IS BALITA-BEIRNE GROUP HEADING FOR MELTDOWN? Submitted by PinoyWatchDog.com LOS ANGELES – “I was forced to write something that I did not want to write twice by the publisher of Balita. Last year I was asked to do that again,” confessed writer-editor David Casuco of Balita Media during a press conference organized by the Media and Business Club of Los Angeles on Wednesday at the Kapistahan Restaurant in Historic Filipino-town.3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 1
Casuco related an incident last year when his independence as an editor was again put to the test, and he lost because he no longer belonged to the Balita management’s trusted circle, which includes Anthony Allen, his wife Luchie Allen, and Rhony Laigo, Balita executive editor. Casuco has a history of standing for his ethics as a respected and ethical journalist. In the past, when Balita was embroiled in the so-called “Dindo Reyes-Michael Gurfinkel case”, David resigned from Balita, but he was rehired again last year, after Laigo had been taken in as editor. In the ensuing reshuffle, Laigo was elevated to the executive editor position even though Casuco had more seniority and tenure than Laigo.3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 2
“Last year,” a visibly tearful Casuco revealed at the press conference, “It happened again. I was against using a blurb on the front page of Balita that stated “Is Bander a crook?” He revealed that Luchie Mendoza-Allen, probably fearing it would bring a libel lawsuit, agreed with him. “But Rhony Laigo put it back,” Casuco said. It appears that executive editor Laigo, who prides in calling himself a “practicing journalist,” is the person that harbors hatred against Atty Bander.3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 3
Casuco vowed that it was his sole decision to attend the press conference, even saying that he was initially adamant about pursuing the idea because he thought the staff of PinoyWatchDog.com would not welcome him. But his principles won over his fears, and he came. “I’m going to write what I want to write,” he said. “If the (Balita) organization changes it I’m going to ask them not to publish it and walk out of there. I will insist that they don’t change it or I will walk out again.” He added that he would be the best person to help PinoyWatchDog.com and Balita to resolve their differences. “If you want this resolved in a peaceful manner you can use me as a go- between. There is no need to perpetuate a bad thing.”3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 4
Before the surprising revelation by Casuco, community leader and Tanod Bayan, Inc. President Al Aquino criticized Balita owners Anthony Allen and Luchie Mendoza-Allen, also the owners of the Law Office of James P. Beirne. Aquino said that maligning Atty Bander and the entire staff of PinoywatchDog.com for exposing them as the owners of the Law Office of Atty Beirne is not good for the Filipino-American community. “If Beirne is just one of their advertisers, why are they going to great lengths to defend him, especially now that he is facing hundreds of contempt of court charges for deceitful and fraudulent claims in his advertising?”3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 5
Aquino, who is also the executive editor of PinoyWatchDog. com, announced that he is lodging a complaint with the State Bar of California for Beirne’s continuing disobedience of Judge Soussan Bruguera’s court order to desist from “deceptive, misleading and false advertising” for which violations Beirne is liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and jail time if found guilty. A veteran newsman and a former town Mayor and Member of the Provincial Board in his native province of La Union, Aquino blasted Balita for a recent editorial which branded Aquino and Rene Villaroman, PWD Managing Editor, as alter egos of Atty Bander. “That editorial has insinuated that Bander owns everything and everyone at PinoyWatchDog.com,” Aquino said. “True, he provides the financing to print the newspaper, and he even serves as Senior Columnist for the paper; but is publishing a newspaper a crime in America?” Aquino asked. “He is being accused by them as a con man because he pays for the publication of PinoyWatchDog.com.”3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 6
“They keep harping that Bander has scammed 800 people. How come no one has come up and filed a lawsuit against him? How come he is walking tall and free, and in fact, he is here with us today?” Can you say the same things for the reclusive Anthony Allen and Luchie Mendoza-Allen? Have you seen them in public mingling with Filipino-Americans like what Atty Bander always does?” But the real truth is that the Allens are the owners of the Law Office of James P. Beirne that is why they are putting everything they have to protect Beirne, even in the face of his hundreds of contempt of court charges. “Balita should not shoot the messenger. Instead, they should come out with a credible explanation of what is really happening in their organization,” Aquino said. “No newspaper would do what Balita is doing unless what’s happening currently to Beirne is impacting their ownership interest. This is harmful to the Filipino community and it must stop.”3/5/2012 James Beirne Scam 7
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