Company Letter to USA Today leadership You can leave this letter as is or make changes as you wish. Once you click the Send button, this letter will be sent on your behalf to: Maribel Wadsworth (publisher) Nicole Carroll (editor in Chief) Chris Davis (VP of investigations) First Name * Last Name * Email Address * Body of Letter * On August 11th 2020 I read an investigative story written by Josh Salman that I found very disturbing. It wasn’t the subject matter or the content of the story that I found disturbing but the way in which your publication was used by a reporter to end a government contract of someone that had been convicted of a crime over a decade ago. The article that I take issue with is titled “Sex offender loses COVID-19 contract at VA hospital after USA TODAY asks questions” and was written by Josh Salman on August 11th 2020. In this article, Mr. Salman alerts the readers to one Ezekiel Lopez, a veteran and Native American, who has just recently been awarded a contract with the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital outside of Chicago. For some reason your reporter, Mr. Salman, didn’t feel it was right to award such a contract to someone that was convicted of a crime against children in 2007. Mr. Salman used your publication to misrepresent Mr. Lopez as a “child sexual predator” and went as far as listing his home address and date of birth in his story. While investigating this story your reporter learned that the Mr. Lopez “met the criteria to become a vendor under federal law.” This did not stop your reporter from pressing the VA hospital to end its relationship with Mr. Lopez. Since 2007 Mr. Lopez has been a law abiding, tax paying citizen undeserving of the hit that your publication put on him. Even more disturbing is that the story points out that Mr. Lopez would never step foot in the VA Hospital. He is the president of his company and hires a workforce to provide the janitorial services. By forcing the VA Hospital to end its contract with Mr. Lopez, your publication not only harmed a veteran, you harmed countless workers who are now out of a job. It’s time that we allow people who have committed crimes to rehabilitate themselves by having access to stable housing and employment. Publications like yours need to take a leadership role in ending the stigma surrounding ex-offenders. If we continue to cast out those that have made mistakes simply because we don’t like the mistake they have made, they will be left with no other choice but to make additional mistakes. I will no longer read your publication and will avoid any online articles that have USA Today bylines. I cannot in good conscious support a publication that is used as a weapon to destroy the lives of tax paying Americans and those that have served our country.