A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

10 May 2017 — 1216 mdt

Blame the Gazette’s high command, not Lutey

Yesterday, the Billings Gazette published another story on Rob Quist’s finances. Citing the newspaper’s 24 March interview with Lutey, and written by political reporter Tom Lutey, the story alleged Quist is connected to a rental property that is improperly taxed.

Writing on his personal Facebook page, Missoula County Treasurer Tyler Gernant, an attorney and Democrat, took issue with the story, but focused his ire on Lutey.

I’m unclear what the story here is? Bonnie Quist acted as Power of Attorney for her daughter and collected rent on her behalf, something that I helped numerous clients do when I was practicing law. The Department of Revenue does not tax the property correctly, something which I deal with routinely in my role as County Treasurer. So in other words, a totally normal sequence of events occurs but Tom Lutey feels the need to write an ominous story about it. This is awful reporting on so many levels that I can’t even begin to comment.

Gernant, and the rest of Lutey’s critics, should focus their ire not on the Gazette’s reporter but on the newspaper’s high command. Adverse stories can have far more impact on the outcome of the election than any editorial page support for a candidate. The people Lutey works for are the ones who ultimately are responsible for the tone, content, and timing of his stories on Quist’s finances.