First Amendment Fair Comment and Criticism
In reference to my recent story about the "Champion Family" shoplifting ring from 1984, I want to emphasize I have NOT YET CONFIRMED the "Bobby Joe Champion" in the story is one and the same with State Legislator Bobby Joe Champion.
People tell me things behind the scenes but without some ability to cite a a source--instead of leaning upon "keep me out of it, but here's the deal" remarks in an email--I can't nail down the information.
For all I know, there's another "Bobby Joe Champion" and the guy from 1984 is a namesake, a coincidence, a DOPPELGANGER, even!!!!!!! (Yes, that last part of the sentence was delivered in a Snagglepuss cartoon voice, for those of you old enough to remember Snagglepuss)
Anyway, DESPITE an inability to nail down information to something more than "here's one hell of a coincidence" level, the internet pot seems all stirred up over this blogger's story about a court case from the 1980s involving a "Champion Family" shoplifting ring.
I am told the story was...
...emailed to a number of state legislators. And a prominent person called me to share an interesting little snippet of information...
Willie Wesley was a name mentioned in the 1984 shoplifting ring story, but I didn't even bother to "meta tag" that name because it meant nothing to me. Wille Wesley was just one more person involved in the Champion Family shoplifting ring.
"I think Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton had a mayoral aide named Willie Wesley," said a prominent person on the other end of my cell phone, and this snippet sent me running to a computer to perform some checking.
Google search terms: "Wille Wesley" and "Sharon Sayles-Belton."
This turned up one search result. ONE.
For the link, click here.
In 1994, Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton accepted some kind of human rights award, and standing right near her was MAYORAL AIDE Willie Wesley. The story of the awards ceremony was written up in a newsletter, which eventually made its way online in clunky "printed matter reproduced on the internet" form.
Like comedian Arte Johnson used to say on the television show Laugh-In, "very interesting."
I just can't help myself with the dated references, maybe because this is a very dated story. And yet, based upon feedback I'm getting behind the scenes, the story has caught the attention of a number of people.
So, yes, it's interesting...but there's no absolute proof Willie Wesley from the former Mayor's office was the same as Willie Wesley from the Champion Family shoplifting ring in 1984.
If State Legislator Bobby Joe Champion would like to email me and tell me his thoughts, I will be glad to publish what he has to say, including any denial he's the same "Bobby Joe Champion" in the court case. That's only fair.
Oh, and the same goes for Willie Wesley, Nona Lee Champion, and anybody who is named (even in a "doppelganger" way) in the story based on court documents from the 1980s which are now, AMAZINGLY, online.