The Business Times Web site received quite a bit of flak from our recent story on a bankruptcy filing involving Montecito’s Klink family.
We’ll take a minute to state something that should be obvious — a bankruptcy filing is a public document, which provides any media outlet with an absolute privilege to publish the information contained in it. This privilege is at the heart of our First Amendment right to freedom of the press, and the Business Times routinely publishes records from the region’s bankruptcy court.
Patricia Klink’s bankruptcy, listing liabilities in the $20 million range, was unusually large for our area. And, as Klink’s own attorney pointed out, it underscores precisely the forces that are working to make this recession such a nasty one.
In addition, the family has created its own public record, through a wedding announcement in the New York Times, numerous political contributions and an effort by another family member to seek a federal appointment that required congressional approval.
The Business Times reserves an absolute right to publish on matters such as these without fear or favor. That’s part of the privilege and price of living in a free society.
We don’t know about our critics, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.