A MUTUAL FRIEND SENT ME A COPY OF YOUR “JEALOUS MISTRESS” PIECE THIS MORNING. AND I AM GLAD HE DID. I AM ON YOUR EMAIL LIST BUT I AM OFTEN TOO BUSY TO READ YOUR POSTS. INITIALLY, I DID NOT KNOW WHY OUR FRIEND SENT ME A COPY– ALTHOUGH I ASSUMED THAT IT WAS BECAUSE YOU MAY HAVE WRITTEN SOMETHING ABOUT ME. SO I STARTED READING. AND I READ AND READ AND READ– AND FINALLY, TOWARD THE END, YOU WRITE (AS IT IT WERE FACT) THAT YOU SORT OF RECALL THAT MAYBE, BACK IN 2002, OR ABOUT THEN, MAYBE, THAT I WROTE SOMETHING THAT MAY HAVE SORT OF INSINUATED THAT YOU NEVER PRACTICED LAW IN ALABAMA.
IT NEVER HAPPENED, SLOAN! YOU MAY HAVE ME MIXED UP WITH SOMEBODY ELSE OR MAYBE YOU DREAMED IT– BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT I ABSOLUTELY NEVER WROTE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR LEGAL EDUCATION OR EXPERIENCE. BUT IF I HAD, I WOULD HAVE CHECKED OUT THE FACTS. I MAY NOT REMEMBER EVERYTHING I HAVE WRITTEN IN MY NEWSPAPER OVER THE LAST 17 YEARS– BUT I WOULD REMEMBER THAT. I NEVER– NEVER, NEVER, NEVER– WROTE ANYTHING LIKE THAT. SO, IF YOU SEEM TO RECALL THAT I DID, YOU ARE RECALLING WRONG. DEAD WRONG.
BUT YOU SEEM TO DO THAT A LOT, SLOAN. YOU WRITE, AS FACT, ABOUT THINGS YOU VAGUELY RECALL WITHOUT, APPARENTLY, MAKING ANY EFFORT AT ALL TO RESEARCH THE TRUTH OF WHAT YOU WRITE. AND OCCASIONALLY, YOU GET CALLED ON IT AND, THEN YOU ADMIT THAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE AND SORT OF HALF-APOLOGIZE. MY SKIN IS PRETTY THICK AND I DO NOT NEED A HALF-APOLOGY. BUT YOU HAVE ALSO DONE IT TO OTHERS.
IS THERE ANY CHANCE AT ALL THAT YOU MIGHT TRY TO BE MORE CAREFUL IN THE FUTURE?
Well, Dennis, no mutual friend. My friends would copy to me what they sent to you.
This was during the formation of the Citizens (Police) Review Board in the fall of 2002. The CRB had been passed in a referendum. A public meeting was held at Old City Hall to discuss the next step. You had been very active and instrumental in getting the CRB hatched. As had your girlfriend, whose name I don’t recall. She was redheaded, as I vaguely recall, and had moved to Key West fairly recently from the east coast, perhaps Washington, D.C. area, as I vaguely recall. She considered herself a mentor to young women – she told me this at the Green Parrot, as I vaguely recall. She also told me she hoped to be able to heal you, but she wasn’t sure it was going to happen, as I vaguely recall.
Earlier the day of the public meeting on the CRB, it dawned on me I needed not to have anything to do with the next step because I was prejudiced against the Key West police over the way they were treating homeless people, of whom I had been one and would be one again. At the start of the meeting later that afternoon, or evening, I said what had only dawned on me earlier that day: I had a conflict of interest and had to disengage from the CRB process. Then, I said to you and your girlfriend that you both had been important to getting the CRB this far, but now you both should pull out for the same reason – prejudice against the Key West City Police because Police Chief Buz Dillon had had you arrested and jailed for breaking an Internal Affairs investigation before it was finished. As I also vaguely recall, by then you had filed suit against Buz and the city.
I left the meeting and you followed me out giving me a hard time. Then, you wrote about it, without quoting accurately what I had said about why I pulled out of the CRB process, and nothing did you report about what I had told you and your girlfriend that you and she should do. I sent you an email asking for equal time/reply and said if you did not provide it, I would publish it in another way. You did not even respond. Some journalist you were, I saw. I published my reply to my growing email list, which included the mayor, city commissioners, city attorney, the police chief and others in the city government, the press, and private individuals. Or so I vaguely recall. I was thanked by city officials for that reply, or so I also vaguely recall.
I also vaguely recall when I filed to run for mayor in 2003, and someone suggested I go to see you about it. I told this person, who managed the Birkenstock store on Duval Street, it was not a good idea, you didn’t like me, and I explained why, as I vaguely recall. He insisted it would go fine, he said he knew you, as I vaguely recall. So I went to your office and knocked on the door and you came to the door, saw who was there and said something like, “You fuck! Get the hell out of here! I’m calling the police!” If I’d had my wits about me, I’d have sat down and waited on the police, just to see if they would come to rescue you from me. But I didn’t have my wits about me, and I left, or so I vaguely recall.
I also vaguely recall reading in The Citizen some years later of you ramming a palm tree – or was it a fire plug? – in you car one evening, and you left the scene and weaved home, where you were apprehended by the city police and booked for D.U.I. I vaguely recall you didn’t write about that, although you should as hell should have! I wonder if you even remember any of that, as you were three-sheets driving what had become a deadly weapon in your hands, the jihad banger of the KWPD. I didn’t read that you had your license revoked, or that you did time, or maybe my memory lapsed and you did lose your license and did time.
I hear lots about you going three-sheets, it seems to be your habit, and I can’t help but wonder how that might affect your memory. Don’t fuck with me, Dennis. Just do good reporting. And not just on people you don’t like, such as Buz Dillon. Do it on yourself and people you like, as well. Be a real investigative journalist, in other words. Write about me, if you wish. I will give you all the time, information and references you request. Might prove to be the biggest tongue-wagger you ever published.
Here’s what I vaguely remember Buz Dillon, who became my close friend, told me just before he and his family moved away from Key West, about why he had you arrested and jailed. He said he had become unhappy with The Citizen and The Keynoter and was feeding you cop shop stories for you to break and scoop the other two newspapers. You and Buz were buddies. After you broke the IA story before he gave you the go ahead, he said it was a dumb thing to do, putting you in jail, but he was really pissed off. I was not amused to learn you had not published Buz’s side of it, which you knew very well. Or so is my vague recollection.