Attorney calls for Country Chronicle, Franklin to cease and desist

BLYTHEWOOD – An attorney representing Town Councilman Donald Brock has demanded that Country Chronicle editor Tonya F. Page and Blythewood Mayor Bryan Franklin “immediately cease and desist from speaking, writing or otherwise publishing all false, injurious and otherwise damaging statements about Mr. Brock.”

In documents obtained by The Voice, the attorney, Kevin Hall, with Womble Bond Dickinson law firm in Columbia, sent a letter to Franklin, stating that, “We have been advised of numerous false and/or actionable statements made by you in the Sept. 23, 2021 edition of The Country Chronicle, as well as statements made via email dated Sept. 21, 2021.”

Hall also addressed Page as having quoted and/or published “numerous false and/or actionable statements in the Sept. 23, 2021 edition of the Country Chronicle.”

Hall wrote that the quotes and statements he addresses include but are not limited to:

  • “That Mr. Brock has lied to the public and swayed votes of other council members based on blatantly false information.
  • That Mr. Brock has engaged in misconduct that has cost the town $40,000 in outside legal expenses.
  • That supporters of Mr. Brock expected to be paid back in some fashion for their support.
  • That Mr. Brock conspired or is conspiring with an outside marketing company or a local newspaper.

 “Publishing these false statements is not protected free speech,” Hall wrote, “but, instead, is a malicious and intentional decision on your part to defame and damage Mr. Brock. By doing so, you subject yourself to tort and other claims including but not limited to defamation, libel, slander and misrepresentation.”

The letter demands that both Page and Franklin issue a public retraction and apology.

“If you ignore this demand,” Hall wrote, “we are prepared to initiate litigation to recover (1) damages for harm done to Mr. Brock and his reputation, (2) punitive damages, (3) injunctive relief, (4) attorneys’ fees and litigation costs and (5) all other recoverable damages and costs.”

The letter further asks both Page and Franklin to provide Hall with written assurance via email by close of business on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, that they are willing to comply with the foregoing request.

“Failure to provide such assurance may result in further legal action,” Hall wrote.

Hall also notified Page and Franklin that they are to “preserve all documents, recordings, phone messages, text messages, emails, and all other materials (electronically stored or otherwise) which reference or relate to Mr. Brock, the Town of Blythewood and/or members of the council of the Town of Blythewood. Mr. Brock will be seeking these documents and others in discovery If litigation is necessary.”

The Country Chronicle is published out of Camden, but a website for Georgia-based Morris Multimedia lists the newspaper as one of its 60 publications. The company describes itself as one of the largest, privately held media companies in the U.S.

Related: Town attorney resigns; councilmen not notified

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]