Dr. Erwin Jackson, through his attorney C.B. Upton, has sent certified letters to Skip Foster, the publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat, and David Mullins, the General Manager of WFSU demanding the retraction of false statements.
Dr. Jackson claims false statements were made by City Commissioner Scott Maddox and subsequently printed and published by the Tallahassee Democrat and WFSU.
A certified letter was also sent to Mr. Maddox asking for retraction of specific statements.
The letter informs the media outlets that “the fact that a person is quoted accurately is not in itself a defense against a subsequent libel action when the quoted statement contains false information.”
The statements made by Mr. Maddox, printed first in the Tallahassee Democrat, were in response to a court action filed by Mr. Jackson challenging the residency claimed by Mr. Maddox on qualifying paperwork filed to run for the Tallahassee City Commission.
In an article titled “Jackson seeks to overturn Maddox election” which was published on Wednesday, September 14th, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that “Maddox said he filed a trespass complaint Sunday against Jackson after he was caught taking pictures of his sons swimming at his empty, for-sale home on Meadow Wood while he and his wife were out of town with his father.”
Jackson’s letter points out that there was no trespassing warrant filed on Sunday. TR has verified that Mr. Maddox asked and received a trespassing warrant after the Tallahassee Democrat article was published on Wednesday, not on Sunday.
It appears the Tallahassee Democrat did not call the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to verify Mr. Maddox’s claim before printing.
Jackson also claims that he can prove that he did not take pictures of any one swimming. TR was told Mr. Jackson will turn over his cell phone to authorities to verify his position.
Along with the Tallahassee Democrats reporting, the Democrat included a quote from Mr. Maddox that implied Mr. Jackson was stalking his children. The quote read “The price of serving the public should not be subjecting your children to stalking. ”
Mr. Upton points out that the stalking allegation printed in the Tallahassee Democrat has damaged Dr. Jackson’s reputation and has hurt his business. The letter states:
Dr. Jackson makes his living renting apartments to young men and women at Florida State University. Mr. Maddox’s comments have damaged Dr. Jackson’s reputation and ability to attract tenants-and your publication of those comments has significantly increased the magnitude of the damage. A City Commissioner’s claim that Dr. Jackson stalks children and trespasses on private property is now widely available on the Internet from Tallahassee’s largest newspaper. Any student or FSU parent researching potential property owners will see your damaging comment when Dr. Jackson’s name is entered into a search engine.
The letter gives Maddox, the Tallahassee Democrat, and WFSU five days to respond and take corrective action before legal remedies will be sought.