Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Judge Wygonik Tells Arab Thought Cops, 'Case Dismissed'

Judge Wygonik, whose travails we noted in October, (“Dearborn Judge Runs Afoul of Thought Police”), has finally realized that negotiation has its limits. Not that he’s declaring war on Imad Hamad and Osama Siblani. He’s just saying, “so long.”

Hamad and Siblani are the two most prominent loudmouths in the Coalition of Arab American Organizations (CAAO), the gang that’s been persecuting Wygonik since July, demanding some suitable public penance from him for being insufficiently sensitive to Muslim feelings in his private conversations.

As Wygonik explains in his statement, (below), he’s met repeatedly with these guys, offering to issue a joint statement to clear the air. But CAAO preferred to remain offended. On Monday Wygonik issued a press release through his attorney saying he’s done talking to the CAAO, and he’s moving on.

Maybe Siblani, Hamad, and company stayed stubborn in hopes of breaking Wygonik down, Dog Whisperer-style, in hopes that he would accept the collar and leash. Who wants to settle for a fair judge when a terrified political lapdog on the bench is so much more useful?

Or maybe they only wanted to make a harsh example of him for the benefit of any other Dearborn officials who might get silly notions about speaking or thinking freely around this town.

Either way, Wygonik went above and beyond in his effort to smooth the waters. Now Wygonik is showing up his persecutors as the ones who aren’t serious about smoothing anything. (Dearborn Heights City Councilman Tom Berry doesn't come out looking so good, either).

I’m sure Wygonik will pay for this by losing re-election next time around. But he stood for principle, and refused to dhimmi his way out of it, for which we tip our cap to him.

* * *

For Immediate Release
Contact: Noel Saleh
Monday, December 1, 2008
(313) 967-0200

District Judge Richard Wygonik issues final statement on e-mail accusations

At a July fundraiser for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, I had a conversation with Dearborn Heights City Councilman Tom Berry, during which we discussed Talal Chahine, the former owner ofthe La Shish restaurant chain and current fugitive from justice.

I was pointed in my criticism of Chahine, whose irresponsible actions harmed our community and resulted in hundreds of local workers losing their jobs. After a lively discussion, Berry and I shook hands and parted ways.

The following day, it was brought to my attention that Councilman Berry had sent out an email claiming that both I and my wife made disparaging comments, not toward Chahine, but toward Dearborn’s entire Arab community and toward Fordson High School.

Despite (1) my long-standing ties to Dearborn’s Arab community, (2) the fact that I have a reputation of being fair and unbiased as both a judge and in private practice, (3) the fact that I am a graduate of Fordson High School, and (4) my continued assertion that my remarks about Talal Chahine were not in any way an indictment of an entire community, some people have been demanding an apology (for something I never said).

Since the email, I have issued three statements about that evening’s conversation. I have had my representative, respected local attorney Noel Saleh, meet with the Coalition of Arab American Organizations (CAAO) on two occasions. I have personally met with CAAO as a group on one occasion. I have also met with several of its members on an individual basis.

I offered to issue a joint statement with CAAO to clarify what was said and to reach a resolution of this email attack. Since our meeting, I have, in good faith, produced several drafts of a joint statement based upon what was said at our face to face meetings with CAAO representatives and during our conversations, only to have those joint statements rejected.

I have always believed that the CAAO is working for the betterment of our community. I support the organization, I respect its members, and I appreciate the support I have received from the organization and its members. However, the leaders who are speaking for the CAAO have prevented me from reaching a resolution by a joint statement. I am convinced, that after weeks of trying to issue a joint statement, there is no truthful statement I can make that will satisfy some ofthe leaders of the CAAO.

I appreciate the efforts of those members of the community who have devoted a significant amount of time and energy to trying to resolve the issue of this email, but I believe I have done all I can do, and it is time for me to put this email behind me and to continue to prove to the voters of Dearborn that, as my record shows, I am a fair judge, not affected by racial or ethnic bias in any way. I will continue to serve all the citizens of Dearborn with dedication.
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Not Printed At Taxpayer Expense

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