Both KFGO and City Pages Blotter are reporting on a defamation lawsuit that McLeod County Republican Chair Eric Harpel has filed against Representative Mary Franson (R-Alexandria). We'll let Harpel and Franson duke it out in court, while McFeely and Rupar figure out who got the exclusive.
There's an interesting side note to the new lawsuit: an earlier lawsuit that Harpel filed against Marie Thurn, a bit player in the War of the Roses between the two Republicans.
According to online court records, Harpel filed a lawsuit against Marie Thurn and Scott Nokes, her lawyer, on September 20, 2013. On April 1, 2014, according to the online records, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.
Bluestem has obtained the decision in the case. You can read it here:
March 28, 2014 email: Harpel warns of future action against Thurn
On March 28, Eric Harpel sent an email to at least 20 Republican activists in the McLeod County area, discussing his plan to take additional action against Thurn. This email would later figure in the dismissal of a harassment restraining order that Harpel filed against Thurn, following the CD7 Convention.
Bluestem has obtained a copy of the email and post the body of the document here:
>>> Eric Harpel <email@example.com> 03/28/14 12:57 PM >>>
Last year July 25th, I informed you that I had taken the very first steps in properly, and legally bringing resolutions in the matters against Marie Thurn/Scott Nokes, and Ms. Franson.
Since then, a lawsuit has been filed in August of 2013 against Marie Thurn/Scott Nokes. In late February of this year the lawsuit was dismissed. We are currently waiting on "notice of entry of judgment" so an appeal can be properly filed.
In regards to Ms. Franson. In a public document filed in Douglas County dated July 23, 2012 titled "Petitioner's Request & Order for Dismissal of Harassment Restraining Order" Ms. Franson is quoted in that document saying "I believe we can handle this issue outside the courtroom and continue working with our attorneys in this matter. It is my hope that Mr. Harpel can be trusted to continue working through our attorneys to resolve this matter with out a courtroom or press". That was 20 months ago......
Over the last 20 months I have done all of that and more. I have acted professionally, and in the proper manor have offered many fair and reasonable resolutions in this matter privately in good faith without success.
I'm simply notifying you of my intentions to file a lawsuit and a criminal complaint against Ms. Franson. With this comes taking depositions and the number of people on that list is quite extensive. If you get subpoenaed, please cooperate and be completely honest. I've always felt in opinion that my greatest asset in this, is the truth. This a process I really didn't wish to go through, or for that matter put anyone else through, but doing nothing isn't an option, and with my window closing every day to take legal action, I have balanced the scales and have decided to push forward next week.
Far to many innocent people have been affected by this. My 3 children, and their Mother and her entire family. My step-Grandmother, and her entire family. My Mother, and her entire family. My dad, and our entire family. Our family business, and our employees and their families. My friends, community and fellow board members. By doing this, it's not my intention to damage others in any way, I'm simply wanting to have my day in court so I can share my version of events, publicly in order to properly clear my families highly regarded reputation.
We have been preparing for this for 8 months now. We are ready, and we are also properly prepared for a few curve balls that may unfortunately be thrown my way personally. I sincerely hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, we're ready for it. If and when the press picks this story up, I also have very lawyer approved public statement that will follow suite. I look forward to have the opportunity to speak freely about this matter very soon. Its been way to long for my family....
Harpel's harassment restraining order against Thurn
At the time of this posting, Harpel has not yet filed an appeal against Thurn. However, following the Congressional District Seven Republican Convention at the end of March, Harpel filed a harassment restraining order against Thurn for giving him the stink eye and other actions that he felt threatened him.
Here's a copy of the order granting that request:
Court dismisses the Harpel v. Thurn HRO
Thurn decided to challenge the HRO, and after a hearing, the court denied the order. The document is embedded below,
We draw our readers' attention to the last paragraph of the document, where the March 28, 2014, email is referenced. The judge writes:
The Court must also comment on the "whispering campaign." Such events are not uncommon in the rough and tumble world of political conventions. Even if it could be shown that Respondent [Thurn] could be shown to be the source of the campaign (which cannot be shown, as Petitioner sent the e-mail to 20+ recipients and it is apparent that such a message would be a hot topic of conversation in a convention setting attended by most, if not all of the recipients), such a "campiagn cannot be deemed harassment under the statute.
Here's the denial of the HRO:
Photo: An Elephant fight.
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