Paige Hewitt, a local investigative journalist, has sued KTRK-Channel 13, saying she was fired in February on the false pretense that she outed another reporter's confidential source. The lawsuit doesn't name the "particular investigative reporter," but Hair Balls wonders if it's a certain someone whose name rhymes with Shmayne Shmolcefino.
Hewitt left her job at the Chron for a two-year position at KTRK, which was to expire this November, according to the breach-of-contract suit. But, in meetings with KTRK management, according to the suit, "Ms. Hewitt was informed that she would be moved out of the investigative/enterprise unit, without adequate reason and without expression of dissatisfaction with her work. In the second meting, Ms. Hewitt was falsely accused of compromising the identity of a confidential source used by a particular investigative reporter at KTRK." (Per the suit, Hewitt was accused of leaking the name to "a local attorney and/or some other party outside KTRK").
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Hewitt's reaction, per the suit? She "vehemently denied this most serious accusation and offered to take a polygraph exam. [She] then immediately requested a meeting with top KTRK management to report the false allegation and hostile treatment by manager and the particular KTRK reporter." (As an aside, we're thinking that the dude should just change his name to Particularinvestigativereporter, or P.I. REP, for short.)
Thus ensued a sort of Dueling Confidential Sources feud: "Before the meeting with top management, Ms. Hewitt undertook her own investigation of this allegation and met with her own confidential source....This source knew information beyond that which was revealed to Ms. Hewitt during her meetings with KTRK management, indicating that this information had been in fact leaked from inside KTRK."
The suit states that she was not only fired for allegedly revealing PI-REP's confidential source, but for "insubordination in meeting with her confidential source." Hair Balls is having difficulty with the latter reason, since we can't understand why meeting with a confidential source would be grounds for termination. But maybe a confidential source can fill us in on that.
We've got calls in to Hewitt's attorney and KTRK, and we'll keep our eyes on this case as it moves along.