The lawsuit says the Girard mayor's comments are false.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Mayor James J. Melfi is being sued on allegations of libel and slander.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court by Tom's Sewer and Drain Service Inc. of McDonald, a septic tank cleaning company, and its owner, Richard A. Glass. The suit seeks compensatory damages of at least $100,000, and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.
The lawsuit stems in part from a television news story that reported Melfi saying that he had stopped the plaintiff company from "dumping toxic sewage" into the treatment plant. That statement, the lawsuit says, is false and defamatory and damaged the reputation of Glass and Tom's Sewer.
The TV station is not named as a defendant in the suit.
Melfi responded that Glass and Tom's Sewer should be sued by the city to recover the cost of the company's dumping septic tank sewage into the city sewage treatment plant. Melfi said he stopped the practice in August 2000.
Anti-Melfi billboards and other signs have been put up by the Glass family, saying that "Girard can't afford another four years. Vote for a new mayor May 6."
Melfi is seeking the Democratic nomination against three challengers.
Glass also alleged in the lawsuit that Melfi libeled him and his company in a piece of Melfi's campaign literature, even though neither Glass nor Tom's Sewer is named in Melfi's literature.