Mitrokostas' false accusations against Mannal de-bunked line by line

Editor's note: The following letter was received in response to Spyro Mitrokostas' political post "Professional Storyteller".

To the Editor:

Spyridon (Spyro) Mitrokostas, the long-time friend and campaign contributor of Demetrius Atsalis, has shown his true colors as a rumor-mongering mud slinger in the final weeks of the 2012 Democratic Primary Election by spreading false and misleading information about Atsalis’ opponent in the Democratic Primary, Attorney Brian Mannal. Literally every sentence in Mitrokostas’ July 30, 2012 post on capecodtoday.com titled “Professional Storyteller” is not only inaccurate, but clearly intended to defame Brian Mannal in the eyes of voters, which begs the question of not “if” but “when” will the hatchet man be sued for libel?

It is worth noting that Mitrokostas hides behind the initials “SM” in the blog, perhaps in an attempt to shield himself from the mud he is slinging. Notwithstanding, Spyro Mitrokostas’ attempted smear campaign against Brian Mannal is so grossly inaccurate that it merits being de-bunked, line-by-line, to reveal just how low Atsalis’ friends and political allies are willing to go in order to salvage the struggling campaign of the incumbent career politician who is facing his first primary challenge since 1998.

Spyro’s Defamatory Title and Sub-Title:

Professional Storyteller, That's how his former employer, State Representative Marie Parente (D-Milford) refers to Brian Mannal.

Truth of the Matter:

Libel per se is the written publication of a false statement about another that accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, or dishonesty in business. Such claims are considered so obviously harmful that malice need not be proved to obtain a judgment for "general damages," and not just specific losses. Brian Mannal is an Attorney at Law and, therefore, the unfounded statement that he is a “professional storyteller” can be reasonably interpreted as libel per se. On July 27, 2012, Mannal’s good name and hard-earned reputation for being a fair and honest member of the bar were defamed by Marie Parente, who acted with actual malice when she circulated a “letter to the editor” containing false and misleading allegations of professional misconduct by Brian Mannal. In fact, one version of the letter circulated by Parente went as far as to call Mannal a “professional liar” and openly doubted his prowess as an attorney. On July 30, 2012, Spyro Mitrokostas recycled Marie Parente’s libel, thereby demonstrating either ignorance or indifference to the consequences of committing a tort in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Spyro’s First False Statement:

“Take the explanation Mannal gave when asked why he was a registered Republican working for the re-election of a Republican President in 2004?”

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal became a Democrat in February 2004. He did not work on the re-election campaign of George Bush, or any other Republican. In fact, he volunteered for John Kerry’s campaign in Ohio in 2004.

Spyro’s Second False Statement:

“He says he parted ways with the Republican Party (but not Bush) over the issue of abortion.”

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal has never said that he parted ways with the Republican Party over the issue of abortion. In early 2004, while Mannal was living in Ohio, working full-time and putting himself through law school at night, Ohio’s Republican legislature passed the Defense of the Marriage Act (DOMA). Mannal changed political parties because he believed that gay and lesbian couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples to get married.

Spyro’s Third False Statement:

“Later he was caught saying that he first tried to get a job with the John Kerry campaign in Ohio where he was living, but got a better offer from the Republicans to work for the Bush campaign there.”

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal has never stated that he tried to get a job with the John Kerry campaign in Ohio, nor has he ever stated that he got a better offer from the Republicans to work for the Bush campaign. In 2004, Mannal worked for the State of Ohio and did not try to obtain a job on any political campaign. He volunteered for John Kerry’s campaign, in part, because he was opposed to the war in Iraq and he believed that the Bush-Cheney administration had turned it’s back on gays and lesbians.

Spyro’s Fourth False Statement:

“Really, as long as you are in the game, who cares what team you play for? Well, it does matter if you then want to run for office and get nominated by that party.

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal has never denied that he was a registered Republican from late 2000 to early 2004, nor that he worked for George W. Bush for eight weeks twelve years ago. Apparently, Mr. Mitrokostas believes that only “life-long” Democrats can run for office and get nominated by that party. If that’s the case, then Elizabeth Warren shouldn’t be running for U.S. Senate. After all, she was a registered Republican until the age of 44. That means that Warren was a Republican for 22 years more than Mannal. For the record, the only real requirements to run for State Representative as a Democrat is that the candidate be a registered member of the party, live within the district for one year, and collect 150 signatures of registered Democrats and un-enrolled voters from the district.

Spyro’s Fifth False Statement:

It matters especially if you're running against an incumbent and a lifelong member of that party.

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal has been a Democrat for eight years. He volunteered and voted for John Kerry in 2004 and supported Obama in 2008. Mannal may not be a life-long Democrat, but only those who are close to Demetrius Atsalis, such as Mitrokostas, appear to be holding that against him. It seems that Brian Mannal is capable of maturing as an individual and taking a stand on issues that matter to him. By contrast, Demetrius Atsalis failed to vote on an amendment that would have placed the issue of gay marriage on the ballot in 2007. Here, it is worth noting the irony of the fact that Spyro Mitrokostas is a registered Republican who has contributed to Atsalis’ campaigns in the past.

Spyro’s Sixth False Statement:

Never mind that every Democrat knew exactly where Bush and the Republicans stood on abortion well before 2004.

Truth of the Matter:

As previously stated, Brian Mannal did not become a Democrat because of the Republican Party’s position on abortion. Despite being a Catholic, Mannal has been openly supportive of the Supreme Court’s holding in Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, Mannal’s opponent in the Democratic Primary, Demetrius Atsalis, has campaigned for years on the vague promise of supporting “family values” and never publicly stated whether or not he is pro-choice.

Spyro’s Seventh False Statement:

Mannal says he left a job in the legislative office of Rep. Marie Parente to pursue a career in another state.

Truth of the Matter:

Mannal has never stated that he left Marie Parente’s office to pursue a career in another state. Mannal resigned from his position in Marie Parente’s office on his own accord. Mannal moved to Ohio in 2000 to get married and start a family.

Spyro’s Eighth False Statement:

Now his former employer has come out to say that [he] was asked to resign (read fired) because he took too much time off from his State House job. That's what prompting her to call him a "professional storyteller".

Truth of the Matter:

As previously stated, Mannal was never fired, nor was he asked to resign in lieu of being fired. Mitrokostas meritless allegation that Mannal was fired is, again, intended to defame
Mannal in the eyes of voters and the public at large. It is my understanding that Brian Mannal was one of many, many individuals who worked for a brief period of time for former State Rep. Marie Parente during her career as a legislator.

Spyro’s Ninth False Statement:

He had a state job where he was required to work no more than 35 hours a week, but he still needed Friday's off. Again ironically, he's looking to get elected to a job in the same
building.

Truth of the Matter:

Brian Mannal worked 40+ hours each week for former State Rep. Marie Parente and disputes her libelous statements about his work ethic. Once again, Mitrokostas has recycled an unsupported and malicious claim by Marie Parente and, thereby, subjected himself to the same legal consequences of committing libel per se.

Spyro’s Tenth False Statement:

Want to bet how many hours he will be putting in as a State Rep.?

Truth of the Matter:

Brian Mannal is a hard-working solo practitioner attorney who has dedicated himself to his profession and the practice of law. While working full-time for the State of Ohio, Mannal put himself through law school at night and often worked 100 hours weeks balancing work and school. Mannal has pledged to work equally hard for the people of the 2nd Barnstable District and there is no reason to doubt him. After all, Mannal has been working round the clock to maintain his law practice and run for public office against the incumbent career politician. It is worth noting that Demetrius Atsalis maintained one of the top 10 worst attendance records for roll call votes in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2011. In 2009, the incumbent politician missed 81 roll call votes and was only present for 66.1% of the roll call votes.

Conclusion:

Times must be tough for Spyro Mitrokostas and Atsalis’ entire “A-Team” right now. It seems as though the only thing they are capable of doing is smearing Brian Mannal’s good name, and they’re not even good at that. Every day that another attack is launched against Mannal the voters in the 2nd Barnstable District are reminded that Barnstable deserves better representation than that which has been provided by Atsalis. After all, voters don’t care about endorsements from bitter ex-politicians and/or rumor-mongering by politically connected friends- they care about issues. Brian Mannal has remained focused on the issues throughout the campaign and, for that reason he is poised to do something that no one else has been able to do in fourteen years (i.e., beat Demetrius Atsalis).

Jack Pitney
Buzzards Bay, MA

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