Monday, December 7, 2015

WealthTrust demands a retraction

We have received a letter from Kenneth J. Coleman. managing partner of Fairport Asset Management of Cleveland.  a  WealthTrust company,  demanding a retraction of my statement in a recent column regarding the hiring of startup company Trust Navigator by the University of Akron trustees.

I had erroneously written that Richard Pogue, former UA board chairman, and Sandra Pianalto, an advisory trustee of the board, were board members of WealthTrust.

Here is the heart of the Coleman letter:

'"We have no idea where you obtained your information, but these statements  are 100 pct. false.  In reality, neither Richard Pogue nor Sandra Pianalto has ever been  a board member (or any type of employee or contractor for that matter) of WealthTrust Fairport, LLC or any company affiliated with WealthTrust.  As an experienced journalist and writer, you are certainly well aware that free speech rights do not protect speech containing lies or unfair untrue statements that are defamatory and  libelous.

"We have already consulted our legal counsel on this matter.  Upon advice of counsel, we request that you publish a retraction of the untrue statements  referred to above.  Such retraction should be published in the same forum where the false and libelous statements were originally made.  Further we are advising you to immediately cease and desist from making any further false statements  about WealthTrust Fairport LLC.  Our counsel stands ready to take legal action as necessary , and  such legal action will seek recovery  from you not only the damage to our business reputation but also for our legal fees, court costs of enforcing protective orders  and other costs that are necessary to enforce  our rights.

"We look forward to your expedient attention to these  very important matters".

As I have done on the infrequent occasions  of professional error in more than a half-century,  I   hereby retract.  It appears that I went off the road from a report in BloombergBusiness  that listed Heather Roulston Ettinger,  as a "managing partner" which I misread as referring to WealthTrust when in fact she has that position with Fairport  Asset Management, a WealthTrust company.

The same report lists both Pogue and Pianalto as "board  members affiliated  with Heather Ralston Ettinger".   I also wrote that she is the sister of Tom Roulston III, the founder of  Trust Navigator, which indeed she is.

But I missed the point that such affiliation didn't mean WealthTrust, or possibly for that matter, Fairport Asset,  board membership. Did I get that right?


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