The Press Club of Dallas and the Press Club of Dallas Foundation filed a civil fraud lawsuit on Monday against former Press Club President Elizabeth Albanese over the judging of the 2005 and 2006 Katie Awards, which honor journalism and communications excellence.
Recent published reports have found Albanese may have rigged the contest by judging it herself, including awarding herself first place in some categories, which goes against club rules.
The lawsuit states Albanese knowingly or recklessly made material, false representations and non-disclosures about the circumstances surrounding the judging of the prestigious Katie Awards in the years in question.
As part of the lawsuit, the Press Club demands the return of any and all Katie Awards in the possession of Albanese and that she explain under oath what happened to the award entries for 2005 and 2006. The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages.
Press Club and Foundation leaders are considering a plan to allow anyone who submitted entries in 2005 or 2006 to submit entries free in 2007. The plan is still under discussion, but has been endorsed by major news organizations as a reasonable action to apologize to those involved while minimizing the impact on scholarship funds for students.
Several news organizations who won awards have voluntarily returned the trophies. Others are awaiting a final investigative report before deciding on returning the awards.
Oklahoma Gazette took home two first place awards in last year's contest and will join other news organizations which are awaiting a final investigative report before deciding on returning the awards. "Gazette staff