A Republican who lost his bid for the state House in the spring primary has filed a lawsuit against Rep. John M. Perzel (R., Phila.) alleging the onetime Speaker was behind a slanderous dirty tricks campaign.
Lowell Gates, a lawyer from Mechanicsburg, alleged in the suit filed yesterday in Cumberland County Court that Perzel orchestrated a series of anonymous robo-calls to voters in the 88th House District.
Among other things, the calls said that Gates had committed crimes and that Gov. Rendell and State Sen. Vincent Fumo, both Philadelphia Democrats, had given his campaign money, none of which are true.
“I am not going to tolerate this kind of behavior from someone as reckless as John Perzel,” Gates said in an interview today. “This is exactly why good people don’t run for office.”
Gates alleges that Perzel launched the robo-calls to retaliate against him for publicly stating that, if elected, he would not vote for the Philadelphia Republican as speaker.
Asked what proof he has, Gates said that similar anonymous calls also were made in House races in Erie and Crawford County against GOP candidates who took similar stances against Perzel.
“All roads lead back to Rome,” Gates said. “All roads lead back to Perzel.”
Through a spokesman, Perzel refused comment on the suit.
Also named in the suit is Michael Karp, a longtime Perzel supporter, and the phone company he once headed, ATX Communications.
In the spring primary, Gates finished second in a seven-candidate field for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing Rep. Jerry Nailor (R., Cumberland). Gates lost by 200 votes in the heavily Republican district and believes the robo-calls made the difference.
“I am going to grind Perzel down,” Gates said of his suit, which he estimates will seek damages in the millions. “He has tangled with the wrong person.”
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