Penn Pike COO George Hatalowich signed complaints Friend of George, said George was "a great guy"

October 25, 2010

Chief operating officer at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission George Hatalowich has been writing emails under the name Friend of George, protesting news coverage of himself, and saying what a great guy his buddy George is. We received this email signed "Friend of George" email with the subject head "A new low...." 6:20am Apr 21 2010:

"Samuels; I can't believe that you would have nothing better to write about than this story.  I know George personally, and he is a great guy.  He has done a lot for the Turnpike Commission and is a great leader.  He is active in his community, attends church regularly, and coaches his kids sports teams.  For you to take something that happened in his personal life and humiliate him in public to his friends and peers is just despicable.  Have you no shame? 

"On top of all this, the poor guy is going through a divorce.  Why don't you keep going and get all the details of his divorce and write about that too while you are at it?!?!?!  Or why not find out every public employee that's had a DUI and write about all of them?  Why just single George out?  This story has noting to do with the Turnpike Commission, yet you feel its your right to try and make it one.  You are one sadistic individual, and its obvious that you have no compassion for people or their feelings.
Friend of George"  end of email

He was referring to our report

The incident in which Hatalowich drove his car into a fence of the Hershey amusement park and was booked by police for driving under the influence was widely reported in Pennsylvania. He faces charges in court.

Unauthorized use of email account alleged

The email address used was not Hatalowich's, but the owner of the email address recently told us Friend of George was in fact George Hatalowich. She says Hatalowich made unauthorized use of her email and internet service for a variety of purposes. She found a string of Friend of George emails to TOLLROADSnews and my responses in her email files.

The files contain this email which we sent in response:

Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:17:08 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: A new low.....

Friend of George

His behavior on public roads, crashing into a fence and getting pulled over by the cops and charged and having to appear in court is all a public issue and it's news.

I have no interest in publicizing stuff about his private life.

Peter Samuel
editor TOLLROADSnews
301 631 1148 mob-240 446 9736

Friend of George responded to this the next day

On Apr 22, 2010, at 6:38 AM:

Then I would expect you to report on ALL others that behave the same way at ALL agencies.  Where are those stories in your column? end email
It contains our second response to Friend of George:

----- Original Message -----?From: "Peter Samuel" <>?
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:31:30 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern?Subject: Re: A new low.....??Sir: I'm happy to do that. I have no animus whatever against George H or Joe B. I know Joe B and rather like the guy. Can't remember having met George H but I have nothing at all against him.

On writing similarly about others in other toll agencies sure, but please understand that a journalist like me relies on tips to a large extent to get onto stories like this. I can't know what happens in Derry Township PA unless someone in the know tells me and I go check it out. Many agencies just don't generate tips.

The Penn Pike generates a lot of tips, both pro and anti-establlishment!!!!

Most of them either don't check out or I can't verify them so they go unwritten. But sometimes as in this case they do check out so it gets written.

Thanks for writing

Peter Samuel
editor TOLLROADSnews
301 631 1148 mob-240 446 9736

Friend of George then affected not to know who was meant by Joe B (Brimmeier, Turnpike CEO) and responded:
To: "Peter Samuel" <>?Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 11:42:19 AM?Subject: Re: A new low.....

Who is Joe B?  Why are you telling me about him?
So you sit back and rely on tips instead of investigating and writing actual news?  Why kind of journalism is that?  That just makes your website no different than a cheap tabloid that you find in a grocery store.
And what makes you think I am a "Sir"?

end of email exchange as found in email files by the person who says Friend of George was George.

TOLLROADSnews 2010-10-25

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