Los Angeles Times | LAObserved.com
Billboards along Southern California freeways are urging motorists to contact lawyer Jeffrey Krinsk if they believe they were “Illegaly [sic] wire-tapped by the LA Times” or to “Report LA Times Fraud.” The San Diego attorney represents a man who is suing Times staffer Michael Hiltzik and claims the columnist secretly recorded telephone conversations. (Hiltzik's accuser is Robert Silverman, an attorney who represents 1-800-GET-THIN, a company that markets Lap-Band weight-loss surgery.) The Times has published a series of articles and columns detailing the deaths of five patients after having Lap-Band surgery at centers affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN. On Thursday, the paper told staffers in a memo that "we do not engage in wiretapping and fraud as the billboards allege" and that it's confident that the lawsuit will be tossed. Here is the memo, first posted by Ed Padgett and Kevin Roderick:

From: Thomson, Kathy K
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 4:11 PM
To: All Los Angeles Times Employees
Subject: Billboards

Colleagues –

Some of you may have noticed over the last week that billboards have sprung up along freeways around Los Angeles accusing The Times of wiretapping and fraud. As you know, ethics and integrity are core values that we uphold everyday. We do not engage in wiretapping and fraud as the billboards allege. They appear to be placed by an attorney who recently filed a lawsuit against one of our columnists who has written about 1-800-Get-Thin, its principles and their Lap-Band surgery centers. Notably, the lawsuit does not allege either wiretapping or fraud, as suggested by the billboards. Related lawsuits previously filed against The Times and its employees have been thrown out of court. We are confident that this latest, equally meritless lawsuit will also be thrown out.

If you receive any inquiries, please direct them to Karlene Goller and Nancy Sullivan.