Boone County, IL. (ECWd) –
After losing his reelection bid for Mayor of Poplar Grove, Owen Costanza filed a complaint in Boone County Circuit Court alleging defamation among other things.
Defendants then filed a Motion to Dismiss under the Citizens Participation Act (“CPA”) or (“SLAPP”) claiming they were simply exercising their rights to petition government and the people in relation to a public official.
From reading the complaint, the majority of the complaint stems from a flyer distributed prior to the election in which Costanza’s past criminal and civil activities were all published under the heading “My Opponent’s Criminal Record Is” – when some of the bullet points were civil, not criminal.
The CPA Motion to Dismiss was heard on March 25, 2022, in Boone County.
From the transcripts:
- See page 33, line 23: “He plead guilty to filing a false report” – claims his nephew borrowed the vehicle and he didn’t know
- See page 34, line 13: “He plead guilty to writing a bad check” – claims his now ex-wife wrote the check
- See page 34, line 21: He plead guilty to a DUI – claims it was 15 years ago
Later in the argument, Costanza’s attorney mentions the bankruptcy, home foreclosure, and other things were not criminal but were listed in the campaign flyer under the heading of “My Opponent’s Criminal Record is” along with the above-mentioned criminal record.
There was also considerable discussion on whether the CPA still applied, or applied with as much force, after an election.
The Court took these arguments under advisement and will publish its decision at a later date.
See transcript below for other arguments and issues discussed in Court:20220325 RMS VS. SATTLER ET AL-pdf