Wright is upset about a 2009 post on Tony's that accused Wright of receiving kickbacks from the contributions that firefighters make to the United Way. Botello attributed the "TKC EXCLUSIVE" to his "TIPSTERS." In the lawsuit, Wright says he has "never received any money or other compensation" from the United Way.
Wright claims that he was also defamed by a YouTube video that Tony's Kansas City shared on two occasions in May. The video, titled "KCFD criminal," protests the controversial merger of the MAST ambulance service into the Kansas City Fire Department. One of the images in the video superimposes prison bars over Wright's face.
In his lawsuit, which was filed in Jackson County, Wright says he was "exposed to hatred and contempt and deprived of public confidence" by the video. Wright says he did not receive any financial benefit as a result of the merger.
The suit lists Botello, John Doe No. 1 and John Doe No. 2 as defendants. The John Does are the unidentified sources who provided Botello with the material in question.
Wright is widely regarded as the most powerful union official in Kansas City, serving as president of Local 42 from 1980 until 1988 and from 1995 to the present.
The Kansas City Star reported on August 3 that Wright would not seek another term as the union's chief executive. News of Wright's intention to step aside, fed by a "KICK-ASS TKC TIPSTER," appeared on Tony's Kansas City on July 28.
did not immediately respond to a request for comment. UPDATE: Botello e-mailed his response to the suit:
I'll pretend to be flip about this for now . . . But the fact that the most powerful political operative in Kansas City is the only person to have even threatened to sue my blog says a lot about my work, I guess.
I am both ill-equipped and completely unprepared to face a lawsuit of any kind.
Like every other elected official in Kansas City, I will be forced to grovel at the feet of outgoing Local 42 President Louie Wright. This probably means the end of the blog. As for the people whom I owe money, he's gonna have to stand in line.
Corrupt and incompetent union politics have decimated Kansas City's fiances and our ambulance service. I have no doubt this effort aimed at crushing even the slightest dissent at TKC - The Only Free Speech Zone in Kansas City - Will completely succeed.