DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — Union City Police Chief Mark Ater has filed a defamation lawsuit against former Darke County Sheriff Toby Spencer.
According to our partners at Daily Advocate, Ater is filing a lawsuit against Spencer for alleged false statements made in a letter to the editor published by the Versailles Policy on April 27. The letter was also uploaded to Facebook, however, Spencer has since deleted his account.
During the time of the publication, Ater was in the running for the Republican nomination for Darke County Sheriff which current Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker has since won.
In Spencer’s letter to the Versailles Policy, he stated that during his time as Darke County Sheriff he ran background checks, including criminal, civil and personal, to ensure that individuals were free from federal, state and local charges as well as bad debts. Spencer then alleged, “we have a candidate in this race that fails all these checks in a concerning way.”
Ater said the statements made in Spencer’s letter were false, however, Spencer has filed a motion to dismiss the suit.
In his motion to dismiss, Spencer said, “This case involves a political candidate’s attempt to recover a financial windfall for his failed primary bid for Sheriff of Darke County, by blaming his election loss on an alleged single critical letter to the editor published in a local newspaper.”
Ater is seeking compensation of no less than $25,000 as well as “punitive” damages and reasonable legal fees.
“I just want people to know it’s not about money, and it’s not about the election. It’s the fact that he (Spencer) stated lies, and it’s the principle,” Ater said.