Why Does Freeholder Editor Hugo Rodrigues Hack at TAG Cornwall – by Jamie Gilcig JUNE 16, 2016

Why Does Freeholder Editor Hugo Rodrigues Hack at TAG Cornwall –  by Jamie Gilcig JUNE 16, 2016

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

For a man that to my knowledge has never set foot in Cornwall’s public Art Gallery, Standard Freeholder Editor Hugo Rodrigues sure likes to write about it.

He writes about the gallery far more than say…..the shady Harbor Front deal, or how Big Ben is leeching poison into the waters of Cornwall Ontario.    Or just about any of the real important issues facing our community.

The question is why?  Is it because TAG didn’t purchase an ad from the Freeholder for its Liquidation sale?  (TAG purchased ads from the Seaway News and Seeker Chicks.  CFN has donated ad space for free)

Could it simply be because I, the editor and majority owner of this newspaper is on the board?

Surely Hugo must realize that my role as a board member, and the board as a whole, has a sole responsibility to the membership and certainly not to Mr. Rodrigues or the Freeholder, especially as he himself is not a member.

Memberships were as low as $35 per year and that would give him all the answers he so fervently is seeking.

Sadly though Hugo’s latest hack attempt by the former President of the CAJ (Canadian Association of Journalism) clearly neglects to share that in a phone call far prior to the dates he references, that I had told Hugo he would in fact have a scoop on the gallery as soon as I was able to release that information.

Not happy with that answer or willing to wait he instead wrote a few pieces innocently asking questions that the board of TAG was not ready to publicly share.

When you are on a board you have fiduciary responsibilities.   You have  to have ethics and try and follow the laws and rules as best you can in actual good faith.

And that’s what’s been missing in this writer’s opinion when it comes to Mr. Rodrigues’ words, and actions (or those lacking).

I know that when I started CFN I had made a commitment to this community.  That commitment has led to CFN garnering far more eyeballs than the Freeholder gets and we actually publish raw numbers.   That comes by writing stories that people click on.  That comes from helping people, and defending people, and taking a stand on issues whether it be Beavers, Ice Rinks, Kids selling worms, Wal Mart workers being told they can’t drink water while working at the cash, or countless other incidents, many of which never go public.

That actually is what Journalism used to be.  Standing up for one’s community and exposing issues.  Investigating even.  Not just regurgitating press releases or fearing the wrath of City Hall ad dollars.

Hugo Rodrigues sat and watched Judge Rick Leroy not declare that he was a partner in a law firm that I had current and post litigation with.   Some might call that itself a conflict of interest.  Ironically Judge LeRoy dismissed my motion to have the City’s lawyer, David Sherriff Scott, dismissed from representing current mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy and two city councilors over their very very clear conflict of interest over the Benson University project which saw members of the committee vote to give the project cold hard tax dollars.   Even more ironic is that Judge LeRoy nailed me for about the same award as I was given in a case vs his former firm.

That project has never moved forward and most likely never will unless Gerry and Marty write some very big cheques.  The city has invested over $100K into it instead of letting such an esteemed group write the cheques themselves.

Likewise Hugo watched me utterly destroy former Mayor Bob Kilger in a one on one debate that he himself moderated.   That destruction was so severe that Kilger, the former Whip for the Federal government,  had lost his cool during the debate and organizers to this day refuse to show the video that they took.

Most recently Hugo received a press release from myself stating that I was holding a press conference to announce my intention to run again for Mayor of Cornwall and do everything in my power once elected to rescind the Harbor deal which I feel will hurt this community greatly.    Not a reporter from the Freeholder showed up.  Not an email or phone query likewise.   Could you imagine the Brockville Recorder behaving in that manner?

Hugo appears to be incensed that I told his reporter that he was a hack?    He appears to be so incensed that he wrote a very childish column which appears to try and again slag the gallery and myself.   After all, this man actually wrote a piece trying to suggest that the 36 year old  charity was in fact not a public art gallery recently.

What would you dear viewers call how Hugo has conducted himself?   After all, it’s said that omission is lying and lying should never be practiced by a journalist.   Right?

TAG has had a very rough journey.   It has never been properly funded by the city.   There are those simple minds out there who have drank the koolaid and think that a City Hall that has never invested over $100K (to my knowledge) in a year on the arts, is going to spend millions building an art centre that might cost as much as $1M per year to support.

There’s a report from 1995 sitting in the gallery about such a project.   That never happened.

The truth is that when the gallery sadly does close I will be writing a piece about why it has closed and who is responsible.  Mr. Rodrigues name will be on that list.

Is it any wonder why so few people trust traditional journalism any longer and why a two hundred year old newspaper with as big a staff as the Freeholder has can’t garner as many viewers as  poor tiny CFN which has struggled under a City Hall led boycott that includes City Lawyers trying to suggest that we’re a blog instead of a newspaper, online or not?

Our city likes to say that Cornwall is a place of possibilities.   I think that CFN proves that is in fact true.  What the sign doesn’t say is that if City Hall doesn’t like what you created they will do their darndest to pull it down.

I think that Post Media and the Freeholder owe this community, and especially its art gallery and board a huge apology.

To carry on, what appears to be some sad ego agenda against a rival editor, in this manner to the point that a public gallery is going to close shows a degree of malice that frankly is frightening in many ways and hurts a lot of innocent people.

The facts are clear.  The record is open.    Just because Hugo Rodrigues didn’t get the answers he wanted when he wanted them does not indicate any neglect or wrong doing.  It does show a character that perhaps some people might want to scrutinize a bit closer.

TAG is having its final liquidation sale on Saturday June 25th at the gallery (168 Pitt Street) from 9-4.   Some amazing memories will be for sale.

It should also be noted that I called Ian Bowering at the Woodhouse Museum twice during their operating hours and left a voicemail stating that we had a few items to donate.  To this date Mr. Bowering has not returned the calls.

Likewise an email was sent to council offering them first crack at a few local pieces of art, and a lovely framed set portraying Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visiting for the opening of the Seaway.

The email was sent to council and certain city managers.  It also was not answered.

TAG’s story isn’t quite over.

While its future is in fact dark, the lessons to be learned here might in fact one day help not only the community, but the artists themselves.

Because if you don’t take care of what you have you may lose it.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below; something that you can’t do in Freeholder stories and Editorials.

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Rodrigues photo : facebook

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