Senior's star: Buckingham publicist sues the Hook

What does he do? Well, he sues to clear his name.

The Daily Progress reports that Buckingham publicist, chicken farmer, and alleged friend to many stars Tommy Lightfoot Garrett has filed a $10.7 million defamation suit against the Hook and two of its reporters December 22 in Buckingham.

According to the Progress, the suit claims the Hook "lampoons Garrett and one of his attorneys" and that another story made "false statements about the facts" of Garrett's plea deal after getting charged with 15 counts of forging and uttering, but the story does not reveal what the allegedly false statements are. The Hook has not yet received the complaint. [Christmas eve update: here it is! (pdf)] [Later update: the exhibits too! (pdf)]

However, in anticipation of the jury trial requested by his defamation lawyer, James Creekmore (a bold jurist recently voted a "Virginia Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics magazine), we have

Garrett on the cover of the alleged July 2006 issue or the the alleged forthcoming 2008 inaugural issue of "Spirit of a Woman," allegedly sold in Arizona.

The signature on the suit.

assembled links below to all Garrett-centered stories (and even brief mentions) in the Hook.

Questions remain. Will we ever get to see the suit? Will local blogger

Waldo Jaquith get named as an additional defendant after his feisty report on the brouhaha? Will the publisher of Senior Magazine make a surprise appearance in the courtroom?

December 1, 2005 Cultural calendar

June 29, 2006 4 Better or Worse: Most celebrity funerals by a former local in one week.

February 1, 2007 4 Better or Worse: Latest Tommy Garrett exploit.

February 22, 2007 NEWS- Publicist charged: 15 forgery counts continued*

Questionable Senior covers: the left from an alleged Russian author's site (heralding Garrett as "Honorary Royal Highness of Trabzon"), the right at an alleged woman mag publisher's site.

September 6, 2007 4Better or Worse: Latest Tommy Garrett sightings

February 1, 2008 NEWS- Forgery trial continued for publicist to the stars*

February 7, 2008 NEWS- Tommybrook: Publicist to the stars ready for trial*

March 27, 2008 4 Better or Worse: Most scathing book review.

Garrett's criminal record.

April 22, 2008 NEWS- Publicist to the stars cops a plea

April 22, 2008 NEWS- Senior Magazine: Garrett mystery solved?* .

April 24, 2008 NEWS- Garrett's plea: Publicist guilty of reduced charge*

December 25, 2008 Unprecedented: Behind the '08 ball.

* denotes allegedly actionable/defamatory stories, according to the complaint

Christmas Day update: One local blogger discovered some curious things about the literary career of Mr. Garrett.

December 30 update: Garrett's Hollywood chatter and radio listenership claims ripple across the globe to Australia.

January 5 update: Archives updated.

~ ~ ~

Correction: This posting originally claimed that the April 22 story entitled "Senior magazine: Garrett mystery solved" was online only, but a search of our archives shows that it appeared in print two days later.

Read more on: defamationtommy garrett


only a matter of time before the hook was hit with a lawsuit. I'm not saying this one has merit. The hook has a less than stellar reporting record.

If it weren't for the Hook many important community stories would never see the light of day.

Unlike other media in Charlottesville, the Hook covers the news and does investigative journalism, something that the fading daily long ago forgot how to do. I applaud the Hook and its staff for bringing us news of substance.

The Hook might print important community stories but they are more often tainted with the author's personal bias over-riding common sense. This witch hunt involving Tommy Garrett has been going on for over 2 years. Smarter people would have just left it alone but The Hook had to keep right on antagonizing him. Is he supposed to sit back and let them destroy his career? I don't think so. The original attack was a personal grudge and good on Tommy for fighting back. This latest retort shows that The Hook reporters would rather get themselves in deeper than to repair the damage already done. It defies logic.

Cliff, the other daily and weekly papers just spew out whatever they're told whether its true or not, might as well just print press releases. The Hook and Cvillenews are the only news organizations which actually investigate the truth of what they're told.

Real news is perhaps the most endangered species around and we're lucky in this town to still have some.

You might want to read what Mr. Jaquith has uncovered about Thomas Lightfoot Garrett

So, does this mean I will finally get a copy of this edition of "Senior Magazine"?

Citizen is correct. The Hook and are my first go-to sites every day for local news, and a glimpse at how some local folks feel about that news. Along with Brian Wheeler at Charlottesville Tomorrow, Waldo is a local treasure.

The Daily Progress is invariably a disaster and their website is now incredibly slow and counter-intuitive to use, the pages cluttered with crap. Plus the articles are so out of touch with the reality of daily life in Charlottesville, they might as well have been written by the Chamber of Commerce's PR division.

I might add, however, that Jayson Whitehead has done some impressive investigative journalism for the Cville Weekly. But their Rant column is execrable and sophomoric, and the overall design of the paper hurts my eyes. Kudos to The Hook for their clean elegant design and use of white space.

Back on topic: As far as Senior Magazine goes-- never read it. Does it even exist?

Of course it does. This website even has a copy of its cover.

Merry Christmas, and remember that, if you've been good, some portly white man will squeeze down your chimney and leave you gifts made by elves...

I read an article about it in "Senior Magazine."

Backwoods, I've been very good. I was actually hoping that Santa would be bring me a subscription to Senior Magazine... I asked for one last year but only received a lump of coal, some twigs, and an old copy of People magazine with a photo of Tommy Garret's face taped to the front of it. Pulled it off and there was Tom Cruise underneath. Double whammy!

If you get slapped with a lawsuit, it means you're doing your job, (good, bad or ugly).

Well the way I see it just because they declined to prosecute on other charges does not mean Mr. Garret is innocent of them. The Hook did not say he was guilty, they just reported what was already public information. The fact that the Prosecuters in the Illinois governers case went out and said "obama is not a target or under susopician of any wrogdoing" means that the Government does actually come out and say that. They did not in Mr. Garrets case.If the Hook thinks the guy is a piece of crap because of the crimes he committed then they have the right to slant the truth in that light.

Are they obligated to report that a bank robber also happend to go to church? Or can they report that he also stayed out all night at clubs frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers? Was this guy exonerated? Not from what I have seen. Freedom of the press I say.

This is pathetic. The Hook gets sued and before they even receive the suit, they go in for attack, then the regular "Computer worms" start defending the rag and attacking Mr. Garrett. Who through his lawsuit has access to the Hook's records and surely his attorney will be in touch with all of you, since it proves his suit, you people believe anything. Try coming to Buckingham and reading the suit, since it's PUBLIC RECORD. The authorities were not the ones who filed the criminal charges after they investigated and didn't see any evidence of guilt. The person who filed the charges was a [redacted] who has also [redacted], I could go on and on. The suit is very interesting to read and this rag is so screwed. As for that so called photo of Senior magazine. That's going to be a shocker to you hook lovers who like to believe everything this so called paper writes. Public figures bigger than Mr. Garrett have filed and won lawsuits. And for those of you idiots who like to say, you have to show Malice. Look up the NY Times case. Malic is also when a reporter doesn't do his/her work in investigating. You bloggers have so much to say and you never took into consideration that the sheriff and prosecutor never had any comments for this rag paper. Go right ahead and attack and lie and spread the hook's lies. That's only helping Garrett's case. And remember, Garrett is smart enough to prove his case in a court of law, not in this paper. Hawes Spencer tells he's so shocked to be sued and the same day tells the DP he's absolutely shocked to be getting sued. Sounds pretty much like his story is changing in the same day. The person who filed the charges was not the authorities, it's a [redacted] who [redacted] and has been [redacted] on more than one occassion and despite what the Hook has said, NOT by Mr. Garrett. But by the man's own cousin, [redacted]! You people are drinking the koolaid because it's fun to laugh and make fun of people. That's fine. That's your right. But I hope he sues all of you jokesters too.

What I told the Progress was that given Mr. Garrett's history of frivolous litigation--- including once alleging that a funeral home operator fondled corpses--- that I wasn't surprised to be sued by him. The Progress left out that important preface.

What I told was that I was actually quite surprised to be sued by a man who has never contacted me to express any upset or any shred of refutation to anything in our stories.

The first contact I ever got from the World o' Tommy was in August when a Richmond lawyer named Irving Blank demanded that I remove the Garrett stories from our website. I asked Blank what was wrong with the stories. Unfortunately, I drew a blank from Blank. Maybe Tommy did too, as he's now working with a barrister from Daleville named James Creekmore.

Now that we all have the benefit of a quiet Christmas Day and a plateful of roast beast over which to read the Garrett/Creekmore lawsuit (which we've posted above, along with the stories), the world can judge for itself the legitimacy of the suit and the fairness of the stories.

Now I'd like to get back to the roast beast and let "Buckingham Speaks" speak for the beast from Buckingham.

At the risk of going down the rabbit hole . . .

I'm no lawyer, but reading the complaint: is Garrett arguing that The Hook injured Garrett's professional reputation and future opportunities by using a publicity photo originally offered by Garrett's own website?

Garrett allegedly on the cover of the alleged July 2006 issue of ââ?¬Å?Spirit of a Woman,” allegedly sold in Arizona.

The July 2006 date is a problem. In January 2007 and again in July 2007 the Spirit magazinewas writing in the future tense of the upcoming Tommy cover.

And as late as October 2007, the Spirit magazine was still described as forthcoming:*/

Daily Progress as Charlottesville's premier newspaper?!?!? Any judge with half a brain would throw the case out of court for that stupid statement alone.

I'd love to see a handwriting analysis of Garret's signature at the end by the way.

Tommy never claimed he was on Spirit of a Woman, Spirit was a dream of mine, that I could not get off the ground. The photo you used was a "mock" up photo, I had on my website that was not put on the search engines or anything else. It was a dream of mine that failed!

To Tommy's credit and to set the record straight, he wasn't on any magazine called Spirit nor did he claim he was. Julia

I just had time to read all the stories about Mr.Garrett and what held my attention was the quality of the writing, so much of what passes for journalism these days is so poorly written that I stop after the first paragraph. These stories are well documented, include detailed well articulated descriptions and are first rate writing. If there are factual errors I'm sure any of the authors Lisa Provence, Courtney Stuart, or Lindsay Barnes would be glad to correct them. In the suit I cannot find any mention of factual errors.

I would recommend reading this well written series of articles for their quality as much as for their content

Re Tommy Garrett's signature above, what on earth is THAT about? That's the most bizarre sig I've ever seen. Like Hootenanny said, would love to see that analyzed.

Julia you had a dream to put Tommy on the cover but it never happened? Ok, fine since it never happened take it down. You only hurt Tommy and Tommy calls it a photoshop put together by the hook?
Color me confused- many people have treated Tommy badly it seems but Tommy NEVER has done anything to deserve this?

I'm trying to keep an opened mind but I really can't see where the HOOK has libeled anyone. If someone says Hawes is really bigfoot and they go on the record with that quote then Cville could report that Hawes has been accused of being bigfoot by Madame X. No libel there, even if it turns out to be false.

County Guy, my dream was to start a women's magazine! And the web site is down and has been for a long time. Julia

Julia, if you are Julia Herriott, you might wish to know that your website remains active:

You obviously think highly of Mr. Garrett when you claim on the "about us" page that "It is a common knowledge in the industry that if Tommy gives his approval of a project, many movie and television stars, politicians and even world leaders listen. Tommy has been invited to the White House twelve times under five presidents. He was friends with Princess Diana and is very close to the Royals of Monaco today."

Well thank you for letting me know that, the website, is no longer up, I did not realize that the one without a domain name was still active, so thank you. And yes I do think highly of Tommy. Julia

Surfer, thank you again for letting me know that was still up, I have now removed it, thanks, Julia

I read the complaint, and I remember reading several of the pieces in question at the time that they were published. I have to say that The Hook is not my favorite newspaper, for the simple reason that along with thorough and interesting reporting, the Hook style includes a lot of reporter commentary and self-reference as well as what I'd say is a fair bit of self-aggrandizing as an organization. The latter I would attribute to the politics of two weekly newspapers going back 10 years or so.. Only a Cville native would have the insight into that history, and I'd wonder how a non-native would interpret it. Hook writers often continue inside jokes from story to story, and I can see how the meaning or intent of the jokes can get lost and even alienate readers.

All of that said, this is the silliest lawsuit, especially one posited by a publicist. There are so many claims that just defy logic, and I can't really see how Mr. Garrett's complaints would actually cause the damage he claims or why the Hook would benefit by any of the suggested defamatory actions let alone that they were done with malice.

Things I truly don't understand:
-Why not write a letter to the editor to correct misstatements in an article? I interpret the repeated reference to the magazine cover a call for explanation rather than a put-down.
-What does the Hook have to gain by reporting anything other than what is verifiable?
-How did the Hook get images of various magazine covers if they were not provided by Mr. Garrett?
-What little old lady calls up to yell at a reporter before the article is even published?
-I'm sure that the Hook has lots of fans worldwide, but how do you lose jobs, friends, and business contacts in California and Australia from an article that was barely noticed (sorry guys) in Virginia?

If Mr. Garrett intends to win, there have to be some whoppers he's saving for court. Wish I could be there with my popcorn.