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Michael Gill ordered to pay $5 million for defaming Catholic Medical Center executive

Union Leader Correspondent

April 13. 2018 2:30PM
Michael Gill testifies in June 2017 in Hillsborough County Superior Court. He never appeared for his defamation trial in Rockingham County Superior Court. (DOUG ALDEN/UNION LEADER STAFF)

Alex Walker Jr. testifies during a defamation lawsuit against Michael Gill Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court. (Jason Schreiber/Sunday News Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — A judge has awarded a $5 million judgment against mortgage broker Michael Gill, saying he engaged in a “malicious, scorched-earth campaign” to destroy the reputation of Catholic Medical Center executive Alex Walker Jr. with lies.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge N. William Delker issued a 19-page order Thursday in the defamation suit brought by Walker, two months after a bench trial for which Gill never showed.

Walker, a prominent Manchester attorney who is chief operations officer and executive vice president at Catholic Medical Center, filed the defamation suit two years ago after Gill began accusing him of various crimes on his electronic billboards outside his offices in Manchester, Nashua and Plaistow, the internet, his radio show and social media.

At one point, Gill, a Derry resident and owner of The Mortgage Specialists Inc., accused Walker of trying to murder him.

Walker initially sought $100 million, but said he was satisfied with the judge’s ruling.

“As I said before, this was and is about taking a stand and saying enough is enough to this guy who has been a menace to the community with these billboards and a menace to me and my family,” Walker said Friday.

The ruling comes eight months after a Merrimack County jury awarded three Manchester-area businessmen $274.5 million in their lawsuit against Gill.

Gill could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

An electronic sign on South Willow Street in Manchester where Michael Gill posted defamatory messages, according to Rockingham County Superior Court Judge N. William Delker. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

In his order, Delker wrote that Gill “refused to produce one scintilla of evidence to back up his claims against Walker.”

Delker held a bench trial in the case on Feb. 5, but Gill didn’t appear to defend himself. Walker testified about how Gill’s allegations have hurt him and his family.

Delker referred to numerous allegations made by Gill in which he accused Walker of “wide-scale drug dealing coupled with corruption of public officials to protect his enterprise.”

Gill accused Walker of using CMC to traffic fentanyl and claimed that Walker’s role on the board of directors at the substance abuse treatment program N.H. Hope for Recovery “was a front to keep people addicted to drugs so that Walker and others could continue to profit in the illegal drug market,” Delker wrote.

Delker described Walker as a “pillar” of the Manchester community and detailed his “successful and prestigious career” that has involved military service and community involvement.

“Gill did not just attack Walker’s private character or focus on a personal grudge between Gill and Walker. Rather, Gill assailed Walker in his professional and social life too,” Delker wrote.

In explaining his reasoning for the $5 million award, Delker referred to the jury award in the Merrimack County case and wrote that he was “troubled by the size” of that verdict.

Delker called his $5 million award an “extremely high defamation award” and said it is justified for general and enhanced compensatory damages.

“As the plaintiff testified at the damages hearing, the consequences of Gill’s defamation will likely reverberate on the Internet for the rest of the plaintiff’s life,” Delker wrote.

A warrant was issued on Oct. 12 for Gill’s arrest for failing to show up at a contempt hearing. The warrant, which expires on July 11, states that he can’t be released until he shows proof that the messages regarding Walker were removed from the Nashua and Plaistow signs.

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