The Republican candidate for clerk of the Baltimore County Circuit Court filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit Wednesday against his Democratic rival.
Richard J. Reinhardt II alleges Julie Ensor implicated him in being responsible for the disappearance and destruction of 200 of her campaign signs. The lawsuit seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
“What kind of dollar value do you put on someone’s good name?” asked Richard J. Reinhardt, the candidate’s father and a Towson lawyer who filed the lawsuit.
Ensor and her husband, Mark, who is also her campaign treasurer, met with police earlier this month to report that her signs had either been destroyed or cut. According to the police report cited in Reinhardt’s lawsuit, Julie Ensor said that “where the signs had been stolen, damaged or moved the opposing candidate’s signs have been placed nearby.”
The lawsuit alleges Ensor wanted police to charge Reinhardt with theft over $500, a felony, and malicious destruction over $500, a misdemeanor, accusations she knew were “maliciously false and untrue” and “slanderous per se,” the lawsuit states. (The signs were valued at $5 each.)
“The statements were contrived…and were communicated by the Defendants for the sole purpose and intent to injure the Plaintiff in his good name, fame and reputation,” the lawsuit states.
Julie Ensor, in an interview Wednesday afternoon, said she was unaware of the lawsuit but denied she implied to police that Reinhardt was responsible for her missing signs.
“That isn’t the inference at all,” she said. “I haven’t made any accusations against any individuals.”
Ensor said a police officer asked her who her opponent was and if she noticed “anything unusual” at the locations where her signs had been taken.
“I just gave him information on what I observed in certain areas,” she said.
Ensor added that her signs have been taken throughout the county, typically cut from their wire bases. In areas with multiple political signs, hers was the only one missing, she said.
Police last week interviewed Reinhardt at his campaign headquarters regarding the signs, but no charges have been filed.
Reinhardt referred all questions to his father.