Courant Publisher Graziano and Editor Hazell have good reason not to debate the Watchdog in public

Today was the first time I had the honor to appear on “Where We Live,” WNPR’s daily news-talk show, where we had nearly an hour to discuss in-depth many of the issues involved in my firing by  The Courant and what that means for the public, who as far as I am concerned was the one really fired. You can listen to the whole hour here.

Courant Publisher Rich Graziano, Editors Jeff Levine and Naedine Hazell were invited – just like they will be invited to all radio and television interviews I have been asked to appear at – but they declined, claiming their lawyers told them not to show because of possible litigation.

Well, if there is going to be litigation, it will be by me and my attorney, Joseph Garrison of New Haven, and Joe had no problem with me going on the air knowing full well that every word I would say would be transcribed and Tribune lawyers would try to use it against me if and when we went to trial. 

Joe and I have known each other for more than 20 years. After having covered federal and state courts for more than 10 years, he knows I am not stupid enough to lie. If I inadvertently say something inaccurate or wrong, we can deal with it.

So, you know how a  journalist’s  minds works (when it sometimes does), I tried to think about what other possible reasons Graziano and Hazell were no shows.

And you know what? I came up with some possible explanations. Since they aren’t going to tell us now – but when they place their hands of the Bible and promise to testify honestly, they will have to. So I thought I would share with you some potential issues that hypothetically they would prefer not be disected.

Lets start with Graziano, who faces a sexual harassment complaint from a Fox 61 television reporter. He was also involved last Spring  in a Farmington incident where he was “helping” a very attractive Fox 61 employee with her drinking issues after a party. Even though the employee was arrested twice that night on DUI charges and Graziano was there to help, there just might be more to the story.

The Courant attempted to write the story as soon as reporters found out about the incident, but it seems that Graziano was less than forthcoming in providing details to his own reporters. It was only after The Courant received an official police report that Graziano fessed up to at least a part of his role.

I am getting word that perhaps there might be even more to that story that Graziano would not want to be questioned about. We will have to see.

Then there is the question of who ordered Courant internet staffers to take down the AP story on the complaint about Graziano. It was days later,  only after we were forced to write about it that it returned to our internet site.

Now, on the radio program today I explained that one of the issues that led to my firing was a blog I had published involving Price Chopper – a key Courant advertiser.

 It’s a complicated issue, which is detailed  in other blogs here, but the bottom line is that I could have handled it better, especially knowing everything that I now know. And I said that on the program. Trust me folks, I am far from perfect, but at least I know my imperfections and have no trouble talking about them, because everyone makes mistakes.

Then I started thinking, wouldn’t the whole web staff at The Courant had seen that blog posting, since they review them after being published? If they had a problem with it, wouldn’t they have told me or Naedine, who was their boss? Or wouldn’t Naedine had read it? No one ever told me.

So lets say, hypothetically that Naedine was aware of it or had been made aware of it, or should have been aware of it, did she tell her bosses and Tribune lawyers that maybe she might be at least partially at fault? Maybe, maybe not. Could be just another headache for those high-priced lawyers to deal with.

Its interesting because she blamed me, in writing, for the whole issue. Well, we will just have to see how all this plays out.

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15 Comments on "Courant Publisher Graziano and Editor Hazell have good reason not to debate the Watchdog in public"

  1. I see a lot of hiding going on at the Courant, George. Let’s just say there will be some tight collars when those folks have to place their hands on the bible…

  2. Management has always protected itself,always. Particularly in the past few years, managers have thrown underlings under the bus to protect themselves. Look at all the people with disabilities they have laid off/fired. In some cases, they have bold faced lied, been sued, and lost. They don’t care. That’s in the budget. I’m not surprised at anything with this company.

  3. I heard you on the radio this AM, Where we Live, and I have been reading your column since you created “Watchdog.”
    I just want to offer my support for your taking a stand, and I hope you look forward to retirement at the end of this. As one who retired early vs. accepting continual, increasing compromises on values and standards, I myself am delighted to be done with it all and I enjoy the free time, wearing a watch only to remember upcoming commitments – including cooking barbeque! – and reading books I always wanted to.
    So, take it easy, George, don’t be uselessly bitter or angry, and enjoy the free time. Thank you for the efforts at keeping companies honest, but don’t labor under the baggage.
    BTW, I taught journalism for years, in high school, and the conflict between profit, advertising revenue, facts, and ethics was a common theme.
    Cheers,
    Tom Knapp,
    Windsor

  4. The Courant has been a joke for a long time. You are late to the party george.

  5. The media section of the website contains by far the most articles – all about George. Hmmm….

  6. You are taking no prisoners and naming names. That’s what newspapers used to do.

  7. This blog is boring. When will it actually report about consumer issues?

  8. Are you going to continue reporting on consumer issues with this blog or use it just as a platform against your former employer? Where do you see this blog a month from now and a year from now?

  9. George, I think it’s OK for you to use this space to get everything said about your dismissal from the Courant. Eventually that will be over and you can devote all of your time to other evils.

    The Courant has become garbage. So, kick it around for a while if you need to. Good luck.

  10. George, You say you dont lie but you sure come close many times especially with your CL&P columns. Your handling of the Calibey and Stevens columns specifically left out many facts supporting CL&P and your bias against CL&P was all too evident in those columns. Honestly, you should be ashamed of them. For the record, I am completely familar with all the facts of both those cases and can sleep at night knowing these customers were not wronged in any way and that sold a bill of goods. I mean how bad would you look if your trademark Calibey feature was proven to be a sham…and it was by the way but you will never tell the truth and own up to that, will you Georgie?

    • George Gombossy | August 22, 2009 at 6:06 am |

      Jason – Every fact about Calibey and others I have written about I have proved. While not all the documents about Stevens have been published yet on my blogs, the ones about Calibey were ALL published in my old Courant blog at http://www.courant.com/ctwatchdog. At the result the State Attorney General is investigating the case. So my friend, you do not only don’t know all the facts, you don’t bother even to read them when they are readily available. George Gombossy

      • George..I do know all the facts especially with Calibey. You did not prove a thing ! Let the AG investigate the Calibey complaint
        all he wants. There was no wrong doing whatsoever. In fact it was CL&P who got scammed twice. The facts speak for themselves.
        The DPUC and electrical engineers all stated the likely reason was the electric heat kicked on a much higher proportion of the
        time and acted as the driver for the heating. It was one of the coldest winters in 15 years and major drops in oil consumption support it. It also did happen three times total not just in 2009 and on seperate meters…So tell me what did you prove?

      • George Gombossy | August 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm |

        Jason
        You are one of the less brilliant Northeast Utilities employees. You sent your emails from an NU computer ip:159.108.3.241, host3-241.nu.com. If you actually went into the Calibey personal records, you probably violated company privacy rules and maybe state laws. On top of that you are posting FALSE information. If NU, the parent of CL&P, has any brains, it would track you down and make an example of you for using NU equipment to lie to the public. You have sent dozens of emails to the Courant making similar claims.
        The Dog just bit you

  11. Your CL&P columns were right on the mark, well-researched and made the “public” utility squirm. I once suggested to then-Governor Rowland (and you were there) that the state should take over CL&P, clean it up and then sell it back to the public. Our electric bills dropped substantially after I was given two new electric meters and the customer service representative, going by the script in front of her, asked whether we had bought a jacuzzi, because that would change electricity consumption. Ummm, miss, that would increase the power used not lower it.

  12. Given that you were a journalist for 40 years (when you weren’t lolling about in West Hartford Center, I presume), you ought to be well aware that the potential subjects of litigation — in this case, Hazell, Levine and sleazoid Graziano — almost never comment, or respond to allegations of the sort you’re leveling, anywhere outside a courtroom.

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