(AP) A former member of the Virginia Beach School Board is seeking five million dollars in a defamation lawsuit against Landmark Communications — parent company of The Virginian-Pilot — and the newspaper’s editorial page editor.
Timmy Jackson’s lawsuit focuses on a November 2003 editorial written by Dennis Hartig. The editorial endorsed Jackson’s opponent in a House of Delegates race.
The lawsuit contends the editorial defamed Jackson by saying, “It was on his watch that the schools went millions of dollars in the red, a disaster that took years to overcome.”
Jackson served one term on the board, from 1994 to 1998. In 1995, the board was notified it was operating at a deficit of more than 12 million dollars.
A special grand jury that investigated the deficit called for seven School Board members to resign or face criminal charges.
Jackson said he was not a board member when the budget was approved. A jury acquitted him and another board member.
Hartig could not be reached for comment. The Pilot’s lawyer declined to comment.