The Broken Arrow Ledger Censorship Page
I think a comprehensive letter could be created to give to Bob Lewis and other media outlets if they continue.

                                                                                     -  Jim Sisney, in email to Stephanie Updike, 8/10/2008
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It seems that whenever a Sisney supporter posts something particularly ludicrous, giving Jolie and me a chance to point out the glaring flaws, obvious discrepancies, and sheer implausiblity of Sisney's story, we get shut
down.  The ridiculous post stands, and we can't get anything through to show how preposterous it is.  It is particularly difficult to get anything posted that deals with
claims Sisney made of criminal activity.  In fact, I have
noticed a distinct pattern among board-bashers of backing down from the talk of
handcuffs and jail time.  Now it's all about incompetence.  Hm, could it be that he exaggerated a bit when he made his statements in the
media?

He was sure the press would be his ally in his campaign to ruin reputations of innocent people to save his own.

          
 "The press is more than happy to print mud-slinging by those in positions of public trust."  - Jim Sisney, July 15, 2008, as quoted in the board members' Counterclaim.

The Ledger didn't see fit to print his attorney brother's comment regarding using the press, but I do:

    "The press is dynamite that can hurt you as much as anybody. I wouldn't rule it out.  Your Board would look pretty bad if this played out in the press. However, even a little pancake has two sides and when
    it becomes adversarial, the other side will come out and you could be hurt. Tough judgment call. And you need to be ready to move on if it gets to the point the press is airing all of this. But when you get to
    that point you want to get the damages up as much as possible and have your exit plan in place ... " - Thurman Lee Sisney, in email to Jim Sisney, 08/07/2008

Providing his side of the story seemed to work pretty well for Sisney.  The Ledger readily published his unsupported and implausible claims.  But now, they refuse to print any comment quoting Sisney's own words in
the article the Ledger published on January 16, 2009!  I will print the quotes here, to remind us of the startling "news" we read that day:




























Let's review the accusations of participation in criminal activity in the
lawsuits, too, since some are now saying Sisney didn't accuse them of criminal activity!  Huh?  This from the same people who predicted handcuffs!























You might have noticed that we haven't seen any of Jolie's comments lately on the Ledger at all.  Apparently they have decided not to post
anything she submits - not even the "congratulations" one-liner she posted on the
article about Dr. Mendenhall being awarded his doctorate.

So in order to alleviate some of our exasperation with the Broken Arrow Ledger, we will post our rejected comments here!  Here you can read what the Broken Arrow Ledger specifically doesn't want you to know!  I'm a
little short on time, so I'm just going to start with today's reject pile.  

I would put the links to the Broken Arrow Ledger's articles, but they get archived away.  In fact, sometimes they disappear completely, even from the archives.  There is a span of time - coincidentally
right when Sisney was
getting fired - for which the Ledger's archives are empty!  Not one article comes up during that period.  It could be for legal reasons, since there are lawsuits involving those events.  Or maybe the Ledger printed some stuff
they don't want us to see any more.  Maybe there were some comments that give something away, or were made by someone who shouldn't have been posting.  We know of course that Sisney admitted in his deposition
to posting at least one comment on the Ledger regarding his termination.

Don't worry, Jolie and I have the articles saved, nasty comments and all.  :)
Reps. from state auditors office meet with BAPS board members 08/23/2010



  • The Ledger printed editorials supporting Sisney and "news" telling his side of the story, but never acknowledged that there was another side of the story that could not be presented,
    because of the confidentiality requirement regarding personnel issues and the fact that Sisney had filed a lawsuit specifically for the purpose of preventing anyone from explaining what
    was really going on.  

  • The Ledger at least twice reported that Sisney filed his defamation lawsuit after he was fired.  Honest mistake?  Not likely; the Ledger was on top of this story from the beginning.  Looks
    more like assisting Sisney in following his brother's advice to "stay the victim".

  • Terry Stover sent the long-awaited response from the Board to Air Assurance - without telling the board the draft was even ready, allowing them to review it, or getting their approval.  The
    Ledger never reported this.

  • Stephanie Updike and Terry Stover both knew it would be unethical and legally risky to allow public comment regarding Sisney's suspension, but they - with the Ledger's help - very vocally
    attacked the 3 board members who did the right thing.  The Ledger never reported the compelling reasons not to allow public comment in this situation - or the fact that it's standard policy
    for many school boards.

  • Jim Sisney says Mike Rampey arranged "surreptitious" meetings between AA and 2 board members at a time.  The board members say Jim Sisney agreed to the meetings, and asked
    Wilkins to ask Stover to arrange them, which Stover did.  Why does the Ledger not report this discrepancy in stories?  It's important.

  • Two of the people whose signatures were allegedly on the Taxpayer Demand stated that they had never seen it and did not support it.  They could not have signed it if they had never seen
    it.  Richardson said that they had changed their minds after signing it.  Why did the Ledger not follow up to resolve this discrepancy?  Why did the Ledger not print my comments asking
    about this?

  • Jim Sisney said in his lawsuit that he received an email saying Wilkins did benefits work for AA before she was a board member.  The Ledger let this rumor stand, without ever reporting
    that according to Wilkins, she had never even met Rampey before the meeting with him, Updike, and Sisney.

  • Mike Ritze helped circulate the petition to remove the 3 board members, based on charges that by Sisney's own admission amounted to nothing.  Then he tried to notarize his own
    signature.  Even though he is listed as a witness on Sisney's witness list, when the attorney for the 3 board members tried to schedule him for a deposition, he dodged service as long as
    he could, and then tried to get out of testifying by claiming "legislative immunity" - which doesn't apply in this case, for events that happened before he was even sworn in.  The Ledger
    never reported his involvement in supporting Sisney's PR attack, his unresponsiveness to the attorney for the 3 board members, his attempt to nullify his service, or the judge's ruling that
    legislative immunity doesn't apply.

  • Jim Sisney claimed in his lawsuit that he "discovered" that the District was using blanket purchase orders for HVAC work, and implied that this was illegal.  The Ledger let it slide that he
    couldn't possibly have "discovered" something that he already knew - since he was the one who presented them to the board every year for approval - and that there was nothing illegal
    about using blanket purchase orders.

  • Sisney's claim for wrongful termination was based on bias.  In his deposition, he admitted that his only basis for claiming bias was his own feelings.  He had nothing concrete - no
    evidence of the board members receiving anything in return for their votes, no evidence of their conspiracy against him, no evidence of illegal actions with Air Assurance, no instances of
    Open Meetings violations.  The "conflict of interest" that his brother advised him to exploit never materialized.  The Ledger never reported this outcome from the deposition.

  • The Ledger announced Reynolds' "news" of computers being seized and subpoenas issued, right after the AG got the audit.  Problem is, that's not when the seizures happened or the
    subpoenas were issued - that happened months earlier.  Sisney's computer was one that was "seized", well over a year ago.  Did the Ledger verify that this article gave an accurate
    picture of what happened, or just go with Reynolds' sensational "news", knowing that it would create more division based on inaccurate information?

  • Maryanne Flippo's press release was about Sisney's threats to her.  But the Ledger portrayed it as a tirade against the newspaper (much like Bob Lewis' criticism of Jolie).  Flippo
    understandably expressed her exasperation at the one-sided reporting.  But the big news was "Board Member Claims Threats of PR Nightmare".  The Ledger reported this claim, but only
    after doing its best to discredit her as a scheming shrieking harpy.  The Ledger has consistently painted her in this manner, and Sisney as a misunderstood hero.  

  • Sisney provided confidential information to Reynolds, without an Open Records request.  The Ledger never reported this.

  • Updike emailed confidential board communications to a citizen.  The heading "I don't know if you ever saw this...I don't remember it. Just thought you might be interested" gives the
    impression that this was not a one-time thing.  The Ledger never reported this, or followed up on any of the claims that Updike had breached confidentiality.  In fact, it went the other
    direction, supporting Updike in her inaccurate comments blaming board members for legal fees, without acknowledging that she violated several board ethics rules to make claims that
    were provably false and irresponsibly divisive.

  • The email that Updike broke board ethics to forward to Beth Snellgrove showed Flippo's support for releasing the attorney billing fees - WITH additional information that would help
    explain to the public why they were necessary.  Flippo also says in the email that Updike was against releasing this information.  The Ledger never reported this, and in fact assisted in
    promoting the opposite point of view - that Flippo was withholding the details and Updike was for releasing them.

  • The Ledger won't post my comments comparing the 14,000 they fussed about paying Gerber for doing his job to the 80,000+ that we paid Sisney for NOT doing his job.  Why not?

  • The Ledger reported that the 3 board members boycotted the meeting.  It did not report that, according to the board members, they told Stover in advance that they would not attend the
    meeting if they could not address the critical issues they tried to put on the agenda, and that they asked Stover to cancel the meeting.  Instead of adding the agenda items, which he had
    no right to block in the first place, or cancelling the meeting until they could resolve the problem, Stover went ahead with a meeting he KNEW would not be attended.  And Sisney called the
    media.  The Ledger never reported this.  It should have supported the board members, who were taking a stand against someone who was preventing them from doing what was
    needed for the District.  The Ledger condemned their actions, without reporting the full story, without reporting the reprehensible actions Sisney had taken to put pressure on them, and
    without offering any alternative they should have taken.

  • The board members claim that Sisney refused to speak to them except through his attorney.  The Ledger never reported this claim, which would have offered a plausible reason for their
    hiring a new law firm.

  • The Ledger wrote an editorial criticizing the board members for hiring RFR but didn’t mention that they had NO access to legal counsel due to Sisney’s control; a risky situation for them
    and for the District.  The Ledger did not present any of their actual reasons for hiring counsel, even though those reasons were made available in the board meeting.  The Ledger
    apparently did not consider the possibility that there were reasons beyond what the public knew.  What if the superintendent really was threatening board members with a PR nightmare
    and legal repercussions?  The Ledger jumped to the conclusion that they were wrong, and led the public to come to that same conclusion, without researching the facts or
    acknowledging that it might be missing some important information regarding their decision.

  • Sisney blocked board members from controlling the issues for discussion in their own meetings.  The Ledger supported him in this.

  • Sisney enlisted Updike's help in "isolating Maryanne", on the pretext that her attempt to put an item on the agenda indicated that she was "out of control".  The Ledger never reported this,
    or pointed out that adding agenda items is the job of board members, or that it's not the superintendent's place to try to "control" board members.

  • Sisney knowingly made false public accusations against AA.  The Ledger reported the accusations, but never reported that they were false or that Sisney knew at the time they were false.

  • Richardson pretended that he didn't know that the Sequoyah invoice was a typo.  Yet he had filed this very explanation along with Sisney's Complaint in his defamation case.  Why no
    editorials about false accusations and obvious lies from Sisney's attorney?  Why no follow-up on Sisney's other accusations, seeing as this one and others had already been discredited?

  • The Ledger proclaimed Sisney's accusations:  “criminal activities involving the expenditure of public money have taken place in the school district since at least the 1990’s and a massive
    cover-up scheme is now under way to keep this information from being disclosed.”  The Ledger never reported that Sisney admitted in his deposition that he had no evidence of any of
    these things, and could not even describe a single instance of any crime being committed.

  • The Ledger quoted Sisney in the “Sisney believes cover-up of criminal acts taking place” story (1/16/2009) as saying that he had found information, collected documents, and had
    conversations that suggest issues that rise to the level of criminal behavior.  This story had several very strong statements that gave the impression that there were sinister things
    happening at BA schools.  The Ledger never questioned these general statements or followed up on any specifics relating to any of the vague claims Sisney made using the "in my
    opinion" disclaimer.  The Ledger never reported that Sisney did not include in his exhibit list for his defamation case the "evidence" he provided in his police report, which was eventually
    turned over to OSBI.  The Ledger did not report that the board members DID include this alleged evidence in their exhibit list.  The Ledger also did not report that Sisney did not provide
    this evidence during discovery in his federal lawsuit; he had to be forced with a Motion to Compel to provide any evidence at all that showed his reasons for suspecting bias.

  • The Ledger reported that Sisney filed a wrongful termination case in federal court, and gave his reason for waiving his due process hearing:  he figured it would have been biased
    anyway.  The Ledger did not report Sisney's no-show for his deposition; it did not report that Sisney had to be forced with a Motion to Compel to answer interrogatories and provide
    evidence; it did not report that he had to be forced to attend his deposition; it did not report Sisney's sudden (?) discovery after several months of having the same judge on the case that
    the judge was his wife's first cousin; it did not report that Sisney asked for the judge's recusal on the basis that the judge - his wife's first cousin - would be biased AGAINST (?) him.

  • The Ledger reported that Sisney's federal case was dismissed, and quoted Richardson as saying that since their claim was not of a federal nature, they would combine their federal case
    with the existing district case.  The new charges against the District in the district case involve breach of contract.  The Ledger did not report that Sisney admitted in his deposition in his
    federal case that the District DID fulfill its contractual obligation to him.


So, a lot of general preliminary impressions were printed, both in news stories and editorials.  But when information that was inconsistent with the railroaded-superintendent story started
coming out, the reporting stopped.  
Where is the editorial stirring up public outrage over the money SISNEY has cost us?  The Ledger fussed about Gerber's $14,000 bonus for doing his
job.  How does this compare with the 200,000+ we have paid to Sisney for NOT doing his job and because of Sisney for all the legal costs HE inflicted on us?  Where is the Ledger's
indignation about this?
 

                                                                                                                               ** crickets **

What will the Ledger proclaim when the audit results are made public?  What if there were no criminal activites?  What if there was no massive cover-up scheme?  Sisney was careful to always
use a disclaimer ("in my opinion", "suggest issues").  Readers don't always see these disclaimers, and tend to jump to conclusions, which Sisney was counting on.
 "The press is more than
happy to print mud-slinging by those in positions of public trust."  - Jim Sisney, July 15, 2008, as quoted in the board members' Counterclaim.

The Ledger knowingly assisted Sisney in providing readers HIS conclusions to jump to.  That was irresponsible, even if the editor was merely duped.  It's worse if the editor knew the truth, which
I doubt.  Will the Ledger set the record straight when the answers come out?  Or just quietly let it go unreported, like the judge's ruling last Friday [update: Ledger reported this a week afterwards,
on July 9, 2010], the board members' side of the story as related in their counterclaim, the evidence that is available now that disproves Sisney's claims, Sisney's complete lack of support for his
accusations, and the evidence that Sisney intentionally conspired with board members and citizens to mislead the public, intimidate board members into doing his will, and, failing that, destroy
the reputations of innocent people?
The Broken Arrow Ledger Reports Jim Sisney - a few samples

"It was refreshing for me to see new Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall waive the ridiculous fee ($90) charged by his predecessor to a taxpayer for open records." - William Swaim, BA Ledger
Editor, "Things looking up for school district", 7/8/2010

You want to talk about ridiculous, Mr. Swaim?  What's ridiculous is the Federal lawsuit Sisney filed against the District.  It never stood a chance, and everybody knew it.  HE WAIVED HIS
HEARING!  There was NO possibility of the judge awarding him anything.  The only way Sisney would have gotten anything at all would have been if the board had not offered him a hearing, and
then all the judge would have done would be make the board give him his hearing!  This involves a lot more than a $14,000 bonus, and lot more than a $90 pest fee.  
Why no righteous
indignation?

What's ridiculous is Sisney adding the District to his defamation case, on the grounds that the District breached his contract.  He already admitted in his federal deposition that the District fulfilled
the requirements of his contract!  The District did everything right in firing Sisney, whether you like it or not.  His breach of contract charges don't stand a chance.  This is costing us MORE money.  
Where's your righteous indignation?

What's ridiculous is Ritze and Reynolds trying to get out of testifying - for heaven's sake, Ritze is even on Sisney's witness list!  If Ritze is so sure Sisney was railroaded, and Reynolds is so sure
BA Schools is hiding massive corruption (computers seized!  subpoenas issued!), why won't they testify for the good of all?  
Where's your TRANSPARENCY battlecry?

What's ridiculous is the Ledger printing FOUR - yes FOUR - articles about a Sisney conspirator harassing the school district having to reimburse the district for all their trouble, and articles and
editorials about paying Gerber a $14,000 bonus for doing his job, and saying NOTHING at all about our having to pay Sisney for 8 1/2 months of NOT doing his job.  
Where's your righteous
indignation?  What about the CHILDREN?

What's ridiculous is the Ledger proclaiming general accusations with no investigation into whether they have any validity, printing old events as if they're news, dredging up non-issues, dressing
them up for the gullible public, and presenting them as more evidence of our incompetent and/or evil-intentioned administration, in an attempt to misdirect the public's opinion.  
Where's your
journalistic integrity?

What's ridiculous is the Ledger falling silent on any news that threatens the now utterly debunked "whistleblower superintendent railroaded by corrupt board members" storyline.

Things started looking up for the school district on October 6, 2008.  It will be another great day when the Ledger starts reporting objectively.


Jolie wrote on July 8, 8:13 PM

Two articles and two editorials about charging a fee for providing copies of information to Beth Snellgrove and yet the Ledger has yet to even once report on the very important and much larger
significant fact that Jim Sisney testified under oath in his December 22, 2009, deposition that he had no evidence or could even state one instance of any laws broken or wrongdoing on the
part of AA, the district, or the three board members he sued or any material reason, only his 'feelings' that told him that the board was acting on bias when they chose to suspend and
terminate his employment.  Why is the Ledger not informing its readership and writing editorials on these very pertinent facts available in court documents, which the Ledger provided links to
but no reporting on the facts within them or analysis of that information in the context of the controversy connected to it?  Instead it chooses to make a huge issue out of this requested fee by
Gerber, ignoring the elephant in the room:  the fraud that Sisney committed when he went to the press and courts stating he had evidence of corruption and illegal activity and was being
railroaded by three board members.

We had a incompetent, corrupt superintendent working at Broken Arrow not too long ago.  His name is Jim Sisney, not Gary Gerber.

It would be refreshing and surprising if the Ledger staff acted like unbiased journalists for a change and did their job properly.


                                                                                                [Comment was not published by the Ledger]
...and a couple of tasty rants from 612...
Broken Arrow Ledger, "Sisney believes cover-up of criminal acts taking place", 1/16/2009 (excerpts):

Former Broken Arrow Public Schools superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney said he believes criminal activities involving the expenditure of public money have taken place in the school district since at least the
1990’s and a massive cover-up scheme is now under way to keep this information from being disclosed.

“In my opinion, the information I’ve found, the documents I’ve collected and the conversations I’ve had suggest issues that rise to the level of criminal behavior,” Sisney said.

“Again, in my opinion, current and former employees and those outside the district were potentially involved and a massive cover-up is now taking place to keep this information guarded from the public.”

Sisney said he is convinced “this is not an oversight or sloppy administration but, rather, carefully calculated actions that violate statutes and board policies.” He said he believes these actions constitute
both misdemeanor and felony offenses.

The former superintendent said the biggest surprise he had was “the multiplicity of the issues that got at taxpayer money and the strong orchestration taking place” to keep these issues from public view.

“I think it is highly significant that to this date, there has never been an agenda item on open bidding requirements, even though I told (school board attorney) Doug Mann two days after he was hired that I
wanted to call a special meeting for school board discussion of this subject,” he said.
(I can't help it.  I have to point this out, because this is exactly the kind of statement people fall for, and the Ledger won't let us set the record straight on!  Who controlled the board's agenda from the
time Sisney supposedly discovered the bidding problems, in April 2008, to August 2008?  
Sisney.  Who could put items on the agenda?  Sisney and Stover.  Who could not put items on the agenda?  
The three board members.  Whose fault is it there was no agenda item on open bidding requirements?  
Sisney's.  Who knew this, because they had reported the fact that only Sisney and Stover could
put items on the agenda?  The
Broken Arrow Ledger and Bob Lewis.)
Rejected!
From Sisney's federal lawsuit:

    11.  ...AA has for several years engaged in a criminal scheme, in association with some employees of the Broken Arrow School District in violation of the Competitive Bidding Laws of Oklahoma.  
    The scheme was used to avoid the Competitive Bidding Laws of Oklahoma.

    12.  In furtherance of the criminal scheme, three members of the Board of Education commandeered the School Board in July and have worked feverishly and against all reason to keep the matter
    from seeing the light of day.  As part of the ongoing scheme, Superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney was fired in retaliation for threatening to investigate and expose the scheme that had gone on for several
    years.

    16. ...The three members of the board and Mike Rampey wanted Dr. Sisney gone as part of a continuation of the criminal scheme.

From Sisney's deposition:

    Q. What personal knowledge do you have that those three board members wanted you gone as part of a continuation of the criminal scheme?
    A. A large pattern of factual events.
    Q. What's the criminal scheme?
    A. Make money.
Look back at when the Ledger liked Dr. Gerber,
before they found out he did those unspeakably
evil, or maybe incompetent, or maybe quite
sensible things.  We really don't know, since no
one has been able to tell us what they actually
think he did wrong.
Ledger "Gerbers richly deserving
of 'citizen' award" 02/13/2008