Friday, June 22, 2012

Salisbury | Paper says prank caller posing as mayor is roommate of reporter who quit over the incident

The man who made a sensational prank telephone call to a local blogger, posing as the mayor of Salisbury, Md., is the roommate of a Daily Times reporter who resigned after being implicated in the incident, the newspaper revealed in a story this morning.

The paper identified the caller as David Gaudette. Earlier, in a Page One note Wednesday to readers by Executive Editor Greg Bassett, the paper had said only that the caller was an "associate" of the reporter.

But as in Bassett's note, today's Times story still doesn't identify the reporter by name. The reporter resigned when a police investigation revealed she had witnessed the call earlier this month, the newspaper says. Bassett said she'd failed to tell editors about her involvement, violating Gannett's ethics policy.

After receiving the call, blogger Joe Albero accused the mayor of being drunk, in a June 4 post that drew hundreds of reader comments -- and spurred a police department investigation.

Unidentified editor drawn in
At a news conference yesterday, police Chief Barbara Duncan said she considered the case closed, according to the paper. "I am not going to draw the police department any further into any foolishness by making additional statements that would draw us further into a controversy," she said.

Today's Times story said Gaudette had also made a similar prank call to one of the newspaper's editors. The paper didn't identify that editor by name either, however.

At the news conference, Mayor Jim Ireton said he received a call from Gaudette on Wednesday night, according to the paper, "expressing his sincere apology for what he caused and what he did and for any problem that it caused me as the mayor."

Albero also attended the conference, and in a post on his site yesterday, reiterated his contention that Ireton had, indeed, made the call. 


  1. Questions.......Is it illegal to prank call a blogger??? Also is it a reporter's job to police such behaviour by others or report such behaviour? and Thirdly, did the reporter gain any advantage from the knowledge of the alledged impersonation?

  2. maybe we should prank call jim. he doesn't do any original reporting anyway. this is all trash and hate.

    have to cash some stock now.

    ciao haters hee hee

  3. 11:52, you imply that you're cashing in on Gannett stock.

    Good luck with that.

  4. By all means . . . cash in some of the lucrative GCI stock. That would be the stock that has lost $1.50 since raising the dividend, while paying out its first 20 cents under the new plan.

    After you get your $67 for cashing in your five shares, maybe you could help your mom with the electric bill this month.

    And PLEASE . . . clean up your room.

  5. I am thrilled and delighted to report that when I fled in utter disgust from this awful company less than 10 years ago, I sold my stock for about $80 a share.

    It was the wisest decision I ever made (and an easy one, too).

    I was equally thrilled when the stock nosedived and all those dreadful publishers and EEs out there took a bath on their now worthless stock.

    It appears that those new rookies at Salisbury are clueless as to ethics. Sad.

  6. Prank causalities: In addition to firing a reporter this week, the Daily Times fired its local news editor on Friday. The editor, before he was escorted from the building, killed/deleted a bunch of weekend stories.

  7. Correction: The local news editor who was fired by the Daily Times didn't kill/delete a bunch of weekend stories. He killed/deleted all the weekend stories.

  8. Doesn't surprise me in the least. Joe was an immature, only mildly competent guy in way over his head. No editing chops (read some of the crap in the Times, especially the stuff passed off as enterprise) and little sense of what makes a story.

  9. Albero also says he got an obscenity-laced call from the "resigned" reporter.

  10. Can anyone straighten out what really happened? Very confusing.

    And why was the editor fired? A rarity in Gannettland.

  11. This situation really amounts to a comedy of errors.

    Albero isn't a "news blogger" so much as a gossip hound who uses his bully pulpit to inflate his own ego. It's been rumored that most of the ads aren't actually paid for and many of the anonymous comments are written by Albero himself. That said, he is influential in stirring the pot. He claims to be running for mayor, yet his primary residence is in another city. Last year, he got into hot water for libeling the family of a young girl who went missing and was later found dead.

    Salisbury politics are sharply divided, with two factions of City Council engaged in constant warfare. Elected officials take any opportunity they can to snipe at one another (hence why one councilwoman called police instead of the mayor when she heard Albero's allegations). The city itself has a high crime rate relative to its size. It's a hub for the East Coast drug trade, particularly meth. The police are competent but under-staffed and ill equipped to deal with all these problems (hence why the chief was so exasperated at the time wasted on a prank).

    With this atmosphere as backdrop, a roommate of the reporter prank called Albero using a Spoofing app, posing as the mayor conceding the upcoming election. The reporter witnessed the call. She reported it to her immediate supervisor, but not the mayor or the executive editor. This is why she resigned.

    The immediate supervisor had already been walking a tightrope due to some issues not worth repeating. The management was eager to rid themselves of a perceived liability.

    The executive editor had indeed been demoted recently, but that wasn't over this incident. Ad revenues and circulation at the Daily Times, like all newspapers, has been in decline.

    Salisbury has a fairly robust blog community that has eaten this up, fueling what shouldn't have been a controversy in the first place.

  12. "The immediate supervisor had already been walking a tightrope due to some issues not worth repeating."

    Oh, please do repeat. They put up with his lack of ability and utter unprofessionalism for umpteen years, so it can't be that. What'd he do?


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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