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Ex-councilman sues news editor over Web site

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WAXAHACHIE- A lawsuit has been filed against Joey Dauben, The Ellis County Press' news editor, for MikeGreenlee.com, a satirical political Web site about former Palmer councilman Mike Greenlee.

In a public statement issued after the Waxahachie Daily Light's Tuesday article hit news racks, Dauben said, “It should be noted that the news (as opposed to an op-ed) article was published without even so much as a hint of my side of the story, but it will come out in discovery that I bought the domain name and set up the satire ‘re-elect’ page. Nobody else helped, colluded, conspired or otherwise contributed to that site. The site cost me $9. This lawsuit amounts to an attempt to silence the First Amendment rights of making fun of public officials, their campaign supporters and politicians.”

The suit, filed by Greenlee and fellow Palmer resident John Templer, allege Dauben of committing election law violations for setting up the site to make it appear like a legitimate re-election site. They also accuse him of conspiracy with other Palmer residents to make the page look like a re-election site.

The domain, MikeGreenlee.com, was registered six days after the May 10 election in which Greenlee and Templer's slate of candidates (Shannon Conger and Linda Harper) lost.

Greenlee was defeated by seven votes after this newspaper reported on thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds Greenlee spent on hotels, strip clubs, bars, guns and ammunition and a $186,000 expenditure for an infrastructure project that did not get council approval.

“Additionally, the very thing that supporters and readers of the Waxahachie Daily Light accuse me of doing on my Web sites the paper did in their Tuesday issue. I haven’t been served papers, nor have I been contacted about this suit. There are numerous, numerous articles, blog posts and other information on the Internet and in our newspaper that document the rivalry between these establishment figures, the establishment paper and the 40th District Court. It should be noted that this suit is no way related or linked to me being the news editor at The Ellis County Press. The Web site was done on my own time, as an individual.”

Dauben’s company, Texas International Property Associates, has also been in the media pertaining to lawsuits against Web sites the firm manages.

The portfolio of domain names Dauben registers and manages include JoeGrubbs.com (Ellis County’s district attorney), JoAnnLivingston.com (the WDL managing editor), GeneKnize.com (the 40th District judge), HeathSims.com (an Ellis County commissioner), and a host of other domain names.

“I manage and develop Internet real estate, and that is no secret to anyone who can do a simple Google search,” said Dauben, 27, a Palmer resident. “Granted, there are a lot of legal issues relating to my company, but MikeGreenlee.com was set up after the May 10 election as a comedic look at some public officials and supporters in Palmer.”

 


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