Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mike Lenett: You Deserve the Truth

Senator Mike Lenett (D-19) sent out the following mass email yesterday in response to challenger Roger Manno's criticism of his negative website.

You Deserve The Truth

September 8, 2010

Dear [Voter],

I am sure that most of you hate it when one candidate says negative things about another. I hate it too. But friends, I have to tell you the truth about Roger Manno because -- for four years -- he has refused to disclose basic information about himself.

You deserve to know the truth that Roger has hidden.

The Maryland Public Ethics Law requires legislators to disclose their financial affairs "recognizing that our system of representative government is dependent upon the people maintaining the highest trust in their government officials." As a Delegate, Manno is legally required, under penalty of perjury, to disclose his and his spouse's sources of income, debts, and interests in real property. The penalty for non-disclosure is up to 10 years in prison.

For four years in a row, Manno filed false reports, under oath, with the Maryland State Ethics Commission. That's the truth. During the same period, Manno hid his background from voters. That's the truth. Please don't take my word for it. Read all the documents for yourself at

What is Roger's response to being caught red-handed? He attacks me, of course! He accuses me of "hateful and deceitful personal attacks on me and my family" -- for telling the truth about his lies. Yes, the truth here is ugly. But it's ugly because Roger Manno has been hiding it all this time.

Roger's mud-slinging response, filled with new stories about his background designed to elicit sympathy and avoid the real issue -- does not even attempt to address the truth.

· He does not dispute that he failed to disclose on his State Ethics Commission reports for four years the fact that his spouse was a Senior Vice President in the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers, as required by the Public Ethics Law. Lehman Brothers, you recall, was part of one of the largest financial scandals in American history and one of the companies most to blame for devastating our economy.

· He does not dispute that he failed to disclose a description of the $539,000 loan he received from Lehman Brothers Bank, as required by the Public Ethics Law.

· He does not dispute that he never disclosed his family's luxury apartment in New York City, convenient to Lehman Brothers headquarters, as required by the Public Ethics Law.

· He does not dispute that he changed his name from "Rajah" to "Roger" just months before moving to our County in 2003 -- making it nearly impossible to find out anything about his background through a simple Internet search. He told us he had "spent his life in public service" and we believed him, although now we know that was not true. He now does not dispute that he was a bartender and guitar player in New York City nightclubs for a decade. Why should we believe his new stories?

· He does not dispute that he never told voters about his failed candidacy for state legislature -- in New Hampshire -- where he lost to a Republican in a Democratic district. And despite the many times that Manno has tried to use his personal story for political purposes, he does not dispute that he has hidden the biggest part of his life.

Lost in the middle of Manno's long response filled with attention-diverting stories and quotes from his supporters is one line in which he states that his "ethics forms are up to date and accurate." Let me tell you what he means by that. In Annapolis, a legislator receives an alert if a member of the public asks to see his or her public file at the State Ethics Commission. As soon as Manno received that alert, he quickly filed corrections to his reports -- but it was already 2010 -- a clear admission that he knew exactly what he had been hiding from the public all those years. He was caught. And if he had not been caught, he would have kept on lying.

Friends, I hate this divisive campaign. I hate having to tell you all this information. And I hate the way Roger Manno has been lying about me. My parents taught me all you have is your name and I've worked very hard my whole career to build a name my wife and children can be proud of. I don't take kindly to someone questioning my integrity, much less someone whose own leaves a lot to be desired.

Roger Manno and his allies, including the "District 19 Reporter" (a disgruntled former employee), have been raining false accusations down on me this entire campaign. Just today, the District 19 Reporter attacked my family -- falsely, as usual -- in a blast email. I know Manno has been collaborating with the District 19 Reporter all along because, among other things, email addresses that we've given to her end up right on Manno's email lists.

Manno himself has falsely accused me of: stealing budget ideas from another candidate; supporting the shift in teacher pensions; taking different positions on issues with different groups; running a "push poll"; running a poll that asked people "Are you Jewish?"; and failing to cast the deciding vote on a bill of concern to the Orthodox Jewish community. All of these accusations have been lies. All of them have been entirely undocumented. Every statement I have made about Manno is the truth. Every one of them is documented in detail at

At Leisure World, Roger Manno attacked me for failing to stop the ICC as he claimed he would have done if he had been the Senator, despite the fact that he is on record in the 2006 Gazette Voters Guide as saying the ICC was one of his top transportation priorities.

In his most recent mailer that many of you are receiving today, Manno attacks me for supporting legislation relating to dishwasher detergent phosphorous that he himself voted for multiple times. Now what does it say to you when someone can accuse his opponent of voting for legislation that he himself has supported? On this new piece, he even uses the logo for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, which may cause people to believe they have endorsed him. But they did not. They endorsed me.

So again, please examine the actual documentation yourself at Who is telling the truth? I invite you to judge for yourself.

Now, Roger can feign his outrage as loudly as he wants, and he can tell all the family history stories he wants, but he can't change the facts that he so desperately is continuing to hide. Roger Manno lied to the State Ethics Commission for 4 consecutive years. He's been caught, and yet he's still lying about it.

By authority of Friends of Mike Lenett; Ron Little Treasurer