NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

November 3, 2012

Gloves off in final days

Mirra threatens to sue Fogel over mailer

(Continued)

“Once we sent the correct data to the U.S. Department of Transportation, we got a satisfactory rating from them,” Mirra said.

Mirra sent Fogel an email shortly after the debate notifying him of the updated report, but said Fogel sent out the mailer mentioning the incorrect report anyway. He also questioned the timing of the mailing, saying Fogel knew Mirra wouldn’t have the opportunity to send out mailers in response before election day.

Fogel said he did respond to Mirra’s email, saying he saw the FMCSA data from 2011 and 2012 that gave Mirra Co. a satisfactory rating for those years, but didn’t see anything to verify that the 2010 report had been corrected.

“I asked him to provide me with specific information to back up his claim that the information for 2010 had been changed by the federal agency when he suggested that was the case, I waited a week to provide that information before I published that mailer, and he never responded,” Fogel said. “He’s pointed to two subsequent years, but he has not provided me with any information to show that the rating that was reported for 2010 was changed.”

A review of FMCSA data provided by Mirra lists Mirra Co.’s safety rating as satisfactory as of Nov. 1, 2012. The company snapshot cited by Mirra does not contain any specific data pertaining to 2010 and a call placed yesterday to the FMCSA offices in Washington, D.C., seeking more complete information was not returned by deadline.

Fogel called Mirra’s threat of a lawsuit “misguided” and defended his decision to send out the mailer.

“It’s not a lie, I reported what is still listed and reported on the Fox News website,” Fogel said. “I didn’t say anything that I didn’t see on the Fox News website, I simply said that Fox News reported that Mirra Co.’s trucking company was rated second worst in the state and that it was rated that way by the federal agency for that period of time.”

The exact wording of Fogel’s mailer is as follows: “Lenny Mirra complains about government regulation as harming business, but in 2010, Fox News reported that a Mirra Co. trucking division was rated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as second worst in Massachusetts for violation of regulations that protect public safety.”

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