School board member’s lawyer sends group cease and desist letter over ‘defamatory’ ad

Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 8:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The lawyer for Charleston County School Board Member Kevin Hollinshead has sent a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter to a group accused of lying about Hollinshead in a political television ad.

The ad, which was paid for by the Coalition for Kids, brings up a 15-year-old lawsuit involving the school board member who is running for re-election. It stated he was “successfully sued for stealing nearly $150,000 from Benedict College.”

“I hereby demand on behalf of Mr. Hollinshead that the Charleston Coalition for Children immediately cease and desist all false and defamatory conduct directed towards the reputation of Kevin Dion Hollinshead Sr.,” the letter stated.

Edward Pritchard represents Hollinshead.

“I’m asking for them to pull the ad and pull the mailers and radio and wherever they make the claim that Kevin Hollinshead is stealing money from Benedict college," Pritchard said. “Benedict College has never claimed that. The insurance company never claimed he was stealing money from Benedict College. It was a dispute between him and the insurance agency.”

The letter was sent more than a week after some community activists called for the ad to be removed. At a press conference on Oct. 8, they called the ad “tasteless” and “insulting to the minority community."

Coalition For Kids Executive Director Josh Bell said Wednesday he had not received this letter, but in a statement responding to the news of it, he attached two court documents.

“In response to what we understand the cease and desist letter requests, we are attaching a copy of the complaint filed against him in 2006, and the confession of judgment in which he agreed to repay the monies that were alleged in the lawsuit to have been wrongfully received by him,” Bell said. “It is notable in the confession of judgment that there is no denial of the allegations in the complaint, and the complaint speaks for itself.”

“The Charleston Coalition for Kids has crossed a line," Pritchard said. "While Charleston Coalition for Kids is well within its right to support any candidate that it wants, like any other candidate or group, it can’t cross the line and start defaming people. It’s entitled to its own opinions but not its own facts.”

Pritchard added they’re “exploring all legal options” in reference to this ad, but first want it pulled to “minimize the damage to Mr. Hollinshead’s reputation.”

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