Monday, February 1, 2010

UPDATE: Subject Of Andrew Martin's Sunday Business Profile Pled Guilty To Criminal Charges, Sentenced To Three Years' Probation.

We've now learned that Richard Eitelberg -- whose new purchase-loan operation was the focus of Andrew Martin's Sunday Business profile yesterday -- pled guilty in May of 2003 to felony charges of computer intrusion, and was sentenced to three years' probation, and paid more than $25,000 in restitution and fees.

Eitelberg had been charged by the U.S. Attorney in April of 2002 with criminal intrusion into the computers of a former garment district employer -- a fact overlooked by Martin in his lengthy profile of the Queens businessman who now runs an "alternative" lending company.

Yesterday, we first reported on Martin's failure to mention Eitelberg's past criminal history in the 2,126-word cover profile.

Did Martin have access to information about the case of "USA vs. Eitelberg" -- which pops up as the lead item in a Google search of "Richard Eitelberg" -- and choose not to include it, or did the reporter simply fail to adequately research his profile subject? That not couldn't be learned yesterday, as NYT spokeswoman Diane McNulty and NYT business editor Larry Ingrassia didn't respond to a request for comment.

But it would seem that Eitelberg's criminal record relates directly to the story Martin wrote, and would be of interest to anyone doing business with him.

The criminal charges against Eitelberg included the accusation that he had deleted purchase orders from the computers of MP Limited LLC; his current business involves lending money to companies with pending purchase orders. Also, the story referenced his past work experience in the garment district -- which, of course, included his employment at MP Limited.

We'll try again to elicit comment from the NYT concerning Martin's omission of this information from his story.


Anonymous said...

While I'm sympathetic to Nytpicker's point here about missing information, I'm struggling while working through the philosophical limitations to writing a story. Every article excludes an almost infinite amount of information, some of it useful. To make matters worse, everyone's got a different opinion about what's useful.

To reduce this to the absurd, should ever caption of former President Clinton standing in a group with a young woman include a complete backstory of his perjury? Should his disbarment be trotted out every time he offers some opinion about a legal matter or really any matter at all. He was caught lying under oath.

I know omission can be a sin but the article seemed fairly skeptical for what you framed as a puff piece. When I read it, I was surprised to find something different from what you described.

Anonymous said...

RE the above comment: No, not every story on Bill Clinton would include details of his perjury or impeachment. But any major, even minor profile would. This story on Eitelberg was a big profile. Whether it is a puff piece or not, it needed to have information on his criminal record which relates directly to his present line of work.

Carolina Madrid said...

We reviewed the New York Times piece in a class as an example of a good business story. Today, we reviewed it as an example of not doing your job right ... the irony.

Anonymous said...

It's possible to be a good piece but be missing crucial information. There's a big difference between painting an incorrect picture and painting an incomplete picture. Every piece is guaranteed to be incomplete, it's just some are more incomplete than others.