Subject Of Talk Show Comments Sues K-News/Palm Springs For Defamation
December 12, 2011 at 8:24 AM (PT)
The owner of a security company whose relationship with the city of DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA has become a point of controversy in local news reports has sued MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS, its Talk KNWZ-A-KNWQ-A-KNWH-A-K232CX (KNEWS)/PALM SPRINGS, afternoon host LEE RAYBURN, GM JAY WHITE, and PD JOHN MCMULLEN for defamation, reports the DESERT SUN.
PETE CHRYSS (full name PETER PAUL CHRYSSIKOS JR.) filed the suit on THURSDAY (12/7) in RIVERSIDE COUNTY Superior Court alleging that RAYBURN has since early OCTOBER "engaged in an outrageous pattern of behavior repeatedly making false and misleading accusations" about him, calling RAYBURN's "personal attacks... a concerted, willful, deceptive and malicious crusade to smear and destroy the character and reputation of a private citizen as part of a larger campaign to discredit public officials of the City of DESERT HOT SPRINGS." RAYBURN, the suit alleges, is the "quintessential bully," reducing CHRYSSIKOS' children to tears and forcing CHRYSSIKOS to resign as a business booster for their school and sports activities; the plaintiff claims he has received death threats.
CHRYSSIKOS' lawsuit specifically cites comments on the air by his former employer RAY MATTOCK and landlord (and MATTOCK's wife) DEBBIE LEWIS alleging that the FBI conducted an investigation of CHRYSSIKOS for child pornography, and additional allegations of credit card fraud and identity theft, using corporate fronts to defraud the city, no-bid city contracts, RAYBURN's assertion of a fear CHRYSSIKOS might use violence to retaliate for the broadcasts, and airing an interview with a former girlfriend of the plaintiff who made allegations of domestic violence. He denies all of the allegations aired on the station.
In a statement to the DESERT SUN, WHITE said, "DESERT RADIO GROUP categorically denies that it has broadcast falsehoods about Mr. CHRYSSIKOS. DESERT RADIO GROUP expects to show to the Court that it broadcast information that was in the public interest and protected by the free press provisions of the Constitutions of the State of CALIFORNIA and of the UNITED STATES." CHRYSSIKOS' company's contracts with the city of DESERT HOT SPRINGS were cancelled in OCTOBER after a city investigation concluded he was not properly licensed; he also rented a room from a city councilman who lost his re-election bid in the wake of the controversy over his relationship with CHRYSSIKOS.