Web readers who saw my Dec. 10 story about Doug Manchester's alleged misuse of corporate resources may have noticed three comments posted after the story, all attributed to a key source in the story, former Manchester employee Meagan Papp. The comments depict Papp as a militant lesbian with a grudge against Manchester for his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The first was a faux press release, replete with spelling errors, in which Papp referred to herself in the third person: “SAN DIEGO, City Bea - Gay Rights activest and adament Lesbian Protestor, Meagan Papp, commented recently about her previous work for major donor to Proposition 8.” The second post included resources for people looking to oppose Prop. 8. A third, put up on Dec. 11, repeated the press release, with slightly better spelling.
When I contacted Papp, she denied posting the comments, saying she'd read the story in the print edition. As is common, our website tracks the numerical Internet identity codes, known as IP addresses, of computers used to post comments. I entered the IP address associated with the comments with Papp's name into the American Registry for Internet Numbers; it turned out to be one of a group of eight addresses assigned to Republican political fundraiser Karolyn Dorsee, who was named in the original story as someone who worked with Manchester to raise money for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and also as a participant in an alleged cover-up of the affair.
I posted an addendum to the story noting this development, and I began making vigorous and repeated efforts to contact Dorsee, once even attempting to reach her at a fund-raiser at a La Jolla hotel. The fruit of those attempts was a pair of phone calls I received last Thursday, at a moment when I was unavailable. The first call was intercepted by CityBeat associate editor Kelly Davis. The caller, whose voice sounded male and young, apologized for the comments, explaining that he had posted them from his Blackberry while “visiting” Dorsee's office and using her Internet connection. He said he doesn't work for Dorsee and asked for her name to be removed from the addendum.
Then he called again and left a message on my voicemail. Again, he apologized for leaving the comments.
“It was me,” he said. “I was present in the office when I read the article. I left the comments from a computer because I think Doug [Manchester] is a good person, and I didn't like his name being dragged through the dirt.”
He never left a name or number, but promised, repeatedly, to call back. Alas, he never did, despite repeated calls to Dorsee's office to try to speak to him (on the assumption that she must know him). CityBeat remains skeptical of the caller's claims of involvement.
This is an updated version of a Dec. 12 post on CityBeat's blog, Lastblogonearth.com.