It’s a pleasure (and my mom would want me to say, honor) to be part of this new Cafe feature on the Voice. So, let’s get to it.

There’s a (false) rumor being spread that Mayor Sanders “failed to participate” (those are the words being used) in a conference call with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Thursday at 11:45 a.m. As you’ll appreciate for yourself in a moment, this information is misleading and inaccurate.

But first some crucial background: It was a well-known fact around City Hall that the mayor intended to announce his plans for the remedial measures at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. The news conference was carried live on the city’s Channel 24. At the beginning of the news conference (live on Channel 24), I stood at the podium and briefed the press that the mayor would speak for approximately 25 minutes and that Jay Goldstone would follow the mayor and speak for another 25 minutes before we got to their questions.

So, for those keeping up with the time, it was clearly established that the Mayor would not get to questions from the press until at least 11:50am.

At 11:15am (15 minutes into the news conference), I received a call on my cell phone from the City Attorney’s office informing me that a call had been set up with the SEC for 11:45am.

It seemed a little coincidental that a call had been set up while the Mayor’s news conference was still going on.

In the past, the calls with the agency have been: 1) few in number; and 2) set up a long time in advance. I informed the caller – a senior advisor to the office – that: 1) in the future, the mayor’s schedule should be consulted before calls are set up so that these conflicts do not occur – the mayor will cancel/change any appointment to speak with the SEC but it’s a little hard to leave an event that he initiated; 2) I asked if there was some magic to the 11:45 a.m. time – and was told no; and 3) I informed the caller that the mayor was currently participating in a news conference (which they knew) and would gladly participate right after it ended or at some other time later that day.

At 11:30 a.m., this time in person, the same staffer appeared at the back door of the news conference room. This time, he had come to ask me if the City Attorney could follow the mayor with his remarks. When I asked about the SEC call, his response was “Mike’s on to other things now.” I do not know whether or not the conference call with the SEC ever occurred (at 11:45 a.m.) – I doubt it – or what its intended purpose was.

No alternative call time was set up so it couldn’t have been very important.

I debated (with myself) whether or not to tell this long and sordid story. It’s really sad that I decided to do it. But in the end, I think that if disinformation is left unanswered, folks (rightly) have the impression over time to get a false impression of one’s actions or behavior. So, now the record is complete. You judge for yourself.

FRED SAINZ

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