By Roger Pugh
Former Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina has filed a lawsuit in Canadian County District Court against Piedmont developer Phil Boevers and a political committee he alleges Boevers headed.
The suit claims committed False Light-Invasion of Privacy and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Stress on Fina.
In the suit, Fina says some fliers the Boevers’ group distributed during last Spring’s mayoral race contained false statements about Fina. Fina maintains this, combined with other actions by Boevers, cost Fina reelection as Mayor and caused him to suffer embarrassment, severe mental and emotional distress and harm to his reputation in the community.
Piedmont resident Forrest Wells, who was listed as the registered agent for the political committee on the fliers, was also named in the suit.
The suit asks for an award of damages in excess of $10,000, punitive damages in excess of $10,000 and attorney fees. It was filed March 23 on Fina’s behalf by Oklahoma City attorney Russell L. Mulinix.
The lawsuit maintains Boevers was upset because the city did not approve his land development in which Boevers had a contract to sell land on which to build the Williams Grocery Store. The store was eventually built elsewhere in Piedmont. The suit says Boevers required the contract with Williams to be contingent on Piedmont approving his development, which the plaintiff believed to be an effort to force the city into approving the development because the city needed and desired the grocery store.
The suit says when the city denied the development proposal, Boevers refused to sell the land to Williams.
Fina maintains in the suit that shortly after the development was denied, Boevers began harassing and embarrassing him.
Among other things, it claims Boevers filed an Open Records request with Fina’s employer, Lt. Gov Jari Askins office requesting all of Fina’s e-mails and other communications, and this was intended to jeopardize Fina’s job and cause emotional stress.
During the campaign Fina’s suit says mailers from Boevers’ group put Fina in false light.
It cites one flier which accuses Fina of being sued for sexual harassment, another flier accusing Fina of stealing $70,000 from Piedmont schools, and another which accuses Fina of being under investigation by the Canadian County District Attorney’s office. Fina claims in the suit all of these allegations are untrue.
Gideon Lincecum, attorney for Boevers, said the lawsuit is factually misleading and legally without merit.
He noted that Fina was a public figure and his client had a right to oppose Fina’s reelection bid with truthful and factual information.