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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Florida city serves aggressive blogger with cease-and-desist letter



The Florida city of Lauderdale Lakes has sent local blogger Chaz Stevens a "cease-and-desist" legal notice, saying the city will sue for civil damages if the blogger continues his "repeated false allegations, threats, attempted extortion, slander, libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy," reported the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.

Stevens, a self-proclaimed political muckraker, is seen as a bit of a rabble-rouser -- after all, his blog, MAOS (My Acts of Sedition), has been requesting government documents and criticizing the city for its allegedly mismanaged budget.

The case-and-desist letter was sent to Stevens on Feb. 23, shortly after Stevens, tired of waiting for a records request to be filled, had his lawyers send a legal letter, dated Feb. 3, to the city council, notifying the city of his intent to sue if the public records were not released.



1 comment

 
Chaz Stevens wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

A possible SLAPP suit

Summer.

Good afternoon. Chaz Stevens here.

Over the last 5 years, from the results of my investigative work, three elected officials have been sent to jail and another 5-7 are currently under intense scrutiny by State and Federal officials.

http://www.myactsofsedition.com
http://www.myactsofsedition.com/chaz-stevens-the-new-media/

I've recently turned my blogging attention to the City of Lauderdale Lakes. That city is on the edge of financial disaster - poor money stewardship, blazingly inept management, and so on. By shining a bright spotlight into the darkest corners of their excess, I've managed to draw the ire of the City Manager (Jonathan Allen) and his famous high priced lawyer Dad (W. George Allen).

In addition to being accused of treason, yes I said treason, I have been threatened with a cease and desist letter stating,

This office represents Jonathan K. Allen in an action against you and Larry Tibbs for civil damages growing out of your collective repeated false allegations, threats, attempted extortion, slander, libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy.

This letter constitutes notice that both of you must cease, desist, and stop your collective efforts, or face suit for damages individually and collectively.

My response? "Bite me" I told them.

Then my friends over at the New Times chimed in with this post

But Stevens said he’s not extorting anybody, just “doing my goddamn job as a blogger… This is preposterous. This is outlandish. This is a clear violation of my constitutional rights.”

Always looking to the take the battle to the rat bastards, our legal team fired off this rebuttal (download)

Our client is exercising his 1st Amendment rights as a journalist/blogger based upon documents provided to him by his sources, or those which are gathered and/or refused through public record requests. Without question, MAOS has ruffled its fair share of feathers in South Florida, in most cases with good reason and supports its opinions with underlying documentation.

Our client has indicated that he/it has no intention of abridging these rights for any individual or entity regardless of the threat of SLAPP or similar litigation. Such threats are becoming more and more commonplace.

I will note the City of Lauderdale Lakes wanted $86 for copies of the Finance Director's Resume and Application. $772.50 prepaid for me to review three HR files. $75.00 for 5 days worth of emails between 3 public officials.

And so forth and so on.

Best to you.

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