The original defendants listed in the suit are Joy Diane Trammel Church and Lenora Dove.
Late Friday, Lockhart drafted a motion to the court to add the name of Forest Park Public Works Director Mike Gippert to the list of defendants.
The mayor’s lawsuit stems from an incident which, according to the suit, occurred June 3. It alleges Church and Dove “placed a stack of copies of a letter on the corner of a brick structure near the entrance to city hall and placed written instructions near the stack of letters which read “take one” to passersby.
The letter, addressed to “whom it may concern, mainly the citizens of Forest Park” accuses Lockhart of a racial slur he allegedly made to several other elected officials at the National Day of Prayer breakfast.
Lockhart steadfastly denies the allegations.
“You can’t publish slanderous and defamatory statements like that,” Lockhart said. “I am asking that a jury trial be held to determine the amount of damages.”
Reached Monday, Gippert said he had not been officially served with the legal papers naming him as a defendant.
“The lawsuit against the ladies is frivolous because they didn’t publish this letter,” Gippert said. “I shared a copy of the letter with them that was left on my front porch as well as about a half dozen other homes.”
“These ladies did not publish anything,” Gippert said, adding he had absolutely nothing to hide.
Lockhart said he was very aggressive in issuing the lawsuit, “because we need to understand that my administration is about business,” he said.
“I cannot simply ignore and tolerate six months of political opposition with lies while I am trying to get a job done so as to make Forest Park and its residents and businesses better off,” he said.
Lockhart said he was charging defamation of character in the lawsuit, “because I want those directly involved in this slander, to be held accountable or, if nothing else, be identified.”
“My attempt is to nip this in the bud so that this nonsense will be the last of it,” the mayor said.
Lockhart believes those who make anonymous, slanderous allegations, such as the authors of the letter left at city hall, “throw them out for people to believe and do so because there will be no accountability as to the authors of the allegations and that is their goal,” he said.
“My goal is for it to be clear that, in my administration, there will be accountability,” Lockhart said.