From

Bradbury Township

 

Mille Lacs County, Minnesota

Mille Lacs News

Since 4/18/07

Paul Smith said:

"Mr. D'Angelo doesn't want to sue you...[but] You didn't show Mr. D'Angelo proper respect"

 
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The Legal Battle
Silent Treatment
Trouble with Nexus
1 Freeman/D'Angelo
The Complaint
Motion to Dismiss
Court of Appeals
Mediation and Trial 1
2. Nexus vs me
Injunction Sought
Bad First Impression
Censored Article
Documents
Nexus SLAPP
Nexus SLAPP.pdf

 

Trouble with Nexus

The Onamia City Council was giving us the Silent Treatment and continuing along the path of malfeasance.

I tried contacting Nexus Board members. I believed that they must be unaware of the inappropriateness of their chosen location and my goal was to convince them to choose an better place to build their sex offender facility.

I remember contacting Janet Benway by email. I talked to Tami Farrell-LaQua on the telephone. (She later resigned from the Board, but I doubt if that had anything to do with me.) I tried contacting Fr. Jerry Schik, and several other members of the Board. I tried contacting Jim D'Angelo via phone and sent him emails.

I offered to personally find a better location for their facility - and actually succeeded, although I never heard if they ever looked at my suggestions.

Most notably, I contacted Peter Freeman. I hoped that he would listen to us and honestly believed he would help us stop Nexus from building in our neighborhood. Why? Because the chosen location was nextdoor to an elderly widow who lived by herself; across the street from a woman sick with cancer; next to a family with a 12-year-old child, close to elderly folks including my mom, disabled citizens including myself, and most importantly, within a few minutes run to two child day care centers, (a little longer for a third one). As a social work professor, he would know that this is not the place for sex offenders.

I had done my homework. I'd contacted other facilities and they didn't give me the Silent Treatment. We talked. I received their opinions that they would never put a juvenile sex offender facility in a residential neighborhood.

Besides, having been a college instructor myself, I thought might carry some weight with Peter Freeman. (It didn't). I reached Freeman by phone. As soon as I identified myself, he rudely "deferred" me to Jim D'Angelo and hung up on me. I wrote him a follow-up email, to which he did reply. He said, "Thank you for your interest in Nexus Treatment Centers."

I honestly did not intend to get Peter Freeman in trouble or embarrassment when I contacted the head of the social work at St. Thomas. I thought that if he refused to speak with me, maybe she could plead our case. Please bear in mind that I am not a professional activist. I never thought about "defamation" or a lawsuit. I was just trying to get Freeman to listen to me. I should not have contacted his colleagues. Again, I didn't intend to cause him embarrassment. I intended to have them set him straight.

It might seem dumb, but at the time I was up to my armpits in alligators. (That's an idiom). Time was running out for my neighborhood.

And nobody would communicate with us. It was the Silent Treatment indeed.

So, whereas I did not intend to upset Peter Freeman, I admit that I wanted to write something on my blog that would get Jim D'Angelo's attention.  With D'Angelo though, I wanted to walk up to the line but not cross it. I thought I was careful not to say anything defamatory. But back then, I hadn't yet had my legal education... All I knew is that D'Angelo was a public figure, and that I had my First Amendment Rights to free speech - as long as I spoke Truth or my opinion. That was before I found out that there is no such thing as Freedom of Speech. Nor did I realize that I could be sued for speaking the Truth and offering my opinions. I didn't know that my words could be taken out of context or purposefully misconstrued.

For example, when I said that D'Angelo acted like a "predator" who preyed on the elderly and "infirmed" (that infirmed was so embarrassing. It should have been infirm), I had just read an article about private correctional facilities who chose locations based upon the vulnerabilities of the citizens - those without the power or money to fight and oppose them. This was exactly what was happening in our neighborhood!

They twisted my words to mean I accused him of being a sexual predator.

I never did. I didn't think that way. My little world didn't deal with sex offenders, crime, violence... My world consisted of my family, my pets, my home, and my friends. My interests were music, nature, video games, movies, and reading. My values were kindness, compassion, and treating others as I would like to be treated. But I guess since they made their living off of sexual predators, that's the way they took my statement. I did not mean it that way. Honest.

I was probably baiting D'Angelo with my article "Can You Hear Me Now". I know I was incredibly frustrated that nobody would acknowledge my existence, let alone listen to my complaints.

The only means for me to communicate with them was through my newspaper and blog. That was the only way I could "talk" to them.

Then I received a letter from Nexus lawyer Mark Manderfeld demanding that I remove the defamatory statements from the Internet. The trouble was - I could not comply because I didn't think I'd written anything defamatory, and he refused to indicate what they found "offensive". How could I remove it if they didn't tell me what it was? I believe they wanted to scare me into shutting down the entire newspaper and blog.

No lawsuit was necessary. This could have all been negotiated had they just communicated with me. I take my integrity seriously and I certainly didn't wish to be sued. But they had decided to sue me. I was to be Peter Freeman's specialty - the "SCAPEGOAT".

By suing me, the Bradbury opposition would crumble. Everyone would fear that they too would be sued. Our group would be totally dismantled. This was a Strategic Lawsuit. Just like D'Angelo admitted (and later lied about on his sworn affidavit), this lawsuit was meant to make us go away.

It is my opinion that there was more to it than just the neighborhood opposition to the relocation. It is my belief that by suing me, they would never have to worry about anyone in the community speaking out against them for anything concerning the Mille Lacs Academy. For instance, when that 13-year-old went missing, stole a car, and drove to St. Cloud. Nobody voiced outrage. No problem. It's cool.

Next: Freeman/D'Angelo vs ... me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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