(The Center Square) – An attorney has sent cease-and-desist letters to three Spokane television stations and a cable company demanding that they stop airing a political opposition ad to Mayor Nadine Woodward because it allegedly defames a local businessman.
Larry Stone is seeking apologies from local media outlets KHQ, KREM, KXLY and Comcast, along with Woodward’s mayoral opponent, Lisa Brown, over an ad produced by the Citizens for Liberty and Labor Political Action Committee.
Letters were sent to the media companies on Wednesday, said Stone’s attorney, Mark C. Lamb of Seattle.
Lamb claims the political action committee’s TV spot presents “gross inaccuracies and outright lies” about The Stone Group’s purchase of a building that housed the Trent Resource and Assistance Center, known as the TRAC Shelter for homeless persons over the winter.
Lamb said the ad implied that The Stone Group bought the building and is now trying to sell it to “make money off the city” with Woodward’s involvement. Lamb said the statements are false and damaging to the reputation of Stone, whom the attorney described as “a pillar of the Spokane community who stepped forward, at great cost to himself, to offer a solution to the homeless in Spokane.”
Lamb demanded that the media outlets stop broadcasting the ad on Thursday or the companies would face “all appropriate legal remedies.”
A related complaint has also been filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission by the People for Nadine Woodward Re-Election. Typically, the PDC notifies the subject of the complaint, who has 14 days to respond. Based on commission procedures, both the complaint and any reply from the respondent will be posted on the PDC website.
According to PDC information, the Liberty and Labor PAC reported expenditures earlier this month to Comcast ($68,000), KHQ ($10,210), KREM ($9,843), and KXLY ($9,775) for broadcast and television advertising.
Contributors to the Liberty and Labor PAC include a number of labor unions, among them the Spokane Firefighters Union and the Washington Education Association, which have endorsed Brown.
The Center Square sent requests for comment to the media outlets and campaign managers for Woodward and Brown. In an emailed reply, KHQ general manager Neal Boling said, “We are aware of the cease-and-desist letter. The ad is not currently running as we evaluate its content.”
Woodward herself is a former longtime Spokane television broadcaster who was first elected mayor in 2019 and is running for a second four-year term in office. Brown is a former state legislator and former director of the Washington Department of Commerce.
The mayoral post is non-partisan but Woodward has received considerable support from conservatives; Brown from liberal supporters. Their contested race is up for the Nov. 7 general election. Ballots are being mailed out this week to voters.