Altmann for ELi while I was unable to attend Council due to family issues.

As publisher of ELi and President of ELi’s Board, I would not allow someone running for Council or sitting on Council to do political reporting for us. But as it turns out, that’s what happened here.

When Altmann wrote these articles (Feb. 4, another Feb. 4, Feb. 11, and Feb. 18), I did not know he had started his campaign for a City Council seat. It was not until February 22 that was advised by Altmann via email of the official start of his campaign. In response to that email, I wrote to him on February 22, “You can't report for us anymore or be a donor.”

I wrote a report on his campaign announcement the next day, and in that article, I noted he would not longer be allowed to donate reporting or money to ELi.

This past week, Mayor Nathan Triplett (who is also running for Council) wrote to ELi’s Managing Editor and another board member to complain that Altmann had done political reporting for us while he was a candidate for Council. As a consequence, I asked Altmann exactly when his campaign began, in case I had misunderstood that it began on February 22.

Altmann’s response, which I received this morning, said: “I became a candidate under Michigan campaign finance law on Jan. 21, 2015, when I opened an account for my campaign committee and loaned myself money. . . . I made no on-the-record announcement of my campaign prior to Feb. 22. I also haven’t filed petitions yet and will not appear on the ballot until I do.”

Just to be clear, had I known that Altmann had become a candidate under Michigan campaign finance law on January 21, I would have told him then, “You can't report for us anymore or be a donor,” as I did on February 22 when I became aware of his campaign’s official status.

After ELi is back from break, I will personally produce new Council Capsules for February 3, 10, and 17 based on recordings of Council so that ELi readers will have a record of those meetings. The fourth article, on the land sale charter amendment, will also be replaced by a single-authored article from me that brings readers up to date on the issue. (For now, you can read our most recent report on the land sale charter amendment.)

I am grateful to Mayor Triplett for advising us of this problem and we will strive to be sure it does not occur again.



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