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Hodge: Daily News Editorial False and Misleading

In the public interest, the Source is publishing a copy of a letter sent Friday to the "V.I. Daily News" by Maria Tankenson Hodge, former Public Services Commission counsel. Hodge's letter was in response to an editorial claiming that Hodge's opposition to the reappointment of Alecia M. Wells to the commission was "retaliation for being cut from the PSC's squad of consultants." Also included are links to the editorial in question and a link to a copy of a letter Hodge sent to Sen. Lorraine L. Berry regarding the Wells reappointment.
Virgin Islands Daily News
Via Telefax to 776-0740
Re: False and Misleading Editorial – Demand for Retraction
Dear Editor:
I was very offended to read your editorial today. You state that a "former PSC consultant…is desperately trying to block …two commissioners from serving second terms, apparently retaliation for being cut from the PSC's squad of consultants." This is clearly a reference to me, as it was my letter to the legislature opposing the reappointment of Commissioner Wells that was the subject of the Senate Committee meeting you referred to (as you reported in the previous day's paper), and I was formerly legal counsel to the PSC (though I was never a "consultant"). However, your statement that my objection was "apparently retaliation for being cut from the PSC's squad of consultants" is false and defamatory, as you well know, since you are owned by the same parent company that owns Innovative Telephone, and that company has been well aware that I resigned my position with the PSC in 1998.
The reasons for my resignation were made public in prior legislative hearings in which the former Chair of the PSC participated, when my letter of resignation was presented by one of the senators and made a part of the record. Therefore, I now feel free to quote from that letter dated October 18, 1998, as part of a public record
"Please accept my resignation as legal counsel to the Public Services Commission, with effect from October 15, if that is not inconvenient to you. …
I have found most of my many years of service as legal counsel to the PSC a source of pride and satisfaction, and the opportunity to meet and work with many devoted commissioners over the years has been a personal pleasure. Most importantly, working in the public interest is an honor. I have come to the point, however, where I do not think that my beliefs regarding the Commission's role and responsibility are in accord with those of the majority of present Commission members. As a consequence, my continued service as your legal counsel does not seem appropriate."
Your attempt to portray my objections to the 2005 nomination of a commissioner for a second term as a desperate thing, done in retaliation for having been "cut" from the "squad" of PSC consultants is not only a false statement, but a very sad and transparent effort to serve the purposes of your sister company, Innovative, by undermining objections to this nomination, presumably because Innovative is so pleased with the nominee's consistent votes in its favor.
I could not let this editorial go unanswered and I ask that you publish this letter along with a retraction and apology for your false and defamatory characterization of my conduct.
Maria Tankenson Hodge
Cc: All members of the VI Legislature
VI Public Services Commission

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