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March 24. 2014 9:49PM

Manchester Alderman Levasseur suing former alderman Greazzo over ‘defamatory statements’

MANCHESTER — Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur is suing Phil Greazzo, alleging the former alderman defamed him by repeatedly and publicly calling him a liar.

Levasseur, in the suit filed in Hillsborough County Superior Court earlier this month, accuses Greazzo of making “ongoing and never-ending defamatory statements” that “impugn the plaintiff’s character, honesty, integrity, morality, or professional abilities.”

The suit accuses Greazzo of calling Levasseur “a liar and a conspirator” in the media over a dispute involving the Manchester Dog Park, which Greazzo founded, and making similar claims before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The suit singles out a quote from Greazzo in the March 9, 2014, edition of the New Hampshire Union Leader, in which he calls Levasseur a “pathological liar.”

“A line in the sand has been drawn by this outrageously defamatory statement,” the suit states.

Greazzo’s attorney, Brandon Ross, said Levasseur’s suit is an attempt to stifle his client’s criticism of a public official.

“Phil has a basic constitutional right to speak out about an elected official’s fitness for public office,” Ross wrote in an email. “Alderman Levasseur hasn’t even claimed that he’s been injured, just that his pride and feelings are hurt. Boo hoo. A frivolous lawsuit doesn’t make a good comfort blanket, and he’ll be very disappointed with the result. Seems like a waste of everyone’s time and money.”

Levasseur is a lawyer, although the suit against Greazzo was filed by his attorney, James Magee.

Greazzo, who had represented Ward 10, lost a hard-fought election in November, and the campaign coincided with scrutiny from Levasseur and others over the dog park. Levasseur suggested that the park was operating in violation of its agreement with the city.

Levasseur’s suit suggests this was the source of Greazzo’s animus. “The defendant believes that the plaintiff was able to convince Ward 10 voters not to vote for him because of an issue concerning a dog park that the defendant controls,” the suit states.

This is the second lawsuit Levasseur has brought in recent weeks. Last month, he sued radio host Rich Girard and the city of Manchester, charging that the parties had improperly obtained or released constituent emails that should not be considered public records.

The case is pending.

Ross was the pro-bono attorney for Adam Mueller, the man charged with violating the state wiretapping law by secretly recording a conversation with Manchester school officials and posting the recording on the website CopBlock. Mueller was interested in documenting alleged police brutality against a student. The state Supreme Court threw out Mueller’s conviction in February.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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