A lawsuit has been filed in Thurston County Superior Court against Rochester School Board member and property rights activist Glen Morgan over a series of controversial robocalls that went out to local residents in recent weeks.
Morgan manages the political groups Friends of Jimmy and We Want to Be Friends of Jimmy, Too, which have been campaigning against Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper, who is running in the Thurston County Commission District 1 race. The PACs paid for a series of automated phone calls, and some of those calls went to cellphones, which was a violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, according to the complaint filed late Friday.
The complaint states that the defendants “manipulated the calls in an effort to mislead voters” into believing the Democratic Party was campaigning against its own candidates. It notes that the calls “spoofed” false call-back numbers that were associated with Cooper and the Democratic Party.
The plaintiffs are listed as Phyllis Farrell, who is chairwoman of the 2nd Legislative District Democrats, and Brandy Knight, the son of Ramtha-channeler JZ Knight of Yelm.
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JZ Knight gave $54,000 to People For Thurston County, a PAC that’s campaigned in support of Cooper and Kelsey Hulse, the other Democrat running for the Board of County Commissioners.
In fact, all four county commissioner candidates, including independents Gary Edwards and John Hutchings, have PACs campaigning in support and against them.
Andrea McNeely, an attorney with Gordon Thomas Honeywell in Tacoma, said her office sent a letter to Morgan demanding that he stop the robocalls. When more calls went out, they decided to file the suit, she said.
“The main goal is to stop the unwanted calls to cellphones,” McNeely said. “The people who contacted us were upset because they were being reached on their cellphones.”
Although JZ Knight wasn’t named as a party in the complaint, Morgan said he believes she’s behind it. One of the robocalls referred to her as a “racist cult leader” and urged the candidates to reject her donations.
Morgan issued a statement to The Olympian on Monday that said JZ Knight “has a long history of attempting to silence dissent and free speech. ... We dispute JZ Knight’s claims in this frivolous complaint.”
Last week, Morgan received a death threat about one of the robocalls. An Olympia man admitted to the threat, telling a deputy that he was “fed up” and “tired of the lies and slander.” The case is under investigation by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.