The mailer accused Gaspar of having a "long history of shady business practices."
  • The mailer accused Gaspar of having a "long history of shady business practices."
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

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.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts

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.

Kristin Gaspar

Kristin Gaspar

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."

"In his mayoral campaign, [Gaspar] uses the singular term 'Dr.' in all of his literature...."

"In his mayoral campaign, [Gaspar] uses the singular term 'Dr.' in all of his literature...."

photo by Ken Harrison

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.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Comments

Visduh Sept. 8, 2017 @ 10:16 a.m.

Some random thoughts come to me in this piece. Yes, many health practitioners hold a "doctorate" of some sort. Providers of hearing aids are doctors of audiology. Optometrists are also doctors. A real surprise to me is that physical therapists also carry some kind of doctorate. But most of those folks do not, unlike chiropractors, use the honorific, and many would be embarrassed to do so. But Gaspar is not easily embarrassed.

Neither of those two candidates was particularly sympathetic. Roberts made his own scandal all by himself--he hired them, he supervised them, and they said he created a toxic environment. But he would not accept responsibility for the mess, and blamed others. (In some political issue where things went wrong, would he do the same? We didn't have such an issue, and could not find out.) When a boss goes wrong, he/she can appropriately be fired. The voters almost didn't fire him; the election was that close. And he blew his chance for a second term in an office that seldom goes to a challenger. Term limits will make the board of supervisors a whole new ballgame.

Mentioning Logan Jenkins reminded me that, while he tried to stay above the fray, was telegraphing his liking for Roberts. That is the approach Jenkins has to take. He doesn't come down on either side of many controversies, but he does give a "balanced" story that allows the reader to make up his/her own mind. But his bias can come through in many cases, and this was one of them. Poor Kristin just doesn't get much respect.

Will "Dr." Gaspar and his associate win some damages? Hard to tell, but some sort of financial settlement rather than a trial is likely.

0

AlexClarke Sept. 9, 2017 @ 7:20 a.m.

It is a rare thing when a politician takes responsibility for anything. When one chooses to run for office they have to know that anything and everything will be used against them. They celebrate when they win and whine when they don't.

0

Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader

Close