WHEN controversial radio host Tarsha "Jonesy" Jones "likes" a business that advertises with Power 99, her listeners trust her "because Miss Jones doesn't hold her tongue," the station says.
There's a flip-side to that, one local businesswoman found, and she says that it resulted in her getting death threats, broken windows and a tarnished reputation.
In a defamation suit filed in Common Pleas Court yesterday, Tracey Parson said that families pulled their children out of the four Kiddie Kare day-care centers she owns in the city, almost immediately after callers to the "Jonesy in the Morning" show misidentifed her as a mother who had beaten up teenage girls.
"When I see a f---ing Kiddie Kare van, I'm gonna blow it the f--- up," one person allegedly threatened Parson.
It all began on Oct. 14, the complaint contends, when some teenage girls from North Philly got into a fight with some girls from South Philly. Parson, who was at a business meeting in Bensalem at the time, learned during the meeting that her daughter had been involved but was uninjured.
The mother of a South Philly girl allegedly picked up the girls from her neighborhood afterward, found a North Philly girl, and jumped her, the complaint alleges. Police later identifed that woman, but it was unclear yesterday whether she was charged. Parson was never a suspect, police said.
On the morning of Oct. 19, however, Jonesy was discussing the incident on Power 99 when listeners began calling in, claiming that the mother involved was a "business owner" and "owner of a daycare center." At 8:37 a.m., one caller told Jonesy that the mother's name was "Tracey" and that she owned "Kiddie Kare" day-care centers. Jones did nothing to fact-check what the callers were saying, the lawsuit alleges.
"Wow. Tracey, it's on and popping now. We're not going to say the last name, but Tracey, that's not a good look," Jones allegedly replied.
Jones went on to rebuff a caller who claimed that she had the wrong person, the complaint alleges, but it didn't matter at that point. Word had already spread.
"Throughout the day, Parson continued to receive telephone calls from concerned friends and family members who had heard the earlier Power 99 radio show, or heard others talking about the show, that Tracey of Kiddie Kare was beating up school-aged girls," the complaint alleges.
The suit names Jones, Clear Channel Communications and Capstar Radio as defendants.
Jones, when reached yesterday, uttered a rare "no comment" three times. Attorneys for Jones and Clear Channel did not return phone calls for comment. Attorney George Bochetto, who is representing Parson, declined to comment, and Parson declined to comment beyond the complaint.
Jones, according to the complaint, did comment when Parson sent a "cease and desist" letter to Power 99. Jones allegedly lashed out at Parson on one of her Facebook pages.
"I will have each and every Kiddie Cares daycare blown the f--- up on Fox 29 behind their owner committing assault if she don't rescind her letter to my boss," someone writing under the Facebook profile of "Jonesy Dominiquedevero Mornings" posted on her own wall, according to the suit.
Parson, a mother of five, claims that Power 99 employees told her that tapes of the segments do not exist, and got no response when she asked them to retract the statements. In the meantime, she said, she lost business and her reputation.
The complaint alleges that Jonesy and Power 99 embarked on a "coordinated campaign of contriving controversies - which were designed to destroy people's lives, reputations, and livelihoods."
Jones, the self-described "most controversial diva" in radio, was a former host on the now-defunct 100.3 "The Beat" in Philadelphia. She's been in trouble for comments she made about Whitney Houston, Asian-Americans and - after returning to Philly in 2008 - comments she made about NFL player Chad Ochocinco.
In February, a caller told Jonesy that she was pregnant with Ochocinco's child and sent the station a picture. The station then posted the picture, which was actually another, unrelated woman. That incident also resulted in a lawsuit.
According to Power 99's website, Jonesy will promote businesses with an official "Jonesy in the Morning" endorsement. It's not clear how much the endorsement costs.