Lanx Satura: Local Reporters “Bicker” Over Downtown “Kerfluffle”
by P.D. Lesko
The Ann Arbor Police were called to the Ann Arbor Workantile on Tuesday afternoon. The AAPD officer arrived promptly on Thursday to find AnnArbor.com government reporter Ryan Stanton and AnnArborChronicle.com editor David Askins and his wife, Mary Morgan, toe-to-toe in a heated argument over what one officer described as “long yellow object that looked much like a pencil.” Stanton, who’d cemented a disputed AP reporting award to the passenger side window of his car, had been cruising slowly back and forth in front of the large window of the Workantile, where Askins had been writing up a lengthy piece about the “importance of being earnest and contemptuous” all at the same time.
According to the Police Report leaked to A2Politico by no fewer that 135 sources, or virtually every officer still employed by the City of Ann Arbor, Ryan Stanton began honking his horn and singing the MC Hammer hit “U Can’t Touch This” loudly enough to be heard inside the Workantile. Stanton, dressed in a wife-beater and chinos, then stopped his car and began bellowing, “Assssssssssskinnnnnnnnnns!!!!!”
Mary Morgan, who had not been at the Workantile that day, told the officer who responded to the complaint that she’d won her own AP award (which no one had ever asked to be “reviewed”) and in fact was outraged that the AP regional Director, Eva Parziale, was not returning the “several dozen” messages Morgan had left her regarding Stanton’s flawed award-winning piece on response times of the AAFD.
AnnArbor.com deposed Kontent King Tony Dearing flew in from New Jersey, where he was transferred months ago (a change only recently reported on by AnnArbor.com, however), to defend Stanton in a 3,000 word “edisplanation.” In it, Dearing claims the Askins/Morgan Gang is trying to railroad Stanton and embarrass AnnArbor.com into admitting there were “mistakes made. I am not a crook,” writes Dearing, quoting disgraced former President Richard M. Nixon for some unknown reason.
Daddy Dearing goes on to write: “I am here (well, not here, but was here until I wasn’t anymore) to set the record straight. I love New Jersey. What Ryan wrote is 100 percent accurate, and AnnArbor.com stands proudly by every third or fourth word. It’s simply ridiculous to think that a major media outlet such as AnnArbor.com that has grown under my leadership to reach 200 percent of adults over and under the ages of 18 in Washtenaw County should be expected to answer fabricated fabrications.”
While disentangling his glasses from his beard, Askins told the officer that Stanton had come into the Workantile, car window in hand, and taunted the AnnArborChronicle.com editor. Sources at the Workantile couldn’t agree on what happened next, but it would appear as though Stanton touched Askins’s pencil. Incensed, Askins had grabbed a bike glove and given his competitor a sharp slap across the room— while remaining seated. A shoving match ensued, with both men taping each other with their respective iPhones.
Stanton told the officer that Askins was “chronicling” the story “all wrong, Dude.” He (Stanton) claimed to have “recorded” himself not entering the Workantile. Instead, Askins had come out of the building spoiling for a fight.
Evidently, at this point a large crowd of local rubber-necking journos had gathered, made aware of the kerfluffle between Askins and Stanton via Twitter. Among the crowd was Ann Arbor Observer writer James Leonard. Leonard stepped in to get the facts for an “issues based” piece he was planning to write about the dust-up between Stanton and Askins. Leonard had been riding high on the success of his most recent local politics piece published in The Observer—until he’d realized that he misidentified all of the candidates for office he’d interviewed, a minor error, but professionally irksome nonetheless.
Leonard, using an out-of-ink pen and the back of his hand began peppering Stanton and Askins with pithy questions:
“First question: Qui es mas macho? Ricardo Montalban or Mary Morgan?”
Stanton started to answer, but stopped when Morgan shot him “the look.”
Leonard went on, scribbling away with the enthusiasm of Rita Skeeter. “Who hates you? Who are your enemies? Who loves you, Pretty Baby? Thanks, guys. That’s all I need. I’ll email for clarification, if I need to, but probably not.”
Stanton, still clutching his car window decorated with the cemented on AP award, asked the officer if he was free to go. Askins, glasses still tangled in his beard, told the officer that he’d “be thinking seriously” about pressing charges. “No one wears wife-beaters in public anymore. It’s. A. Crime.” snapped Mary Morgan. With that, Askins walked over to where he’d parked his bike, only to find it had been “removed.” Likewise, Stanton found his car had been “removed.”
Both men immediately accused the other of the thefts, and began shuffling around in a tight circle, fists raised.
Just at that moment, someone drove by in Stanton’s car which had Askins’s bike folded into the trunk. The officer’s report, never filed because there is no crime in Ann Arbor, indicated that the driver of the car resembled First Ward Council candidate Eric Sturgis. In the backseat, the officer later swore she saw Sturgis supporters County Commish Leah “Gramma” Gunn, Joan “JoLo” Lowenstein and Mayor Pro Tem Pro Sempre Fi Marcia “Call Me Maybe” Higgins. Asked later after one his “classes” at Eastern Michigan University, Sturgis denied stealing the car and “really nice” bike, but explained that according to city ordinance, bikes parked carbside, and cars left in the street must be “removed.”
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