07/30/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Tea Party organizer and Tennessee business woman Lou Ann Zelenik is vying for the 6th Congressional District nomination. She is also being sued by Aegis Science Corporation over political ads claiming, quite falsely apparently, that Tennessee Senator Diane Black gave her husband’s drug-testing company, Aegis, some one million dollars in state funds. The lawsuit claims that the ads have damaged Aegis’ reputation and it’s good-will has been irreparably harmed by Zelnik’s accusation including “self-dealing, wrongdoing, and illegal, unethical, immoral and corrupt conduct.”
The ads state “Black’s spending spree included a million bucks for a drug testing company; the company’s owner, Diane Black’s husband. Diane Black, big spending that hurt every Tennessee family, except hers.” The lawsuit describes the ads thusly “While these false statements are being spoken, the video displays the words ‘Diane Black Spending Spree’ and depicts Senator Black holding an oversized check written on the account of Tennessee Taxpayers payable to Aegis in the amount of one million dollars.”
According to Aegis, Zelenik knows that the statements are false, and further more the contracts that they have won from the government, which is a small number over all, were won fairly in competitive bid set up through the Tennessee governor’s office and not the state legislature.
Zelenik is the organizer for the first and second Rutherford County Tea Parties. Aegis asked Zelenik to stop airing the ads, which the company has characterized as defamatory, but she continued to publish and air the ads. Aegis has asked for an immediate injunction, but claims “an award of damages in this case is an inadequate remedy because the potential loss of revenue and profits to Aegis and the damage to its reputation are continuing and escalating.”
The lawsuit charges that Zelenik and her non-profit Lou Ann For Congress with defamation and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.