Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has threatened the owner of this website, Gallco Media, LLC, with “all legal remedies under law” unless the post, Feds Charge Indian National With Abusive Sexual Contact, is removed from the site. Gopal’s attorney, D. Sam Han, Esq. of Sobel Han, LLP of Englewood Cliffs, further demands that an apology and retraction be posted that clearly denotes the improper usage of Gopal’s picture on this site. The photo in question is posted to the left. Han’s letter can be viewed here.
On behalf of Gallco Media, I consulted with two attorneys to find out what these “legal remedies under law” might be. Both said there aren’t any and that Gopal does not have an actionable claim. Bring it on, Han. Play it again, Sam. You’re not gonna win, Vin.
We really must have gotten under Gopal’s skin. He didn’t threaten legal action against the campaign of Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini in the the 2011 legislative race when they sent the now infamous Joe Vas mailer out against Gopal who was running against them at the time. The mailer was widely criticized in the media and even by many Republicans at the time. MMM didn’t write about the mailer in 2011 because I was in jail on ginned up charges when the controversy broke. I’m particularly sensitive to the consequences of exaggerated allegations made in the media.
Gopal’s gotten a small taste of his own medicine. We hope he’ll alter his conduct, and lead members of party to do the same. It’s not looking too good, so far, but that is what we’re after in our “Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett did not issue a statement…” posts and our posts calling Gopal on his duplicity.
Since Gopal falsely accused a Republican candidate for Red Bank council of being a fugitive last October, I’ve been trying to get him to understand the consequences of his reckless actions. From the moment I received his press release with the false allegations….before I fact checked it and proved the allegations were false…I asked Gopal, “Are you sure you want to go there? The Republicans have lots of dirt on your county and Red Bank candidates.” “Go for it,” he exclaimed, “if you have it use it!” I was surprised and disappointed that he wanted the county race and his most competitive municipal race to devolve into mudslinging.
After MMM debunked Gopal’s false allegations and pressured other media outlets fact check the story, thereby altering their reporting, Gopal stopped returning phone calls. I’ve called him numerous times since October.
Since he’s been Democratic Chairman, Gopal has repeatedly and baselessly accused “Monmouth County Republicans” and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry in particular of “corruption” due to the bad acts and alleged bad acts of individuals who were exposed and/or prosecuted by Republicans. Gopal’s Monmouth County Democratic Party has not made one concrete proposal to improve government policy or the quality of life in Monmouth County on any level. Every one of his campaigns has been based upon character assassination of Republicans, most of whom committed no bad acts of their own.
In his letter, Han says MMM has a pattern of actual malice and that we’ve damaged Gopal’s reputation. Han said that “a reasonable person of ordinary intelligence” could have been led to believe that MMM was implying that Gopal had been charged with abusive sexual contact, even though the caption on the photo clearly indicated that Gopal was not the defendant. Obviously, Han is unaware that MMM readers are not people “of ordinary intelligence.” Those people read publications that buy Gopal’s press releases hook line and sinker without fact checking.
Han said that our conduct was “unreasonable even from the minimum standard of investigation and reporting attributed to similar blogs.” There are no other blogs like MMM.
MMM does not have malice towards Gopal, actual or imagined. We do deplore his actions, and those of his cronies, of character assassination that are ongoing. In his fundraising email last weekend, Gopal’s handpicked freeholder candidate, Joe Grillo, smeared Burry again for the actions of former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas and former Brookdale President Peter Burnham. There is no basis for the smears. Not only that, the smears are bad politics, having failed to persuade Monmouth County voters to elect Democrats in the last four elections.
MMM and Gallco Media, LLC reject Gopal and Han’s demands. But that doesn’t mean we have “no intention of resolving this matter without the need for litigation.”
We have a counter-offer. If Gopal issues apologies to Sean DiSomma, Lillian Burry, Serena DiMaso and “the Monmouth Republicans,” and promises to end his campaigns of character assassination, MMM will remove Gopal’s picture from the post in question and buy him dinner.
If Gopal continues his conduct of character assassination and duplicity we’ll keep on him. If he pursues litigation in a futile attempt to silence us, we’ll do man and woman on the street interviews to see if his reputation really has been damaged. We’ll always be factual. It will be great fun and provide great content, if Gopal chooses to go that way.