Republican Rocky Raczkowski announced Monday morning he was filing a defamation lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Gary Peters and Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer over an ad campaign Raczkowski says is "filled with misleading lies and deceptive language."
Raczkowski is running for Congress against Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, in the Nov. 2 election and the two are scheduled to appear at a candidate's forum sponsored by The Oakland Press tonight in Pontiac.
Raczkowski announced the lawsuit at a Monday morning news conference and named Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson as chairman of the "Gary Peters Truth Squad."
“Defendants Peters and Brewer made the false and defamatory allegations as part of a scheme to mislead and defraud Oakland County voters, particularly those residing in the 9th Congressional District, and to gain an unfair, improper and unethical advantage in a congressional campaign that recent polls show Peters and Brewer’s Democratic Party to be losing,” says part of the suit quoted by Raczkowski's campaign.
The Peters campaign last week launched ads highlighting a lawsuit against Raczkowski over revenues from a ticket sales company he used to run.
"Peters embellished the claims of a bankrupt concert promoter who was recently arrested for possession of cocaine," the Raczkowski campaign said in a release.
The Peters campaign responded with a statement from Larry Durbin, University of Detroit Mercy Law professor and former chairman of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, who was asked to provide a review of the theft, fraud and conspiracy suit against Raczkowski in federal court in South Dakota.
"In my opinion, this lawsuit which alleges that Mr. Rocky Raczkowski personally committed acts of theft, fraud, conversion and conspiracy to commit wrongful acts has not been shown to be frivolous," Durbin is quoted as saying. "Based on the complaint, allegations have been made, which if true, could provide a basis for liability against Mr. Raczkowski and his company Star Tickets. I believe it is fair to say that this lawsuit seeking damages of six million dollars would likely demand a considerable amount of time from Mr. Raczkowski in the near future during the discovery phase of the litigation, with respect to depositions, interrogatories, review of records, etc."
Peters spokesman Dan Farough also noted that the lawsuit against Raczkowski was brought up in the Republican primary campaign by his opponent Paul Welday, who was backed by Patterson.
Raczkowski won a four-way primary to run against Peters.
The seat held by Peters is among the more contested races this year because Peters won it in 2008 by defeated a sitting Republican incumbent and Republicans want to reclaim the seat.
Peters, 51, is from Bloomfield Township. Raczkowski, 41, is from Farmington Hills.
The 9th Congressional District includes Pontiac, Lake Angelus, Auburn Hills, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills and the townships of Southfield, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Oakland and part of Orion.
Also seeking the seat are Douglas Campbell of Ferndale from the Green Party, Libertarian Adam Goodman of Royal Oak, and independent candidates Bob Gray of Auburn Hills and Matthew Kuofie of Beverly Hills.
Only the major party candidates are participating in Monday evening's candidate forum by The Oakland Press.
The forum between Peters and Raczkowski will livestreamed starting at 7 p.m. at theoaklandpress.com, available later on the website and rebroadcast by CMNtv.
No tickets remain for the one-hour forum.
Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @crummc.