Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking -- Rhonda Lokeman in DUI arrest

In news sure to rock the Kansas City Star, McClatchy Watch has learned Rhonda Lokeman, the controversial columnist who married to Kansas City Star publisher Mark Zieman, was arrested for DUI in Kansas City, MO.

The arrest occurred the first week in January and the newspaper has managed to keep her arrest a secret from KC Star readers -- at least until now.

Some readers have noticed that Lokeman's column has not run in the KC Star several weeks -- with no explanation from the newspaper.

Details are still emerging about the traffic stop. We do know that Lokeman refused to take a breath test. (Did she have an attitude with the officer?) Not submitting to a chemical or breath test is a violation of Missouri's Implied Consent Law.

Charges were filed against Lokeman January 7,
in case #0916-CV00241 in Jackson County, Missouri.

Lokeman is pending court and will appear before Judge Margaret Sauer. She has been charged with 302.750/577.04, DUI and Refusing a blood alcohol test. (Missouri statutes here and here.)

Her next court date is in April.

Readers will want to know why the newspaper didn't publish news about Lokeman's DUI, when the paper routinely publishes news about athletes or politicians with DUI arrests.

Also, this arrest raises questions about the ability of her husband, publisher Mark Zieman to oversee the newspaper and handle several ethical issues that have arisen involving KC Star columnists. (Info on recent controversies involving Jason Whitlock here and here and here.)

When Zieman became publisher of the Star in 2008, Lokeman joined  Creators Syndicate, and the Star continued publishing her column. When critics have raised the issue of nepotism, Zieman usually responds by saying Lokeman is "nationally syndicated" -- even though the only other papers that carry her column have a small circulation.  It's a "sweetheart deal" that meets the letter but not the spirit of nepotism standards.

I emailed Lokeman at her email address at Creators Syndicate -- the email was returned "Invalid mailbox." The Star's website lists the same email address for Lokeman. Readers rep Derek Donovan did not immediately respond to an email.  (Thanks to the reader who sent the email tip.)


Anonymous said...

All I can say is..."Oops!"

Linked you this morning: good catch.

Anonymous said...

This is rocking me to the core.

Have you called her for comment? The paper? Does she have a lawyer? Have you called the lawyer? Why are you just sending emails? Seems a little lazy.

Rookie cops reporters know to do this.

It's not a great situation, but is she an employee? And, even if she were, what are the paper's policies on this?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people that you thrive on this kind of stuff? Most of the 1200+ employees could care less. It is a private issue and sad. Do you get kicks in trying to destroy somebody because you lost your job?

Anonymous said...

I dunno . . .

Layoffs tomorrow? That certainly would rock a paper.

Another ownership change? That definitely would rock a paper.

A journalist with a drinking problem? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

"Did she have an attitude with the officer"?

I don't know. Did she? Did you try to call the cops to find out? This raises an issue you have no reporting to back up.

Seriously, if a reporter filed me this crap I'd laugh at him.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The story isn't that Rhonda got a DUI. The story isn't that she's the wife of the KC Star's publisher. And the story isn't that a newsie likes to imbibe a bit too much.

The story is that the KC Star didn't report it. The arrest of any other "leading citizen" of the area for DUI would be in the paper.

An old friend of mind observed once, "It ain't what's in the newspaper that's important. It's what AIN'T in the newspaper that's real news."

Walter Abbott

Anonymous said...

If the point is that they didn't report it, then the story certainly doesn't get that across. You could certainly write a lede like this:

"The wife of the Kansas City Star's publisher, a syndicated writer whose column appears in the newspaper, was arrested and charged with drunken driving, but the newspaper did not report that fact."

Now, if a reporter filed a story that started that way, I would ask him these basic questions:

-- Have we asked the paper what its reason for not carrying the news was? Do they plan on writing something now?

-- Do we know that paper (and her husband) actually knew she was arrested? Maybe they simply screwed up, or were kept in the dark, or have a reasonable explanation.

-- Is this really news? Can we show that the paper has run DUI stories about other citizens of equal prominence?

-- Have we tried vigorously (not just by email) to reach the accused, her attorney, the paper's editor and its publisher. Until we touch all the bases, we don't publish. It would be unfair.

-- Lokeman has two roles: publisher's wife and syndicated columnist. Does the paper have any policies that cover disclosure of embarrassing news for relatives of employees? Syndicated columnists?

-- Can we get a journalism ethics expert to discuss whether the paper (assuming it knew) should have run this story?

-- Lastly, do you have any newsroom sources on or off the record who will say they had the story but were prevented from running it.

That's a lot of questions, and a high bar to meet, but this is what real journalists do all day long.

Anonymous said...

5:34 "Leading Citizen" give me a break. If you went out on the streets here and asked who Ronda Lokeman is, I doubt if you could find 10 people. I go to many functions that include "Leading Citizens" and NEVER have I seen or met Rhonda Lokeman. I live here do you?
5:14 Agree. That came to my mind also.

Anonymous said...

5:50: Thanks. Well done.

Or, I could just blather about your liberal bias or how much of a dinosaur you are or something like that. You know, to keep with the tone of the site.

Anonymous said...

For the Star or McClatchy to treat Rhonda any differently than any public citizen might imply behavioral control. The type of control the IRS uses to determine that freelancers are really employees. The IRS would then interpolate this relationship to all other freelancers company wide and demand back taxes and penalties. The Code of Ethics does say "refrain from...making news judgements about any individual related to them by blood or marriage... The issues really truly go beyond the personal problem of getting hammered and driving the Odyssey home.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

haha! Congratulations man. Great work and I see you have hit the KC Star, Affirmative Action Nerve! How many of these comments came from McClatchy/Star IP's?

You got to love it when they start dictating about what you should have written...all the while they were helping to keep it quite.

Now we need to examine just how many character assassinations, slanders, fairy tales, and bald faced lies these people published all while knowing full well that this had happened.

Anonymous said...

Headline should have been: Nationally Syndicated Columnist Rhonda Lokeman Uncooperative During Arrest

I really enjoyed the heavy dose of hypocrisy from the peanut gallery. I really didn't think that they would have the nerve to claim it was a personal matter, but nothing should surprise if you have read all the slander that flows daily from the STAR.

As far as the criticism. Don't sweat it. You hurt them plenty and their only defense is to discredit you. They are livid that they were exposed. Good for you man.

Anonymous said...

MNI Rule1: American conservatives are the only public figures we slime.

MNI Rule2: If it’s our own Marxists, it isn’t news, it’s spin.

Dashle, Geitner, lokeman

Consistency, right to the steps of the bankruptcy court

Anonymous said...

This just proves only the right wing nut cases can't see a problem with this.

Drinking problem...needs help.
Obession to destroy...needs help.

Anonymous said...

The new readers may not know the work bloggers have done to bring the shabby dealings of Mark Zieman to light, and on more than one front. In my opinion, Rhonda Lokeman is a fraud, a racist, and writes far below any journalistic standards. Without the KC Star jack up, she would not have a circulation at all. Mark Zieman knew that of course. He used his paper to enable a raving hater to spread her juvenile bile. He in fact did line his pockets through nepotism. Moving her into another venue was a ruse. How can any KC Star employee feel they will be furloughed fairly by a dishonorable publisher? Yeah right, he is just a little dishonest? Don’t you get it? If his lips are moving, he’s lying.

Anonymous said...

You know what is really sad. They sit here and pretend it is a personal thing, the writer did a bad job, nobody cares..blah, blah, blah. But then! What is this? Right in their own KC Star Crime Scene...the Headline reads: GARY COLLINS ACCUSED OF DUI


Now, see for yourself the quality compared to the story written in the SCAR's CRIME SECTION. All I can say is, great job blog master.

Anonymous said...

This might make a brief in the newspaper, and probably should have. But the reporting is tendentious garbage.


Anonymous said...

This might make a brief in the newspaper, and probably should have. But the reporting is tendentious garbage.
You jealous attempt to discredit the commentary.


Now, lets have no more gay scene euphemisms.

Anonymous said...

I think the funniest part of this is the "Breaking" tag on the post. As if anyone not on this blog gives a damn.

Anonymous said...

7:29 Only on McClatchy Watch could a "Breaking" story be a month old. Great reporting.

Quess we'll hear about any layoffs a month later.

Anonymous said...

...The McClatchy shills , those gutless boys and girls who hide under Anon., CLAIM that this story doesn't meet their minimum journalistic standards...?...What bunkum ! These are the same folks that print innuendo, rumors and lies while saying the stories are " Too good to check ".
..They are corrupt, irredeemably corrupt. Unfixable. Corrupt to their core. What they post here has no value.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason for the KC Star to publish Lokeman’s third-class work, other than she sleeps with Zieman. She drags the whole opinion section down to her level. I honestly don’t know why anyone would defend her. Why would we think a dishonorable man would report the news about his beloved bimbo? I don’t trust Zieman to be one bit fair with furloughs for employees. If it looks like a skunk, and smells like a skunk, it is a skunk. The KC Star gets two skunks into this so-called bargain.

Anonymous said...

Well, apparently you've struck a nerve at the Star. According to one of the few honest, and decent reporters that the Star has left, they just found out about it this morning.
Another of the few honest and decent reporters (shocking there are more than one) says in his crime scene blog that they should have a post about it sometime today.
Despite what the Lokeman kiddies are saying here, you did indeed break a story that many of the KC Star staff had no clue about. Great work, great tip. Keep it up.

Now all we have to do is see if Mark Zieman intercepts any acknowledgment of the event. My money says he does. One way or another we know for a fact that this was intentionally covered up and that says volumes about the KC Star.

Anonymous said...

Liberal clueless says, “Do you get kicks in trying to destroy somebody…?”


Anonymous said...

Did someone yank old girls grill out? That is one butt ugly bitch.

Anonymous said...

That’s right, they just found out. Where are all those police beat reporters? The same one that didn’t mention that more people were shot in KC than Iraq? I see questions here of a blogger that should have been asked of so-called REAL reporters. Ya think the Z-man is playing favorites AGAIN? Ya think the KC Red Star staff doesn’t know it? Get real!

Anonymous said...

"Did someone yank old girls grill out? That is one butt ugly bitch."

Hey, Kevin, maybe you could share this with the people at your church and see whether they think she is ugly as well.

Yours in Christ.

Anonymous said...

"I think the funniest part of this is the "Breaking" tag on the post. As if anyone not on this blog gives a damn."

You are so wrong about that. A beleaguered publisher caught in a fix. You would be surprised who reads this blog, and HATES the exposure. Just ask Jim Witt. Not understanding the web is what is killing McClatchy.

Anonymous said...

8:14 What kind of church produces such hate in a person? Wow must be some kind of church.

Anonymous said...

Kevin's Bio: Favorite Book Bible.

Please read and report back.

Anonymous said...

There won’t be much layoff information until after the meeting Thursday. We might as well gossip. At the ADN, gossip is news. In KC there are several bloggers with gritty styles that will be jumping all over this story. They despise Lokeman for her race baiting columns. If they are up to par, it will get amusing in the KC blogoshere.

Anonymous said...

Tony's KC already has it. A lot of people in high places read his stuff. I am just wondering if by chance Zieman doesn't prevent publishing it in the Star, will we get her mug shot? Bwhahahhaa

Anonymous said...

"Some readers have noticed that Lokeman's column has not run in the KC Star several weeks -- and there has been no explanation from the newspaper."

Man, that can only be a good thing.

thinker said...

HOW IRONIC--this is a tidbit from a Lokeman column that ran in Sept. 2007 criticizing among other things, Bush's 1978 DUI.

Rhonda Chriss Lokeman
Gonzales between the lines
September 2, 2007

A corrected transcript of the resignation letter by Alberto Gonzales:

Original: "Thirteen years ago, I entered public service to make a positive difference in the lives of others.''

Corrected: My client asked me to come to Washington to hide his mistakes from the nation, like we did in that DUI business in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Local MADD office notified shenanigans at hand. Hearing date is Thursday, 9 April 2009, 9:30 AM at DIVISION 29, 7TH FLOOR Jackson Country Courthouse - Kansas City, before Judge Margret L. Sauer.

Make an outing of it. See first hand how Rhonda collects sweetheart deals and plans to get off scott free.

Anonymous said...

My oh my... the snarkalists really don't like it when they no longer can control the direction of the discussion.

A shame. Don't you ungrateful fools realize that they spend all those years avoiding math classes, drinking cheap wine, smoking some awesome dude dope and somehow getting that liberal arts degree so they could save the world.

A little more respect if you please.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Kevin's Bio: Favorite Book Bible.

Please read and report back."

Man, take yourself off, you are one sick troll.

Anonymous said...

Sick Anon. says: “Kevin Gregory's assertion in his little "about me" blurb about the importance of his church in his life.”

And, your sick point is what? Go get a life, even an atheist can still show respect for another person’s religious belief. There must be a blog that would welcome your comments, but not here. Go keyboard on one of them.

Anonymous said...

In a local community, if a public figure or someone with a high profile is arrested for DUI, it is newsworthy.
The question here is this: Is a columnist for the local daily newspaper a public figure? I would say yes. Rhonda Chris Lokeman has a column with her photo which, until recently, appeared every Sunday, the largest circulation day of the week. She lives in Kansas City. Her DUI arrest should have been reported once news of the arrest became public. That it was not reported is shameful if Star staff knew about it. If no one knew about it, then it points out the consequences of laying off so many reporters.

Let me ask this question to Zieman and other decision-makers at The Star- what if Steve Rose, columnist for The Sun, or C.J. Janovy, Editor of The Pitch, got a DUI arrest? Both are well-known journalists in KC.

One more thing- The Star never hesitates to print stories about all the meaningless awards that Rhonda Chris Lokeman receives. Being covered in the news should be a two-way street.

Anonymous said...

Donovan responded as usual, first with silence, and then with the silly apologia that no one at The Star (presumably including publisher Zieman) knew about the arrest.

Of course Donovan has recently had his own ethical debacles having two of his blog entries pulled to protect him from humiliation after he had a meltdown when readers caught him in several falsehoods.

On top of that, he then modified his blog entry and published it as a column. Again, after several readers pilloried him for his deceitfulness and arrogance Donovan went wacky and on two successive nights in a row launched into embarrassing late night tirades against the readers. The following day all of the comments were pulled.

The Star is about spiking major stories that impact the metro area, this one is one of the more trivial, but demonstrates the double standard under which it operates.

You can say it doesn't mean much when a columnist gets drunk and The Star doesn't report it, but what about when the "Reader's" Rep goes bonkers and attacks the very people he allegedly represents. How much misconduct at The Star are we supposed to sweep under the table?

Oh, and for the record, here's part of Derek's response:


It's one of two calls I received from Derek, the second one obscene.

Anonymous said...

I love that nonsensical line about being a conservative. So what were you supposed to have done that damaged the Star? Frankly, I can't imagine anyone damaging them any better than he has.

Anonymous said...

I note that after being removed from his column that the comments are now back under the column I referenced.

What I, and others, did was point out on his blog major stories ignored by The Star, but published by other local media. We also pointed out some of his misconduct towards those who tried to deal with him on serious issues of regarding The Star.

And while our comments were routinely deleted by Donovan we continued to pass along to one another the patterns of misbehavior engaged in by Donovan, etc.

This resulted in a continuing pattern of abusive behavior from Mr Donovan including these abusive phone calls and a malicious and deceitful blog entry attacking me by name (removed from their web site) and brazenly libelous allegations he made about the nature of my conversations with him below one of his columns.

Some of the events and conversations he described simply never occurred and others are misrepresented. I challenge him right here and now to sit down side-by side with me hooked up to a lie detector and let's see who's telling the truth.

Incidentally, when I brought his misconduct to the attention of his editor, Mike Fannin, he referred me back to the very man whose misconduct was the topic of our conversation. It's what I have come to refer to as the reverse Nuremburg, i.e., we give no orders.

The Star has lost many fine street reporters during these layoffs and yet the duds like Donovan and the top heavy weasels who have brought The Star into disrepute remain.

My heart goes out to the decent journalists at McClatchey who are losing their jobs because of the incompetence of McClatchey's and The Star's management.

Anonymous said...

Just went through the comments below the column and one of mine containing the link to his abusive phone call is once again missing. Once again, The Star engages in a self-serving revisionist history. Just as they tried to cover up Rhonda's alleged misdeeds, they also eliminated the link to Derek's. For the record, her it is again.


and again:


Anonymous said...

Dude sounds like a flame.

Anonymous said...

here are the facts:

driving at 10:30 PM with no lights on.

One tire is missing.

She's driving on the steel rim.

WOW - I want to party with you Cowgirl!!!!

The portrait photo which accomp[anied her weekly column (discontinued at year end 2008) was about 20 years old. She has aged considerably in the meantime.