I have received your letter advising me that Bill Villa, a resident of Allentown, has alleged that I acted in an unethical manner.
Attached to your letter are hundreds of pages of Internet blog entries.
I wish to respond briefly to these charges. If the Board of Ethics orders a hearing, then I shall gladly attend. I can also supply copies of material that were not included in the complaint, but do help illustrate the complaint’s irrelevance.
1. Mr. Villa repeatedly, loudly and inappropriately has attacked numerous individuals throughout the Lehigh Valley because of a tragic event he experienced in the summer of 2006.
2. In the early fall of 2007, while campaigning for Allentown City Council, I met Mr. Villa at his home on N 19th Street. He explained the tragedy, which involved the death of his daughter caused by a horrible car accident. I listened intently because I had experienced the death of a daughter and discovered the daughter’s mother lives across the street from me on N West St. While normally I would spend only a few minutes at the door of a voter, for over an hour, I discussed the details of his anger at the District Attorney and The Morning Call. He claimed that justice was not done, and that a cover-up had occurred.
3. I did not hear again from Mr. Villa until the spring of 2008, when he asked me to arrange an interview with The Morning Call. In April or May, I had two telephone conversations and a meeting with the Editor, who refused to grant Mr. Villa an appointment with him or the editorial board of the newspaper.
4. Following this, I met several times with Mr. Villa and discussed the situation. During these meetings, I was compassionate and empathetic with his obvious anger. I also recommended the importance of counseling because my ex-wife had experienced similar episodes of anger following the death of our daughter.
5. After these meetings, I did not hear from Mr. Villa, except for entries he made on various Internet blogs. In these blogs, he had civil discussion with various writers. Indeed, there were several complementary entries about me at his blog authored by Mr. Villa or his current wife.
6. In August of 2008, The Morning Call chose to publish a blog entry of mine, as well as of another blogger. The editor chose not to ask our permission to do so. On my blog, I raised concern about not informing us and called the editor of the paper. The editor and I spoke, and he agreed that it was wrong to have published the material without having consent. He agreed to contact any blogger from then on to receive authorization.
7. Concurrently, another local blogger took issue with the paper about the lack of effort to gain permission for publication. After conversations between him and the editor, the blogger accepted the paper’s apology, and noted that the issue was resolved.
8. However, Mr. Villa was not happy and vigorously complained that we caved into the newspaper. He began attacking the local blogger, as well as the other writer whom the newspaper had published. The attacks went far beyond the newspaper issue and discussed allegations about which I knew nothing. Both of the attacked bloggers tried to defuse the conflict with no success.
9. Mr. Villa began asking me to denounce the other two men. When I refused because I argued it was not my fight, he began attacking me. Over the next year, he demanded recall from City Council and firing from my professorship at Cedar Crest College. He wrote on his blog the name of the College’s President and indirectly asked her for my dismissal. He attacked my son and my wife both on his blog and my blog.
10. When I discovered his blog was calling for dismissal from Cedar Crest College, I posted an entry on my blog asking him to delete these entries, or I might take legal action.
11. From that time, he has become increasingly vicious. He even threatened violence to me. At the urging of friends and my family, I recently brought these threats to the attention of the Allentown Police Department.
12. Earlier this year, Mr. Villa made entries at my blog that were totally off-topic. Several anonymous writers teased Mr. Villa about is his obsessive attempts to accuse so many people. I did write that I found humorous that the tables were turned on Mr. Villa. One entry was inappropriate and I deleted it. However, I do not have time to police the blog. In general, participants are polite and respectful.
I believe that I have clearly demonstrated that Mr. Villa’s complaint is unfounded and stimulated by a severe tragedy that possibly has affected his reasoning and emotional stability.
Again, if the Board of Ethics believes a hearing is necessary, I shall gladly attend with extensive evidence illustrating the lengths that Mr. Villa has gone to attack not only me, but also an extensive list of people in the Lehigh Valley, many of whom are also concerned for their safety.
Thank you for this opportunity to explain the situation.
The Board did not think a Hearing was necessary.