There is No Shame in Telling the Truth

Last week, Bobby Blair, and his puff paper, The Florida Agenda, declared war on this paper. He can lie about us all he wants. When it is legitimately newsworthy, we will tell the truth about him.

It is not my fault his partner ripped off a community foundation he directs for thousands of dollars by playing with its ATM debit card at gay strip clubs. It’s his fault.

It is not my fault his partner, who runs this health and fitness foundation, got arrested and tased by the Fort Lauderdale police last July, with five baggies of purported crystal meth in his wallet, while resisting arrest. It’s not my fault he is on probation now. It’s his fault.

It’s not my fault that Bobby Blair’s own books showed he paid himself back $3,000 of foundation funds after only loaning it $2,450. It’s his fault.

It is not my fault he classified multiple withdrawals as ‘payroll expenses’ while acknowledging he has no paid staff. It’s his fault.

Bobby Blair dispatched a writer to declare these reports as ‘bullying.’ Please, save it. His authorities are both charlatans making up stories. You might as well have had John Wayne Gacy say he sheltered runaway boys.

It’s not my fault Vince Clancy of Da Vinci Realty chose to hire, stand by, and defend a crook that ripped off LGBT homebuyers for more than $200,000. It’s his fault.

As you can see from today’s paper, his dear friend is back in jail on new federal fraud charges. Still backing him, Vince? Still threatening to sue us for printing the truth? Tell you what – take your best shot.

It’s not my fault a past director of the Pride South Florida Board stole more than $80,000 of LGBT donations and went to jail for embezzlement. It’s his fault. He is the one locked up. We just did what no other paper in town would do. We printed the truth about him.

It’s not my fault that Pride’s current director, Marc Hansen, refuses to share with the LGBT community tax notices the Pride South Florida Board has received from the IRS in connection with their failed audit.

With the exception of John Fugate and Roger Handevidt, the Pride South Florida Board is now linked into a repulsive conspiracy of silence, trying to cover up their failed IRS audit from 2010 to 2012. It’s not my fault they failed this audit. It’s their fault. We just want to report the news about it.

You can't bargain with the truth. The fact that I had a problem with the Florida bar in 2002 was my fault, but that fact does not give Brian Neal the right to rip off a community foundation in 2013.

The fact that I advocate for the legalization of marijuana or represent people who break the law does not mean this newspaper is going to ignore the fact that a local gay businessman in a high profile lawsuit was arrested for running a marijuana grow house out of his backyard.

This is a time when the LGBT community in America is celebrating multiple victories on many levels, from marriage equality to ensuring equal benefits for all LGBT couples. A newspaper such as ours, partnered with CNN and the Sun Sentinel, and the Florida Press Association, prints not only the wonderful and the wins, but also the warts and the wounds. That is why SFGN exposed a local gay businessman who ran a Ponzi scheme defrauding local LGBT homeowners at Wilton Station. It was his fault he went to jail.

Mario Careaga is a popular local gay businessman who is regrettably accused of manslaughter for running over a Miami Heat cheerleader two years ago while intoxicated.

It is a tragedy all around, with pain everywhere, but when he goes to court next month, we will report on the outcome, because that is what a newspaper does. We don’t relish these stories, any more than when we told you a popular local gay realtor, Ric Gibson, troubled by demons, committed suicide two months ago. But we report them. That’s our duty.

We don’t need to suck up to a phony board of advisors to tell us what to print. We are legitimate journalists. In the face of wrongdoing, we do not look the other way. We owe a trust to over 300 different businesses that support our free paper with their hard-earned dollars.

We don’t run away from the truth or trade it out for advertising. We seek out the truth and publish it every Wednesday, distributing our paper to 522 locations in four different counties. We print a beautiful content-driven national magazine, the Mirror, which you can pick up at Harvey’s on Castro Street in San Francisco or at Vinyl on Broadway in Denver. It was in New York for gay pride last week.

Unlike the other paper in town, sued by its last two printers for default, we aren’t on the stock market hyping ourselves with some worthless penny stock that transparently misleads investors about their net worth.

There is a reason our motto is ‘we reach people who care.’ SFGN is a small and local business, paying our rent and bills on time, and honoring our obligations to you and others.

As far as the other paper in town goes, far better people have said far worse about me. With your faith and friendship, your help and support, it will not deter SFGN from publishing a credible and conscientious newspaper each week.

We owe that to you, and it is a debt we honor every week. Norm Kent

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