Jackson Threatens Legal Action Against Tallahassee Democrat, WFSU, and Scott Maddox Over False Statements

Jackson Threatens Legal Action Against Tallahassee Democrat, WFSU, and Scott Maddox Over False Statements

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.

12 Responses to "Jackson Threatens Legal Action Against Tallahassee Democrat, WFSU, and Scott Maddox Over False Statements"

  1. The advocate-and-cover-up publication in this city that calls itself a newspaper (an insult to the term) has made a career of very obvious collusion in revising, obfuscating, or heck – just outright ignoring news stories that could be in any real way harmful to the City of Tallahassee and/or especially it’s officials. If there is any valid “critical” story of the city it’s always worded in a way that blames the circumstances and/or any group or individuals on the “critical” side of the story. All of this is a well-known and repeatedly observed reputation the Democrat created for itself – the fault for this reputation is theirs and theirs alone.

    I applaud Mr. Jackson’s aggressive actions aimed at the Democrat, WFSU (at least WFSU can be blamed to a point with youthful inexperience), and Scott Maddox – and I sincerely hope Mr. Jackson wins in a highly publicized way. One wonders how long it will be until the city peppers Mr. Jackson’s business with surprise inspections, obscure fines and/or taxes, and suddenly discovered “violations” of obscure city codes, etc.

    1. The City of Tallahassee hired a private investigator several years ago to determine if Mr. Jackson was trespassing on an easement adjacent to his property. I am not a lawyer, but I seem to recall in the end that he had a right to use that easement.

      The worst part is that the City of Tallahassee would hire a private investigator to spy on a citizen (even if the Mayor and Commissioners don’t care for Jackson) at all!

      1. Mr. Hooker,
        As one illustration of the city’s treatment toward those who challenge it, there is also the recent successful
        Whistleblower lawsuit in a federal court against Tallahassee by a former Fire Department Inspector (Mark Decarlo) that overwhelmingly found the city wrongly suspended and then fired the inspector (a former veteran) for correctly writing reports of faulty firefighting equipment, leaky fire hoses, and other obvious deficiencies.
        As I recall, the lawsuit rewarded huge additional damages for emotional hardship, since the city’s treatment of the man was so egregiously wrong. The total amount was $1.3 million (of our tax dollars) paying for this city government’s sins. Link to story:

        My point is that the city will do whatever they feel they can get away with to Mr. Jackson. Again, I hope Mr. Jackson wins big.

    2. City staff have been very supportive of my actions. Frequently they provide me the documentation I need. If retaliation efforts ever occur it will be made public! Standing up for what is right is worth the time,money, and risk!

  2. From what I have read, Erwin is not after monetary compensation, he wants the Democrat and WFSU to admit they made a boo-boo.

  3. When the previous new publisher at the Tallahassee Democrat published an expose on Scott Maddox’s residency issue a Tallahassee Democrat reporter was arrested hours before the story was published. Coincidence? Mr. Maddox alleging stalking and threatening a restraining order was appalling! So is the Tallahassee Democrat not fact checking Maddox’s statements.

    Is is refreshing to see David stand up to Goliath and hope Mr. Jackson prevails so that this long tolerated culture by Maddox of misusing and abusing his position is no longer tolerated.

    1. Hope: who was arrested? I would have heard of that had it happened.
      While I wish Dr. Jackson the best, I suspect his status will make him a “public figure.” And it is more difficult to prevail in a libel suit as a public figure than as someone who is a private individual.

        1. SWI – Slapping While Intoxicated!
          Yeah, she got arrested after that fight at Hotel Duval, but I don’t ever remember her writing anything about Maddox’s residency. If she did, she was in way over her head. Actually, that was the second altercation for her – do you know about the previous one in New Orleans, with a fellow TD reporter? That one was covered up very well.

          1. Good to know. I am aware she had nothing to do with the article, but I still don’t like the timing. Any reason why that Publisher did not stay very long or any other pearls of wisdom of the ins-and-outs over at the TD?

        2. Hope: E Hack was a hot mess. (Another Gabordi hire that flamed out.) Her first fight in the Crescent City was with a colleague who later was let go for plagiarism. That person went to Alabama, and subsequently “fired” herself, so to speak, after a relationship dispute. I’m sure you read about that.
          The in-and-out pub? She went back “home” to Missouri, to run some tiny paper for GateHouse Media. A chain even worse than Gannett. She was gone in 24 months – guess she wisely boarded the first life boat she could find.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.