The husband of San Diego County supervisor Kristin Gaspar says his wife's former opponent, Dave Roberts, defamed him and his business in an attempt to win the election.
Paul Gaspar, owner of Gaspar Physical Therapy, and one of his associates filed the defamation lawsuit in North County San Diego on September 6.
The lawsuit claims that Roberts, through his reelection committee, attempted to smear Kristin Gaspar in campaign mailers. The mailers accused Gaspar Physical Therapy — where Kristin Gaspar served as an officer — of elder abuse and medical malpractice.
In an October 2016 mailer sent to an estimated 100,000 homes in North County, Roberts’s reelection committee claims that Kristin Gaspar's "company settled a lawsuit compensating victims who sued for malpractice and elder abuse."
The mailer also accused Gaspar of having a "long history of shady business practices" and "operates a medical business known for malpractice, elder abuse, and negligence."
According to Gaspar's attorneys, the allegations were based on a 2006 lawsuit filed by former patients of Gaspar Physical Therapy. Both sides later agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Two days after Roberts’s reelection committee sent the mailer, the San Diego County Democratic Party followed suit with a similar flier.
In response to the mailers, Gaspar sent Roberts a cease-and-desist letter that ordered Roberts and the Democratic Party to retract the claims.
But Roberts’s committee didn't desist; instead, the committee sent a second mailer that made many of the same claims.
Days before the election, San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins wrote about the controversial mailer and the hard-fought race for county supervisor. In an interview, Roberts campaign staffers repeated many of the same statements.
"Roberts is in an ugly dogfight over his own ethics and treatment of 'victims' in his office," wrote Jenkins. "It's inevitable perhaps that in the closing weeks his campaign would go to the edge to tum the tables on Gaspar."
According to Gaspar's attorneys, even after his defeat, Roberts has made no attempt to retract his campaign's statements.
"Roberts has never retracted his false defamatory statements, nor apologized for intentionally damaging the reputations of the plaintiffs herein. He did not restrict his campaign advertisements to positive messages about himself, or even material allegations against his campaign opponent, Kristin Gaspar. Instead, he intentionally, repeatedly and maliciously defamed Gaspar Physical Therapy, Inc. and Brian Stone."
Paul Gaspar is no stranger to politics: he campaigned for his wife during her run for the Encinitas City Council. In 2012, Gaspar was found to have been involved in issuing political mailers under the "We Love Encinitas" moniker. As reported by the Coast News Group, the group stated it was a registered nonprofit; however, it had never registered with the state.
In 2016, as his wife was entrenched in a campaign for county supervisor, Gaspar announced his run for mayor of Encinitas.
Soon after his announcement, residents complained, as reported by the Reader, that Gaspar was running misleading ads. Residents stated that Gaspar's campaign literature implied Gaspar was a medical doctor when in fact he holds a medical doctorate in physical therapy.
"In his mayoral campaign, [Gaspar] uses the singular term 'Dr.' in all of his literature and every time he addresses an audience," Encinitas resident Dennis Lees told the Reader in a September 2016 email. "He even poses in [medical] doctor’s attire in some of his photos rather than customary DPT attire."
Paul Gaspar did not win his bid for mayor. His wife Kristin Gaspar received 1200 more votes than Dave Roberts.