Monday, October 08, 2012
Text provided of Spence attorney's letter threatening legal action against stations running Jay Nixon ad
The following is the text of the letter sent by Dave Spence's attorneys to television stations threatening legal action if they do not stop running Jay Nixon's ad claiming Spence is a banker who used insider loans to buy an expensive home.
Your station is currently airing a political advertisement that makes false and defamatory
charges against David Spence, the Republican candidate for Missouri governor. For the reasons
below, your station must cease and desist from airing this advertisement.
First, the ad claims that Mr. Spence "helped run a St. Louis bank" and that he "ran it right
into the ground with bad investments." But Dave Spence was only the board of a St. Louis bank,
and he joined the board only after it had voted to accept TARP funds and only after the
investments had been made that necessitated the bank taking TARP funds. Indeed, he provided
a million dollars to try to help stabilize the bank and he was one of few investors who stepped
up to help out. Further, federal regulators recommended the board delay TARP payments to
maintain the bank’s viability after an analysis of the bank’s finances. The ad's statements to the
contrary are false and defamatory.
Second, the ad claims that Spence's bank "took a $40 million bailout from Washington."
But as discussed above, this was not Spence's bank, he owned less than one-half of one percent
of the bank, and he joined the board after it voted to accept TARP. Any statement to the
contrary is false and defamatory.
Third, the ad claims that Spence "got an insider loan from his own bank to buy himself a
vacation home. A million dollar mansion." This is false and defamatory. Mr. Spence did take out
a loan, but it was not an "insider loan" and had nothing to do with TARP payments being
delayed. Banks make money by loaning to people who can and will make their payments. An
AP story from 4/2/12 quoted a MO Banker’s Association representative saying, “In fact, bank
board members are sometimes among a bank's best customers.” In contrast to this reality, the
ad's statement suggests that Spence engaged in wrongful conduct and contributed to the bank's
troubles. It is false and defamatory.
Fourth, the ad claims that "Spence used the bailout money to help himself, instead of
repaying the taxpayers." This is simply false. As mentioned above, Dave Spence invested a
million dollars in the bank to try to help it meet its obligations and took out loans to help the
bank make a profit. Dave Spence lost a million dollars trying to help this bank. The ad's
statements to the contrary are false and defamatory.
Your station is responsible for airing any advertisement known to you to be false. We
urge you to remove this ad from your broadcast schedule immediately. Please contact me at your
earliest convenience at 816-256-4144, or by email at email@example.com, to advise us as to
whether your station will no longer be airing this advertisement.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. I will anticipate your immediate
Edward D. Greim