Smokin' up the grapevine today! Lots of hot gossip.
Political consultant Pat Cotton says Dallas Morning News politics writer Gromer Jeffers made up a quote by her in this morning's newspaper that's so bad and so damaging she wants to sue him. Seriously.
In today's Snooze, Jeffers quoted Cotton as telling city council member Mitchell Rasansky to stay out of the mayor's race or "Donna Blumer and I will destroy you."
Cotton says she didn't say it. Not a word of it. "He made it up."
Blumer is a conservative political leader in far North Dallas, where she preceded Rasansky in his seat on the council. Cotton has been running the campaign for mayor of lawyer Darrell Jordan.
Cotton says she called DMN metro editor Dwayne Bray this morning to complain. Jeffers was the one who called her back, she says.
She says she asked Jeffers: "'What have you done to me?' He said, 'Well, I don't know, what's wrong.' I said, 'The quote you used was not true. I never said that. He said, 'Well, I looked in my notes, and you said you would bury him.' I said, 'Bury is not the word used in the paper, and second of all, I did not say we would bury him or destroy him. That's not a thing I would say about Mitchell, who's a friend and a client, and I would not have included Donna Blumer's name.'"
She says Bray did call her back and refused to print a retraction because Jeffers had told him he had the quote in his notes. Apparently the call was not recorded. She says Bray told her she should have known enough to record any conversations she had with reporters.
Wonder why he doesn't tell his reporters to do the same.
I have a call in to Bray and one in to Jeffers. No callback yet. I did talk to Rasansky. He believes Jeffers.
"I did call Gromer," Rasansky told me, "and Gromer said, 'Mitchell, I don't print things that people don't say.'"
Rasansky trusts Jeffers. "I've known him for five years. He has not written the best articles about me in the past five years. But he is an honorable man."
He thinks Cotton just blew her top. "I'm extremely disappointed she had a Freudian slip," he said.
But...did she say it? Did she ever tell him she would destroy him if he ran for mayor?Absolutely not, he told me. She did have a chat with him last week in which she suggested he should not run for mayor. But she never threatened to bury or destroy him or have him whacked or put his lights out or bust a cap in him or anything like that.
"It was all lovely," he told me. "She said, 'We need you more as a council person than as a mayor.'"
So if she didn't say it to him, why would she have told Jeffers she did? Tune in to the next installment of "One Life to Waste," and maybe I'll have an answer for you. --Jim Schutze
Update: Robert Mong, editor of The News, called me and said: "My experience with Gromer is that he is very straightforward. I believe him."
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I couldn't really think of anything else to ask, so I said, "Are you sure?"
There was a long silence on the other end.
Finally Mong said, "All I can do is fall back on my experience with him, and I have no reason to doubt that's the case."
I was thinking of saying, "Are you sure?" again. But I didn't.