Ragone admits to blog fraud

SAN FRANCISCO: Adding to the recent scandals affecting the office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Peter Ragone, director of communications, has admitted to using a false identity to attack critics online.

SAN FRANCISCO: Adding to the recent scandals affecting the office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Peter Ragone, director of communications, has admitted to using a false identity to attack critics online.

While Newsom deals with his own problems, including treatment for alcoholism and the aftermath of admitting an affair with the wife of his former campaign manager Alex Tourk (who resigned as a result), Ragone has confessed to posting comments under other people's names on local blogs, such as ABC7News.com and SFist.com - actions that have gotten national attention in media like The New York Times.

Newsom has said Ragone will keep his job. Newsom's office didn't return a call for comment.

ABC investigative reporter Dan Noyes, one of the critics Ragone attacked online, confronted him in a news segment.

"[Ragone] has been using [blogs], trashing his critics," Noyes said. "Some people may see it as a small matter, but it's a different issue when it is someone who is in the public."
Gary Thompson, EVP and GM of Schwartz Communications, said Ragone's behavior was more than a mistake.

"He committed the ultimate sin in PR: You don't lie," Thompson said. "You should not put anything out there that isn't you."

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