Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay
Illinois PayToPlay (IP2P) has evidence challenging the Sun Times’ claim that Daniel T. Frawley filed a “Whistleblower” lawsuit in July 2011 accusing several McMahon companies of fraudulent business practices over years of contracts with the City of Chicago and other local entities.
On March 25, the day after the Sun Times made the accusation against the McMahon’s, IP2P posted a copy of an alleged Frawley lawsuit received from a confidential source.
On March 26 and again on March 28, IP2P updated the Times’ unfolding story of the Frawley-McMahon lawsuit that, apparently, caused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ban the McMahon electric company from engaging in future city contracts.
Then, on March 30, in an article entitled “Does the Sun Times have a lawsuit accusing the McMahon's of fraudulent practices?,” IP2P posted a January 17, 2012 email in which the confidential source, referred to in our March 25 article, sent an alleged “Whistleblower” lawsuit to the Times. In that email, the source expressed reservations concerning the veracity of the document, leaving it up to the Times to confirm its authenticity.
Today we believe the answer to our question on March 30 is this – No.
On April 3, nearly nine months after the Times claimed the lawsuit was filed, we contacted attorneys representing the McMahon businesses and were told that the Times’ March 24 article was the first time they heard of a Frawley lawsuit against their clients. And, that they have no proof that a lawsuit exist.
Over several days, IP2P searched for any reference to the lawsuit in court records, and found none.
We considered the unlikely possibility that a judge sealed the suit when it was filed back in July 2010, and that it remains closed today. But, when the spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office was, on April 2, queried via email as to whether or not such a lawsuit existed, the spokesperson responded, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence of any such lawsuit, and have already explained that no such suit is publicly available to the best of my knowledge.”
So, if the lawsuit is sealed, the Times would have no legitimate access to it.
The credibility of the Times’ reporting on the Frawley-McMahon story now stands in question.
Why won’t the paper reveal what it claims to be the Frawley “Whistleblower” lawsuit?
We believe it’s because it doesn’t exist – and would welcome being proved wrong.