Lewis and Tepper make nice; retired colonel drops suit against state rep.
A retired Air Force colonel has dropped a defamation lawsuit against a Lubbock state representative, his attorneys announced late last week.
In a joint statement Friday, retired Col. David J. Lewis and state Rep. Carl Tepper, R-Lubbock, also an Air Force veteran, said they wish to put behind them the conflict that arose after then-candidate Tepper made an appearance on a local talk radio program.
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"Concerning events occurring earlier this year during a hotly contested election we have decided that it is our mutual desire to put any further legal action behind us," the statement reads. "It is apparent that Dave Lewis has not been involved in any misappropriation of funds or any illegitimate actions whatsoever and Carl Tepper regrets any insinuation to that effect."
Lewis, through attorney Matthew Harris, filed the suit in May of last year during a heated runoff campaign between Tepper and David Glasheen, claiming Tepper defamed him during a February interview on "Pratt on Texas," a political radio program hosted by Robert Pratt which airs on KWBF 1420 AM. During the interview, Tepper apparently alleged Lewis was asked to leave a position as director of VetStar at StarCare Specialty Health System for misconduct, the lawsuit claimed.
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"The guy who's been making the accusations against me on TV saying, you know, 'Tepper failed us' was actually asked to leave because misappropriation of funds, allegedly, and some other issues over there at StarCare and VetStar," Tepper said on the program.
Tepper was apparently referring to a Glasheen TV ad where Lewis says, "Carl Tepper has failed our veterans by ridiculing the notion of PTSD, even mocking veteran suicides," according to previous Avalanche-Journal reporting.
The A-J then reported Lewis was not terminated from StarCare and is eligible for rehire, according to CEO Beth Lawson, who further confirmed that no VetStar employee has ever been investigated for misappropriation of funds.
The lawsuit sought $250,000 to $1 million in damages for Lewis' "mental anguish" and says Tepper did not respond to requests to correct or clarify his comments.
At the time, Tepper responded, calling the lawsuit frivolous and claiming "David Glasheen and his campaign are trying to litigate this election at the courthouse."
Tepper went on to win the May runoff by nearly 18 percentage points.
In the Friday statement, Tepper and Lewis said they both desire the best for the Lubbock veteran community.
"As fellow U.S. Air Force veterans, we concur that veterans' issues deserve rational and reasonable discourse. Our discussions continue in good faith as an earnest effort to resolve veteran's issues. We both agree that the good of Lubbock County should be our highest priority," it says.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Lewis and Tepper make nice; retired colonel drops suit against state rep.