Department of Unmitigated Stupidity | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Department of Unmitigated Stupidity

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To the editors:

If Gary Orman's version of his sojourn at the American Hospital Association ("It Ain't Chopped Liver," October 9) is typical of his treatment of facts and realities, your writer may unwittingly have produced a work of fiction in recording Gary's account of his meteoric rise in the deli business.

I was Gary's supervisor's supervisor at AHA, and I would like to set the record straight. In the first place, he was not "national advertising director" but promotion manager, with a staff of exactly two people ("I fired a couple of hundred people and replaced them with two or three crazy people"). He did play fast and loose with the promotion budget, but he did not forge authorizing signatures. Gary takes credit for "doubling the circulation" of the magazine Hospitals but omits the fact that the magazine was--and still is--sent to readers without charge and the decision to double the circulation was made by management. Gary's slogan for the magazine, "The Leader That Decision-makers Follow," far from still being in use, was scrapped after a couple of years. Why Gary says he was fired from AHA is a mystery. While it is true that his departure did not produce much grief, he simply left to take what he thought was a better job.

The biggest mystery of all to me is why your fact checker waited until the issue carrying the story was ready to go to press before making contact with AHA. All of the above was told to him before the issue appeared.

Rex N. Olsen

N. Alta Vista Terrace

The editors reply:

As Mr. Olsen's letter indicates, we did contact sources at the AHA to confirm Gary Orman's recollections, and with their help we did amend the account substantially. Unfortunately, due to an error in our production process, we then published the unamended version of the story, thereby inadvertently omitting information that we thought would have improved the story. Needless to say, we are sorry and very embarrassed.

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