Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breaking News: Lane Bajardi and Wife file $2 million defamation lawsuit against Grafix Avenger, MSV and over 10 Anonymous Local Bloggers

Lane Bajardi and wife Kim Cardinal launch $2 million defamation lawsuit against GA, MSV and over 10 other anonymous local bloggers

Complaint states that it is the Bajardi’s intention to subpoena over a dozen screen names to be added as named defendants in the civil suit, mostly from the AOL Hoboken Patch.

Lane Bajardi at Hoboken City Council Meeting
In a $2 million civil suit containing allegations with significant ramifications for First Amendment online free speech, Councilwoman Beth Mason's "friend" Lane Bajardi, along with his wife Kim Cardinal, has filed a defamation lawsuit containing allegations against Grafix Avenger (www.grafixavenger.blogspot.com) Mile Square View (MSV), and 10 other "unnamed" defendants earlier this month.

Lane Bajardi texting at Hoboken City Council Meeting
The lawsuit alleges that neither Lane Bajardi or Kim Cardinal currently post under the screen names "prosbus" and "curious gal" and references to that effect are "false and defamatory." The complaint also claims that the plaintiffs are not political operatives.

The complaint does not state why identifying the plaintiffs as the authors of the posts made by prosbus and curious gal is defamatory or what damages they have actually suffered as a result of any material that appears on MSV or GA or on Hoboken Patch. The majority of the allegations of defamation contained in the complaint are against Grafix Avenger but MSV and other anonymous screen names are referred to throughout the complaint.

Both Bajardi and Cardinal state they are not being paid by Councilwoman Beth Mason or her 501(c)(3) Mason Civic League. The complaint also contains allegations that the Bajardis do no associate with corrupt individuals. No mention is made of Beth Mason's numerous campaigns and campaign committees underwritten by her husband, Ricky Mason of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Krantz.

Bajardi also states throughout the complaint that he is "not a person of interest to the FBI and is not involved in criminal activity." In other parts of the complaint Bajardi states he has not been held in the custody of the FBI.

The allegations and claims in the complaint are stated in the present tense, such as "Bajardi does not post anonymously on Hoboken Patch.", leaving unclear where or not the Bajardis historically posted anonymously on Patch in the past.

In a statement emailed to the Hoboken Journal, Roman Brice wrote:

"We would be interested to find out who's financing this SLAPP (Strategic Litigations Against Public Participation) suit as we don't believe Mr. Bajardi is footing the bills for this lawsuit after having been unemployed for 2 years prior to his recent employment with CBS. We believe that this is part of a conspiracy participated in by not just Mr. Bajardi but other political operatives."

From the "Letter to the FBI" series which has appeared on the Grafix Avenger site, the complaint claims that the satirical material wherein GA refers to her joining the FBI and assisting in arresting people associated with corruption is a threat of violence to the Bajardi family, as there is a reference to an address on “Park Avenue.” However, no street number is contained in the satirical post.

One of several allegations in the complaint against MSV notes that the MSV Premium Content contained an assertion that Bajardi and Cardinal moved to Edgewater, NJ. (The Hoboken Journal subscribes to the MSV Premium Content and notes that the only names mentioned as part of a "Mason minion family" reportedly moving to Edgewater were the screen names "prosbus, curious gal, et. al"; the names of the plaintiffs Bajardi and Cardinal do not appear anywhere.)

Left without any explanation is why a statement that the Bajardis have moved to Edgewater is defamatory, even if it is not accurate and that throughout the complaint both Bajardi and Cardinal claim they are not prosbus and curious gal. Nor is any explanation given why stating an Edgewater abode has caused any damages to the plaintiffs.

The subject of compensation between Bajardi and Mason has been broached publicly in May 2011 at a City Council meeting. Bajardi, replying to earlier questions surrounding his communications with Mason and the unauthorized release on Hoboken411 of a HPD discrimination lawsuit stated, "Councilwoman Mason, at any time have you ever paid me one penny for my friendship?"

Mason's quietly replies "no" leaving unanswered whether or not there has been any payment for services rendered by Mr. Bajardi.

The complaint also threatens to issue subpoenas against a number of recognizable posters (anonymous defendants) on local Hoboken websites as follows:

This Means War, Napoleon Complex, khoboken, Hoboken1653, HobokenLeaks, Redrider765, JAM, and JackStop.

Additional screen names are also identified, some of which are common knowledge due to their public use over many years, with no citation whatsoever:

Bludiamonds, Klaussenfluffer, Bet Mazin, InfotainMe, plywood, Hobbs, Bob R, davidd, ss1959, "among others."

According to the complaint, Lane Bajardi and Kim Cardinal "had an excellent reputation in Hudson County" - "until the action of the defendants." Plaintiffs claim they are also acting against "the threats to their child."

The complaint states its intention to subpoena all the listed names, plus unknown and unlisted "others" from Hoboken Patch, Grafix Avenger, Google, MSV, NJ.com, and GallowayPatch.com followed with a "second wave" to corresponding Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The California based First Amendment organization Electronic Frontier Foundation is aware of the case and asked any people posting under the anonymous names to contact their legal intake manager Mark Jaycox. The EFF is interested in assisting as it considers the freedom to post anonymously a cornerstone right in United States history.

Mark Jaycox can be contacted at (415) 436-9333 extension 128. The EFF website is at url: https://www.eff.org

Lane Bajardi hugging it out with Michele Russo as Matt Calicchio (r) stands nearby at a Hoboken restaurant last year.
Lane Bajardi and Michele Russo at a Hoboken City Council meeting.
Bajardi's complaint states he "does not associate with corrupt individuals."

Editor’s Note: The strategy of the Plaintiffs seems to be to require the defendants, both named and unnamed, to spend a lot of money and intimidate the defendants from covering local politics with their websites and posting comments that are contrary to the political views of the Bajardis. For those who have followed Hoboken politics closely, this is what Beth Mason does. She throws money at situations and there is a healthy suspicion that she is behind this lawsuit. Beth Mason at the last City Council meeting publicly and blatantly stated to Roman Brice that he was facing the imminent filing of a lawsuit against him.

There was one item in the complaint that really struck me as odd. One of the defendants asserted: "your child might be better off raised by wolves." I just can't believe that is actually in the complaint. Some might consider that impolite but how is hell is that defamation?

Confession: I have often thought what it might be like to be raised as a feral child. The freedom, the outdoors, never having to hear the parents worrying about the mortgage or a SLAPP lawsuit.

A comment such as that might be considered by some as over the top but if everyone got sued for making a remark like that one I don't think people would ever talk to each other.

The Jersey Journal also has a story of the lawsuit filed by the litigious Bajardi's and somehow they left out the screen names in the lawsuit that also targets over 10 anonymous bloggers. I wonder if that has anything to do with the pro-machine editorial slant of Auggie Torres? Their slant on the story I will leave to the judgement of the readers of this website.

I will not comment further as this is pending litigation and it affects two of my friends in Hoboken plus possibly others from a lengthy list of John Does.

Read here and feel free to comment: