Kansas City Hall argues that it is not illegal to lie to the media

Kansas City Hall argues that it is not illegal to lie to the media

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Kansas Metropolis officers argue that mendacity to the media isn’t towards the regulation and shouldn’t be the premise of a whistleblower grievance filed towards the town by its former spokesperson.

The town filed a movement in Jackson County court docket final week asking to dismiss a lawsuit introduced by Chris Hernandez, the town’s former communications director. in his swimsuit, Hernandez alleged he was demoted for refusing to lie to The Star and other local news organizations about metropolis initiatives and companies on the request of Metropolis Supervisor Brian Platt.

In its movement, the town argues that mendacity to the press doesn’t violate any regulation, rule or regulation.

“Regardless of the revered place the press holds because the fourth place in American politics,” the town’s movement learn, “there isn’t a regulation regarding false publicity of the press.” “Neither is there a selected rule or regulation by any authorities entity, together with the Metropolis, that governs false disclosures to the press.”

In his unique lawsuit, Hernandez mentioned he was “not prepared to place his credibility on the road” for Platt, alleging that the town supervisor ordered workers to lie as a part of a “media technique.”

Hernandez is suing the town for damages below a Missouri regulation that protects whistleblowers, saying he misplaced his job telling Platt he “should not be dishonest to the information media and the general public.” However the metropolis’s movement argues that Hernandez doesn’t meet the definition of a whistleblower below Missouri regulation and asks that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Whistleblower legal guidelines defend workers who disclose details about prohibited actions, the town says, and Hernandez was solely relaying his opinions to Platt.

“To be clear, the town doesn’t endorse mendacity to the press, nor does it lie, however even when it did and did, such an act isn’t a violation of any regulation, rule or regulation and doesn’t quantity to disclosure” below Missouri regulation, the town file reads.

The town submitting additionally signifies that Hernandez didn’t accuse the town supervisor of mendacity to the media.

The town’s movement learn: “At finest—one thing the town would vehemently deny if requested to take action by means of litigation—Mr. Platt requested why he could not deceive the media.”

The plaintiff was not deterred by the town’s response.

“I really feel assured that we can overcome the denial request,” mentioned Lynne Gabin Bratcher, the lawyer representing Hernandez.

The lawsuit stemmed from the town’s communication technique concerning road resurfacing and pothole repairs.

Within the lawsuit, Hernandez alleged that Platt known as a gathering with communications workers at his downtown workplace in January 2022 and mentioned methods for coping with the Kansas Metropolis information media. Throughout that assembly, Platt allegedly raised the opportunity of mendacity as a “authentic media technique”.

Within the spring, the town’s communications group ready a press launch concerning the variety of miles of metropolis streets that will be on show once more based mostly on out there funds within the subsequent fiscal 12 months.

A drafted press launch said “roughly 300” miles, in line with the lawsuit. Platt requested the communications group to take away the phrase “virtually”. Days earlier than the occasion, the lawsuit alleges that Platt had knowingly exaggerated the venture’s advantages on social media by saying the town would repavate “greater than 400” miles.

Our summer season of road resurfacing is in full swing. 400+ miles deliberate for spring and summer season! However what’s beneath the outdated asphalt is usually one thing extra particular: 100+ 12 months outdated brick pavers and unique auto-track on the road right here. On Brooklyn Ave!” Platt wrote in a Could 6 put up on Twitter.

Hernandez claims he was apprehensive the town supervisor was mendacity in regards to the quantity, since no different worker knew in regards to the elevated mileage.

The case can be referred to May’s story in The Star With regard to the town’s excavation work. Hernandez alleges that Platt was enraged by the story, and instructed workers to name the newspaper and say “the numbers had been improper” when the truth is they had been true.

Throughout a gathering at a Kansas Metropolis espresso store, Hernandez says in his lawsuit, Platt requested him why one other member of the communications group had stop and different workers had left. Hernandez says he instructed Platt that many individuals resent the best way they’re being handled.

The next month, the lawsuit says, Platt instructed Hernandez he didn’t have the “frequent imaginative and prescient” of the communications division and he was rehired.

hernandez, A former television reporter who worked in the city’s communications department for ten yearsHe is now a particular liaison officer with the town’s Division of Civil Rights and Equal Alternative.

Invoice Lukic of The Star contributed to this story.

Associated tales from the Kansas Metropolis Star

Kevin Hardy covers enterprise for The Kansas Metropolis Star. He beforehand coated enterprise and politics for The Des Moines Register. He additionally labored for newspapers in Kansas and Tennessee. Graduated from the College of Kansas

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