The following is a statement from Leonie Industries regarding the investigation of a “misinformation campaign” against USA Today:
When Leonie Industries learned in April of a “misinformation campaign” against two USA Today reporters who had recently reported on the company, Leonie immediately launched an internal investigation to determine whether any employee was involved and Leonie strongly condemned the activity described in the article. In addition, Leonie has since engaged an independent digital forensics firm to augment its internal investigation.
To date, the investigation indicates that no Leonie employee was engaged in anonymous online activity directed against the reporters. However, on Sunday, May 20, Leonie’s management was informed by Camille Chidiac, who owns a minority interest in Leonie and who was personally referenced in the USA Today coverage, that he was involved in the online activity.
In 2008, Mr. Chidiac resigned as an employee of Leonie, and since then, he has not been involved in any way with the operation and management of the company and its contracts. Accordingly, Mr. Chidiac does not have access to Leonie's bank accounts and other financial resources, derived from government contracts or otherwise, and he used non-Leonie funds to participate in the online activity.
This was the act of an individual, not the company. Leonie was not aware of and did not authorize Mr. Chidiac’s online activity concerning the reporters.
Mr. Chidiac is being removed as an owner of the company. In addition, Leonie has contacted government officials to inform them of the situation and will continue to work with government officials on this matter.