February 29, 2000
VIA TELECOPIER AND
Mr. Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times Newspaper
3600 New York Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Dear Mr. Prudent:
I write on behalf of our client, Hamilton Securities, Inc., with regard to a story published in the February 28, 2000 edition of The Washington Times, under the byline of George Archibald. While the entire article is replete with inaccuracies and distortions, there are two paragraphs which are particularly libelous. In the fifth to last paragraph of the article, Mr. Archibald and The Washington Times make reference to "two auctions involving Hamiltonís admitted bid-tampering and change of winners". There was no "bid-tampering" by Hamilton, and therefore no such thing has ever been "admitted" by Hamilton. Your accusations are scurrilous and false.
The next paragraph, a discussion of "a criminal probe", is tied into your libelous accusations concerning "admitted bid-tampering". Had Mr. Archibald or your newspaper done any investigating, you would have known that in May of 1999, the Department of Justice notified Hamilton Securities that it was no longer pursuing any criminal investigation involving Hamiltonís role in the loan sales, and that no further action would be taken by the Department. That is a fact that has long been known to HUD, the HUD OIG, and Ervin & Associates and its counsel.
Unfortunately for The Washington Times, Mr. Archibald chose not to contact anyone at Hamilton before the Times printed his story, nor did he contact Hamiltonís counsel. This is NOT the first time Mr. Archibald has written stories about Hamilton without bothering to talk to Hamilton, despite Hamiltonís previous request that no stories be published without contact by the reporters with Hamilton. We would like your explanation as to whether this failure was an act of malice, or was a result of Mr. Archibald collaborating with Ervin & Associates to plant a false story to further Ervin & Associatesí litigation needs.
I ask that you call me immediately to schedule a meeting with you and Mr. Archibald, which will also be attended by Catherine Fitts, the President of Hamilton.
In the meantime, Hamilton Securities demands that you retract the libelous and wrongful statements contained in Mr. Archibaldís story immediately. Hamilton also demands, as it has done previously with stories on this matter published by The Washington Times, that no other stores be published without your reporters first talking with Hamilton or its counsel.
cc: Ms. Catherine Fitts