Oh, yeah: Ali Zoibi has a 500 Pace car

Dateline: Mon 12 May 2008

A tipster saw the Indianapolis Star's vice president for everything Ali Zoibi zipping around town in an Indianapolis 500 Pace car last week.

So I called his office this morning to get confirmation or denial. Why? It's interesting to us that Gannett, with all its faux emphasis on ethics and avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest, if not the actual deed, would allow its senior guy to take such a huge favor from the 500 folks.

Here's how it went, after the operator connected me to Ali's suite:

"Good morning, this is Lisa."

"Hi, Lisa. This is Ruth Holladay. I'm calling to see if Ali Zoibi is driving a Pace car this spring."

"Well, why would you ask that, Ruth?"

"Because I heard he was, and I'm curious."

'I just don't know why you'd be asking."

"That must mean he is driving one. I guess that's my answer."

"Just a minute. You can ask him yourself. He's in. I'll connect you."

Long pause.

Lisa, back on the line. "I'm sorry. He doesn't take your calls."

"OK. Thank you."

Click.

So Ali has got himself a cool car. And the (big) wheels keep on turning...what a tool.

(Can anyone comment on the ethics essentials of this issue, according to the Gannett protocol? The rules were always: reporters can't accept gifts. Any food had to be consumed within like 20 minutes, or some silliness. Gannett makes a big stink out of not accepting freebie tickets for its reviewers, etc. -- a policy I think is good. So what is the deal? What is good for the goose, isn't good for the gander? Can Tim Evans get a Pace car? Matt Tully Is there a powder pink model for Babs? What's the deal?)

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