Proponents of two ballot measures that would authorize a private Wood Village casino are threatening to sue the measures’ opponents over an ad that mocks the project’s name and raises questions about the casino’s main investor.
Last Thursday, casino opponents, who call themselves It’s Still a Bad Idea Committee
their first television ad. The ad slammed the proposed Wood Village casino project, which proponents have named “The Grange
The opponents’ ad called the project “The Grunge
.” The ad also said the casino project’s primary backer, Toronto-based Clairvest
, was involved in a “rigged" and "corrupt” casino deal in New York, and that police had responded to 1,400 calls at a Clairvest casino in Illinois last year.
Last Friday, a lawyer for Clairvest sent the measures’ opponents a demand letter
saying the statements put Clairvest and The Grange in “false light
.” That’s a legal term that can form the basis of a libel suit.
In the letter, Clairvest maintains that it has never been charged with any crimes involving rigging or corruption “or any wrongdoing at all.” The letter also says the majority of the Illinois police calls didn’t involve criminal conduct.
“Clairvest is prepared to take all necessary legal action
to stop the publication of false and defamatory advertising by the Committee,” wrote Clairvest’s Portland attorney, Michael Seidl. “Given the potential damages and other legal consequences that will be caused by the continued running of the advertisement, we request that it be immediately stopped.”
Steve Berman, a lawyer for the It's Still a Bad Idea Committee, wrote back
, saying Clairvest’s complaints were unfounded.
Berman cited stories from the New York Post
used the terms “rigged” and “corrupt” in connection with Clairvest’s bid to operate a proposed casino at the Aqueduct racetrack. He cited a Chicago Tribune
story from last August that cites the 1,400 police calls.
“It’s Still a Bad Idea will not acquiesce to Clairvest’s bully tactics,” wrote Berman. “We are troubled, but not surprised, that Clairvest would seek to use its power and influence to limit political debate.”