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Oakland Libertarians File Slander Lawsuit Against Candidate Cristina Pappageorge

02/26/2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Greg Dirasian
(248) 417-2217

Troy MI—In the recent Council of Troy Homeowners Association (COTHA) television debate candidate Cristina Pappageorge thought she had a free shot at one of her opponents, councilman Martin Howrylak. She used her two-minute closing statement to blast the three-year incumbent for his membership in the Libertarian Party.

Calling the local issues that had been the subject of the 1 hour debate "a smokescreen," she charged that Howrylak's reelection would encourage children to use marijuana, justifying their behavior to their parents with: "Mr. Howrylak is a city official; Mr. Howrylak is a Libertarian; Libertarians say it's okay to do drugs. So what's your gripe, if you voted for Mr. Howrylak?"

She went on to cite as "proof" a plank from the state Libertarian Party platform dealing with vice laws, telling viewers that a copy of a page from the party web site substantiating the allegation would be distributed to the studio audience on their way out.

Having already given his two-minute closing statement before the attack, Howrylak had no opportunity to respond to the "pot shot." However, the Libertarian Party of Oakland County has responded. The LP affiliate has filed a slander suit against Pappageorge.

"The very web page she distributed clearly states our view that the law should be used to protect citizens against force and fraud, and not in an effort to protect individuals from themselves," said Libertarian Communications director Greg Dirasian. "Nowhere does it say that we believe 'it's okay to use drugs.' This is a slanderous misrepresentation of our position and we intend to fight it."

"Libertarians are second to no one in our concern about the plague of drug abuse," added Oakland County Chairman, Nathan Allen. "That's why our platform calls upon lawmakers to repeal prohibition and end the failed War on Drugs. However, we simply demand that laws be changed," he said. "We certainly do not encourage people to break the law. But, of course, none of the viewers at home would have any way of knowing that."

Howrylak himself is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. "This has nothing to do with the city council race," Dirasian noted. "That election ought to stay focused on issues of concern to Troy residents, not on state laws that can only be changed in Lansing," he said. "This action is being taken by our county party on behalf of Libertarians everywhere. We are law-abiding people, who seek change through the political process. And frankly," he concluded, "we've had enough of being slandered. We will no longer permit these derogatory allegations to go unchallenged."

The lawsuit was filed in Troy 52-4 District Court. No hearing date has been scheduled.

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