Charles Lee, the man accused by Montgomery Mayor Steve Reed of surreptitiously recording a profanity-laced conversation in 2020, has filed a claim against Reed, claiming mental anguish and emotional distress after Reed accused him of being a "shyster and a liar."
In February, 1819 News published audio of Reed espousing inflammatory comments surrounding the City of Montgomery, Gov. Kay Ivey, Maxwell Air Force Base and more.
In a later press conference, Reed accused Lee of secretly recording a June 2020 meeting in an attempt to extort the mayor amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd.
Reed met with Lee and others during the national outrage in June 2020, attempting to quell tensions in Montgomery.
Lee, the owner of the hot dog stand "That's My Dog" and the non-profit "That's My Child," was reportedly asked to meet with the mayor due to his position in the community. During the meeting, Reed claims Lee attempted to extort the city for $30,000 for his non-profit.
Reed said the audio was "doctored," "manipulated" and "hijacked," further claiming he would pursue legal action against Lee.
In his claim against Reed, Lee says that he has suffered damage to his reputation and is seeking damages per the court's findings. He is also seeking pecuniary and exemplary (punitive) damages. Pecuniary damages occur when a plaintiff can verifiably prove economic losses due to the defendant's actions.
State law limits damages to $100,000 for state claims. Federal damages have no dollar limit.
"As a direct and proximate result, I also have suffered and have continued to suffer damages, including, but not limited to, mental anguish, emotional distress, costs and attorney's fees," Lee's complaint read. "Mayor Steven Reed has caused injury to me, including damage to my reputation and character, and caused unwarranted disgrace, ridicule, odium, or contempt in the estimation of my friends and acquaintances, or the public, resulting in damage to my reputation."
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