Patti Blagojevich is taking aim at her former employer, filing a defamation lawsuit against a top official for allegedly making defaming remarks to a newspaper columnist.
Mrs. Blagojevich filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court charging that Rick Roberts, the senior director of strategy and communications for the Chicago Christian Industrial League, made defaming remarks about her by claiming she inappropriately took an internal email list from the group when she was fired in January.
Roberts made the remarks two weeks ago initially to columnist Michael Sneed. He then repeated them the next day in the Chicago Tribune.
Roberts called Patti Blagojevich "unethical," saying she used the email contacts to try selling her husband's new book.
Patti Blagojevich later told the Sun-Times that it was Roberts who was inappropriate; she said she dumped her own email list into the league's database to help bolster fund-raising.
"The galling thing about this is before I got to CCIL -- there was no e-mail list. They had no e-mail outreach at all," she told the Sun-Times in a Sept. 18 story. "I dumped all my contacts of all my friends. . . . Their list is my list."
Roberts could not be immediately reached for comment.
This is from the Patti Blagojevich and Rod Blagojevich's PR group.
(PRNewsChannel) / Chicago, Ill. / Less than two weeks after being accused by her former employer--a charity--of inappropriately taking its 'proprietary' donor list and then using it to promote her husband's new book, former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich fought back today by suing for defamation.
The lawsuit, filed this morning in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., names Richard Roberts, the senior director of strategy and communications for the Chicago Christian Industrial League (CCIL) as the defendant.
According to the lawsuit, Roberts falsely accused the former first lady of stealing CCIL's donor list.
But according to the suit, CCIL never maintained an email list of donors for purposes of outreach. The suit says Mrs. Blagojevich created her own list building on her personal Outlook contacts.
When her husband was arrested, Mrs. Blagojevich was abruptly fired.
The complaint alleges that Roberts made false accusations to 'Chicago Sun-Times' columnist Michael Sneed, who then published the statements in a column on September 17, 2009.
The suit does not name the 'Chicago Sun-Times,' Sneed or the charity itself as defendants.
"There is no easier way to attract media attention and generate free publicity than to make false accusations against a person whose life is the focus of constant public attention and scrutiny," says Jay Edelson of KamberEdelson, the lead attorney in this suit. "Hopefully, this will send the message that making false statements against Patti or Rod Blagojevich will not go unanswered."
KamberEdelson LLC. has been handling the defense of various civil actions filed against the former governor of Illinois following his removal from office.