The statement: “Last week (Jim) Gray’s former campaign manager and close friend Diane Lawless admitted to withholding documents from the fraud investigation in an attempt to embarrass Mayor Newberry and his administration.”
— Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry in a Tuesday e-mail to supporters.
The ruling: False
The facts: A six-month controversy sparked by allegations of fraud made by a city employee has taken many twists and turns, including the revelation by State Auditor Crit Luallen last week that an unnamed member of the Urban County Council had copies of the fraud allegations well before an investigative committee of the council spent considerable time and effort trying to acquire them.
Luallen’s report found that no fraud had occurred, but it sparked a pointed discussion at last week’s council work session in which Lawless admitted she was the council member who had copies of the fraud allegations. Lawless, however, did not admit to knowingly withholding the documents from the council committee and said nothing about a plot to embarrass Newberry.
Instead, Lawless said she did not realize she had copies of the documents and did not know they were among the documents she showed to Luallen.
Lawless did manage Vice Mayor Jim Gray’s 2006 campaign and supports his bid to unseat Newberry in November.
Ironically, the false statement in the Newberry e-mail is followed by a sentence touting a Herald-Leader Campaign Watchdog article that pointed out a false statement in a television ad by Gray.