should get more than sioo,000.” At this same time, the Porters’ pro bono attorney, Loren Klitsas, who normally specializes in personal injury law, says his firm was struggling to keep up with Dolcefino’s requests for documents. “He was very aggressive. We couldn’t get the documents to him fast enough. We were trying to comply. But the Kid Care records were terrible. With Carol and Hurt, it was never, ‘let’s don’t give it to him,’ it was ‘let’s try to find it.’ But we were trying to find needles in haystacks.” Klitsas, for his part, says he has no doubt of the Porters’ innocence. “I’ve had io,000 clients, and they all say they’re innocent. I believed them [the Porters]. But they weren’t savvy. It was shocking to them that somebody would make a disparaging remark.” But, even though it was clear that Kid Care was going to take a hit, few would have predicted the cataclysm to come. On Sept.12, 2002, the Houston Press wrote, “It seems likely that things will get worked out at Kid-Carethrough more stringent overview by the board of directors, for instance, as it keeps an eye on an organization that has grown haphazardly in 18 years from a shoestring operation to a large entity.” The Press concluded, “Eventually Dolcefino’s report will air, probably being old news by that point.” Instead Dolcefino’s series ran to 4o installments. He showed money being spent on Italian tile for the new building’s floor, rather than on sandwiches. When an enthusiastic Carol remarks on camera, “It’s the same floor as the ballet,” Dolcefino strongly implies that she’s more interested in fancy floors than Dolcefino also reported that Kid Care funds had gone to pay for the Porters’ property taxes. When another station demonstrated this charge was untrue, Dolcefino offered no retraction. Then there was “the show that killed us,” according to CarolKid Care money being spent at the Gold Cup strip club. The segment begins with disco music and a soft-focus video of a woman doing a pole dance. Dolcefino says that Kid Care employees are spending donated money there. “I’d have hated us too, if I’d seen that,” Carol says. The Porters and Levy say they discovered Lombarbada was using the company credit cards on strippers one night when they were poring over documents, trying to find other questionable activities Dolcefino might come after. Levy discovered a number of charges to an innocuous-sounding organization. When he called American Express to find out what the organization was, he learned the business behind the nondescript name was the Gold Cup. Levy and the Porters panicked. They knew how damaging this information would be if Dolcefino uncovered it. They finally decided to contact Dolcefino and tell him about the strip club charges, hoping he would turn his focus away from Kid Care and to the employee who was misappropriating funds. Dolcefino did report that Lombarbada was the Gold Cup culprit, but he buried his name in the report. The Porters and Levy say Dolcefino created the false impression that it was the EGHTOWIFI,12 All the Wine That’s Fit to Drink Newspapers are dead, we’re told: dinosaurs in a Twittering world. Try telling that to The New York Times. The brontosaurus of American journalism, one of the largest newspapers in the land, is still alive and intends to thrive. Never mind that the paper’s ad revenues have plummeted, that it has put some of its prime assets up for sale, and that its cash-flow situation is so dire that it sold a big chunk of itself this year to a Mexican billionaire known for shady dealings. Times are tough, even for the Times, but the company’s leaders have come up with a business plan they say will return the financial luster to the gem of journalism. To make ends meet, the Times is going into wine. Wine? You might presume the executives have taken to guzzling wine to give the paper’s future a rosy look, but come on, these are serious businesspeople. They have announced a new, revenue-enhancing venture called “The New York Times Wine Club.” For about $180 a month, the club will ship wine to your door. At first blush, journalism and wine might seem an odd pairing. But the Times is already in the home-delivery business, so … the head of “strategic planning” says a wine club is a way for the paper to “delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times.” Whatever the hell that means. Maybe it’ll take odd jobs to keep the presses running. Actually, I think they’re onto something with that homedelivery theme. Why not add “The New York Times Maid Service?” This would make the Times a company that could do it all for you in one stop: deliver your paper, clean your house, and leave a nice bottle of wine. There is a future in journalism! Porter men who charged lap dances on the company card. Levy denies that there was any merit to Dolcefino’s charges. Even if there had been, he says, the coverage was out of proportion. “No local story in the history of [Houston] broadcasting has generated so many stories.” Levy sees racism at work. “Everything she had accomplished went out the window when Wayne reported. They [the Porters] were lazy, living off welfare, gaming the system. Horny black men going to a strip clubbe very afraid.” As things came unglued, the board and the Porters agreed to hire local accountant Larry Mosely to audit the 2001 books. Mosely says he found “some accounting problems,” but that he judged them “typical of non-profits,” posing no real cause for alarm. About Dolcefino’s reporting, Mosley says now, “It was an over-reaction and a mischaracterization. She [Carol] took the staff and volunteers for a $600 meal at a restaurant [among other such expenses]. That’s a very appropriate reward for a non-profit.” SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 TEXASOBSERVER.ORG 19
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