Councilwoman Archibong sues opponents for slander, requests restraining order (Update)
Candidates Rinker and Enterkin named in lawsuit
- Joeff Davis/CL File
- Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong
With only a few days left until voters head to the polls for municipal elections, Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong has sued two of her challengers, Matt Rinker and Christian Enterkin, for allegedly making defamatory remarks.
Archibong, who has represented Cabbagetown, East Atlanta, Kirkwood, and other southeast Atlanta neighborhoods for the past 12 years, filed a complaint in DeKalb County Superior Court and has requested a restraining order against both challengers. Archibong's being represented by Robin Shipp and Pam Stephenson, two former state representatives.
In the lawsuit, Archibong claims Rinker made defamatory statements when he claimed at a debate and in a mailer that she's missed or arrived late to 90 percent of City Council meetings. The lawsuit says Enterkin did as well. The lawsuit cites City Council Clerk records as showing Archibong's only been absent from five meetings since 2009. She also accused Rinker of defaming her with a campaign mailer that alleges Archibong laundered money when she used her brother's firm as a pass-through entity to pay a printer.
The lawsuit says the claims have hurt Archibong's reputation and employment. We're told that a DeKalb judge heard the emergency hearing yesterday around 3 p.m. and was expected to rule on the matter within 24 hours.
"I stand by our claim that Natalyn Archibong has the worst attendance record on the Atlanta City Council, as supported by the City Council's own meeting minutes," Rinker said in a statement. "The lawsuit is a desperate move by a desperate politician and her attorney's to hide the truth about her record from voters."
Enterkin, in a statement, said: "It is appalling that Natalyn Archibong would attempt to block my rights to campaign just days before the election. Instead of defending her public record, she has decided to waste MORE taxpayer dollars, and occupy the precious time of a Superior Court Judge. If Ms. Archibong was fighting as hard for District 5 as she is to maintain her seat, we would not be here today."
"Everything that has come out of our campaign has been factual, she added. "I encourage everyone to do their own research."
We've reached out to Archibong and her attorney for official comment but have not heard back. We'll continue to post updates as they become available.
UPDATE, Monday, 9:24 a.m.: DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams tossed out Archibong's lawsuit Friday afternoon. "The court finds that the plaintiff has not made the requisite showing," he wrote.
As we pointed out in First Slice, the AJC's PolitiFact ruled that Rinker's claims were rated as "mostly false."
NOTE: This post has been updated to include responses from the candidates and information from the lawsuit.