Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Letter of the Week (Last Week)

Before Christmas I wrote a column about the unfortunate break-up of business partners John Tajirian and Colleen Lacombe (now Akins) both of Drexel Hill

It prompted this letter:

Mr Spencer,

After reading your editorial on December 20th concerning Colleen Lacombe, I was compelled to write you and ask you exactly why such an article was written in the first place.

I don't see any connection or relevance to a business venture going under, and you taking advantage of this situation to continue to trash and defame someones character. I believe it calls into question your own journalistic motivation and integrity. It is very apparent that you had nothing more significant to write about, nor do with your time then to waste your energy continuing an assault on a woman you know nothing about. Two people went into business together and it didn't work out. This simply puts them in the majority, as a very small percentage of business ventures are actually ever successful.(check the stats Gil).

The fact that you seized the opportunity to attack someone in such a situation, to me is disgraceful and unacceptable. You created a story where there was none there, and destroyed a families holidays by doing so. I am sure you are a very proud man Mr. Spencer.

I have heard for years that this papers subscription rate has been plummeting. Are your ratings and reader subscribership really that bad that you could find nothing better to write about then someones small business going belly up? What is your next blockbuster editorial going to be about? How Pizza Huts pizzas have fewer pepperoni then they did last year at this time?

Perhaps you could look into volunteering some of your time to helping the Red Cross, United Way, or some other charitable organization like that? At this point, it seems to me you have very little to offer society, or your subscribers by continuing with such rediculous (sic) editorial articles. I have spoken to dozens of people about this, and every one of them agree completely, you are way off base here Sir. I'd like to see an article written in the very near future apologizing to Mrs. Lacombe and her family, for using her past mistakes as an opportunity to create a story where none existed.

This is malevolent journalism, and should not be accepted or tolerated. Perhaps you will find the courage to post this letter in your "Readers Views" section, so that you can get a accurate gauge of just how cowardly this article was. I certainly hope so.

Al DiTullio
an ex - Delco Times subscriber as of today

I don't know how much courage it takes to post Mr. DiTullio's letter but there it is.

Certainly it took no more courage to post his missive than it took Colleen Lacombe to steal $325,000 from the First Church of Lansdowne a few years back.

I'm not sure what Mr. DiTullio thinks is so "cowardly" in writing about what Ms. Lacombe/Akins is up to today. But, no doubt, we disagree on whether it might be of interest to others.

That her former partner John Tajirian feels somewhat victimized by Akins/Lacombe is HIS story. That he went into business with her will she was still serving her sentence and remains under house arrest is interesting, at least to me and I think, to many if not all of our readers. That he now regrets doing so, given his unfortunate experience, is, again, his story.

I called Ms. Akins/Lacombe seeking to get her comments, instead I heard from her attorney. Fair enough. What Mr. DiTullio thinks is so "malevolent" about that is a mystery to me.

What he refers to as her past "mistakes" are actually pretty significant felonies. She didn't mistakenly steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from that church. She did it on purpose. People who do such things and then spend the money on vacation homes and boob jobs shouldn't be surprised when their crimes make headlines.

No doubt, Mr. DiTullio is right when he says that small businesses like the one started by Lacombe and Tajirian fail all the time. It is rare when such a failure would be "news."

However, when one partner has a cripe against the other, and that other partner happens to be in the midst of serving time for stealing from a church, that's kind of interesting.

If newspapers are in financial trouble today, it's not because they report too many stories with headlines like "Stolen Church Money Used for Breast Implants."

Such stories still sell newspapers and they will continue to so despite Mr. DiTullio's sanctimonious and angry objections.


Anonymous Mike said...

I wonder if Al knows that ridiculous doesn't have an "e" anywhere in the word. Did he hand write this letter and send it? The grammatical errors in his letter are worse than a 10th graders. Then again, grammatical errors are mistakes, while stealing money to buy beach houses is a "bit" worse.

January 1, 2008 at 5:48 PM 
Anonymous e said...

Man... You really have a way with the nut balls of society! I wouldn't worry about newspaper sales though. Some other looney-toon will be along to buy his paper and they'll get in line to tell you off.

January 1, 2008 at 8:14 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Blah blah blah wah wah wah...

Al DiTullio

January 2, 2008 at 10:41 AM 
Anonymous Rochelle P said...

Why not report that Ms. Lacombe went to the Church to confess rather than the Church's discovery and accusation? How about writing how the presiding judge in the case stated that he never had a more remorseful defendant in his court room? Maybe report that Ms. Lacombe made full restitution of the $325k? How about that she completed 700 hours of community service by consecutively working seven days per week, never missing one day? While I realize your "boob job" headline sparked interest, so might the story of a wife, mother and otherwise good person who made a huge mistake. Many "good" people make poor choices without consequences. Freedom of speech, of course, but sometimes it's nice to hear stories of nobility and grace--which has been what Ms. Lacombe has shown over the past two years. Are you perfect, Gil? Might I come to you with a story I created in my head like her ex-partner? Why not report that he has had the only company asset hidden for several months? Why not report what Colleen's attorney told you? Less sensationalism?

January 2, 2008 at 11:51 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Hey Rochelle,
How do you know what Colleen's attorney told me?

January 2, 2008 at 1:57 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...


Just to prove how ridiculous most of your points are, I'm going to give you a scenario that is equivalent to that of Ms. Lacombe's.

I steal the identity of 10 people and milk them for 100k each (total of 1M). I then diversify each 100k into VERY risky stocks. One of them makes it big (Google or MS for example) and I sell all my interest. I've made 10M on the investment and now return 100k to everyone with an apology and some tears. Would you be okay with that happening to you and your family?

Remember, it's all okay because I paid back what I took in restitution, did my community service (so I don't go to jail. VERY key point), and felt bad for my "mistake."

Who cares that I made 5M+ by my illegal actions? If you are okay with that, I'd love to sit down and have a business meeting with you.

January 2, 2008 at 2:58 PM 
Anonymous jeremy19015 said...

Rochelle - Gil Spencer has what you call situational ethics. If he can sell newspapers on someone's back by saying that person should rot away in prison, he will. If however that "someone" turns out to be one of his sources (like the convicted felon John Green from Penn Delco), Spencer suddenly says that felon should have gotten just a slap on the wrist!

You see, what helps Spencer at the moment determines what side of his mouth he'll speak out of!

January 2, 2008 at 3:33 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

By all means let's compare John Green to Colleen Lacombe...

Green admitted to a state ethics violation for failing to report less than perfectly legal income of less than $840 on his financial disclosure forms.

Lacombe/Akins stole $325,000 from a church to buy a vacation home, breast implants and other knick knacks.

I'm all for having the punishment fitting the crime, which is why I am looking forward to the trial of former Penn Delco School Board President Keith Crego.

Accused of felonies from ethics violations to drug charges it will be interesting to see if he qualifies for home monitoring ala Ms. Lacombe.

January 2, 2008 at 6:11 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...


There's a huge flaw with your argument. Who buys the Daily Times just for Gil's article that appears less than half the days the Daily Times is in print. Also, why wouldn't these "die hard" Gil fans just read his article online for free or come to this website? You'd be hard pressed to prove (with facts, statistics, etc) what Gil writes sells papers for the Daily Times.

No offense Gil!

January 2, 2008 at 7:58 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

None taken.

January 3, 2008 at 8:01 AM 
Anonymous jeremy19015 said...

Mike - Here's the best proof. Ask the Daily Times to remove Gil's articles from the print edition, and see what happens. After all, if Gil's articles in the print edition supposedly do not make any difference in sales, then they're just wasting paper and ink, right?

So whose argument is flawed, Mike?

January 5, 2008 at 10:09 AM 
Anonymous MIke said...


Do you even see the own flaws in your argument?

1. Why would the Daily Times fire Gil because I asked them to? If they don't fire him, all it shows is the insanity of your idea. It doesn't prove a thing other than he is a qualified employee who has done his job.

2. If they do fire Gil, how does that prove any wasted ink or paper? You'd have to go beyond the firing of Gil and show that nothing at all would take his place. Since his articles usually run half a page, his page would still have to be used in any paper published without his article. Therefore, the Daily Times wouldn't save any money on paper expense. You'd also have to prove that they'd leave his space blank. If they filled it with anything, there would be the same use of ink expense.

3. If they do fire him, you'd have to prove there would be no decrease in sales with the person who would take his place. Gil actually is disliked by most of the readers of the Daily Times, the best service he gives is keeping conservative readers with someone to associate with and to keep news coming from both political viewpoints. This can be done by basically any conservative writer. I don't think it's a huge surprise that the majority of Daily Times readers are liberal. It's kind of like the substitute versus compliment business marketing issue.

So, could you come up with an argument that actually stands up any logical test and then prove it? Thanks!

January 5, 2008 at 11:43 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Why is the Left always so afraid of permitting others to express their views? Why are they so threatened by the rare Righty writer in the Sea of Liberal Crap?
Why, Gil is like the FOX News Channel of ink! Lol...
Only the Left ever advocates the silencing of those with which they disagree. So much for all that "tolerance" and "diversity" they're always chirping about...

January 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously Mr. Spencer has nothing better to do with his time, and takes pride and pleasure by pointing out other peoples mistakes and shortcomings in life. It is apparent that he is compensating for other areas of his life where he finds himself inadequate and lacking. (an interview with Mrs. Gil Spencer would probably verify this supposition). In any event, there will come a time where Mr. Spenc er will be required to answer for the pain he has brought to others, and at that time I am certain he will get what he has coming to him. Untill that time, I hope he treads lightly, as there are many in life that don't take kindly to his attacks and agenda. Looking over that shoulder Gil?

January 8, 2008 at 1:37 PM 
Anonymous Bilbo said...

I agree with u Anon, Mr. Gil must be a little short in the "certain" areas..LOL

January 8, 2008 at 2:11 PM 
Anonymous Mistymountain said...

AMen to that!, Spencer is a idiot and shold shutup! Truth be told!

January 8, 2008 at 5:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Rochelle P. Believe me, I used to know Colleen Lacombe or Akins or whatever she is calling herself these days. She was a total druggie until just a few years ago. When she got off the juice and drugs, she started stealing from the church. Nice girl huh. Her entire family are druggies and drunks. Seriously, most of her family battle the bottle, used to or continue to abuse narcotics, worked on a stripper poles, and basically hurt the people around them. As for her being good since her restitution, I would bet anything she has cheated and stolen from someone.

July 9, 2008 at 11:22 PM 
Anonymous Katie said...

Hey anonymous are you perfect? Do you know Colleen now? Who are you? What's the matter can't write your name cause you are not that perfect person yourself. I'm sure your have done things that you are not proud of just as my family has. Many people have battled with drug and alcohol abuse and saw there way through it just as my family. To claim to know as much as you do about my family's past, leads me to believe that you must have traveled in there circle. Which makes you no better. As far as the comment about my sister being a dancer, who are you to pass judgment. Some people do what they have to do to make a living.It is not for you to decide what is right or wrong or who is good or bad. You have no idea what my family is about these days. Do you talk to any of us now? Then do me a favor and stop bashing us, or be a real man or woman and say who you are. As for my amazing sister who has done her time and asked God for forgiveness who should be the only one to judge her not you. And as for you the coward you are who hides behind his hurtful words why don't you be a real person and say who you are, or are you afraid of someone commenting on the skeleton's in you closet. From Colleen's youngest sister Katie

February 3, 2009 at 10:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that anyone is reading this now but Collen also stole from, and then kicked out her Grandfather who lived with her. How do you think that restitution was paid back. What goes around comes around. Signed -- Estranged family memeber

May 6, 2009 at 9:14 PM 
Anonymous katie said...

Estranged family member,
Again you are a coward and not reveled who you are. I have many estranged family members. If your so estranged than how do you know such information. You must be getting your information second hand. What happened between my sister and grandfather is non of your business and far from the truth. To the comment of no one is reading this, you are. Apparently you have nothing better to do then to see if anyone blogged back. Well I am and I will defend my sister and my family to no end. Do me a favor stop talking crap about my family unless you know the whole truth to the story. Does it make you feel good talking about other people? Didn't your mother teach you manners, you know the saying don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say. Once again stop bashing my family.
Colleen's little sister, Katie

July 19, 2009 at 10:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colleen Lacombe is working in San Diego area these days. She's the owner of http://www.estateandmoving.com/. Heres her profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/colleen-lacombe/59/b48/85a

October 6, 2013 at 1:39 AM 
Anonymous JD_ said...

She changed her name to Colleen Ann Fish. She's on Facebook too. https://www.facebook.com/colleenmrsfish

October 6, 2013 at 1:55 AM 
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