By Their Deeds, You Shall Know Them

 

As many of you are aware, Kevin Azzouz’ company, Veranda Partners, has filed a lawsuit against me for Slander.

Joseph Seebach, an executive at Veranda Partners, was quoted in the first Orlando Sentinel article about this case as saying

 

"It takes so much effort to build a good reputation and so very little to unfairly tear down the trust we've built in the community.''

 

 

Of course, I think that Veranda Partners and Kevin Azzouz have done more damage to their reputation by filing this frivolous lawsuit than anything that I (or anyone else) may have allegedly said.

 

As the Bible says, “By their deeds, you shall know them”

 

So, lets look at Mr. Azzouz and Veranda Partners’ deeds and see if we can know them a little better.  But, lets look at their deeds through this lawsuit.  Through these deeds, perhaps you will get to know them as I have. 

 

I published a website that didn’t even say anything about Veranda Partners.  In fact, I talked about “Veranda Park.”  That is the new name of this community, or so I read in the paper: The 'run-down' area needs a new name, a developer says…

(Orlando Sentinel, June 21, 2006).

 

Nevertheless, somebody at either Veranda Partners or Bogin, Munns, & Munns (or both) decided that they were offended that I had something negative to say about how my neighborhood was being run so they sent me this letter.

http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/demand-letter-veranda-bogin-munns.pdf  

 

Mind you, they didn’t just mail it to me.  No, that wouldn’t have had enough of a dramatic and intimidating affect.  They had a “process server” come to my house and serve it on me as if I were a criminal receiving a summons.

 

So much for their respect for the First Amendment.

 

I was just trying to get the attention of my neighbors, my homeowners’ association, and my elected officials.  It appears that I got the attention of the Master Homeowners’ Association, which Veranda Partners controls.  Had they just called me, stopped by to talk, or sent me a letter asking for something to be corrected, I am a reasonable person. I would have discussed changing it. I am not opposed to the Veranda Park project. Quite the contrary.  I just question the rationale of some of the “improvements”  to the area.  With a little discussion, they probably could have made me an ally, and I would have worked with them to improve things around Metrowest.

 

Instead, they sent this threat.

http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/demand-letter-veranda-bogin-munns.pdf      

 

That threat demands that I take the website down within 36 hours (Saturday night), or they would sue me first thing Monday morning. 

                                                                                                                         

So much for being reasonable.

 

Of course, that shocked me, and it did intimidate me a little.  I knew that I was right, but who wants to go through a lawsuit to prove it?  I took down the site, and figured that would be the end of it since I did exactly what they asked me to do. 

 

No such luck.  They sued me anyway.  Here is their complaint.

 

http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/complaint-veranda-giles.pdf

                    

Everyone that has read it has laughed – well except me, since I am the one with the cost of being sued.  To sue someone for slander, shouldn’t you at least tell them what it is they said that you are so offended about? They still haven’t said and still refuse to tell me.  I get a feeling they never will.

 

The rest of the lawsuit documents are available at this link, at the bottom of the page.

 

http://mworlando.wordpress.com/the              

 

However, the most important one, I think, is

 

 http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/motion_for_sanctionswgdw1.pdf     

  The Motion for Sanctions

 

 This suit is so ludicrous that I think the only punishment that should be doled out is against Veranda Partners and Bogin, Munns, & Munns. 

 

Remember what Mr. Seebach said, "It takes so much effort to build a good reputation and so very little to unfairly tear down the trust we've built in the community.'' Perhaps he should have told Mr. Azzouz that before this frivolous lawsuit was filed.

 

 The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Mayor of Windermere called Mr. Azzouz a “crybaby” a while back. 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-orazzouz0307may03,0,3835876.story?track=rss  

Azzouz project goes to hearing, Orlando Sentinel, May 3, 2007

 

 I wonder why he didn’t sue the mayor for that?  Maybe because the mayor has money and power, and would have been more difficult to beat up on?  Bullies don’t usually pick on the big kid on the playground.  However, I think that Azzouz, Veranda Partners, and Bogin, Munns, & Munns have underestimated me. 

 

As a military veteran and a public servant for 29 years, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

 

That wasn’t just a promise.  It was an OATH.

 

Kind of like the Professionalism Creed and Oath of Attorney that lawyers take.

(I am happy to say that my lawyers  take that oath very seriously).

 

So a huge company is trying to crush me.  Why?  I think because they are trying to make an example of me.  If they can crush me, they get to wave that victory around at all of the people opposing Veranda Partners’ projects throughout the area.  If everyone is scared of Veranda Partners, then who will ever stand up to them?

 

"It takes so much effort to build a good reputation and so very little to unfairly tear down the trust we've built in the community.''

 

Do you trust Veranda Partners?

 When they said (unfairly) “take down your site or we will sue you,”  I did what they said, and they sued me anyway? 

 

Do you trust Veranda Partners now after they filed this frivolous SLAPP suit?

 

What did more harm to the trust they tried to build up in the community?  My little website that didn’t even name them?  My little website that didn’t even bash anyone?  My little website that was more about the trees and flowers in this community than anything?  Is that what damaged the “trust” they built in this community?  My little website had 51 hits before they told me to take it down.  I don’t even know if those hits were by anyone other than me and Veranda Partners. 

 

On the other hand, how many people are watching this lawsuit?  The Orlando Sentinel is certainly doing a good job of shining a spotlight on Veranda Partners’ behavior.  I bet Veranda Partners won’t have the guts to sue them though.  They have enough money and power to stand up to them.  On the other hand, I probably looked like an easy victim. 

 

I am actually a little bit ashamed that I let Bogin, Munns & Munns bully me into taking down the website in the first place.  But, now that they sued me anyway, I intend to fight this to the bitter end.  I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and if I don’t stand up to Veranda Partners, Kevin Azzouz, and Bogin, Munns, & Munns, then I will be saying that my oath meant nothing to me all these years. 

 

Well, my readers and fellow Americans, my oath means everything to me.

 

I’m not just standing up for myself.  I am standing up so that regular people everywhere can know that the Constitution is there to protect our most cherished and valuable right – our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and our right to petition for redress of grievances.  I will not let Veranda Partners, Kevin Azzouz, Bogin, Munns & Munns, or anyone else take that away from us.  Not if I can help it.    

 

Are there any Other Victims?

 

Azzouz said in the Orlando Sentinel “"If you look at my track record, I don't use litigation as a business tool.”  However, at least one individual has come forward with information that contradicts this statement.  I am wondering if there are any other people out there who have been sued (or threatened with a lawsuit) by Mr. Azzouz or Veranda Partners for anything similar to this case. 

 

In the same Orlando Sentinel article, Joseph Seebach said, "We've had prospective customers call us asking about it.”  The “it” meaning my website.  If anyone out there actually called Veranda Partners asking about my website, I’d like to hear from you. 

 

More importantly, if you would be willing to serve as a witness in my case, I really need to hear from you.  Anyone with any information, opinions, etc. about Veranda Partners is invited to email me at

mworlando@gmail.com .  

 

My sincerest thanks to all of you that have voiced your support so far and to all of you that I know support this cause.