Peggy Kennedy, Wilton Station’s board president, called SFGN’s CEO on Feb. 19 and threatened to sue SFGN, and that she wouldn’t be the only one.
In a big picture sense, Kennedy is displeased with SFGN’s recent coverage of a protest in front of Wilton Station, an upper-class condominium complex in Wilton Manors, where she acts as the president of the board. Since February 2012, SFGN has been covering an alleged Ponzi scheme that targeted many Wilton Station residents, victims of whom many singled out property manager Janet Ellis as complicit in the scheme.
The protest comprised Michael Nunnenkamp — one of the alleged victims of the scheme — wheeling himself up to Wilton Station’s front sidewalk and holding signs calling Janet Ellis and her father Jim Ellis a thief.
The victims claimed that Janet Ellis would host community parties at Wilton Station and local bars. At these events, she would invite her father Jim Ellis, who would then set up meetings with George Elia, who’s currently in jail and facing almost two centuries in prison for fraud.
It’s no wonder Kennedy doesn’t like the press, since Wilton Station and its board have vehemently defended Janet Ellis since the beginning. She wasn’t the president when the controversy began, but took over after former board president Stanley Howard (who always refused to speak to SFGN) resigned — a week before Jim Ellis pleaded guilty.
She said that the residents of Wilton Station were tired of the "lack of real facts" in SFGN's reports, that SFGN was distorting the truth, and that residents wanted to be left alone and in peace.
Finally, Kennedy told the CEO that the board had nothing to do with the scam and therefore they were considering suing SFGN.
However, as mentioned in the Feb. 20 story, SFGN attempted to speak to Kennedy. She at first refused to speak on the record, and then agreed to be interviewed after press time. But the next morning, she called SFGN and refused to do so (again) after speaking with the board’s attorney. Repeated calls to speak with Janet Ellis have resulted in hang-ups.
To be clear: SFGN respects the rights of any subject of any story to respond to any given situation. Just so that there is no confusion, SFGN publicly requests Wilton Station’s Janet Ellis and Peggy Kennedy for sit-down interviews.
Kennedy called SFGN again in late morning Feb. 20 and said that she was misquoted. She was referring to something Michael Nunnenkamp said she told him during his protest, the quote of course attributed to him. Regardless, since she refused to speak on the record, SFGN was unable to corroborate Nunnenkamp’s statement, which was presented as such.
What she really said, Kennedy claimed, is, “The evidence we have against you will destroy your credibility.” But she couldn’t remember if she said “evidence” or “information.”