Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eight years after iffy computer tampering charges were filed against her by a former Chicago big shot who now lives in a trailer park, Annabel Melongo's case is scheduled for trial next week

Still of Annabel Melongo via the November 7-8, 2012 investigative report, Jailed For Recording Law Enforcement Parts I & 2 by Patrick Fazio, NBC2 Terre Haute, IN

Check out this anonymous e-mail I received yesterday. (If you're not familiar with the Annabel Melongo case, click here for my compilation of media reports.)
1. Melongo's Computer Tampering case, the case that spawned the Eavesdropping case, is set for trial a week from tomorrow: June 24th, 2014. The case is nearly eight years old, has seen SIX judges, FIVE private lawyers and FOUR prosecutors. Carol Spizzirri, the criminal complainant, can’t plead the Fifth nor refuse to testify; therefore, this trial set the stage to know about the millions of dollars siphoned out of Save A Life Foundation. To learn more about this case, click here.

2. Additionally, Melongo has filed a Civil Right lawsuit based on the recently dismissed Eavesdropping case by the Illinois Supreme Court. Among others, she claims Equal Protection and names prosecutors in the State Attorney and Illinois Attorney General offices as defendants. To read this conscience-shocking complaint, click here or here.

3. Melongo is represented in both cases by Jennifer Bonjean, a New York-based lawyer practicing in Illinois.
Will the trial move forward?

If so, will Carol J. Spizzirri -- a former Chicago big shot and media darling who now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, CA and ducks reporters -- show up to testify?

As you ponder such questions, take a few minutes to read this unusual June 11, 2010 letter and "Cyber Sabotage Activities" report (in which I and others are named as Ms. Melongo's "co-conspirators") from Spizzirri to an IL Assistant Attorney General that includes:
I'm truly grateful to Attorney General (Lisa) Madigan, (Cook County) State's Attorney Alvarez who've Invested the manpower, resources, outside forensics and special training over these years to convict Melongo.
Click here to download a copy.

Invited guests to the White House, 2005. Former Save-A-Life-Foundation Public Affairs Representative Dane Neal, my father, former SALF Director of Communications Ciprina Spizzirri, and her mother, Carol J. Spizzirri. 

Once the darling of politicians like Dick Durbin, Arne Duncan, and Paul Vallas, after Carol Spizzirri and her shady nonprofit were the subject of dozens of media exposes, she reportedly moved to this mobile home park in San Carlos, CA (photo courtesy of the San Diego Reader):

Friday, June 6, 2014

Will Annabel Melongo's federal lawuit against Cook County officials re-open the SALF scandal?

Last year The Sidebar was first to report Annabel Melongo's federal lawsuit against Cook County State's Attorneys, Sheriff Tom Dart, and other county officials.

Looks like I'm first again with the amended complaint filed yesterday by Melongo and her attorney Jennifer Bonjean which includes the complete timeline of the case, including the almost two years she spent in jail for posting recordings of benign phone conversations on the Internet, the result of being prosecuted under a statute that has been overturned as unconstitutional by the IL Supreme Court.

The 21-page document also details the roles of Carol J. Spizzirri and her Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF); the organization's relationships with current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman; ABC7 reporter Chuck Goudie's SALF exposes; the $9 million in tax dollars awarded to SALF; and much more.

Page down to view. Click here to download a copy.

(Circa 2005) Front row: former SALF Director of Communications Ciprina Spizzirri and her mother, Carol J. Spizzirri; Back row: former Maywood, IL mayor Ralph Conner,* former Palatine, IL mayor Rita Mullins, former SALF Public Affairs Representative Dane Neal

The complaint also takes aim at the felony computer tampering charges filed by Spizzirri against Melongo on October 31, 2006. Almost eight years later, that case appears to be headed to court, according to the website tracking Melongo's cases (click and page down).

If/when that case goes to trial, presumably Spizzirri -- who reportedly now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, California -- will be obligated to testify.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about the Melongo case.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about Spizzirri and SALF.

* 7/4/14 update: A previous version of this item identified former SALF Operations Director Vince Davis as the cowboy wearing the duster coat in the photo. Yesterday I received an e-mail from Davis -- seen in the video clip below escorting Carol Spizzirri when she freaks out and flees the room mid-interview -- informing me that Mayor Conner (who died in 2010) dressed up as the cowboy. 

I regret the error and I appreciate Davis -- whose June 10, 2007 e-mail about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama helping to fund SALF (see below) -- was reported in a June 25, 2013 Dubuque Telegraph Herald article -- bringing it to my attention -- PMH

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Heimlich maneuver "can kill people," according to a major Australian newspaper -- any Yank reporters care to take a look?

Erienne Lette (source)

Via Step up and save a life: why you need to do a Basic Emergency Life Support course by reporter Erienne Lette, published May 12, 2014 by PerthNow, a newspaper owned by News Corp Australia, "Australia’s number one media company" according to the company's website.

Sound like a story worth looking into by U.S. reporters?

It does to me, but, to my knowledge, it's never been reported anywhere except in the Land Down Under and here at The Sidebar.

FYI, "St John" in the article refers to St John Ambulance, "Australia’s leading provider of first aid services," according to their web site.

Click here for the organization's "non-Heimlich" recommendations for responding to a choking emergency.


Want to learn more?

I'd suggest starting with The Heimlich manoeuvre, a half-hour Australian Broadcasting audio documentary by Aviva Ziegler that first aired on July 27, 2009 and includes interviews with these notables and yours truly:

Another news hook for interested journos?

Happy anniversary!