Letter: Yellow Journalism About Green Gems

Letter to the Editor

Never having been a shining example of journalistic integrity, The Malibu Times has sunk to a new low in its pursuit of a smear campaign against me, led by its co-owners, Arnold and Karen York.

The Malibu Times commenced its smear campaign with inaccurate “news” pieces before I was even seated on city council, escalated to publishing biased and inaccurate blog posts by Hans Laetz and further escalated by publishing an editorial in which Karen York employed her non-existent expertise in psychology to provide an arm-chair analysis that reflects more on her unconscious projection and deliberate deflection than anything else. More recently, The Malibu Times has taken its smear campaign to a new level with the publication of Arnold York’s false claim to have recently discovered a skeleton in my closet that he encourages the community to examine—namely, the “Emerald Matter.” As explained below, the emerald matter is a case in which I was falsely accused of engaging in a fraud on the court and which resulted in a judicial opinion rejecting the false accusations—all of which Arnold York has known for the past two years.

Arnold York knows full well that the emerald matter was openly discussed on my website throughout my campaign for city council—where it still can be read at brucesilverstein.org/my-legal-career/. Moreover, I was the one who first told Arnold York about the emerald matter—more than two years ago, when Arnold and Karen York asked me to be a member of the steering committee of The Malibu Times’ Operation Recovery following the Woolsey Fire. At that time, I informed both Arnold and Karen about the emerald matter, provided them with links to the relevant information on the internet (including the court’s opinion rejecting the claims against me), and encouraged them to investigate the matter if they had any issues about holding me out as their associate. At that time, the Yorks laughed off the matter, with the attitude of “Anyone can claim anything about anybody.”

Other members of the Operation Recovery Steering Committee investigated the emerald matter and laughed it off as much ado about nothing. This included respected local lawyers. Other lawyers performed due diligence about me in connection with the “Lawyer Project” of Operation Recovery, and they all reached the same conclusion—namely, that a disgruntled adversary wrongly sought to hold me responsible for the alleged misdeeds of my client.

So, what is Arnold York really up to? Why is Arnold abusing the power of the press to wage what clearly appears to be a personal vendetta? Could it be that Arnold is offended by my refusal to be interviewed by The Malibu Times on account of its long history of inaccurate reporting? Could it be because I had the temerity to suggest during the election that the Arnold’s endorsement of Paul Grisanti, Doug Stewart and Mark Wetton for city council was “influenced” by the fact that the three candidates bought tens of thousands of dollars in advertising from The Malibu Times, while the other candidates spent relatively little or nothing? Could it be because I have been looking into the city’s decade-long failure to collect a five-figure debt by the Yorks? Could it be something further of which I am not yet aware?

One thing I do know—The Malibu Times’ smear campaign suggests that I have struck a nerve with Arnold York and his local benefactors. Otherwise, Arnold would simply look the other way—as he has done for years with the folks whose feathers are being ruffled by my election.

Bruce Lee Silverstein