A recent article in the Mt. Sterling Advocate focused on Joshua Powell’s Topix witch hunt. Complete with misinformation and an attempt to give false credit to “a Lexington TV station” for originally reporting what this very website uncovered. In a sign that the newspaper really doesn’t take journalistic credibility seriously in the least.
Let’s take a look at some excerpts:
In a followup with the Advocate, Powell said contrary to the TV report, the cost of the litigation is anticipated to be less than $5,000.
“This is a fraction of what the district was required to pay the state auditor’s office for investigation of frivolous accusations that were made on social media and in frequent and repeated contacts to the auditor’s office, Powell said.
“The district is not attempting to sue individuals that have defamed or harassed employees, rather, simply gaining the identity of the perpetrators. If an individual employee desires to seek punitive damages from the perpetrator, that individual employee will fund the lawsuit, not the district,” Powell added.
Powell told the Advocate the district has an obligation to protect all employees from “harassment, intimidation, racism and abuse. The behavior of the perpetrators has been nothing short of terrorism as the perpetrators’ sole purpose is to tear down individuals and the school district by spreading complete falsehoods.”
Powell said people’s lives have been negatively impacted “and we have to put a face on those bullies.”
While I greatly respect the First Amendment, the behavior of the perpetrators is a complete violation of employee rights, as well as basic human rights.”
The Advocate also received a statement from school board chair Kenney Gulley.
“The Montgomery County Board of Education has learned that several employees have been cyberbullied resulting in a negative impact on the school culture and work environment. This has been ongoing and is well beyond the status of mere criticism of these employees. This board supports their employees and has authorized the superintendent to take legal action to the extent of obtaining the identification of the cyberbullies.
“We expect this action to be very limited in scope and cost. The employees are free to file their own defamation claims, if any, at their own expense. The intent and expectation is for these actions to cease. We take bullying very seriously and strive to protect both our students and staff,” the statement added.
The article went on to include inaccurate boasts from Powell about test score gains, which readers already know are total falsehoods. Because readers here have seen emails from the KDE that debunk all of those bogus claims.
You already know there’s no way to identify individuals for $5,000. That’s impossible. Try more than six figures. Even then, it’s unlikely. How do we know this? I’ve fucking done it already.
Even if it could be done for $5,000 (it can’t), no judge is going to allow you to identify individuals for posting factually accurate information if you don’t plan to pursue a defamation case.
Respecting the First Amendment? Guess that’s why he’s being sued for using misinformation posted on Topix by other people to fire the woman who had an affair with his friend.
Opposing bullies? Maybe it’s time we delve into several recent stories about student bullying and threats of violence. A man named Jason Woodard handled a couple of those incidents and blew parents’ off, ignoring their concerns, punishing victims and publicly mistreating and ostracizing those students at a public awards function. Do we really need to delve into that mess?
Frivolous audit investigation? We’ve already been over that. Adam Edelen says he ILLEGALLY HIRED HIS WIFE. Several related matters are currently under investigation by other agencies, as we have reported.
And terrorism? Is that like using your state trooper friend to intimidate whistleblowers? Is that like threatening people who report potential crimes to the police and other authorities?
This is ridiculous.
Related note: folks in the auditor’s office tell us off-the-record that they’re frustrated with the lack of interest investigative agencies and law enforcement have shown in Powell-related matters. They say they won’t investigate other complaints because of that. But they won’t say it on-the-record.
Since we already know Edelen’s investigators only focused on a fixed period of time with the last investigation — ignoring evidence provided about fiscal mismanagement and improper expenditures occurring just before their reviewed time frame — this is especially troubling news for Montgomery County.