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Libel suit filed against Sun-Times Media over Courier-News article

Updated: October 23, 2012 6:10AM

Christine Brown, the former president and manager of what was the Elgin City Employees Credit Union, has filed a libel lawsuit against Sun-Times Media and a reporter for the company.

Brown claims a March article that appeared in The Courier-News, a suburban publication, and on the paper’s website incorrectly stated she was being sued by Credit Union 1.

In January 2011, members of the Elgin City Employees Credit Union approved a merger with Credit Union 1, the article stated. It went on to say that the merger came about after questions arose about how Brown was conducting credit union business during a routine audit conducted by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Division of Financial Institutions.

The article reported that Brown was being sued by Credit Union 1 and was under investigation by law enforcement officials.

“At the time the article was published, [p]laintiff was not being sued by Credit Union One…” the lawsuit states.

The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Friday, continues: “Plaintiff’s conduct as ECECU’s president had nothing to do with said merger.”

According to court documents, Brown spoke with the reporter after the article was published and advised that the article contained “false statements” but the reporter “did not take the opportunity to correct the false statements in the article.”

The reporter was Mike Danahey.

The suit goes on to state: “Said statements are defamatory per se because they indicate that said merger was caused by [p]laintiff’s failure to properly carry out her duties as president of ECECU.”

The three-count lawsuit seeks a minimum $50,000 on each count.

“Our client, Christine Brown and her family have been severely damaged by the article written by Mr. Danahey and published in her community. We’re eager to pursue justice on her behalf,” said Patrick Semrad, one of the Chicago attorneys representing Brown.

A spokesperson for Wrapports LLC, which owns Sun-Times Media, including the Chicago Sun-Times, said: “We’re unable to comment on legal matters.”

Danahey also declined to comment.

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