By Robert Cloud, managing editor, Waupaca County Post
Two members of the Stevens Point School Board have filed a lawsuit as private citizens against Multi Media Channels LLC (MMC) and the Stevens Point City Times, with Editor-in-Chief Brandi Makuski listed as a named defendant.
Lisa Totten and Kim Shirek filed their complaint with the Portage Co. Clerk of Courts on March 27. They are being represented by Fox, O’Neill & Shannon, S.C. of Milwaukee.
The suit accuses Makuski of knowingly reporting false and defamatory statements and implications related to several articles dating back to November 2014. Totten and Shirek are suing for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Shirek and Totten have also demanded to know the identities of several unnamed sources used for verification in the articles, and have requested a deposition to question Makuski. Legal counsel for Makuski and MMC, the Green Bay-based Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C., have filed a motion to protect Makuski’s sources, citing journalist privilege, which allows reporters to refuse disclosing information obtained while gathering and distributing news. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for June 19. The case has been assigned to Wood County Judge Todd P. Wolf.
Both MMC and Makuski declined to comment.
Makuski launched the City Times in November of 2010. MMC acquired the company from Makuski in November of 2014.