The Sikh Religious Society, led in part by the family of Gov. Nikki Haley, is suing The Palmetto Public Record and its editor, Logan Smith for defamation and civil conspiracy for its into the organization's finances and the governor.
In March, for her role in alleged financial misdeeds at the Sikh Religious Society that allegedly put the group's tax-exempt status in jeopardy.
Haley was never indicted. The lawsuit, obtained by the Free-Times, names The Palmetto Public Record, Smith and his two anonymous sources as defendants. Butch Bowers, who also represents Haley, is representing the plaintiff in the suit.
The lawsuit lists two basic causes for action: First, it accuses Smith and his sources of making "absolutely false" statements that degraded the plaintiff, such as predicting an indictment, and stating that the IRS was investigating the Sikh group for "shady finances," such as laundering money and distributing false tax receipts. Second, the suit alleges a civil conspiracy on the part of Smith and his sources, who Bowers contends colluded together to injure the reputation of the group.
The suit asks for actual, special and punitive damages.
Smith's original story caused a firestorm in some media circles as it was thought by some to represent a new era of reporting and sourcing.
Smith was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Rob Godfrey, spokesman for Gov. Haley, praised the lawsuit Tuesday.
“The governor applauds any private citizen who is willing to stand up to bloggers, their anonymous sources and those who fund them and hopes more people will do the same.”