Michelle Long Spears addresses article and campaign allegations

Thank you, Ms. Ware, for taking my phone call today at 2:17 pm. I appreciate both you and Mr. Umontuen calling me back today at 2:35 pm and agreeing to remove the story titled, “DeKalb County Commissioners’ race possibly marred by alleged ethics violations,” effective immediately today, June 16, at 2:45 pm. The link to this misleading, frequently false, and obviously biased news story published in the the Atlanta Voice is (link is no longer active as of 6/16 3:15 pm):


Among the falsehoods:

Mr. Umontuen, you stated on our call today that you did not contact Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson. As documented in the attached (Cochran-Johnson giving my campaign permission to include her on our campaign materials), Cochran-Johnson formally endorsed me through the Primary. She then chose to endorse no-one in the runoff, stating through text on Friday, June 10 that “she did not wish to make a formal statement or endorsement in the runoff.” You will also see that I did all that I could to respond to her change of position, including removing her from our website and runoff mailer. Unfortunately, though, one previously scheduled robocall, which was recorded on June 6, accidentally retained her endorsement after the change. Our campaign team made a mistake and I was misinformed that we didn’t catch it, resulting in my erroneous statement to her.

Mr. Umontuen, you stated on our call today that you did not contact Representative Shea Roberts either. Cochran-Johnson’s decision was made weeks after the incident that you suggest without evidence was Robert’s cause of action, so it was therefore unrelated and not “meanwhile”, as you suggest. 

Commissioner Ted Terry is not running my campaign. I am leading my campaign, with the assistance of paid campaign professionals that do not include Commissioner Terry. You did not call either Commissioner Terry or Commissioner Cochran-Johnson to document any “conflict”, and you nor I, have any evidence that one exists.  

Mr. Umontuen, you stated on our call today that you made no attempts to contact me, despite your story clearly stating that “Spears has not responded to requests for comment” – which is untrue.  I did not speak to anyone from the Atlanta Voice. I did not receive an email or a voicemail from you. You falsely assert you made multiple attempts before publishing the story.  

There is no part of Chamblee or Tucker, or East Atlanta in District 2.  

Your article fails to conform to basic journalistic standards and lacks integrity. It is a stain on your masthead. Your allegations are second or third hand from biased sources affiliated with opposing campaigns. On our call today, I asked you to identify your sources; you did not respond and failed to identify those sources without any justification and then treat their allegations as fact without any fact-checking. 

You fail to mention that it was actually Marshall Orson, current member of the DeKalb County Board of Education, who falsely claimed Commissioner Cochran-Johnson’s endorsement, as documented in the attached mailer. Cochran-Johnson stated that “Marshall never asked me for my endorsement. He and I had a conversation. I was actually shocked when I received notice that my photo was on his website…”

I have no conflict with Commissioner Cochran-Johnson, Marshall Orson, Lauren Alexander or the Atlanta Voice. You owed it to your readers and to the integrity of the press to retract this slanderous story and to publish an apology for your methods and lack of basic journalistic rigor. The smear was the story.

In closing, I appreciate you agreeing to print the truthful story from me today — 100% word for word.


Michelle Long Spears

The post Michelle Long Spears addresses article and campaign allegations appeared first on The Atlanta Voice.

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