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Jay Jalasi
Del. Hasan M. ‘Jay’ Jalisi, D-Baltimore County. (File photo)

Candidate sues former campaign workers for defamation

A Baltimore County real estate investor running for House of Delegates is suing three former contract employees of his campaign, claiming the men made defamatory comments about him and divulged confidential information in violation of a non-disclosure agreement.

Hasan M. “Jay” Jalisi is seeking $100,000 in compensatory and $100,000 in punitive damages from three men — Saliou Dioum, Andrew Levin and his brother Seth Levin. In a lawsuit, Jalisi said he hired Dioum and the Levins to help manage his campaign. In April, Jalisi, a Democrat vying for a seat in the 10th District, said he terminated their contract.

“Defendants Seth Levin, Andrew Levin and Saliou Dioum reacted to their terminations by instituting a campaign of retaliation, under the name Citizens of District Ten,” against (Jalisi) using confidential information obtained during their tenure as contractors for the campaign,” according to the lawsuit filed by Larry Caplan, Jalisi’s attorney at the time.

Caplan writes that the video contained “confidential information and false, disparaging and inflammatory statements” and that the video was not only posted on YouTube and another video hosting site but was posted on Facebook and distributed “to many individuals including to all the District 10 candidates and a number of churches and synagogues in the area.”

The lawsuit also claims that the trio violated state election law by publishing a video that didn’t contain an authority line identifying who paid for the video.

The video is no longer available online. Jalisi’s lawsuit hints at what he considers to be its false or disparaging statements including questions about his real age and nationality as well as questions about why Jalisi no longer is employed at the Cleveland Clinic.

Jalisi did not respond to a request for comment.

Joseph Sandler, an attorney with the Washington, D.C., firm Sandler Reiff and who is now representing Jalisi, declined to provide specifics from the video but said it questioned whether Jalisi “was from a country other than India” and his professional qualifications, including questions about Jalisi’s medical license.

“It was an ugly, racist video full of falsehoods about him,” Sandler said, adding later that he was not aware that Jalisi no longer possessed a license to practice medicine.

Jalisi lists attending the Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan, from 1983-1989 on a resume posted online. He received his surgical training at Harvard University and later a Masters Degree in public health, international health systems from Johns Hopkins University.

Sandler added that the trio divulged proprietary information regarding how Jalisi was running his House of Delegates campaign.

In an interview last week, Jalisi declined to speak about the lawsuit, but acknowledged that he was not licensed to practice medicine. Jalisi, who says he is primarily in property management, lists on an online resume a company that manages international health care and educational facilities among the companies he owns.

Maryland records show that Jalisi is not licensed to practice in Maryland. Jalisi last week declined to say where he was licensed but said he volunteered to give up his license.

“It was my decision,” Jalisi said in an interview.

During that same interview Jalisi said political opponents were “profiling” him because of his nationality and because he is a Muslim.

Ohio court records show that Jalisi was once licensed to practice in Ohio and was a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic. Jalisi was terminated from that position and later sued for improper termination. He also filed a complaint with the Office of Research Integrity in the U.S. Public Health Service. That agency declined to act on the complaint and reported that Jalisi and the Cleveland Clinic reached a confidential settlement in February 1998.

In a response filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court on behalf of the Levin brothers, Attorney Marvin I. Singer wrote that Jalisi’s lawsuit was “replete with bald accusations, and vague assertions of improper activity with lack of factual support.” Singer goes on to write that Jalisi fails to state what confidential information was disclosed by the former campaign workers.

Earlier this month, the lone Republican candidate in the western Baltimore County district filed suit in Anne Arundel County claiming that Jalisi does not live in the legislative district he seeks to represent. Jalisi vigorously disputes that claim.

In early October, Jalisi agreed to pay a $2,500 fine after being charged with writing 28 checks on behalf of his campaign by the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor. State law prohibits candidates from making such disbursements.