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Former Pine Ridge Mayor Robert Wells sues current mayor, community activist, former police chief

Pine Ridge, SC 09/02/201 (Paul Kirby) – Former Pine Ridge Mayor Robert Wells has filed suit against three people who he claims defamed him and caused him to be subjected to ongoing harassing conduct, public contempt, and other ill effects. The defendants named in the suit are Pine Ridge’s Current Mayor Daniel Davis, community activist and Pine Ridge citizens Judy Cooper, and former Interim Police Chief Vincent Silano. Wells is asking for unspecified damages as compensation and for actual damages caused by the defendant’s conduct as well as punitive damages.


Wells claims in the suit that while he was the town’s mayor, the three defendants acted together to spread false statements concerning Wells that caused and continue to cause him to be subjected to ongoing harassing conduct, public contempt, and other ill effects.


In regard to Mayor Daniel Davis, Wells alleges that while he was out sick with a serious illness, Davis instructed town employee Susie Kyzer to draft and distribute a memo regarding exactly when Interim Police Chief Silano would work and what he would do while at work. That memo also informed Silano that the popular Pine Ridge Police Department’s K-9 Program was being discontinued.


Wells alleges that Davis orchestrated that memorandum, had Well’s signature affixed to it, and made it look as if it was written and or approved by Wells. The former mayor alleges that Davis knew this would be unpopular with the law enforcement community and thus with the town’s residents and the public in general. According to Wells suit, Davis’ purpose behind this was to set himself up for a mayoral run. Davis was elected mayor in the summer of 2021 only after Wells resigned from the office due to health concerns.


Wells says in the suit that he asked Davis to publicly acknowledge that he wrote, or instructed the town employee to write the memorandum, but he has refused to do so. Because of the firestorm the memo started, Wells claims he has been harassed and targeted by the media and has suffered substantial damages, “including significant emotional and physical suffering, harassment by the public, and a loss of enjoyment of life.”


Furthermore, Wells alleges that the memo incident caused him to be defamed when it negatively impacted his reputation and lowered what the community thought of him. He also says this deterred, “third persons,” from associating or dealing with him.


Regarding defendants Cooper and Silano, Wells alleges that Cooper, acting in concert with former Interim Chief Silano, provided a video to Paul Kirby, editor of The Lexington Ledger, and claimed falsely the video was one of Wells interfering in a crime scene investigation.

Wells also claims that Silano provided to The Lexington Ledger information that Wells had borrowed the Town of Pine Ridge’s unmarked police vehicle. During the period it was alleged that Wells drove that unmarked cruiser, the vehicle was said to be fully equipped with lights, sirens, and a radar. Wells alleges that the defendants, Cooper and Silano, suggested he was reportedly acting in a manner consistent with that of a law enforcement officer.


Wells also alleges that Silano and Cooper conspired to make people believe he was in the evidence room for improper purposes and at times left that room unsecured. He also says that Cooper represented publicly via her social media account that Wells removed evidence from the Town of Pine Ridge evidence room to benefit a friend, which he says is false. As in the previous instance with Davis, Wells says that Cooper and Silano’s actions defamed him when their statements and actions negatively impacted his reputation and lowered what the community thought of him. He also says this deterred, “third persons,” from associating or dealing with him.


In the closing paragraphs of the suit, Wells alleges that three defendants intentionally or recklessly inflicted severe emotional distress on him and they, “were certain or substantially certain that such distress would result from their conduct.” The suit calls Davis’, Cooper’s, and Silano’s conduct, “so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency and must be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”


There has been no court date set and Wells has asked that if and when this matter comes to court, it be heard before a jury. Matters such as this often take years to settle and often never come to court before they are settled.


See the entire suit as filed here:

Wells Suit against Silano Davis and Cooper
.pdf
Download PDF • 195KB



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