Former Kemah mayor sues ex fire chief, others for defamation

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 14, 2012, 3:34am

GALVESTON - Former Kemah Mayor Matthew D. Wiggins Jr. has filed suit against a number of individuals he believes made false statements about him, recent court documents say.

Wiggins is suing 10 people, including ex-Kemah Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Zuniga, for committing defamation when they communicated false information about the plaintiff "to intentionally harm his reputation, decrease respect, regard or confidence."

The other defendants are Bryan Sawyer, Delores and Jose Lara, Arnold Shields, Sylvia Streater, Linda Ward, Chadwick Jones, David Martin and Carl Joiner.

Wiggins, who served as mayor of the north Galveston County town of 1,800 people from May 2009 to May 2011, filed the original petitions in Galveston County District Court on Feb. 8.

He alleges the defendants' actions "induced disparaging, hostile and disagreeable opinions or feelings against the plaintiff." According to the suit, he alleges their motives were political in nature.

"The defendant was working with persons whose identity will become known with certainty during the discovery process of this matter and who will then become additional parties to this litigation," the suits state.

"The plaintiff would show that the objectives of the defendant and these unnamed persons are purely political."

Wiggins asserts his reputation and standing in the community were negatively impacted and that he suffers from emotional distress.

He consequently seeks at least $1 million in damages from each respondent and a jury trial.

Wiggins is representing himself, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case Nos. 12-cv-192-12-cv-193; 12-cv-195-12-cv-200

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