Stan Pate, Tuscaloosa businessman and political donor, subpoenaed Joe Perkins, founder of Montgomery-based political consulting firm Matrix LLC, last month in a libel lawsuit.

Pate filed a civil lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court in February against William L. Stephens, Jr., Gary Simpson, and Alvin Ray Grayson over statements made about Pate and various real estate projects on an Alliance for Responsible Growth website and Facebook page. 

Pate filed the lawsuit for libel/slander, harassing communications and invasion of privacy/false light. Stephens filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in April. 

Pate also subpoenaed Perkins for the following information related to his involvement with Alliance for Responsible Growth:

  • Any and all contracts, communications, or correspondence between any representative of Matrix, LLC and William L. Stephens, Jr.

  • Any and all contracts, communications, or correspondence with any representative of the Alliance for Responsible Growth and any representative of Matrix, LLC or any representatives of Matrix, LLC.

  • Any and all advertisements or fliers created for the Alliance for Responsible Growth.

  • Any and all invoices, bills to, or payments from the Alliance for Responsible Growth or William L. Stephens, Jr.

Perkins is listed as the media contact on Alliance for Responsible Growth’s website. Perkins and Matrix represent a variety of powerful interest groups in Alabama. The consulting group has been in the headlines in recent months for their work in Florida, Alabama, and a settled lawsuit between Perkins and former Matrix CEO Jeff Pitts.

Jeffrey Smith, Pate’s attorney, said in the lawsuit the Alliance for Responsible Growth’s website is “replete with malicious and false information related to Mr. Pate, his projects, and business interests.” 

“The website is evidence of Mr. Stephens’ malice toward Mr. Pate in referring to Mr. Pate, among other slanderous and libelous statements, as 'greedy.' Stephens also made false and misleading statements about another project proposed by Mr. Pate on Rice Mine Road,” Smith said in the lawsuit. “It is clear that the Alliance for Responsible Growth Facebook page was initially created not for any legitimate civic discourse but, again, to paint Mr. Pate and his businesses in a false light and to cause damage to Mr. Pate in his business efforts and damage his plan for the project at the McFarland Mall site, the Rice Mine Road project, and other projects.”

Pate, a wealthy Tuscaloosa businessman, has donated to various candidates and political groups at the local, state and federal level.

Stephens said in a statement posted on Alliance for Responsible Growth’s website after the lawsuit was filed in February that he “opposed any attempts by Pate to circumvent the city’s building regulations near Stephens’ neighborhood and diminish Tuscaloosa’s quality of life.”

“As a resident of the City of Tuscaloosa, I took a strong stance against Mr. Pate’s attempt to violate building regulations that would have harmed our community,” Stephens said in the statement. “My position was the right thing to do then. It is the right thing to do now.”

A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for May 25. 

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