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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Michael G.

Lenett,

Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Robert P. Duckworth Clerk of the Circuit Court 7 Church Circle Post Office Box 71 Annapolis, MD 21404-0071

Plaintiff, vs. Virginia R. Ramsey et al, Defendant 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

) Case No.: No. 02-C-11-163878 IT ) ) Answer to Complaint ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

COMES NOW the Defendant, Virginia R. Ramsey to Answer to the Complaint filed herein, states as follows: FIRST DEFENSE Michael Lenett was a public figure at the time of the publication of the allegedly libelous communications. SECOND DEFENSE The allegedly libelous communications were true. THIRD DEFENSE There was no actual malice. #1, #2, #3, #4 No disagreement #5 Defendant Ramsey denies co-conspirators or distributors. Defendant is unaware of re-publishers.

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#6, #7 No disagreement # 8 Plaintiff Lenett called Defendant on her cell phone the evening of May

27, 2009, asked if she was sitting down, and told Defendant she would be let go. Defendant asked him when her employment would be up. He said in 30 days, not in excess of 30 days. She asked why and he said it had nothing to do with her work but that our personalities didn't work together. She said, OK, good-bye. She knew then she wouldn't want to work for him under any circumstances. The 30 days Plaintiff Lenett gave Defendant were withdrawn 4 days later. # 9 Defendant denies saying she would not permit Plaintiff Lenett to fire She denies saying there

Defendant, that she would get revenge, or ruin him.

would be nothing left of Plaintiff Lenett when she was finished. More seriously, SHE NEVER SAID SHE COULD CONTROL HER PREDESSOR BECAUSE SHE HAD KNOWLEDGE OF AN INDISCREET MATTER CONCERNING HIM. This is a libelous fabrication. Defendant worked for his predecessor for 10 years and never knew him to be anything but an honorable man and perfect gentleman. The conversation didn't last 5 minutes. Both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants cell phone records will show the length of the call, which was short, and unexpected by the Defendant. It was the last time Defendant spoke to Plaintiff. There was little time to absorb that she had been fired, much less for preparing rebuttals and threats of blackmailing her predecessor or threatening revenge. The next morning, May 28, 2009 Ms. Kathy Kawalski in Human Resources told Defendant she had over 30 days of previously earned "use or lose" leave, and could use those days for her last 30 days of employment. It turned out

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that the information she gave Defendant was incorrect. Actually, the use or lose time could be applied to the last 30 days or more with the legislators consent, however, since Ms. Kowalski had never known a legislator to deny consent for earned time off, she wasnt aware of this technicality when she instructed Defendant. Before Defendant became aware of Ms. Kowalskis error,

she ignored Plaintiff Lenett's e and voice mails Monday, June 1, 2009. Later on June 1st, Ms. Lori Mathis, Director of Human Resources, called Defendant to say that Plaintiff Lenett would allow Defendant to use her earned leave for her 30 days notice if she spent one day training her replacement. Defendant agreed and the training date was set for June 8th, 2009. # 10. After voluntarily returning her key and identification to Ms. Lori Mathis of Human Resources on June 2, 2009, upon leaving the elevator in the lobby of the James Senate Office Building enroute to her car, Defendant ran into several senators (Senators Kelley, Astle, Raskin and possibly Senators DeGrange and Rosapepe) who had just returned to the building from a meeting. Defendant told Senator Astle that she had been fired. He told his staff, his staff told people in other 1st floor offices, and several senators and colleagues came out to the lobby to talk to Defendant. Most were quite surprised at the news. Defendant was in the building for about 10 minutes and has not returned since. Any resumes Defendant later provided to senators were sent via email. # 11 The late morning of June 2nd, 2009, Ms. Lori Mathis of Human Resources

called Defendant saying Plaintiff Lenett instructed her to fire Defendant immediately and to deny Defendant all her earned "use or lose leave" (as well

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as one month of health insurance for herself and husband). Defendant went to Human Resources to voluntarily turn in her key and ID, then took the tunnel back to the James Senate building (her car was in the garage in the adjacent building). # 12 In July 2009 Defendant began a political blog with the full knowledge

that anything potentially libelous would be litigated by the Plaintiff, so was careful that the statements on the blog were true and verifiable. Defendant did not cause others to distribute statements. # 13 The emails were sent from district19reporter@gmail.com and

news@district19reporter.com. The use of an unofficial symbol of the State of Maryland does not imply that emails are coming from an official Maryland source. There was no byline. Byline is defined as the author of the article. Reporter, News, Real and Facts are generic words that anyone has the right to use. #14 The website was created during a political campaign to inform some of

the voters of District 19 in Montgomery County of the inconsistencies between Plaintiff Lenetts political speeches and his actions in the General Assembly, with the Board of Elections, as well as other pertinent information. #15 #16 Defendant agrees with Plaintiff Lenett on this issue. Defendant sent out emails as recently as Sept. 7, 2010, but the emails

were not false or defamatory. The emails contained the truth. #17 The statements on the website and in the emails did not contain false

information. All direct quotes from # 17 a. through s. of Plaintiff Lenett's complaint are true in the context in which they were written, as follows:

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a. Defendant was fired by Plaintiff Lenett. Defendant had over 30 days of previously earned, unused leave, with a value exceeding $3000. Plaintiff Lenett refused to allow Human Resources pay Defendant for the unused leave she had earned by working overtime during several Legislative Sessions.

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b. Plaintiff Lenett awarded a Senatorial Scholarship to Joseph Haynos who resided at 4800 Norbeck Drive in Silver Spring. The Haynos family income exceeded the State Scholarship Administrations definition of need for receiving State Scholarship funds. c. Lenett directed Defendant to perform work for his law firm while on State time and on State equipment in violation of ethics rules. Defendant was directed to find documents and publications for Plaintiffs law firm, scan them, email them to himself or others using Defendants personal email address, then delete the documents from the State computer as well as from Defendants personal email account in violation of ethics rules. [Exhibit A] Lenett directed Defendant to use his campaign email account rather than the Senate account to send out official emails, despite Defendants protests that it wasnt permitted in violation of election rules. [Exhibit B] Additionally Lenett directed Defendant to correct his campaign database from the State office using State equipment during working hours in violation of election and ethics rules. [Exhibit C] d. Plaintiff Lenett gave $6,000 to the MSEA Fund For Children (Rockville, MD, 20850 on Sept. 3, 2010 [Exhibit D]. Afterward he received the teachers endorsement.

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e. Plaintiff Lenett was and is the sole owner of his home at 13507 Rippling Brook Drive in Silver Spring. [Exhibit E] That the twins were enroute before Plaintiff Lenetts marriage was common knowledge at the time in Silver Spring. Former Delegate Hank Heller informed Defendant of this fact in 2007. Plaintiff Lenett can provide documents to disprove this if it isnt true. f. According to the website Maryland Political Watch, a mailer tied to Lenett from Defenders of the American Middle Class and linked to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, was sent out in violation of at least 4 State Board of Elections laws. The organization wasnt registered with the Secretary of State. It was not listed on the State Board of Elections website. It is illegal to fundraise unless a Statement of Organization establishing a political committee has been filed with the State Board. It is illegal to spend money (the mailer) to promote a campaign without having and registering a political committee. It is illegal to send out political mailers without an authority line that includes the name and address of the individual responsible for the campaign. [Exhibit F]

g. Senate President Mike Millers long-time Aide Tim Perry became a lobbyist for Proctor and Gamble. Proctor and Gamble sought to delay implementation of a law to eliminate phosphorus in dishwasher detergent, originally sponsored by Plaintiff Lenetts Senate mentor, Senator Brian Frosh. Plaintiff Lenett, at the request of Tim Perry,

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sponsored a bill to delay the elimination of phosphorus in dishwasher detergent. [Exhibit G] He was rewarded by being named Deputy Assistant Whip by Senate President Miller the same Legislative Session. [Exhibit H] h. Campaign Finance Reports were due on August 17, 2010. The next day the reports were available online for anyone wishing to view them. Lenetts report wasnt available. The State Board of Elections revealed that the format Lenett used to file the report was improper and could not be imported into the Board of Elections database. The Gazette reported on Aug. 19th that, Lenett's latest campaign finance report has yet to be published on the state's online database, and he did not return requests for comment Thursday. [Exhibit I] i. Plaintiff Lenett was absent for the vote on a bill (SB 156 of 2010) he had agreed to support in a voting session of the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee. When he returned to the committee room after the missed vote and was asked why he was absent, Lenett told the Chairman that he was testifying on one of his bills in another committee. [Exhibit J] The Chairman checked and found this statement not to be true. She then rebuked him for lying. (Lenett was allowed to cast his vote late.) j. 2007 SB 533. See following incorporated voting list showing Lenett absent. [Exhibit K] k. House Bill 1140 was on its way to a vote for final passage until Plaintiff Lenett blocked it by putting a hold on it less than five minutes before midnight on the last day of Session in 2009,

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guaranteeing that time would run out before the bill could be voted on. [Exhibit L] The bill (HB 1140) was needed to help Montgomery County Planning Board and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission conduct hearings on subdivision regulations and zoning ordinances. l. Senate Bill 31 of 2010 http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/bills/sb/sb0031f.pdf [Exhibit M] m. Washington Post article of March 31, 2007. [Exhibit N]

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n. Gazette, Politics, The List April 2, 2010. Some of the adjectives used to describe Defendant Lenett in the April 2, 2010 Gazette article were Maniacal and untrustworthy, Doesn't know how to play in the sandbox, A bill sponsored by him is often the kiss of death and Colleague problems. [Exhibit O] o. On June 2, 2009 when Defendant saw 4 senators in the lobby of the James Senate Office Building, three of them told Defendant individually that Plaintiff Lenett was not well-liked in the Senate. The three were Senators Astle, Kelley and Raskin. p. Plaintiff Lenett was on the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, where all environmental bills are considered. There

were 9 people on the committee 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Only 4 votes other than Plaintiffs were needed to send a bill to the full Senate. Plaintiff worked with the same colleagues on the committee for

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4 years and was unable to gain votes from 4 other members of his committee to support his bills for 2010. [Exhibit P] q. According to a post on the Maryland Politics Watch, Plaintiff Lenett spent more of his own money on his campaign than ANY member of the Legislature had spent in the last decade. As of last January 2009 he had given himself $364,352. The next closest self-funder trailed Defendant Lenett by $144,000 [Exhibit Q] r. Plaintiff Lenetts fire-safe cigarettes bill failed to be delivered from the House to the Senate before midnight on Sine Die, so the crossfiled bill from the House of Delegates passed. [Exhibit R] s. Defendant owns a vacation rental property on the Eastern Shore. Jenny Levin of Marypirg called Defendant to rent the house for a weekend environmental retreat. Defendant asked Ms. Levin her opinion of Plaintiff Lenett. She told Defendant that the environmental community was disappointed that he didnt follow up on the bills he sponsored for environmental organizations. #18. The statements were neither made with malice nor for the purpose of exacting revenge or retribution for terminating Defendants employment. #19. Defendant offers her responses above to all the allegations in this paragraph. #20. Defendant denies stating Plaintiff Lenett was a thief, a criminal, dishonest or corrupt. Defendant did not intend to injure Plaintiff Lenett in his reputation, character or profession. Plaintiff Lenetts profession at the time was as a Securities and Consumer Protection lawyer practicing in Federal courts outside of the State of Maryland. Defendant did not intend to cast

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aspersions and impugn Plaintiff Lenett as a thief, a criminal, dishonest or corrupt. #21. The statements were not false. #22. The recipients of the emails would not reasonably understand them as defamatory since they were true and verifiable, since Plaintiff Lenett was a public figure running for reelection, and because they were sent during a heated political campaign. #23. Reasonable recipients of the emails could follow the links provided in the emails to documents that supported the emails to get the facts. #24. Defendant did not accuse Plaintiff Lenett of criminal conduct. #25. The statements were not false. Defendant did not intend to cause emotional or professional harm to Plaintiff Lenett. Defendant did not intend to harm Plaintiff Lenetts professional reputation or character. Plaintiff Lenetts profession at the time was as a Securities and Consumer Protection lawyer practicing in Federal courts outside of the State of Maryland. #26. The statements were not false. There was no reckless disregard for the truth. Defendant did not intend to cause emotional or professional harm to Plaintiff Lenett. Defendant did not intend to harm, nor was in a position to harm Plaintiff Lenetts professional reputation or character. Plaintiff Lenetts profession at the time was as a Securities and Consumer Protection lawyer practicing in Federal courts outside of the State of Maryland. #27. The statements were not false. They were not misleading or defamatory. Plaintiff Lenett was a public figure. #28. Defendant offers her responses above to all the allegations in this paragraph.

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#29. The publicized facts about Plaintiff Lenett were not false so could not place him in a false light. #30. Defendant knew the facts she published were true. There was no reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the facts. #31. Publication of verifiable facts is not highly offensive to a reasonable person. #32. Plaintiff Lenett did not suffer damages as a result of the publication of facts. Defendants conduct was not tortious.

WHEREFORE, THE Complaint having been fully answered, the Defendant, Virginia R. Ramsey respectfully prays that the Complaint be dismissed, with costs to be adjudged against the Plaintiff, with Defendants attorneys' fees, interest, and costs to be adjudged against the Plaintiff, or for such other relief as this Honorable Court may deem just and proper.

Respectfully submitted.

Dated this

th

day of October, 2011

Virginia R. Ramsey 201 Norwood Road Annapolis, MD 21401 20 21 22 23

A copy of this response has been mailed to Timothy F. Maloney, 6404 Ivy Lane, Suite 400, Greenbelt, MD 20770 on October , 2011

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