Union Angle Goes Unreported by Arizona Republic in KB Home Lawsuit Story

The Arizona Republic and other local media still haven't reported that the $280 million lawsuit against KB Home and Countrywide Financial was launched by a labor union. The Las Vegas Sun, on the other hand, realized its original story about the mortgage-fraud class action lawsuit had missed a main point, and published a follow-up on Saturday.

Our Friday article about the union's lawsuit wasn't Deep-Throat kind of stuff: The Laborers' International Union of North America sent media outlets a news release on Friday afternoon detailing its involvement. We never saw the original news release sent to some outlets on Thursday by the law firm helping the union. That earlier release -- according to the Sun -- never mentioned the union. That might explain why the Arizona Republic's article, published prominently on Friday's front page, didn't have a word about the union's involvement.

But you'd think by now, three days after the union sent the news release, that the Republic, like the Sun, would update this story for its readers. After all, the homeowners who feel like they were screwed in a mortgage fraud scheme may really be suffering, but the union has an underlying motive.

Though Page told the Sun the lawsuit "was not part of a union organizing campaign," she told us something different on Friday, when we reached her via cell phone as she waited at an airport for a flight. Asked if the lawsuit was part of an overall strategy to put pressure on KB Home, which has ticked off the union over the years because it doesn't hire unionized subcontractors, Page told us enthusiastically, "It's all connected."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.