The strange tale of how Rehab CEO Angela Kerins set about trying to silence IrishCentral turns even more bizarre with each passing day.
The net result I have to say is that tens of thousands in America and elsewhere who had never heard of Angela Kerins and her alleged highly inflated salary now know about it. There have been over 1100 Facebook likes on the story so far.
Kerins has done us the singular favor of handing us a story that has gone viral.
On February 5th, our Irish correspondent John Spain, a very experienced journalist with the Independent group, wrote a cutting article about claims about her massive salary which may touch close to $400,000 when all the perks are thrown in.
It was a broad ranging article about the charitable sector in Ireland, where he explained people felt very deeply about the level of compensation top executives are making while the charities themselves were cutting back services in difficult economic times.
The headline we used was “Charity scams continue to sicken in Ireland” which we felt was an accurate reflection on how many ordinary people there felt about what was going on.
A few days later, February 13th to be precise, Philip Lee, lawyer for Kerins wrote not to us but to our Internet service provider Limelight and stated they were likely starting libel proceedings against us and that unless the ISP took the article down, they would be part of the suit.
It was a very strange tactic, one I had honestly never heard of. I had always assumed that the ISP provider was protected from any such suits.
Perhaps they knew that there was little hope that we would take the article down, given the protection of the First Amendment we enjoy over here in America.
I want to make clear that the article was accurate that many more damning pieces have appeared in Ireland and that the headline was a fair reflection of how John Spain identified how ordinary people were feeling in Ireland.
Our Internet provider however wanted no part of this legal challenge and unknown to us took down the article and informed us after the fact.
To say we were upset was putting it mildly. I was furious that they had taken it down and especially that we were not consulted.
Limelight have made clear in a communication that I can only describe as craven in the extreme that they feel legally entitled to “suspend” the article.
If Rehab and Kerins want to sue us then so be it, we will be happy to defend our case in court, though they surely know the chances of an American court entertaining this as a serious libel case are essentially somewhere between zero and nil.
Besides the cross examination of Kerins about her salary will be a great spectacle I’m sure.
So there we have it, an amazing series of events concerning an article we thought was a routine summation of the major issue of the week in Ireland.
Instead it will inevitably lead us to cover the case of Angela Kerins and the compensation package she receives. It should make for interesting reading.
It seems the very effort to keep this story quiet by threatening to sue has instead led to the opposite effect, with thousands more now reading about it.