Press Release- For Immediate Release
Suffolk Superior Court - Case Number 98-4585
$10 MILLION DEFAMATION SUIT FILED AGAINST THE BOSTON GLOBE BY ALPHONSE MOURAD
BOSTON-Alphonse Mourad, the former president of V&M Management and owner and operator of The Mandela Apartments in Lower Roxbury, filed a $10 Million law suit against the Boston Globe in Suffolk Superior Court.
Mourad stated that the Globe had routinely defamed his character over the years, and continued to publish patently false and inaccurate statements about him and his operation of the Mandela Apartments. "When does one become an American?" Mourad asked. "I have been a citizen for 35 years, yet every article published about me in the Boston Globe describes me as a Lebanese immigrant. When the Globe printed newstories about Henry Kissingcr, was he ever described as a German-Jewish immigrant? I am an American, and I want the Boston Globe to recognize that fact," Mourad said.
"As long as they can make me out to be a foreigner, label me as a Middle-Eastern extremist, and incite and inflame ancient passions and prejudices against me for the accident of my birth, then I am somehow rendered less human, less deserving and less American," he said.
"Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of my Middle-Eastern heritage. The circumstances of my birth, however, it should not be used as a weapon to bludgeon me and my family into submission. This is what the Globe has done to me. They have refused to print retraction, or admit error, even when presented with the facts from public agencies and attorneys."
Mourad's lawsuit cites an April 1, 1996 article in the Globe written by Michael Grunwald. whose front page headline read, "Mandela owner set to leave after a long expensive ride," as evidence of the Globe's willful intent to defame his character. The article was published on the day of a Bankruptcy Court hearing, and announced that Chief Justice Carol J Kenner had decided to appoint a trustee to oversee the Mandela property. What makes the article suspect, Mourad said, is that it was published prior to the hearing and the ruling by Judge Kenner.
"The Globe does not possess the ability to predict the future," Mourad said. "The fact that they knew the results of the hearing before it took place means that there was collusion between the Globe and government officials, that could reach even into the Bankruptcy Court," he said. In fact. Eric Bradford, head of the United Stares Trustee's Office for Massachusetts, quoted the Globe article in his recommendation to Judge Kenner to appoint a trustee
Grunwald, the Globe reporter who authored the article, knew its contents to be false. As early as March 11.1996 Grunwald was given a clear picture of the finances of V&M Management by attorney Harold Murphy, who represented V&M and Mourad at the time, the law suit states. On March 12th Murphy's associate, attorney Eddirland Duncan, wrote to Grunwald presenting him with a detailed financial breakdown of deposits and payments made by, or on behalf of, Mourad. Grunwald's article virtually accused Moui.ul of stealing millions of dollars eannariced for repairs at Mandela'. By virtue of being published on the front page of the Globe, Mourad claims, and quoted by the US Trustee, the misinformation in the Grunwald article led directly to Mourad losing his property, his income and the bankruptcy of his family.
The April 1st article was not the first time Grunwald had assaulted Mourad in print. On September 28,1995 Grunwald published an article on the front page of the Globe's Metro section, headlined, "Landlord blames, uses system." Grunwald describes Mourad as "paranoid" and again evokes the "Lebanese immigrant" angle. Grunwald goes on to state that Mourad is an "incessant filer of lawsuits", wages "bizarre legal battles" and has taken k^' action against banks and the courts. "Nothing in Grunwald's article is reminiscent of the truth," Mourad said. "Yes we filed a class action suit against the Boston Police Department because young black kids were dying by the dozens. Our suit resulted in nor-; police patrols and higher visibility of the police in and around Mandela, and a subsequent drop in crime.
"We also challenged Boston Edison for overbilling affordable housing developments We were being charged a commercial rate that was 18 percent above the residential rate, and higher than that charged to luxury condominiums. We successfully had the rate reduced, not only for ourselves, but statewide. With the concentration of subsidized housing in Massachusetts a lowering of utility payments represents a significant savings for the federal government. That is why President Clinton wrote to me to congratulate me for my efforts. None of this was reported in the Globe ai the time it occurred, or in Michael Grunwald's article," Mourad said. Mourad stressed that his bankruptcy proceedings are "extremely complex and contentious," and made even more so by the one-sided reporting of the Boston Globe. "Grunwald is now working for the Washington Post," Mourad said. "The hatchet job he did on me has hdped to further his ambitions. Because of who we are, two Americans one Lebanese and the other Jewish, Grunwald has constructed a field of enmity between himself and me that frankly I find deplorable. He has used the power of the Boston Globe to fight a ban'.c created in his own mind for reasons 1 will not even try to fathom. The real shame, however, belongs to the Boston Globe. The same set of facts that Grunwald chose to ignore were sent to the Globe's publishers and editors. They would not let the truth get in the way of a good story and subsequently the courts were used to steal my property from me, and my family is in financial ruin. This would noi have happened to me if I had been portrayed accurately as an American businessman who demanded his rights and was willing lo right for them," he said.
Complaint Exh. No.
The Globe's False Accusations Dated Article
October 9, 1986 Falsely accusing Mourad of not paying $473,000 in taxes.
January 26, 1990 Falsely claiming that Mourad owed $1.2 million in taxes, and that Mourad was under a HUD investigation.
September 12, 1990 Claiming U.S. citizen Mourad to be a 13. "Lebanese immigrant" who owed $1.2 million in city taxes and $130,000 to Boston Edison.
September 14, 1990 Accusing Mourad of being a slumlord of property in need of repairs.
October 2, 1990 Accusing Mourad of being a slumlord not concerned about protecting tenants.
August 17, 1994 Accusing Mourad of mismanagement and paying millions to himself.
February 13, 1995 Accusing citizen Mourad of being a Lebanese immigrant known for feisty, flamboyant gestures; lax management and his trigger-happy litigation.
September 28, 1995 ^Accusing citizen Mourad of being a Lebanese immigrant who misuses system, paranoid, incessant filer of lawsuits waging bizarre legal battles.
April 1, 1996 Accusing citizen Mourad of being a
Lebanese immigrant, on an 'expensive ride' paying himself $923,000.
MOURAD'S EXHIBITS TO COMPLAINT
Exhibit 1. October 9, 1986. The Boston Globe editorial: "In the tenants' interests." Exhibit 2, October 16, 1986. V&M Management letter to The Boston Globe Exhibit 3. September 10, 1986. The Boston Globe- "BRA official named in developer's suit." Exhibit 4. September 9, 1986. Attorney Glenn P. Frank's Affidavit.
Exhibit 5. June 29, 1988. Superior Court Judge Patrick J. King's decision in the Edmund I Shamsi vs. V&M Management, Inc., Suffolk Superior Court Department, CA. No 87-5547.
Exhibit 6. January 26, 1990. The Boston Globe: "Landlord who owes Boston $1.2m sues city over tax-rate system."
Exhibit 7. October 10, 1991. Peter CaneUo's Deposition, Pg. 1, 11-12, 20.
Exhibit 8. February 13, 1990. V&M"s Attorney, James A. Frieden letter to -^ HUD.
Exhibit 9. March 1, 1990. HUD's Philip J. Salamone's letter to Mourad and ^ James A. Frieden, Esq.
Exhibit 10. March 12, 1990. Mourad and V&M*s Attorney Frieden letters to The Boston Globe Publisher, William 0. Taylor.
Exhibit 11. February 5, 1990. The Boston Business Journal: "Mourad Takes City to Court."
Exhibit 12. March 12, 1990. Mourad's and V&M's Attorney Frieden's letter to The Boston Business Journal's Publisher, Mr. James Menetto.
Exhibit 13. September 12,1990. The Boston Globe: "City, state attempt to oust Mandela project landlord."
Exhibit 14. September 12, 1990. The Boston Herald: "State, city file suit against Mandela owner.
Exhibit 15 V&M Management's Press Release to The Boston Globe entitled, "Mayor Flynn Forces Foreclosure on Tenant Managed Low Income Housing Threatebning the Homes of 1500 Low Income Tenants."
Exhibit 16. September 14, 1990. The Boston Globe: "Repairs are ordered at [M]andela."
Exhibit 18. October 2, 1990. The Boston Globe: "AG seeks to halt evictions from troubled units."
Exhibit 19. August 10, 1994. Mourad's letter to Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino.
Exhibit 20. August 17, 1994. The Boston Globe: "Mandela tenants propose buyout."
Exhibit 21. Febuary 13, 1995. The Boston Globe: "Mandela landlord sues HUD over alledged discriminations."
Exhibit 22. October 1, 1994, The Boston Herald: "DPU sets new limits to rates of interest on overdue bills." The Boston Herald: "Landlord cries foul ver late fees." December 22, 1992: The Boston Herald: "Developer sues for late fee charges." August 5, 1993, The Boston Herald: V&M appeals Edison ruling."
Exhibit 23 June 18, 1993, A letter from Marsha Scott, from the office of the President, Deputy Assistant to the President, to Alphonse Mourad regarding unfair utility charges.
Exhibit 24 July 9, 1993, A letter from HUD spokesman James H. Peterson, regarding a
Presidential request to respond to Mourad's claim of unfair utility billing practices.
Exhibit 25 September 28, 1995. The Boston Globe: "Landlord blames, uses system."
Exhibit 26 March 12, 1996. Hanify & King's Attomey-at-Law Eddu-land Duncan's, letter to The Boston Globe reporter Michael Grunwald.
Exhibit 27 April 1,1996. The Boston Globe's: "Mandela owner set to leave after a long, expensive ride."
Exhibit 28 May 9, 1997, Accountant Steven I. Slavin's financial report.
Exhibit 29 April 1, 1996. Bankruptcy Court Transcript, p. 50.
Exhibit 30 September 23, 1992, A letter from: The Boston Police - The Office of the Commissioner. April 10, 1989. A letter from the Boston police Area D Station. September 17, 1992, The South End News article: 'An Area that needs police attention."
December 15, 1988, The Boston Herald, "Activists seek law and order." March 14, 1987, The Boston Herald. "Mourad hits Flynn for neglect." The Boston Herald, "Tenants sue cops to get protection." February 9-15, 1989, The South End News. "Ganging up on Lower Roxbury."