The far-right mayor of Colleyville, Bobby Lindamood, has cemented a number of deeply embarrassing facts about himself in court records as a result of a defamation lawsuit he filed nearly seven years ago. He also owes a lot of money because he lost.

On May 4, 2015, an anonymously published “voter alert” appeared in select mailboxes across Colleyville, a once-sleepy bedroom community that in recent years has become a MAGA mecca and hotspot for hysteria over so-called critical race theory and “gender-fluidity.” The salacious voter alert, which a contemporaneous article from the Colleyville Courier described as “dirty politics,” alleged that then-candidate for city council, Bobby Lindamood, had admitted to having sex with a prostitute, distributing photos of his genitals, and sexually assaulting a drunk minor. Within days of the alert landing in mailboxes, Lindamood had filed a defamation lawsuit against his opponent in the race, then-incumbent City Council member Mike Taylor, and a handful of people he believed were responsible for the missive.

A portrait of Bobby Lindamood, a smiling white man in a white cowboy hat, light red suit jacket and white dress shirt.
Colleyville mayor Bobby Lindamood now owes almost $200k in court fees after losing a years-long defamation lawsuit. City of Colleyville website

After six and a half years in court, Lindamood, now the mayor of Colleyville who has made waves for sharing QAnon memes and debunked theories about January 6, was ordered earlier this month to pay $199,750 in attorney’s fees after losing the lawsuit in December. A 2021 filing by the defendants’ lawyers described the saga as a frivolous “publicity stunt” aimed to discredit Lindamood’s political opponents in the heated 2015 city council race. Although Lindamood claimed the alert cost him votes on election day, the 2021 filing by the parties sued by Lindamood tries to refute the claim using voter records: more people chose Lindamood than Taylor on election day—six days after the alert was distributed.

“Lindamood won the vote total on election day but lost the early vote by a large enough margin to lose to Taylor,” reads a December 2021 filing from the defendants in Lindamood’s lawsuit from the 348th Judicial District Court. “Lindamood later rode his name recognition and misplaced sympathy from people who believed [his] cries of victimhood and accusations against Taylor to victory [over Taylor ally Chuck Mogged] … in the 2016 election.”

In a 2015 statement published by LocalNewsOnly.com, a dodgy website that publishes arrest mugshots and acted as a mouthpiece for Lindamood during the election, Lindamood laid the blame for the voter alert at Taylor’s feet and described the allegations as “untrue assertions made by disgruntled family member decades ago.” His version of the story goes like this: Lindamood’s stepmother, who he claims was abusive to him, inappropriately sent select pages from a 2011 deposition stemming from a family dispute to Taylor, who Lindamood claims engaged in a conspiracy with a handful of other Colleyville residents to defame him by publishing the voter alert and dropping it in mailboxes.

This is where Lindamood’s arguments unravel. While it is true that the court documents rendered in the lawsuit demonstrate that some elements of the voter alert were indeed defamatory—most notably, the allegations that Lindamood had sexually assaulted a minor—they state that Lindamood failed to prove who published the voter alert and did not adequately established cases against the defendants. 

“Defendants did not merely challenge Lindamood’s factual allegations,” reads the December 2021 filing by the defendants’ lawyers. “They disproved them and exposed Lindamood’s causes of action as baseless, meritless and improper.”

Court documents also confirm that it was Lindamood’s own “confessed indiscretions” that formed the basis of the scurrilous voter alert: During his deposition in 2011, Lindamood had admitted to inappropriately fondling his drunk stepsister while he was married, had admitted to being been in a room with a prostitute in Las Vegas, and apparently had been accused by his now-deceased father of distributing photos of his penis to coworkers while he worked for his father. Court records state that Lindamood’s stepsister was not a minor at the time, and that Lindamood has denied both having sex with a prostitute and distributing photos of his penis. 

“Defendants did not merely challenge Lindamood’s factual allegations. They disproved them and exposed Lindamood’s causes of action as baseless, meritless and improper.”

Nevertheless, the combination of Lindamood’s status as a public figure and his own statements under oath made it difficult to convincingly argue that describing Lindamood as a “sexual predator” who represented “ethical uncertainty” was defamatory. That’s how one of the defendants, James Fletcher described the future mayor in a Nextdoor post prior to the 2015 election. The 2018 appellate court decision made clear why what Fletcher posted is not defamatory.

“Interacting with a prostitute and fondling a drunk stepsister while married are matters that a reasonable person could deem as falling short of moral or aspirational ideals,” the decision reads. “In other words, Fletcher had factual bases upon which to insinuate that Lindamood engaged in unethical conduct … Much the same can be said with Fletcher’s use of the phrase ‘sexual predator.’” 

The 2018 decision goes on to describe in lurid detail why Fletcher had factual bases for his statements.

“Lindamood acknowledged … that his stepsister was indeed drunk when placing his hands on her breasts, when she removed her bra and threw it upon a table, when she went to lie on a couch, when he left his bed to join her on that couch, and when he pulled her shirt up and began touching her thighs,” the 2018 decision reads. “He also acknowledged, under oath, her telling him the morning after that ‘what you did was wrong.’ That led to him accusing her of being the aggressor, or as he put it, ‘you’re the one who [led] it up to that.’”

The 2018 decision also describes “another incident involving sexual activity wherein Lindamood blamed the female as the instigator.” Lindamood continued this pattern of blaming the victim in his statement to the Texas Observer.

“None of our depositions were to be shared,” Lindamood wrote via email. “They were sealed by a court order. My stepmother (who sued me multiple times after my dad died) had her attorney give those specific seven pages to Mike Taylor. Leaving out great details and clarity of several sexual innuendos presented towards me as to what led up to that 1 specific night with my stepsister.”

Lindamood went on to make several allegations of abuse, including physical abuse, against his stepmother. When Lindamood was specifically asked if he was suggesting his stepsister was intentionally tempting him—evoking the misogynistic victim-blaming seductress trope—he said “There are details of things that happened before—Yes.”

Lindamood’s stepmother did not respond to requests for comment. His stepsister could not be reached for comment.

Advertisement
Advertisment

Lindamood told the Observer that he believes the Texas anti-SLAPP law—otherwise known as the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA)—prevented proper adjudication of the anonymously published voter alert, and says that the court did not allow him to depose defendants and other eyewitnesses. In Texas, the TCPA is the law that protects people from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Such laws are meant to protect First Amendment rights from SLAPPs meant to intimidate someone into silence. 

Over the course of six and a half years, Lindamood’s case was seen twice by district courts and twice by appellate courts. The 2018 appellate court decision, issued by a three-judge panel, was set aside when the matter was taken up by the entire Fort Worth Court of Appeals. The appeals court issued its final decision in a 2020 opinion, which the Supreme Court denied to review in 2021. The court again ruled against Lindamood and remanded the decision on attorney’s fees back to the district court.  

“Lindamood may complain that he was denied his day in court, but the courts’ application of the Texas Citizen Participation Act makes clear that he wasn’t entitled to that day,” said Ari Cohn, a First Amendment lawyer and free speech counsel to TechFreedom, a nonpartisan nonprofit think tank focused on issues of Internet freedom and technological progress.

“He lost because he filed a lawsuit based on pure speculation that one of the defendants ‘must have’ done it. Whatever chance Lindamood lost to convince a court to sanction his speculation, it is far outweighed by the benefits of preventing lawsuits that send a clear message: don’t say anything I don’t like, or I’ll make you pay for it.”

Despite ultimately prevailing in the case, the legal fees awarded, although significant, do not amount to the total spent by the defendants. And as those fees racked up over the course of six and a half years, the truth of Lindamood’s confessed indiscretions was effectively quashed.

“If you speak up against him in any way, you’re going to be trashed and eviscerated,” Taylor told the Texas Observer “They’ll go after your reputation. We do not have free speech in this city anymore, except if you’re promoting them.”

Lindamoods’ campaign against Taylor, a self-described constitutional conservative and former city council member who drew the ire of hard-right groups like Empower Texans and the True Texas Project, was financially backed by Dallas hotelier and prominent Republican donor Monty Bennett, who sued me for defamation and lost in appellate court. Bennett has financially supported other hard-right candidates in the area, including school board candidates. Despite losing in 2015, Taylor went on to defeat his opponent Chuck Mogged, husband of one of the named defendants in the lawsuit and a Republican precinct chair. Mogged, a Republican, has been disappointed by increasingly partisan politics at the local level that is driven in no small part by large donors.

“It used to be that local politics was pretty nonpartisan,” Mogged told the Observer. “Not the case anymore.”

“It used to be that local politics was pretty nonpartisan. Not the case anymore.”

Fletcher, a Democrat, supported Taylor in the 2015 election as a part of the Protect Colleyville PAC. Despite typically voting for different political parties, they both agreed on the importance of expanding a main road that goes through the town. Lindamood opposed the expansion on anti-density grounds, which Taylor described as a “dog whistle” intended to rally support for candidates with agendas that go beyond Colleyville. Fletcher lays the blame squarely on outside influence. “It goes back to Monty Bennett and the other West Texas billionaires funding this stuff.”

Before 2016, Colleyville was a sleepy center-right suburb of Fort Worth known for its good public schools. I should know: I grew up there and attended Colleyville Heritage High School when it was among the top 150 schools according to one popular ranking. That’s all changed since 2016. A series of hard-right city council and school board candidates in Colleyville have been supported by groups like the True Texas Project—a descendant of the Texas Tea Party funded in part by Tim Dunn, the notorious West Texas oil billionaire that’s poured millions into state politics and conservative media outlets that launder his agenda. True Texas Project recommended candidates have seen sweeping success since 2017, turning Colleyville into a sort of MAGA mecca where the school board passed the state’s first “Don’t Say Trans” policy and banned books. Now, CHHS ranks 248 according to the Challenge Index.

Lindamood, first elected to City Council in 2016, then mayor pro tem, and now mayor in 2022, has played a central role in the MAGAfication of Colleyville. In 2019, he was endorsed by Dan Patrick in an article published by the Dunn-funded website, Texas Scorecard. He would later post debunked conspiraces on Facebook about January 6 and imagery associated with QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory whose believers regularly accuse their political opponents of being sexual predators. Now at the height of his political career, the truth has finally come back to bite Lindamood. And after years of insisting on framing himself as the victim, Lindamood shows no signs of stopping.

“Our community has lived and seen through the mud that was caused by the fake ‘Alert,’” Lindamood wrote on January 9 in a post to the Colleyville Citizens Opposed to High Density Facebook group. “You guys have elected me 3 consecutive terms and I’m proud to serve.”

Lindamood, who has not publicly acknowledged the truth of inappropriately fondling his stepsister, is splitting hairs in order to mislead. He decided to even lie about being married at the time, which too was contradicted by the deposition.

“Despite his subsequent denial that he was married at the time, the deposition and excerpts indicate otherwise,” the 2018 appellate court decision reads. “When asked whether he was ‘married then,’ he answered affirmatively.” 





Source link