Gotta admit, we didn’t expect much from Dana Fowle’s I-Team piece on NeNe Leakes, one of the insufferable blowhards who starred on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” The AJC had reported six days earlier that NeNe and her family had been evicted from the pricey Sugarloaf Country Club home they occupied for the Bravo reality show. That short piece in the newspaper spoke volumes about the phony-baloney quality of the woman who boasted that she doesn’t “keep up with the Joneses. I am the Joneses.” How much more can there be?
Quite a bit, it turns out. Fowle’s piece on WAGA focused on her husband, Gregg Leakes. The reality show describes him as a real estate investor. Fowle learned that he’s actually a property manager. And not a very good one, according to the on-camera finger-pointer who said that one of his tenants — a friend of Ne Ne and his — all but ruined the pricey home the tenant rented under his management.
Various legal actions ensued, including the one that forced NeNe’s family out of their TV mansion. It seems they owe over $100,000 in back taxes. Complaints with the Georgia real estate board have driven Gregg Leakes out of business and the family into seclusion. Fowle went a-huntin’ for them, but was rebuffed at the doorway of their townhouse by disembodied voices coming from an intercom. (Leakes did a sit down interview with WXIA earlier– see comments below…)
Who cares? All your neighbors and family members who watch shows like TMZ, the syndicated program that airs on WAGA. TMZ’s MO is to revel in the sport of celebrity harassment. Who cares? All your neighbors and family members who loved or despised the Bravo reality show, who doubtless were shocked by or cheered the comeuppance of its arguably most arrogant yet likable (so we’re told) character. Yes, there’s an audience for this investigative report.
Did Fowle cringe at the prospect of spending days or weeks stalking this pseudo-celeb, rather than pursuing other important investigative stories on corruption and ripoffs? Not likely. Tearing down a bloviating fraud is good, useful work. NeNe sought the spotlight. The reality show covered up her reality. On its best days, the news biz tears away that baloneyous charade. And Fowle got the goods. Grade: A-