A woman who claims to live in many places
On April 10, we ran a letter by Katie Rosenthal of Sterling.
In it, she wrote that she had supported Greg Aguilar, a candidate in the March 20 Democratic primary in the 17th Congressional District. But she opposed the winner, Cheri Bustos, a former East Moline alderwoman.
As such, Rosenthal threw her support behind someone on the other side of the political spectrum, Rep. Bobby Schilling, the Republican candidate and tea party favorite.
In her letter, she spoke in language that seemed to come straight from a political operative.
"Alderwoman Bustos never saw a tax increase or fee hike she didn't like," Rosenthal wrote. "In fact, she voted for all of them, costing hard-working East Moline families thousands of dollars while costing the city of East Moline millions of dollars in lost economic development."
A few days after her letter appeared, I traveled to Moline and picked up a copy of that town's newspaper, The Dispatch.
On the opinion page, the same letter appeared. This time, her information stated she was a Rock Island resident.
Wait a minute! How could she live in both places?
When I returned, I got Rosenthal's phone number from our opinion page editor and called the writer.
A woman with a younger-sounding voice answered. When she found out I was from the newspaper, she quickly hung up.
When I called again, I got voicemail. The woman announced herself as Caitlyn, not Katie.
I contacted other newspapers in the congressional district and found that she also submitted letters to the Peoria Journal Star and the Rockford Register Star. In Rockford, she gave the paper a Loves Park address.
Those newspapers didn't run the letter.
I found out from The Dispatch that Rosenthal listed an address at Augustana College in Rock Island.
In January, Rosenthal, listing Rock Island as her residence, wrote a letter to the Quad-City Times, announcing her support for Aguilar and criticizing Bustos in the process.
Were these letters the result of a Schilling campaign worried about facing Bustos?
The campaign said it didn't know who wrote the letters.
Sauk Valley Media verifies all letters, but no system is perfect.
One thing is for sure: You won't be seeing any more letters by "Katie Rosenthal" in our publications.
Sauk Valley Media reporter David Giuliani covers the Whiteside and Lee county governments, Morrison and other smaller communities. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.