Lee Co. sends cease-and-desist letter to Black campaign

Bill Lee’s plumbing and HVAC company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign of rival Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black, calling for the removal of information about the company’s treatment of a veteran who was once employed there.

The Tennessean reports that the company said the Black campaign was “deliberately misrepresenting” the facts surrounding the legal dispute between Lee Co. and an Army National Guard member who claimed wrongful termination in a federal lawsuit.

“We have learned that the Diane Black for Governor campaign is deliberately misrepresenting actions taken by Lee Company that relate to a former employee who served as a Tennessee National Guardsman,” according to the letter by Lee Co. general counsel Jason Hale. “You have also misrepresented our company’s attitude toward and treatment of veterans in these communications.”

A Black campaign website shortly afterward removed material about the case and instead linked directly to a Tennessean article about the lawsuit.

Black spokesman Chris Hartline said the campaign received a “vague letter that does not dispute any specific allegations.”

Cease and Desist Letter – Lee Company

“We are committed to the truth and await further clarification about what they believe is incorrect in the Tennessean’s story,” Hartline said in his statement.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in 2009, William O. Roark III alleged he was wrongfully terminated by the Lee Company on at least two occasions after he was deployed. Lee Co. denied wrongdoing, and a judge dismissed the claims from the earlier of the two incidents. The company said Roark was laid off amid the Great Recession in 2008. The two sides then settled the case, which is not the same as an admission of guilt.

In its cease-and-desist letter, the Lee Co. cited a recent mailer Black’s campaign sent out related to Roark’s lawsuit, one of which said: “Bill Lee’s business was told by the U.S. Army they were violating his rights. They did it anyway. Even worse, Bill Lee’s business didn’t dispute his claim that he was fired while he was deployed — instead, their defense was that the soldier waited too long to sue.”

Another mailer says: “They protected our freedom and what did Bill Lee give them in Return? A Pink Slip.”

The Lee Co. letter says the company has always supported veterans and that “with these communications, you have willfully made false and misleading comments about Lee Company without any regard for the truth, and your attempts to spread defamatory material have caused serious and irreparable injury to Lee Company.”

23 Responses to Lee Co. sends cease-and-desist letter to Black campaign

  • Leslie Parsley says:

    The dirtier she can get, the happier she is.

  • James White says:

    Black is desperate.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Waaaaa. Waaah. Waaah.

  • Tennessee Jed says:

    Wait. So he is laid off twice. Doesn’t that mean that they rehired him after he left for duty the first time? Sounds to me like Lee’s business laid off people during the recession and rehired them when they had enough work to do. The plaintiff then turns around and tries to use his service as the reason.

    And of course they settled. Everyone settles. Pretty rare these days for businesses and insurance companies to take anything to trial. Costs too much and they can’t stomach the risk not knowing the outcome going in.

    It’s things like this that cemented my dislike of D.C. Diane. She slings mud from her swamp-filled DC office. She knows no other way. Why so desperate?

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    She should have resigned Congress to run for Gov. massive mistake. Whoever is advising her is also a loser

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      “. . .massive mistake”? And I can’t see what possible difference it makes.

      What makes a difference and what will make a difference over the next eight years is that Boyd offers an eight year extension of the centrist Haslam administration so he must be avoided at all costs as the most liberal candidate in the race. Lee is the No Record Candidate so it’s impossible to know where his paid campaign pros end and where he begins and it’s laughable that he is seriously being considered for governor. Harwell is not going to be our next governor nor has she shown any reason why she should be. Diane Black by elimination and by the fact that she has a long proven conservative record is the candidate who should garner the votes of conservatives as they unify to move Tennessee’s government to the right.

      • James White says:

        Must be hard to be waiting on the POLLs to know whom to vote for….

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Hard James? Of course it’s hard, but it’s an honor to sacrifice for my country and beloved state.

        • Silence Dogood says:

          I voted for Black. I am with James on this decision. Pick a side. I find Lee, Boyd, and Harwell so compromised I refuse to vote for them during the primaries. If you wait to the last moment you would have found yourself voting for who for President in 2016 primaries? Not a strategy I can live with. After the primaries I will vote for the most Conservative candidate, as I am an Independent.

        • Tennessee Jed says:

          Boom! Got him. James nails it.

          It is going to be funny when Stuart’s long proclaimed strategy requires him to vote Lee. My guess is, despite all his proclamations, that he will still end up voting Black (WHO IS RUNNING IN 3rd PLACE).

          It has never been about the Anti-Boyd vote for him because by all accounts he seems to be pretty similar to Boyd.

          Instead, Stuart made a calculation early on (as backed by early polls) that this was a Black v. Boyd race. Stuart tried to sway supporters of Lee and Harwell to back Black instead of Boyd if their favored candidates dropped out or were running too far behind in the polls. He dressed this strategy up as an anyone but Boyd move, as he was too moderate in his eyes…..despite Lee sounding pretty similar just holding a Bible in his hand while doing it.

          The plan has backfired as Tennesseans have seen through D.C. Diane and started to reject her as a desparte, power hungry swamp creature. I would pay good money to have someone videotape Stuart go to the poll and document him selecting Black even though she will not be the main contender to Boyd. All just laughable really.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            What you glean from all of my comments is that I am pretty similar to Boyd? Is that how I come off to all of you as a centrist Republican with a do-gooder tic? Good grief, it’s obvious I have to mention my devotion to movement conservatism more often and write in more apocalyptic tones. Thanks Jed, its good to know.

            Indeed, I have long been suspicious that Lee’s visceral bleeding heart will morph into a pretty liberal governor and it is true the more I see of Lee and the sanctimonious Mr. Clean image his campaign handlers have painted on the blank slate that is Bill Lee the less I like him. You are wrong, however, about my voting for Black no matter what. No, if as you say Diane is in third place outside the margin of error I will have to vote for Lee as a defensive measure against Boyd.

            I will be able to vote for Lee consoling myself with the knowledge that Randy! has long been a knowledgeable fixture on the left fringe of the Republican Party who will simply take over as the head of the centrist government Tennessee has had for the last eight years. Lee, on the other hand, won’t have the foggiest idea of what he is doing which leads me to hope my conservative friends who rolled the dice and supported him will be able to influence Lee so that he is at least somewhat sympathetic to conservative policy preferences.

            Don’t worry Jed, I won’t let you down!

          • Silence Dogood says:

            No Stuart, you never come across to me as anything other than a committed Conservative. Not easy nowadays to tell who the good gals/guys and bad guys/gals are in politics. You are one of the good guys!

          • Tennessee Jed says:

            Stuart, reread my post. I never said you were a moderate. I said that I see no real difference between Boyd and Lee. And that you feigned the idea of anyone but Boyd to drive votes to Black if it came down to her and Boyd. Your comments about Lee feed my theory that you aren’t going to vote Lee even if you think he is in first or second with Boyd. You are going to vote for Black no matter what. That’s fine. You should vote for who you think is the best candidate. But I just think your anyone but Boyd strategy was laughable and backfired.

      • MarLE says:

        Repeating that Lee, a businessman, is the No record candidate is getting old Stuart….did you say that about Trump? Given Trump’s favorables in Tennessee it seems that you are in the minority seeing that as a big A problem. He should never have been given a chance from your drum beat.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          You bet MarLE I said that about Trump and I spent a fortune on Cruz trying to keep Trump from getting the nomination. Trump was a liberal Democrat all his life then like magic he turns into a pretty conservative Republican. How many times do you think that is going to happen assuming Trump doesn’t revert back? Is that what you want to do, keep on voting for very wealthy individuals who have no political background or are liberals in the hope that they convert to being conservatives upon taking office?

          I think you are making foolish, bad bets if you do and in the medium or long run you are going to be a looser. Call me crazy, but for major offices like President or governor as a conservative I want to see an impressive record of conservative accomplishment or fealty and having seen it that is the candidate I will support and I will point out a lack of such accomplishments or fealty to my fellow conservatives over and over again despite the fact that it eventually does get old.

          • MarLE says:

            Great news, Stuart. So you thought Trump should NOT be president. And how have things turned out? The majority of Tennesseans think things have turned out just fine and that NO record was not a problem at all.

  • Kenneth Jordan says:

    This type of gutter mudslinging from her makes me doubly proud that I and my entire family did not vote for her.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Toast her. She’s done. Her campaign goons can start feeding off whoever beats her

  • Donna Locke says:

    I voted for Diane. If Boyd takes the primary, I will not vote for him in the general. If Craig Fitzhugh happens to win the Dem primary, I will vote for him in the general if Boyd is the Republican nominee. I will not vote for Dean. I don’t like Bill Lee either, so it would have to be Diane or Beth or I won’t vote for a Republican for governor.

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  • Kathy Raper says:

    Diane Black has missed a significant number of votes during her time in Congress… She wasn’t elected to do that… time to kick this entitled millionaire to the curb!

  • James Williams says:

    I agree totally! And for the last week, our family dinner has been interrupted by her robo-calls! I am so sick of this whole campaign and the phone calls! But she has proven herself to be nothing but a mean mean woman who has gained her wealth from the taxpayer!

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