Mayoral candidate Marty Tennant threatens lawsuit against radio station owner
One of the Democratic candidates for Georgetown mayor — who already has a lawsuit against the city in which he is seeking $2.2 million — has threatened additional legal action.
Marty Tennant, running as a Democrat against incumbent Jack Scoville and City Councilman Rudolph Bradley in next month’s primary, is threatening to sue WGTN AM 1400 radio station owner Rod Stalvey because of comments made by Stalvey during a program last week.
Tennant claims that Stalvey erroneously accused him of posting false statements about Stalvey on Tennant’s website, citizensreport.com, and of preventing Stalvey from commenting in response to Tennant’s web postings.
According to Stalvey, at the end of the Town Hall Meeting program last Wednesday, he made comments about an Internet message by Tennant.
“The conversation towards the end of the program was a statement by me in response to a comment made by Tennant. He said ‘we used to be friends and he couldn’t understand me.’ I said ‘we were never friends.’ I also stated that he maintains a web site that he allows and promotes people to join under pseudonyms to bash and ridicule without any recourse,” Stalvey said. “He has in fact deleted posts and prevented people from responding with opposing comments that are contrary to his agenda.”
After the broadcast, Tennant drafted a “cease and desist” demand letter, labeled “confidential” in which he says Stalvey has not been banned from posting on the website. He says Stalvey has been a registered user on the site since April 2009 and has posted at least six times.
Tennant, in the letter, states if Stalvey does not publicly retract the allegedly false statements, which Tennant says are slanderous and defamatory to his character, he will “find it necessary to file a civil lawsuit against” him.
The Georgetown Times asked Tennant for additional comment on the content on the radio program that led to the lawsuit threat. He did not comment on the program.
Stalvey’s co-hosts on the radio program, Lee Padgett and Joe Nooft, quit the show in support of Tennant.
Nooft, president of the Georgetown GOP Patriots Club, was asked about his supporting the Democratic candidate in this situation.
“My position in the Republican Party does not negate my ability to say Rod’s comments were inappropriate for the situation or that a wrong has been done in general,” Nooft said, adding he was not speaking on behalf of the Patriots’ Club.
Padgett said Stalvey “has been baiting Mr. Tennant via the show with malicious intent to do harm to his candidacy which also affects his personal life as well as professional.”
Stalvey said he has placed Tennant’s letter in the radio station’s public file.
“He is a candidate for public office and he is open for criticism and scrutiny whether he likes it or not. Under the rules of the FCC, his legal document was in response to a local talk show ... (and) is required by law to place that document in its ‘Public Political File.’ I also have in that file emails from Mr. Tennant that say that I should “F-OFF” in response to requests made by me to him. These documents are available for public inspection,” Stalvey says.
Suit against the city
Tennant’s federal lawsuit that is still pending against the city stems from a February 2010 council meeting in which he claims his civil rights were violated.
An argument, which can be found in a video posted on YouTube, erupted during the meeting when Tennant stood up to address council about claims the city had $21 million in undesignated funds.
When Tennant got up to speak, he started addressing Councilman Brendon Barber personally because earlier in the meeting Barber said the slush fund claims were untrue.
Barber objected by saying Tennant should have been addressing council as a whole.
Mayor Jack Scoville banged the gavel but then Barber told Tennant “you don’t want me to step from behind this podium.”
“Pardon me?” asked Tennant.
“You heard what I said,” Barber responded.
Tennant then left the room while saying he does not want to be involved in a situation where “a councilmember says something like that.”
In his Answers to Interrogatories documents dated Jan. 15, 2013, Tennant says “the cumulative action taken against me over many years by the City of Georgetown and its elected and appointed officials have harmed me physically and psychologically, resulting in physical pain and depression.”
In the documents — supplied by Scoville, a defendant in the case — Tennant says he believes he is suffering from “complex post traumatic stress disorder, a form of PTSD that recognizes repeated harm that can compound and manifest over long periods of time, resulting in PTSD symptoms and depression.”
Tennant, in the documents, says “the actions of the city and its officials have left me in continual and constant fear of my government.”
He said he has avoided attending city council meetings because of these and related fears.
In a statement issued this week, Tennant said he has “never been diagnosed with any form of post traumatic stress disorder, now or in the past.”
In the legal documents, Tennant said he is seeking “professional help” for problems allegedly caused by the city and its officials.
“The truth is that my freedom of speech was taken away by Mr. Scoville and Mr. Barber, with resulting negative effects,” Tennant said in the statement to the Georgetown Times this week. “Someone has leaked and misused my deposition information in a malicious manner. This person’s motives should be carefully examined by the voters. I wish to be Mayor so I can eliminate this lowest level of gutter politics from our City.”
In the documents, Tennant says the damages are “hard to estimate” but put the following dollar amounts for the various alleged damages:
For his immediate and long term psychological and physical damages, he says he should be awarded $2 million.
He is asking for $150,000 for the damage to his business interests and reputation.
He is seeking $50,000 for “long term loss of income, past and present, due to my activities involving legal matters with the city.”
By Scott Harper
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