Amy Jacobsen files lawsuit

If anyone is reading this who is not a Chicago resident, this will be new to you. Most Chicagoans however, probably remember something around Independence Day of last year involving Amy Jacobson, then a reporter for WMAQ-Ch. 5. Apparently she’s now filed a lawsuit against the company that caught her in a questionable act.

The former WMAQ-Ch. 5 reporter is seeking more than $1 million in damages from WBBM-Ch. 2 parent CBS, Channel 2 boss Joe Ahern and others, complaining that a tape it aired of her in bathing attire at the home of a potential news source in July 2007 subjected Jacobson to “enormous public humiliation and disgrace.”

Jacobson wound up losing her TV job and, eventually, her home, according to the suit filed Monday in Cook County by attorney Kathleen Zellner on behalf of Jacobson, husband Jaime Anglada and their two children, all of whom alleged to have “suffered from observing the devastating effects on the person they love most.”

What had happened is Jacobson took her kids over to the home of Craig Stebic. I can’t find a suitable back-article after 5 minutes of searching so here’s a quick synopsis.

The Craig Stebic case isn’t all that different from the Drew Peterson situation. Stebic’s wife was missing for two months and reportedly he invited Jacobson over for a “pool party”. Jacobson had been working on this story and decided to accept the invitation. She then was caught on video by a competing news station. Her actions were decried as unethical and was then fired from her job at WMAQ.

Now you’re all caught up.

There’s a big debate over whether or not her firing was fitting or an error by WMAQ. Frankly, I can’t find enough back articles to confirm this, but if my memory is still good, I remember there being a slew of incidents of “questionable judgement” throughout her coverage of this story. Accusations of extramarital affairs and starting an actual relationship with Stebic, but don’t quote me on that.

Regardless, I did laugh when I saw this cited in Peterson’s lawsuit.

Jacobson’s lawsuit cites an episode of NBC’s “Law & Order” in which Lara Flynn Boyle played an ambitious reporter having an affair with a murder suspect. Apart from Boyle wearing a swimsuit and towel similar to Jacobson’s, the episode’s premise was far removed from anything that happened in Plainfield.

CORRECTION: I had incorrectly stated that Jacobson was suing her former employer. She is actually suing the company that caught her on video tape, a rival station.

3 Responses to Amy Jacobsen files lawsuit

  1. FLS1 says:

    As Administrator of the family website established expressly to help Find Lisa Stebic – I am writing to correct a multitude of inaccuracies in your personal blog concerning Amy Jacobson and the unfortunate events which led up to her firing from WMAQ.
    First, the spelling of the two last names (contained within your blog) are incorrect:
    Jacobson and Stebic.
    Second, your “memory” is faulty in that there were NO “incidents of questionable judgment” throughout her coverage of when our family member – Lisa Stebic – went missing.
    On the contrary, Amy was the leading reporter in gathering facts to find out what happened to Lisa…and was the ONLY reporter who Lisa’s husband would actually alllow interview him. (She was always accompanied by a photojournalist from WMAQ).
    She was incredibly responsible, tenacious and, when required, gentle when covering this tragic story.
    Your assertion that Amy Jacobson was “involved” in an inappropriate social or extramarital affair with Craig Stebic is both erroneous and irresponsible.
    This observation of yours , unfortunately, is reflective of the incredibly false portrayal of Amy by CBS2 (WMAQ’s rival station for ratings) when airing an EDITED video tape of Amy, her two children, Craig’s sister Jill, her husband and their 3 children – when this trusted reporter was doing everything she could to get to the bottom of what happened to Lisa.
    The EDITED vs the RAW version of the tape elucidates the smear tactics utilized by the management of CBS2 – in attempting (and achieving) the permanent removal of a reporter who constantly “scooped” them on many different stories.
    Amy was NOT invited to attend a “pool party”. She and her children were invited to Craig & Lisa Stebic’s home to talk with his sister Jill – who wanted to provide “their side” of the story. Jill was the one who called, not Craig. Jill and her husband and children were about to depart for their home in Iowa – and had little time to personally meet with Amy. It was a brutally hot day – and Amy’s day off…which precipitated a “working women’s lunch” between the two young mothers.
    All 5 children benefited by enjoying a dip in the pool – followed by sandwiches.
    But was this what was represented by CBS2?
    And, so now we have a lawsuit.
    If WE, Lisa Stebic’s family had NO problem with Amy being there to quickly interview Jill – to fulfill her responsibility of getting the OTHER side of the story (in an effort to find OUR missing loved one) then WHO are you, CBS2 and the rest of the world to condemn her by extending this falsehood of “extra-marital affairs”.
    This type of salacious gossip (thinly disguised as “News”) is what destroyed the career and life of someone who was getting close to a possible confession or other clues leading to Lisa’s whereabouts.
    Someone who deserved more.
    Should you need any more “back-story” information (which IS accurate compared to your “memories”)..please visit the Press/Recent News page of our website – Another option would be to follow Chicago Tribune’s columnist Eric Zorn and his recent columns concerning Amy Jacobson.
    Please make sure to read the commentary at the bottom of the columns – his responses and ours will help fill in the gaps for you.

  2. conservativeinthecity says:

    The spellings were a typo and have been corrected, I apologize.

    You’re somewhat correct that my memory is faulty (I never claimed it was flawless), in fact I even mentioned “if I’m not mistaken” which apparently I was. However, there are several incidents in Jacobson’s past that were viewed as questionable. I’d direct you to an article over at the Beachwood Reporter for further information.

    Amy herself admitted that this move was a lapse in judgement. However, my posting here was not intended to pass judgement on Amy and her choices in this matter. It was more about bringing attention to her lawsuit.

    A lawsuit that really, in my humble and non-legal opinion, doesn’t carry much weight. She was simply caught by a rival news crew, who were exercising their First Amendment rights, in very much the same way Miss Jacobson has on numerous occasions. As far as her accusation that the edited vs. the raw footage makes any difference, I’m sorry, but you’re sorely mistaken. Whether or not it was raw footage or edited, it doesn’t change the fact that Amy Jacobson was at the Stebic residence. Miss Jacobson I’m sure edited plenty of raw footage when she made her stories on the news as well, how is this case any different?

    I don’t mislead anyone by claiming anything that I write here is “news”, purely opinion. Much as it is your opinion that Miss Jacobson acted in an ethical manner. An opinion that many people, including her peers and former employer, seem to disagree with.

    As far as your accusation of “…then WHO are you, CBS2, and the rest of the world to condemn her…” We’re simply observers, expressing our opinions based on the facts presented. I’m truly sorry for your loss, and I do hope that Lisa Stebic’s disappearance becomes a closed case as soon as possible. However, simply because the family of the victim of this case “doesn’t have a problem” with Miss Jacobson’s actions, doesn’t mean that she receives a free pass from everyone else. She acted in a questionable manner, even possibly putting her children in danger, simply for the sake of trying to make a story. Do not deceive yourself, Miss Jacobson was there more for the purpose of “getting the scoop” and advancing her career, than out of the goodness of her heart.

  3. Hank Chase says:

    Yep, it was a lapse in ethics… er… uh … just like Joe Ahern the boss at channel 2 who approved the story, an ethical guy who just used CBS money to pay $5,000 for his own birthday party, and when it was turned down as unethical by HIS boss, sent a minion to collect $100 each from each ot the attendees.

    I think YOU may be right about Amy’s chance to collect on the suit.

    BUT, that Channel 2 CBS crew is the LAST bunch of folks to say they did it because of “ethics”…. they just thought they had a chance to bad mouth a reporter who had scooped them again and again.

    If the Stebics had invited them to the “pool party” do you think they would have been there ?

    CBS is acting like the kid who lost the tennis game and then blames his opponant for cheating ( but they have a TV station to make the claims)….

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