Newspaper Files Libel Suit against Politician

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Keeshan ckeeshan@dailyherald.com

As an outspoken state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and now blogger, Cal Skinner Jr. is accustomed to dealing with, and sometimes taking on, the press.

Now, however, one local newspaper is taking him on.

The B.F. Shaw Printing Co., the parent company of the McHenry County-based Northwest Herald, is suing Skinner for at least $50,000 in damages, claiming the political commentator damaged the newspaperAEs reputation with a recent posting on his mchenrycountyblog.com.

The blog u a mix of political commentary, local news and photos of T-shirts, bumper stickers and signs that catch its authorAEs fancy u claimed June 3 that McHenry County leaders years ago granted the newspaper a multimillion-dollar loan to build a new headquarters in Crystal Lake.

The move by the Republican-dominated board, according to SkinnerAEs post, not only prevented the newspaper from leaving McHenry County, but put it "in the back pocket of the Republican Party."

Skinner also describes the newspaperAEs current status

as "in extremis," a Latin

phrase meaning "at the point of death."

The lawsuit, filed in McHenry County Circuit Court, states the newspaper never received a loan from the county, never contemplated moving out of the county, has never been in the back pocket of the McHenry County Republican Party and is not "in extremis."

"ThereAEs nothing more important to the Northwest Herald, or any newspaper, than the integrity of its editorial product," newspaper attorney Don Craven said. "What Mr. Skinner said on his blog attacks that integrity on very false premises."

The newspaper company also contends Skinner made the statements with "malice or ill will" because of its past stories detailing the former lawmakerAEs contentious divorce and child custody battle. …