A UK-based port trade publication posted and then pulled an article Thursday that said the Virginia Port Authority board had decided to shelve privatization plans, several days before a scheduled vote on that issue.
"Despite having received multi-million-dollar bids from both APM Terminals and JP Morgan, Virginia Port Authority has put off any decision to privatise its container terminal," starts the article in Port Strategy (Motto: "insight for senior port executives") which included neither a byline nor a named source.
The VPA board is set to vote on whether to enter into detailed negotiations with a bidder on Tuesday, a highly anticipated vote that comes after months of meetings and state-funded studies on the efficiency and future of the state-run ports.
When asked about the article, Port Strategy's editor Carly Fields said the article was written by a contributor to the trade publication, "But I'm a little (lot) concerned that the source will not stand up if you guys close to the action haven't heard anything."
Fields later told the Daily Press she'd heard from a representative of the port authority and said "I would stick with your Tuesday deadline for news."
The article was at least temporarily taken down from Port Strategy's website.
Port authority spokesman Joe Harris on Thursday called the account "highly inaccurate."
"Falls into the category of 'don't believe everything you read,'" he added. Harris also said he'd contacted Port Strategy after the article was brought to his attention to highlight the inaccuracy of the report.
Fields would not immediately say who the contributor was who wrote the story. She said she first wanted to determine who the source or sources were for the story and the basis for the information.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times