by Matt Pulle and Jesse Hyde, Dallas Observer News, http://www.dallasobserver.com/2007-06-14/news/kiss-me-katie/full
In a June 14, 2007 article on the Dallas Observer News website, Matt Pulle and Jesse Hyde unveil the full story behind the fall of the Dallas Press Club and its disgraced former president, Elizabeth Albanese. After assuming the role of Press Club president in 2002, Albanese spent the next four years making its journalism awards program, once one of the most important in the Southwest, into her own "myth making machine." She rigged the "Katie Awards" to win 10 prizes over three years, fooling the working reporters and PR pros who worked with her at the Club, for her at her newspaper, and who counted her as a friend.
Pulle and Hyde write:
...For four years, Elizabeth Albanese turned one of the most important journalism awards in the Southwest into her own myth-making machine, transforming herself from an obscure and ordinary business writer into the brightest star of the Dallas Press Club. Concocting a series of elaborate stories to hide her deception, Albanese rigged the Katie Awards to win 10 prizes over three years, fooling the working reporters and public relations pros who presided over the contest and counted themselves as her friends. It took a part-time journalist, who uncovered her reckless use of a press club credit card, to unravel Albanese's weird little web. That discovery led to a more important one: For at least three years Albanese had been randomly picking the award winners herself, with all the care and precision of a kid tossing nickels into a fountain. Perhaps the oddest plot line of Albanese's fairy tale is that for all the time and energy she spent hijacking the nearly 50-year-old journalism contest, it didn't do her much good other than to let her play Cinderella once a year. Her awards didn't buy her prominence or land her a plum reporting job at a major publication. It didn't pay her bills. But for Albanese, the Katies were the necessary props in her imagined life as an acclaimed journalist. In her fantasy world, she had a wealthy husband, a cabin in Colorado and a villa in Greece. Illustration by Jay Bevenour.
In reality, Albanese was a no-name reporter with a criminal record who wrote dull and forgettable stories on municipal finance. To maintain the charade of her fantasy life, she used her Dallas Press Club credit card to pay for a $1,500 hotel stay in Manhattan and $900 of shopping at Talbots. The rich husband she told her friends about had actually declared bankruptcy in 2003, claiming more than $400,000 in debts. Tom Stewart, the Dallas Press Club president now entrusted with salvaging the organization, initially told reporters that he had no evidence the last two Katie contests were judged, a startling revelation rendering the nearly 400 trophies handed out over the last two years a mere product of luck. Now, after further investigation, Stewart tells the Dallas Observer that the press club can't find a list of judges for the 2004 Katies, which Albanese co-chaired. As for the 2003 Katie Awards, in which Albanese served as the sole chair, the press club does have a list of judges, but the club's own records indicate that Albanese had access to the judges' selections before the awards were announced, giving her a chance to alter them...