• 75°
franklin county times

Whistleblower named in slander' lawsuit

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
July 3, 2003
A dozen current or retired members of the 186th Air Refueling Wing charge in a lawsuit that they were slandered by two officers who were instrumental in bringing to light allegations of wrongdoing at the unit.
The lawsuit, filed last month in Lauderdale County Circuit Court, also says each of the plaintiffs "is the subject or material witness in a supplementary investigation of review and inquiry' presently being conducted by the Adjutant General of the state of Mississippi."
That investigation, an outgrowth of an Air Force Inspector General's probe of the 186th ARW, is being conducted by Col. Ken Emanuel of the Florida Air Guard at the behest of Maj. Gen. James Lipscomb, Mississippi's Adjutant General.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs claim they were slandered by comments made by Col. Jody H. Bryant, a former officer in the 186th who blew the whistle on allegations of wrongdoing, and Col. David J. Bertholf, the former active duty Air Force inspector general who was the primary investigating officer into Bryant's allegations.
The comments, according to the suit, were made by Bryant and Bertholf on a radio talk show on WMOX in Meridian on May 27. The radio station was not named in the suit.
The lawsuit, which did not contain the actual words it describes as slander, said the names and reputations of the plaintiffs were damaged by Bryant and Bertholf's comments. The lawsuit contends the words caused the plaintiffs emotional distress and seeks to recover unspecified punitive damages.
Plaintiffs in the suit are Col. Franklin E. Chalk, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Frederick D. Feinstein, CMSGT Roy A. Graham, Lt. Col. F. Gregory Malta, CMSGT William F. Parten, and SMSGT Charles F. Speed, all of Meridian; CMSGT Billy Joe Gressett, Lt. Col. Donald E. Jones and CMSGT Roger E. Shirley, of Chunky; Lt. Col. Langford L. Knight, of Toomsuba; Col. Robert Earl Pierce, of Union; and Col. Aaron K. Wilson, of Collinsville.
In response to the lawsuit, Bryant said, "I have been advised that I am not at liberty to discuss the ongoing litigation, however, I will say that the truth will speak for itself at the closure of this suit.

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

Franklin County

NWSCC receives $18,000 in grants from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

News

Russellville equine therapy visits library program

News

Steam locomotive delivery to Red Bay delayed, arrives July 1

News

Local author holds book signing at RPL

Franklin County

Former Russellville resident performs ‘Miracle Worker’

News

Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

All American Tang Soo Do students recognized

News

Russellville High School students sign to pursue fine arts careers

Franklin County

Football Funday, special needs probowl take place June 15

Galleries

PHOTOS: RMS students take the stage for spring sing

News

Russellville member named among finalists for GFWC Jennie Award

East Franklin

East Franklin Junior High celebrates May 21 graduation

Belgreen

Belgreen Class of 2024 celebrates graduation

Franklin County

Local churches plan Vacation Bible School programs

x