CAO files defamation lawsuit against mayoral candidate

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s chief administrative officer (CAO) has filed a defamation lawsuit against one of the two men running for mayor.

According to a statement of claim filed with the Superior Court of Justice in Windsor Aug. 23, CAO John Miceli is seeking $90,000 in the lawsuit from Glenn Swinton. Miceli is seeking damages for defamation in the amount of $70,000, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages in the amount of $20,000 and “an interlocutory and final injunction prohibiting the Defendant, directly or indirectly, from publishing and/or broadcasting, or encouraging others to publish or broadcast any statements, in any matter which in their plain or ordinary meaning or by innuendo suggested the Plaintiff is mendacious, corrupt, incompetent, or responsible for criminal acts.”

The lawsuit centres around posts made on Facebook. It is alleged that the words and images posted “in their plain and ordinary meaning and by way of innuendo” were meant to understand that Miceli is a corrupt public servant, lacks integrity, is a dishonest person, has disregard for the law and is in contempt of legal proceedings.

“The Plaintiff states that because of his defamatory statements and images, his personal reputation has been damaged,” the statement of claim alleges. “The Plantiff has suffered and will continue to suffer damages to his reputation for which the Defendant is liable.”

“Mr. Swinton has made a number of defamatory comments, in my opinion, relating to me,” Miceli told the River Town Times last week. “It’s a personal matter to me. It’s about my reputation as a public servant.”

Some of the comments are based on the policing matter, with further claims being that Miceli’s employment has allegedly been threatened by Swinton due to Miceli’s request for an apology.

“The Plaintiff states that the Defendant admits to using his malicious crusade against Mr. Miceli as part of his political platform in his candidacy for the Mayor of the Town of Amherstburg,” the statement of claim alleges. “Mr. Miceli has suffered the indignity and embarrassment of being the subject of defamatory statements which in turn spawned defamatory comments by others. All such statements were encouraged by the Defendant and were broadcasted and published by him on his Facebook page for which Mr. Miceli seeks damages.”

Miceli said Swinton was given the opportunity to apologize.

“Mr. Swinton elected not to. That’s his prerogative,” said Miceli.

Miceli said Swinton is passionate about the policing issue but added “I’m passionate about my integrity, my reputation and what the truth is.”

The CAO said his role is that of being in an advisory capacity and that he has no votes on issues.

“If you check the voting record, I don’t think you are going to see that John Miceli voted,” he said.

Miceli reiterated that he has built a 27-year career in the public sector adding that he has never actually met Swinton.

“I have never spoken to Mr. Swinton. I don’t know the man, yet he made all these assertions about me that need to be accounted for,” Miceli stated.

Miceli added that he would “for sure” file a lawsuit against Swinton if it weren’t an election year.

“Mr. Swinton has his position and I have mine,” Miceli added. “At the end of the day, a judge is going to decide. A community is going to decide Oct. 22.”

Swinton told the River Town Times that he has received a “Notice under the Libel and Defamation Act” from Mousseau DeLuca McPherson Prince LLP Barristers and Solicitors, on behalf of Miceli, claiming that he has made libel claims against him and was encouraging defamation throughout Facebook.

“This noticed threatened that if I did not remove these posts – some of which were not even mine – and publicly post the prescript apology that was included, an action would be registered with the courts,” said Swinton in an e-mail.

Swinton stated that “because anything I had posted was already public knowledge and I have no control over other people’s posts, I naturally responded notifying them that because the claims were so far fetched, it appeared to me that Mr. Miceli was attempting to form a basis to argue wrongful dismissal and that no apology would be coming from me.”

Swinton added that about 10 days later, “Miceli had filed his claims with the courts accusing me of defaming him with false accusations, and attacking his ‘exemplary reputation within the community’ as a public servant. Mr. Miceli, with his self assessed reputation, has some how deemed his damages to be in the neighbourhood of $90,000.”

Swinton added that part of his platform in running for mayor is that hires made by the CAO would be reviewed if he is elected as mayor.

“I have made it no secret that Mr. Miceli, his department and any new hires that occurred over the last 3.5 years will be examined thoroughly if I am elected on Oct. 22, 2018,” Swinton stated.

As of last Friday afternoon, an official statement of defense was not available. None of the allegations in this case have been proven in court as of yet.

 

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