|Tim Nolan (left) and Mike Combs. Nolan has recently sued a host of Campbell County residents for defamation, among other items. FTM file.|
RELATED: LISTEN: Tim Nolan Details What Happened with State Appointment (PODCAST)
On May 16, Nolan was appointed to the Boxing and Wrestling Commission, a statewide group appointed by Governor Matt Bevin.
On May 18, the day of the first meeting of that commission, Nolan said that he was asked about the picture in question and to remove his Facebook page. Later, he was asked to resign his seat, due in part to the allegations made on the website.
Nolan alleges that the named defendants, and other unknown speakers that could be named in the suit at a later date, maliciously, intentionally, or recklessly published a picture which purports to show Nolan dressed in a KKK hood and gown, along with a written caption that falsely accuses Nolan of being “one of Campbell County's most vehement racists.” The caption also implies that Nolan is an alcoholic.
The majority of the allegations are directed at Nolan’s political rival, Mike Combs, chairman of the GOP Facts Committee, which according to Nolan's attorney, J. Christian Dennery, hosts the GOPFacts.org website where the picture and statements are still posted.
Combs and Nolan have political history, dating back two decades.
Combs has served as a board member for the Campbell County School System, and has been active in the Republican Party of Kentucky. Nolan has opposed Combs on various issues during campaigns, the organization of the county Republican party and school board issues.
In the complaint, Nolan's attorney details an altercation at the annual Campbell County fair, sometime in the early 2000’s.
Combs said that he started the website with a group after he noticed that faction of Northern Kentucky Republicans derailing the progress of the county, particularly at Campbell County Fiscal Court.
"These people were showing up at Fiscal Court meetings and took an agenda role to discount improvements to the community and county. So the reason to start the website was to try and find their motivations for doing so," he said. "When we looked into their backgrounds, we found there was a common culture of “do as I say, not as I do.”"
Combs believes that the content on the website is fair game.
"We just reprinted what they put out there. The question I would ask now is ‘why are they running from the stuff they put out there?’ If they published those pictures originally, why do they take an exception now?’I think its reasonable for anybody to question their motivations and because the appointment was rescinded, evidently those that are making decisions in Frankfort agree," he said. "Had we not created the website, how would he have explained the photo had he been on the commission down the road? If its put in public domain, who gets to be the censor after the fact?"
"I wrote that right on my Facebook page and I said why," said Nolan. "In this case the Chief Justice was acting like a bully."
The complaint does not mention Minton.
"There's a lot of information on (GOPFacts.org) about me and people (Combs) hates," said Nolan on the podcast. "He's a failed politician and a political wanna-be (sic) who hangs around with undesirable people in the county and he has some other people working with him on this to make it look legit. It sounds funny, but when it starts to have an effect on you, it's just not (funny)."
Nolan said the picture of him purportedly dressed in KKK regalia was actually his friend, who dresses up that way as a joke.
"I own a bar in the southern end of the county and they had a Halloween party a couple years ago that I attended. Some people showed up that looked the (the band) KISS, so I took a picture and posted to 'come get an autograph from KISS.' Some people came dressed as vampires, so I posted 'be careful, you'll get bit by a vampire,'" said Nolan. "There's an individual that's really well-known with black grandchildren in the southern part of (Campbell County) and he has a habit on Halloween as dressing up as a Klu Klux Klansman to make fun of them."
Nolan said he took a picture of that and posted it on Facebook with a caption 'Come to The Rabbit Hole and join the Clan.' "The picture is obviously a joke, making fun of that group," said Nolan.
The complaint states that as a result of some of the statements on the website Nolan has suffered irreparable harm to his reputation with the RPK and the Bevin Administration, and to his standing in the community, which has negatively impacted Plaintiff’s ability to pursue his community, business, and political activities.
It also states that he has suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress, which has exacerbated his medical conditions and the emotional pain and suffering experienced by his terminally ill wife in the final days of her life.
He's asking the court among other items, to have those pictures and statements removed as well as $250,000 in damages.