Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes has threatened to sue a former chamber of commerce president for potentially defamatory comments he made online, saying "enough is enough".
Nathan Errington, an ex-president of the old Hamilton Business Chamber, received a letter from council's acting manager legal on Thursday asking him to remove comments he posted on Facebook a day earlier.
The post had a link to an online story about Cr Kath Elliott's suspension from council, and Mr Errington's comments could be described as defending her actions - leaking a report - criticising Labor and advocating for people to vote for her.
However, he also made remarks which, according to letter, "conveys serious defamatory imputations" that Cr Nelmes "swore at someone during a council meeting while in her role as the lord mayor"; that Cr Nelmes "calls people names at council meetings"; and that Cr Nelmes "acts unprofessionally" at meetings.
The letter says that by linking the story about Cr Elliott, "further defamatory imputations flow", including that Cr Nelmes' "behaviour warrants suspension"; Cr Nelmes "has engaged in conduct that is in breach of [council]'s code of conduct"; and Cr Nelmes "has a blatant disregard" for the code and "procedures which underpin them".
Mr Errington, who ran on Cr Elliott's election ticket in 2017, was instructed to immediately remove the comments and to post a scripted apology before 5pm Friday.
The post was made on his personal Facebook page, which has 1300 followers but can be viewed by anyone.
"Regardless of the exact number of people who are able to view your post, which is likely the public at large, lord mayor Nelmes' high personal and professional reputation has been sullied," the legal letter said.
"This is in circumstances where the allegations are completely without foundation. [Cr] Nelmes is entitled to monetary compensation for the reputational damage and hurt she has suffered ... and her rights to seek damages are expressly reserved."
"Should you not comply with this Concerns Notice, [Cr] Nelmes will consider issuing proceedings without further notice to you."
Mr Errington said Friday he had removed the post, which the Herald is not able to republish, but would not be apologising. "It's an opinion of mine I'm allowed to have," he said. "I'm not going to publicly apologise."
Cr Nelmes said late Friday she was pleased the post had been removed but she would not tolerate the claims.
"Enough is enough. It's not ok to use social media to defame or bully me," she said.
"I accept that people will have different opinions on the way I do my job, but it's not okay to ... spread total misinformation."
No apology had been posted as of 6pm Friday.
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