The serious charges brought by former Commissioner Molly Henderson against the Lancaster Newspapers chairman and all of his top editors were also brought against three reporters and one columnist: Arthur E. Morris.
In the circumstance of Morris, it has created a serious conflict of interest which raises important questions about his fitness to continue in his current position of high responsibility on the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority [LCCCA] board.
Morris is the current acting Executive Director and Chairman of the LCCCA board. The project he is administering is at the heart of the charges against him. And they are very serious charges indeed, suggesting Morris either purposefully lied when he attacked Henderson, or recklessly disregarded the truth when he did so in print. From what I can see of the compelling evidence contained in the Henderson complaint, and from other observations, the standard of proving “actual malice” is met in this case.
Art Morris is now facing some very serious, and potentially very expensive trouble.
Morris’s powerful position as chair of the Authority, and often its public spokesman, is clearly compromised due to this litigation. Whatever he puts on the agenda, whatever he proposes, whatever he says, and however he votes will be viewed with extra skepticism not leveled at other board members.
The public and other board members will reasonably wonder in whose interests Morris is working: His co-defendants’ at Lancaster Newspapers, or the public’s through the Convention Center Authority?
Might his writing protect his (and his bosses’) financial interests?
Morris is vulnerable to these questions because, as a paid columnist employed by a co-defendant, his financial standing is conceivably impacted by this case. It is certainly reasonable for the public to ask these questions.
Finally, if the charges are true, it will mean that a mendacious and duplicitous “public servant” is getting away with leading a project that he and a partner in Penn Square Partners conspired to unscrupulously shove down the throats of the public.
Those who consider this extreme should read the Henderson complaint, which is posted at NewsLanc.com. In that document, a clearer portrait of arrogance and a lack of professional ethics could not be painted.
There, laid out in meticulous and well-written detail, are example after example after example of Lancaster Newspapers “correcting” the false information in a place in the paper where people were least likely to see it. And after they “corrected” the record, Morris and Co. went about libeling Henderson on its front pages again … and … again … and again.
If Morris really wants to serve the public, he should gracefully step down from not just the Chair’s seat, but the board. While he’s at it, he should apologize to Molly Henderson. Too bad there’s not enough space in all three sorry papers to make that amends.