Received: Tue 4/25/2016 10:12 AM
Last year political mudslinging reached a new low in the Colleyville city council campaigns. A few days before the election an anonymous seven page document maligning city council candidate Bobby Lindamood appeared in mailboxes. I have lived in Colleyville 40 years and have been on city council myself. I have taken part in many elections and I have never seen anything as nasty as the piece that showed up in my mail.
As a result of that mailer Bobby Lindamood filed a defamation lawsuit against Councilman Mike Taylor, Jan Mogged (wife of Councilman Chuck Mogged), Jim Fletcher and the Protect Colleyville PAC. The defendants claimed it was a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) and asked that the suit be dismissed. That essentially means they claimed Lindamood was impugning them and squelching their free speech. Chuck Mogged and his supporters are now saying the suit was frivolous and that the judge found the defendants did no wrong. The judge’s decision simply says “the Motion to Dismiss is granted in its entirety”.
Several weeks before last year’s election, Jim Fletcher told my husband, Richard Newton, that Mike Taylor had copies of a deposition concerning Bobby Lindamood but that “they were not going to use it”. About a week before the election a woman appeared at my door campaigning for Nancy Coplen, Mike Taylor and against the Glade Road referendum. She introduced herself as Jan Mogged, wife of Councilman Chuck Mogged. After a lengthy discussion I asked her why Coplen had aligned herself with Taylor rather than run an independent campaign. Mogged stated that Coplen didn’t want to serve with Lindamood, Taylor’s opponent. When I asked her why she responded, “you don’t know what is going to come out about him!” When my husband and I tried to question her further she changed the subject.
A few days later the document appeared in my mail. It was a copy of a deposition from a lawsuit. Someone had highlighted accusations in the document but ignored the statements refuting the accusations. In addition, lewd comments and false accusations were added in the margins and across the pages. In his affidavit given in the lawsuit Mike Taylor stated that he had taken excerpts from a lawsuit involving Lindamood, highlighted portions and handed the pages out to campaign workers. Jim Fletcher stated in his affidavit “Michael Taylor had distributed the copies of the transcript. Some of the text had been highlighted”. Jan Mogged stated in her affidavit that her husband, Chuck Mogged, obtained the excerpt and that she had seen it. All claimed they had nothing to do with the final version that later appeared anonymously in my mailbox.
Someone should have had the common sense last year to stop the publication of that mailer. To now criticize Lindamood for filing the lawsuit is a second attack on his reputation and is nothing short of bullying. In my opinion there are no winners here. Unless he appeals the decision Lindamood will be out a lot of money for simply trying to protect his reputation. The citizens of Colleyville are certainly not the winners because this group is already at it again this year, attacking anyone who dares challenge the status quo, i.e., the incumbents. And the ones who think they won the lawsuit are probably the biggest losers of all.
Most people don’t want to intentionally step into the fracas that evolves around local campaigns. I certainly don’t. But to remain silent when things of this nature occur simply invites more of the same. No one benefits when agitators use fear, anger and retribution to manipulate others. Colleyville deserves better than this.
Linda Newton, Colleyville