FOX News, Blog and Cook County Board of Review Sued for Make Believe Journalism and Being "Above the Law"
(October 18, 2010 - Chicago) Hotels owners filed Federal lawsuit against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioners Larry R. Rogers, Jr., and Brendan Houlihan, among others, charging that the tax appeal body abuses its office and official process because it has no set standards for making tax appeal decisions for property owners in Cook County in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution and that specific defendants according to the complaint use the County entity for "unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption," as opposed to employing a consistent basis "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to trample upon the rights of private citizens and hardworking business owners by being arbitrary simply because they think they can. The adjudication of property tax appeals translates into real money for real people." According to another source familiar with the filing, suit may provide blueprint for and provoke a tide of similar suits from Cook County property owners.
Federal suit also names Fox News Chicago and widely followed Illinois Republican blog for manufacturing defamatory stories about private citizens for pure sensationalism without fact checking and relying on wholly unreliable sources.
Suit is very significant in that the major media networks are almost never sued for defamation and as Ms. de Silva said, "This is a battle for accountability. The major networks assume that no one will ever fight back because of the David and Goliath nature of suing the media in the age of sensationalized tabloid 'journalism.' Most lawyers would never take on media titans with unlimited resources in a protracted litigation-this is unfortunate. Since New York Times v. Sullivan, the media has been allowed seeming carte blanche because of the courts' interest in protecting the First Amendment-but what does this do to people's lives and reputations when fundamental truth and facts are ignored? "
Fox News, Board of Review Case