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SF gallery owner assault - a hoax???

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, Jun 11, 2004.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    You may remember this thread about a SF gallery owner who was allegedly the victim of assaults for displaying a picture portraying US torture of Iraqi prisoners.

    Well, turns out that this may be a publicity stunt. The following article appears at ChronWatch (http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=7859):

    Lori Haigh: The Girl Who Cried Wolf?
    (ChronWatch Investigative Report)

    Written by Ira Simmons
    Friday, June 11, 2004

    Occurring over the Memorial Day Weekend, the story of Lori Haigh basically stayed under the radar screen. Haigh, a 39-year old twice-divorced mother of two and the manager of a San Francisco art gallery faced the media after being vandalized and beaten for exhibiting an anti Iraqi War painting. But to more than a few people who did not go to the beach or attend a picnic during over the holiday weekend, the name Lori Haigh conjured more than a few memories.

    This was because Lori Haigh was no stranger to playing the role of a victim. She was also not unfamiliar with controversy and doubts about her credibility. ''People are accusing me of pulling a publicity stunt,'' Haigh told the San Francisco Chronicle last Sunday. ''Me knowing how much information is on the Internet about me, the last thing I'm going to do is to do something to have people searching my name.'' Others are not so sure.

    The present chain of events for Lori Haigh began in early 2003 when she opened a gallery called Capobianco, her maiden name, in the North Beach section of San Francisco. In mid May 2004, in the midst of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, Haigh accepted a painting from Berkeley artist Guy Colwell titled ''Abuse,'' which shows three hooded, naked prisoners connected to electrical wires held by American soldiers. Another soldier with a robed woman is seen in the background. The painting was displayed in the front window of her gallery. Phone threats and vandalism soon followed and Haigh was physically attacked twice in broad daylight over a four-day period. She went public on May 29, complete with a photo of her bruises. Even for a holiday weekend, the story attracted much attention in the San Francisco Bay Area with lesser coverage nationally. Predictably, the tale of an art dealer being attacked because of politics brought an outpouring of support from various artists and leftist activists. A few days later, Haigh permanently closed her gallery. Colwell took his work home although some San Francisco supervisors want to show the painting at City Hall. Haigh has gone into seclusion and may have moved out of the San Francisco area.

    So what could be wrong with this story?

    1. The San Francisco Police Department found no witnesses to confirm either assault on Haigh or the vandalism at the gallery. None of the news aco????s provided any sources to collaborate any parts of her story, including Colwell or personal friends of Haigh. Also many of the news reports show slight differences in her story (broken nose, concussion, open fist, profanity, etc.)

    2. The San Francisco Police Department has not issued a sketch of any suspects, only a vague description of the first attacker that was featured in some news reports. Hank Donat, a San Francisco-based journalist who pens the ''Heart of The City'' column at MisterSF.com, wrote that a source close to the police investigation says Haigh's story has ''all the earmarks of a hoax'' and that she has not cooperated with officers investigating the alleged threats. Despite Haigh's beatings being a high-profile local story, the SFPD website doesn't include any mention of the incidents.

    3. Before the alleged art gallery assault, Lori Haigh's claim to fame was a $1.2 million abuse payment from the Los Angeles and Orange County Catholic archdioceses. Paid in 2002, the settlement was based on an allegation that she was abused and impregnated by a clergyman while being driven to and from music practices more than 20 years earlier. Although John Lenihan, the priest in question, acknowledged several sexual relationships with young women, he never admitted to an affair with Haigh. There was never a hearing or a trial on Haigh's allegations against Lenihan and her payout came during the period where the dioceses were under heavy national siege during the height of the clergy abuse scandal. Haigh also accused one other priest of misconduct and another of failing to act after she revealed her molestation allegations. Even though Haigh passed a lie detector test, both of these clergymen denied her accusations and one sued, but a judge subsequently threw out the case. Perhaps not wanting to press her luck further with the church's largess, Haigh's charges have quietly been withdrawn.

    4. Between 1991, when she first went public with the abuse claim by appearing with another victim, and 2002 when she received her windfall payment, Lori Haigh moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she married a Hare Krishna. While in Tennessee, she was accused by her employer of fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and conversion and misappropriation of funds resulting in damages of approximately $107,000. In February 1995 during the discovery phase in the case, Haigh, then using her maiden name Capobianco, invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions concerning unauthorized checks.

    Eventually Haigh fled to Northern California, filed for bankruptcy and ultimately agreed to a $96,000 settlement with her former Tennessee employer. Using the funds from the $1.2 million settlement from the church, Haigh paid off her Tennessee debt, bought a fancy four-story house on Twin Peaks, and opened the North Beach art gallery. In this period she also married and divorced her second husband whom she met in London, producing her second child.

    This is the quick and unsavory story of Lori Haigh. There was also a period where she worked in the video business on such ventures as photographing professional wrestling and also attempted a career as a songwriter. And there are other interesting tidbits that don’t increase Haigh's credibility quotient: quotes of her supposed ignorance to the anti-Iraq nature of Colwell's painting and playing dumb about anti-war newspaper articles that covered the windows of her gallery when it was closed. Reportedly an IRS lien was filed against Haigh last January and there is a question of money owed her landlord now that the gallery has apparently closed. Finally there are episodes of self-inflicted wounds from her molestation days that were described in the Los Angeles Times following her church settlement. Some nurses who have viewed the photos of her latest beatings are not convinced they are legitimate.

    Suffice it to say that given Haigh's past, the lack of a witness to her assaults, and for whatever reason, the police department's laissez faire approach to investigating the crime, this story reeks of being a hoax. Shame on the San Francisco Chronicle, (what else is new?), other knee-jerk Bay Area media outlets, and the Associated Press, all of whom rushed to publish an article that fit their anti-Iraq, anti-Bush agenda but ignored a cardinal rule of journalism: find multiple sources to corroborate a story. More importantly, it is another blow for those who seek the complete truth.

    And for Lori Haigh, it is yet another 15 minutes of fame, under somewhat questionable circumstances.
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    [SMIRK] Why, how very surprising! [/SMIRK]
  3. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

    May 8, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    North Beach in Frisco

    I lived there for years and know lots of people there.
    Right after 9/11/01 in fact on 9/12 when everyone else in the USA was home mourning disgusting vile radlibs started postering North Beach,starting with Lawrence Ferlinguine bookstore "city lights"
    anti USA posters all over the place in stores ETC and no one assaulted store owners then. North Beach has many Muslim store owners,just north of Kearny on Broadway there are two Muslim owned stores that have been there forever the snack food store next to the other liberal bookstore owners all shoot at Jackson Arms firing range and were allways real nice to me (Flag wearing Republican) the magazine store has a ton of gun magazines,they're all Iraqi's-they never had any problems.
    I knew she was lying the minute I heard about it.
    Why have not all the Palestinian Falafel shops had any problems?
    My BS detector is in the red zone.
  4. stv

    stv Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    SF CA
    I'm with Gunsmith

    North Beach is a very liberal area, and I would be extremely surprised if this had actually happened.
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