Jeff Roe, top political consultant and off-and-on assistant to Rep. Sam Graves, is the target of a lawsuit filed Thursday in St. Charles County Circuit Court by a political candidate who ran into Roe's particular brand of negative campaigning during the August 2006 Republican primary for the District 2 Missouri State Senate seat.
St. Charles County Commissioner Joe Brazil has filed a libel lawsuit against Roe, who used his blog, The Source, to launch two vicious attacks against Brazil in the week before the election.
In the March 17 edition of First Capitol News, a St. Charles County weekly, Brazil said, "He told lies, misrepresented facts and brought up an incident that happened when I was 18 years old and then lied about it," Brazil said.
Roe's first attack came in an Aug. 1 post when he wrote:
Then Senator Jon Dolan was phoned many times by Brazil’s constituents as they complained about a “drunk and rowdy crowd” at the New Melle Festival. Imagine the shock when Dolan came to find out that Brazil was the ringleader of the drunken ruffians. But Party Boy Brazil’s escapades don’t stop there. During one of his golf events, Brazil allowed women in attendance to discard their clothing and go topless.
Is this what Missouri needs in one of its Senators? The Source thinks not. Perhaps Joe Brazil should examine his own past before he attempts to disguise himself as a Republican. Brazil has no business even thinking about running a campaign against incumbent Scott Rupp. Rupp is what Missouri needs in the State Senate. He is a responsible, strong, family man who Brazil could learn a lot from.
The attack Brazil was referring to in the First Capitol News interview came in Roe's Aug. 4 post when he reached into Brazil's past for this disputed nugget, which ran under the headline "More Skeletons in the Closet:"
According to www.darwinawards.com, in 1982, Brazil was attempting to pull off a senior class prank at McCluer North High School in Florissant, Missouri. Brazil plan was to deposit thousands of pounds of sand into the school’s faculty parking lot. Brazil even owned a dump truck that could be used to aid in the prank.
After quite a few beers, Brazil and his buddies loaded up the dump truck with sand and drove to the school. One of Brazil’s friends, Norval Pierce sat on top of the bed of the truck while Brazil dumped the sand. Brazil drove slowly while dumping attempting to adequately spread the sand in the parking lot. As Brazil was driving the truck jumped forward, throwing Pierce through the frame of the truck. Not realizing what had happened, Brazil continued to drive while drunk and dumping sand. Brazil proceeded to crush Pierce under the truck.
So now we have another instance of Brazil’s irresponsibility and not owning up to his mistakes. What else do we need to know Joe?
Brazil lost the election to incumbent Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville.
Roe's critically-timed post was noted by the Kansas City Star in an article that ran in its Feb. 6 edition:
Last year, Roe trained the focus of his daily political blog, The Source, on a state Senate race in east Missouri. Roe talked about the death of a best friend of Joe Brazil, a candidate in the race whom Roe opposed.
Brazil and his friends were dumping sand in their high school parking lot for an unauthorized "beach party" during their senior year. Brazil was driving a dump truck and accidentally ran over his friend while backing up.
Roe wrote that alcohol was involved. Brazil denied it; authorities had filed no charges.
Still, the story zipped through cyberland, and Brazil lost.
Asked about the Brazil race, Roe said, "If they don’t like it, then they don’t like the truth."
The O'Fallon Watchdog blog says the Florissant police support Brazil's version of events:
Mr. Brazil has vehemently denied the allegation that he was drunk or that he had any alcoholic beverages the night of the accident. Mr. Brazil's denial is supported by the Florissant police officer who was called to the scene and indicated in his report that Mr. Brazil was not drinking. No charges were ever filed. In addition, classmates of Mr. Brazil who were with him the day of the accident have also indicated Mr. Brazil was not drinking. A story discussing Mr. Roe’s August 4, 2006 web posting appeared in the St. Charles Suburban Journals which quoted Mr. Pierce's mother as saying she never blamed Mr. Brazil for the accident and that to her knowledge alcohol was not involved. Mrs. Pierce went on to state
"believe me if it had not been an accident I would have prosecuted...but he (Joe Brazil) was as tore up as I was."
Brazil provided this quote concerning his reasons for filing the lawsuit:
I cannot put into words my contempt for anyone who would even bring up this event to pursue a political agenda much less lie about it. We have asked Mr. Roe to remove the posting and he has refused. At this point we felt we had no alternative but to file this lawsuit. We hope that by doing this we can remove the posting and send a message to Mr. Roe that politics does not give him the license to lie and distort the truth. At some point someone has to tell Mr. Roe that his influential friends and money do not exempt him from following the law and we look forward to allowing a jury to make this decision based on the truth."