Kenney Spokeswoman Retracts Statement Slamming Nutter Aide

Lauren Hitt had accused former City Solicitor Shelley Smith of withholding information.

Inset: Shelley Smith, via Twitter.

Inset: Shelley Smith, via Twitter.

You might remember that in January the Kenney administration — suddenly stuck defending a stop-and-frisk lawsuit it didn’t want to defend — blamed a top aide in the Nutter administration for withholding necessary information during the transition to the new mayor.

Never mind.

NewsWorks, which ran the original story featuring the accusation from Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt against former City Solicitor Shelley Smith, has now added a “clarification” to the story that amounts to a full-blown retraction by Hitt.

Back in January, Hitt seemed to suggest Smith had deliberately withheld information about the suit: “We suspect now that maybe it was because they were trying to get this case through,” she told NewsWorks’ Bobby Allyn. “Obviously, stop-and-frisk was a policy of the last administration, and it’s not one of ours.”

Today, the original story was amended with this comment from Hitt:

“My statement speculating about why Shelley did not provide us with this information was just that, speculation. At that time I made that assertion, I did not know, and made no effort to ascertain from her, whether Shelley knew about the Right-to-Know request or the Law Department’s intention to file its appeal,” Hitt said. “I later learned from your story that she did not have personal knowledge of either the request or the proposed appeal, and our discussion with Law Department personnel supports her statement.”

Allyn also tweeted a fuller comment from Hitt, in which she says she’d like to “retract” the earlier statement:

Smith, for her part, doesn’t seem that mollified:

“I wouldn’t have withheld information. I knew I was leaving,” she told Allyn in January. “What would be the point of that?”

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