2011-11-17 / Local & State

Judge Sues Erie Paper Over Debt-collection Stories

ERIE, Pa. (AP) – An Erie district judge is suing the company that publishes the Erie Times-News, its Web server and three reporters for stories about a defunct debt collection service targeted by the state.

The newspaper (http://bit.ly/rxKC5b ) reports Friday that District Judge Dominick DiPaolo claims the Times Publishing Company defamed him. He says the stories made it appear he was part of an alleged sham perpetrated by Unicredit America Inc.

Unicredit was sued by the state Attorney General for using a fake courtroom and a fake judge to scare people into paying their debts.

DiPaolo's had a real courtroom in the same building as Unicredit and the company allegedly filed some collection suits through DiPaolo's office against people who didn't live in his jurisdiction.

DiPaolo say she knew nothing of Unicredit's tactics but says the stories suggest his conduct was improper.

Editor Rick Sayers says the paper stands by its reporting.

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