Michael Hancock prostitution-article reporter waiting for mainstream outlet to pick up story
On Friday, we pointed to a CompleteColorado.com post claiming that mayoral frontrunner Michael Hancock's name and number had been linked to Denver Players, the prostitution ring that ensnared Judge Edward Nottingham. This morning, we'd hoped to talk to the site's Todd Shepherd about his reporting methodology, but he now says he's lying low until after a mainstream outlet follows the story -- a designation that apparently doesn't include Westword.
In a note to folks on his mailing list, Shepherd explains that he's decided against conducting interviews about the story until a mainstream media outlet picks it up, adding that he's heard that at least three news organizations are pursuing it. He then gives permission to quote directly from a subsequent section, which reads:
First, many people have commented about the redactions on the documents I provide. Let me say that I looked at these documents prior to redaction. I think that's important, and I regret I didn't emphasize that in the original publication. I will add an update later today.
Second, I realize I was unclear that the four pages of documents I provided in my report were not the only documents I reviewed. I reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, none of which were forgeries in my opinion for multiple reasons. So those 4 pages were the most relevant documents, but the hundreds of other documents certainly helped to authenticate the four I provided.
Third, my source was incredibly detailed in "authenticating" the "customer database," in terms of what a customer had to do to end up on that database, how the db was maintained, and how customers and phone numbers were verified.
In no way did I "time" this story. I did give the Hancock campaign a time limit by which I requested they reply to the story (which they did), but other than that, I didn't "time" the story as I've been accused. I don't "time" stories, because ultimately, the media gods will laugh at you. The day you time your "big" story will be the same day that a huge mylar balloon goes up in Ft. Collins, etc.
Shepherd concludes by noting that two weeks ago, he told a friend that if he were a Denver resident, he would have voted for Hancock.
Did the campaign of Chris Romer, Hancock's rival, provide Shepherd with this information, as numerous commenters on our Facebook page and original post have argued? Definitely not, according to Romer communication director Laura Chapin. Via e-mail, she writes, "Any suggestion or insinuation that the Romer campaign had any knowledge or connection to this story is patently false and outrageous."
For those of you who've lost track, tomorrow is the day when mayoral votes will be tallied. It's too late to mail in your ballot, but it can be delivered to one of thirteen voting centers in the city. To find one near you, click here. And for another take on the subject, check out this Patricia Calhoun item: "Scarlet Ranch, Scottie Ewing, Michael Hancock, Denver Players & the swingers story that lives on."
More from our Politics archive: "Michael Hancock campaign on poll numbers, negative attacks -- and 'Jailhouse Rock.'"