MacArthur: Lonegan Camp’s Claims “Defamatory”

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Tom MacArthur
Tom MacArthur

The campaign of CD3 GOP hopeful Tom MacArthur isn’t mincing words one day after the Daily Mail ran a story concerning law suits filed against his former company, York Risk Services Group

Moreover, they say the attacks of primary opponent Steve Lonegan‘s campaign have been nothing less than “dishonest and defamatory,” Save Jerseyans.

The background: according to MacArthur’s campaign, the paper’s piece was extremely sloppy in terms of missing or distorting key details. For starters, they point out how York is not an insurance company but a service company. The difference? MacArthur wasn’t anywhere near a “cheating firefighters” RICO claim cited by the Daily Mail; his former firm, they point out, had purchased the company involved in the claim after MacArthur left the firm in 2010.

MacArthur’s comms team also went through the trouble of providing a rebuttal for each suit cited by the Daily Mail:

On Lexington Insurance/Port of Galveston, TX:

This case wasn’t filed until after Tom MacArthur had left York and has since been settled out of court and dismissed with no finding of wrongdoing.

On Sylmar/CA wildfires:

York and the insurance company they worked with denied any wrongdoing, and the settlement of this matter occurred in 2012, well after Tom was no longer active in York.

On Houston Baptist:

The case was settled out of court with neither side admitting any wrongdoing.  An order accepting a negotiated Stipulation of Dismissal was signed on March 10, 2011 after MacArthur had left York.  Moreover, Houston Baptist was denied reimbursement for their attorney’s fees, as well as “trebled damages” and “pre-and post-judgment interest.”

Given the state of the facts as recounted by MacArthur, his campaign asserts that their opposition’s characterization of the story as one in which he was personally “accused of insurance fraud,” the phraseology of a Wednesday release’s headline from the Lonegan campaign, is libelous in nature and factually inaccurate.

“Let’s make one thing very clear: Insurance fraud is a crime and Tom MacArthur was never accused of insurance fraud,” said Chris Russell, general consultant and spokesman for MacArthur’s campaign. “Lonegan’s statement to that effect is a lie and is defamatory.”

There’s no word whether the campaign is moving forward with legal action despite having consulted with counsel. Defamation isn’t easy to prove in the public arena; public figures typically need to show that statements were made with “actual malice,” though accusations concerning crimes including insurance fraud are considered defamation per se, meaning that the complainant is relieved of the burden of showing demonstrating how the statement itself is defamatory in nature.

The campaign took aim at the Daily Mail author himself, too, referencing David Martosko‘s close professional relationship with Charles C. Johnson, the Lonegan campaign’s paid researcher, an angle first reported by Save Jersey, and citing an earlier-in-time tweet from Martosko which the MacArthur people say suggests that the Daily Mail could have walked back the original story’s more hard-hitting headline after evaluating the facts:


The final headline stating only that MacArthur “ran insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims” [emphasis added] appears much more cautious though, again, the MacArthur folks are quick to point out that York isn’t an actual insurance company.

Save Jersey reached out to Chris Russell after yesterday’s story broke. He said Martosko reached out to him via email on Sunday evening with not so much as a request for comment but a proverbial “gun to the head” ultimatum, relaying to Russell how a “story is running tomorrow [Monday], no later than noon” about the insurance story, and warning that “any statement would be preferable to radio silence.”

The story ultimately ran on Wednesday the 30th, not Monday the 28th, another fact which Russell says buoys his theory that the original theme was walked back by the paper.

“That his team of dirt diggers would go to such extreme and underhanded lengths to plant a hatchet job story, and then fail to get their facts straight is emblematic of the entire Lonegan campaign and, in fact, his entire political career – it’s desperate, disorganized and weak,” added Russell in the campaign’s official release. “The Daily Mail piece is a poor excuse for journalism and the facts show its author is little more than an extension of the Lonegan campaign.  It’s unquestionably a new low.”


27 thoughts on “MacArthur: Lonegan Camp’s Claims “Defamatory”

  1. if you can’t win on issues and one is died in the wool true blue carpet bagger (lonegan-goneagn) one attempts to win by attacking the other person. the name for folks like that is not worth repeating. does one even think for a minute LG would have done anything else ?

  2. It’s like we’re watching a heated game of “How many independents can you alienate?” I think Lonegan’s winning, but not by much. These guys seriously need to cool it.

  3. During this primary campaign, Lonegan has been attempting to smear Tom MacAruthur by leaking false information to friendly national press not as in-tune with the race as those of us who are (unlike Lonegan) from the district, live nearby, or have ties to it.

    First, there was a story published in Red State, written by an anonymous author (probably a Lonegan staffer), falsely accusing Tom MacArthur of being a liberal and other horrible things.

    Next, there was a story planted in the Daily Caller falsely accusing Tom MacArthur of being anti-2nd Amendment and “anti bow and arrow” — not kidding.

    Then, there was the above story, carried by the Daily Mail, linking Tom MacArthur to lawsuits involving the York Insurance Company. Those suits were initiated long after MacArthur had left the company.

    All three of these stories relied heavily on ‘hearsay’ evidence.

    The Lonegan campaign is employing the tactics of Saul Alinsky–lying about Tom MacArthur’s record in the hope that one of the lies will eventually stick.

    Lonegan is playing dirty, desperate politics. His tactics give us some insight as to why he is 0 for 5 in attempts for higher office and why he’ll be 0-6 if he were to miraculously win the June 3 primary.

    Folks, is this the kind of individual conservatives and Republicans want to call Congressman? I pray not.

    Fortunately for us, there is a conservative alternative and a man of character running for Congress in the 3rd District–and his name is Tom MacArthur

  4. A few days ago, I heard Dom Giordano say that he would like to host a debate between Lonegan and MacArthur on his radio program. I’d love to listen if he does.

  5. I wonder if Lonegan has the money to handle a lawsuit. I bet his staff doesn’t. Not smart for them to use blatant lies…not only will it cost them the election, but a ton of money too.

  6. Good point. I would not want to be Lonegan’s staff if Macarthur launched any legal action. Lonegan will leave them high and dry. Hopefully, for the sake of their finances and reputation, they have their facts straight or this could get UGLY for them quick. Words like “defamatory” are not thrown around lightly in political campaigns. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Chris Santora and this Kelly guy better have their facts straight.

  7. If you search, there are 47 suits noted against York…not 4. These are Appellate or higher.

    If Dom does, AImee and I should be there under “equal time”. (in re GELLER). Now THAT would be a show.

  8. Yeah, because when I think conservative, I think a guy who proudly boasts of the backing of people who supported liberal tax-hiking Obamacare inventor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential primary. I think of someone who has run to challenge REAL conservatives in every election he’s been involved with. I think of someone who raised taxes every year he was in office. And I think of someone who is on record as supporting national health care. Folks, hold on to your hats: Tom MacArthur just might be the new Thomas Jefferson!

  9. If Tom MacArthur is going to get all butthurt over something like this, he really shouldn’t even bother getting involved in politics. Since the dawn of time, politics has been dirty. People used to say even worse things about their adversaries. Heck, MacArthur himself took the primary to this place by being so relentlessly negative with his own campaign. Tommy Boy, here’s a little advice for you: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

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