Workers Claim Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Defamed Them Using a Facebook Alias
CANTON, Ga. (CN) - Two Tea Party Patriots workers claim the group's CEO and co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and her husband defamed them on a publicly accessible Facebook page: accusing one of being a child molester and calling the other a victim of rape and child molestation.
James Lyle and Kylie Kremer sued Tea Party Patriots Inc., and Jenny Beth and Lee Martin in separate complaints in Cherokee County Court.
Lyle and Kremer both claim that the Martins posted the defamatory statements themselves, using the alias Dale Buttersworth.
(In an Aug. 28 posting, the Radio Patriot websiteidentifies Kremer as "our point gal for keeping the Twitter-sphere up to date on the activities and travels of the Tea Party Express."
(Lyle is identified as "program director for the Tea Party Express IV bus tour" in an Oct. 27, 2010 postingon Apex MediaWire, "Covering the Mid-South.")
Lyle claims that in October 2010, Dale Buttersworth posted on "a public group in Facebook" that "Lyle was guilty of having raped the minor daughter of his girlfriend and was a child molester".
In her complaint, Kremer claims that on the same day, Oct. 5, 2010, Buttersworth also "asserted that plaintiff Kremer had been raped, reported the rape to the police and was kicked out of her home by her mother and her mother's boyfriend as a result of reporting the rape".
Kremer and Lyle both claim that Dale Buttersworth is actually Jenny Beth and Lee Martin: "The Internet Protocol Address, cell phone and email addresses on file with Facebook for the user, screen-name of alias 'Dale Buttersworth' belong to both Jenny Beth Martin and Lee Martin," according to both complaints.
Both complaints state: "Defendant TPP caused the false and malicious defamation" of the plaintiffs, to injure their reputations and expose them to "public hatred, contempt, or ridicule".
Both complaints repeat those charges, attributing them one by one to Jenny Beth and Lee Martin. Both complaints say the Martins knew the charges were false when they made them.
Lyle and Kremer both seek punitive damages for defamation. Both are represented by Kevin Leipow with Hall Booth Smith & Slover, of Atlanta.
In "About Jenny Beth," at the top of Jenny Beth Martin's personal web page (jennybethmartin.net), Martin states: "Named among the top 100 most influential people in the world by Times 2010 list, Jenny Beth Martin is known for her involvement in the Tea Party movement. Jenny Beth is co-founder and CEO of Tea Party Patriots, a non-profit organization with 1,800 chapters and 15 million members around the country."
Martin's home page adds that she and her husband founded a temp agency called Indwell Corp., which "did not do well," and they filed for bankruptcy, then "turned to cleaning houses for income."
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, in a May 9, 2010 article linked to Jenny Beth Martin's home page, that Lee Martin filed for bankruptcy in 2008 "with tax debts alone of more than $680,000."
The articlecontinues: "By filing for bankruptcy, the Martins avoided paying debts to some creditors. They still owe the IRS and state."
It adds: "As head of the Tea Party Patriots [Jenny Beth] Martin draws a monthly salary of about $6,000."
The Journal Constitution article clarifies that Martin's home-page reference to the "Times 2010 list" refers to Time magazine.
Martin's home page includes two quotes about "Fiscal Responsibility," attributed to Thomas Jefferson.