Former candidate seeks IDs on anonymous website commenters
Sun-Times Media January 9, 2013 11:26AM
Updated: February 11, 2013 7:25AM
A village of Plainfield trustee is gearing up to file a defamation lawsuit against anonymous online commenters on two local news websites, claiming they derailed his campaign for state senator.
Republican Garrett Peck lost to Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant in a hotly contested race for the state’s 49th Senate District in November.
In a petition for discovery filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Peck claims anonymous commenters on the Plainfield Patch and Topix Plainfield news sites spread false information to damage his reputation and campaign.
Beneath a Plainfield Patch article about a candidate night event Peck attended, a commenter named “Tim” falsely accused Peck of paying off police who came to his home to investigate a report that he had assaulted his wife, the petition said.
Comments on other Patch articles accuse the trustee of illegally obtaining information on competitors in order submit a lowball contract for his company, Magik Technology Solutions, to provide equipment to the Plainfield School District.
Peck says in the petition that the allegation is “patently false” because he did not have access to other bids, and underbid the competition by a substantial $20,000.
The petition asks Patch to turn over all account information and IP addresses associated with the commenter, who also uses the names “Ron,” “Ron Jidizny” and “eyes on Plainfield” on the hyperlocal news site, Peck claims in the petition.
The filing also asks another local news website, Topix Plainfield, for information on user “Fiscal Republicans,” who allegedly accused Peck of carrying on an extramarital affair — an accusation the trustee also denies.
Peck says in the filing that he personally loaned his failed campaign $80,000, and that he plans to use the information to sue for damages.
Neither Patch nor Topix could be reached for comment Tuesday night.