COMPTON — City Councilman Maxcy D. Filer has filed a libel suit against a weekly newspaper and its publisher for unspecified damages, alleging the paper falsely linked him to a rival publisher who is under indictment.
In an article on the opinion page of the Oct. 28 Compton Bulletin, O. Ray Watkins wrote that Filer "fought tooth and nail to get a city legals contract for Hillard Hamm's newspaper," the Metropolitan-Gazette. Watkins said that Filer "may have known" at that time that publisher Hamm was about to be indicted for embezzlement.
In September, Filer objected to a successful City Council motion to grant the Bulletin exclusive rights to publish the city's legal notices. Until that time, the right to publish legal notices was shared by the Bulletin, the Metropolitan-Gazette and the Herald American. Those notices are often a small newspaper's main source of income.
Filer's attorney and son Kelvin Filer, who is also a member of the Compton school board, said such a comment about his father crosses the line of fair criticism of a public official protected by law.