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Superintendent Hires Law Firm, Calls for Media to Correct Errors

Posted: Aug 12, 2013 2:51 PM by KOMU 8 News Staff
Updated: Aug 12, 2013 2:53 PM

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ST. LOUIS - A law firm representing Boonville R-1 superintendent Mark Ficken sent e-mails to the media Monday in the form of a letter and a news release to correct what it called erroneous reporting regarding the rodeo stunt at the Missouri State Fair Saturday that featured a rodeo clown wearing a Barack Obama mask. Ficken was the announcer at the event, but was not the clown featured in act, as some media--including KOMU 8 News--first reported once his identity was known.

The St. Louis law firm, Kodner Watkins Kloecker, LC, wrote in the letter to the media that Ficken "concurs very strongly with the assertion that the State Fair was not the appropriate forum for commentary of the nature uttered by the third party," referring to the rodeo clown, who has not been identified by fair officials.

The entire text of the news release reads as follows:

"A beleaguered school superintendent and president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, Mark Ficken, has retained legal counsel to 'set the story straight' relative to the rogue rodeo clown who appeared unscripted Saturday at the Missouri State Fair. News networks and media outlets have picked up the story which erroneously attributed disrespectful commentary to Ficken who was serving in his twentieth year as the announcer of the bull riding competition at the fair.

The clown, donning an Obama mask, was wearing a microphone at the time of his unscripted appearance. Ficken had no advance knowledge of the incident. 'He was as surprised as anyone with the appearance of an Obama-masked rodeo clown,' said Albert S. Watkins, legal counsel for Mr. Ficken. Ficken's sole reference to the clown was to say, 'Watch out for that bull Obama!'

'Unfortunately, in this day of internet piling on, once an outlet published an incorrect statement of facts, the erroneous attribution to my client of comments made by a rogue rodeo clown went viral. My client is now being inundated by responsive and retaliatory action, all of which is premised on a false recital of facts,' said Watkins. 'It is respectfully suggested that the media needs to cut out the bull and get the facts straight,' added Watkins.

'My client is a respected member of the community, a responsible educator and a man deeply committed to protecting his good name. We are closely evaluating the scope and viability of alternative course of legal action to remedy the situation,' concluded Watkins."

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