The Small Business Administration is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a small business advocacy group for the telephone records of the government agency's head spokesman.
In the unusual case, the group -- the American Small Business League -- is requesting the phone records of SBA Press Office Director Mike Stamler because the league's president, Lloyd Chapman, believes Stamler has slandered and defamed him, mainly in emails and phone conversations with journalists.
For instance, Chapman said he has obtained one email in which Stamler refers to him as a "lunatic." Stamler, the SBA spokesman, has declined to be interviewed about the case, as it is focused squarely on him.
In attempt to prove the alleged slander, the league in 2008 requested all of Stamler's emails and phone records under the Freedom of Information Act. The SBA, which two weeks ago swore in a new leader appointed by President Barack Obama, responded by sending the league boxes of email printouts and discs containing Stamler's phone records. But the league has been dissatisfied with the number of documents turned up, saying evidence appears to have been unlawfully withheld.
On March 12, in pursuit of more phone records, the San Francisco-based league filed suit with the United States District Court, Northern District of California. Chapman has told HispanicBusiness.com that he soon intends to follow up with a similar lawsuit for more emails.
The SBA on April 16 filed a suit asking the court to dismiss the March 12 case, saying its efforts to turn up all the documents has been reasonable.
"Plaintiff's assertion that more records must exist is mere speculation," said the SBA's attorneys in a motion.
Ever since founding the league in 2004, Chapman has sued the SBA five times, and insists he's won every case -- except for the one that's ongoing. The new SBA administration has declined to confirm or deny the contention.
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