Safe Homes Of Orange County And The NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence Sued For Defamation Of Character In Albany, New York Supreme Court

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Safe Homes of Orange County, the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence, KellyAnn Kostyal of Safe Homes, and Michelle McKeon and Catherine Mazzotta of the Coalition sued for defamation of character in Albany Supreme Court - Source: Law Offices of Jimmy M. Santos, PLLC

Grace Perez (“Perez”), a Hispanic female of Puerto Rican national origin has filed a lawsuit for defamation of her character in N.Y.S. Supreme Court for Albany County (Index No. 7087-11) against Safe Homes of Orange County (“Safe Homes”), the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence (the “Coalition”), KellyAnn Kostyal (“Kostyal”), Executive Director of Safe Homes, Michelle McKeon (“McKeon”), CEO of the Coalition, and Catherine Mazzotta, President of the Board of Directors for the Coalition, according to Ms. Perez' attorney, Jimmy M. Santos, Esq.

Ms. Perez has over twenty (20) years’ experience as an advocate of victims of domestic violence, especially with programs specifically targeted to Latina victims of domestic violence. In her lawsuit, Ms. Perez alleges that, in or about January of this year, Perez began working as a consultant to Latinos Unidos of The Hudson Valley, a Latino advocacy group located in Newburgh, New York, to help develop “a culturally and linguistically specific domestic violence program [targeted towards] battered women of Latin national origin and Hispanic race in Newburgh” and obtain funding for such a program from the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (or “OVW”). Consistent with that objective, Perez alleges that heads of Latinos Unidos scheduled a meeting with Kostyal, them and Perez at Safe Home’s office located in Newburgh, NY, for February 28th. Plaintiff further alleges that, prior to the 02/28 meeting at Safe Homes, Safe Home’s Kostyal was fully aware that Perez was acting as a consultant with Latinos Unidos, and was looking to work cooperatively with Safe Homes in developing a “[culturally and linguistically specific program] targeted to Latinas” in the Newburgh, NY area.

Perez alleges that, after the 02/28 meeting between her, Kostyal and heads of Latinos Unidos, Kostyal made statements to these representatives of Latinos Unidos and other third-parties that Perez: had misrepresented her role as a consultant to Latinos Unidos; had misrepresented the nature of Safe Home’s services to Latinas in the Newburgh, NY area; had physically and/or verbally threatened Kostyal at the 02/28th meeting; and had insulted the Safe Homes’ staff, all of which statements Perez contends are false and defamatory. Perez also alleges that on March 4th, McKeon from the Coalition personally met with one of the heads of Latinos Unidos and told him: that “[Perez] was misleading [him]”; that “[Perez intended] to take over [Latinos Unidos]” and was “vindictive”, all of which communications Perez claims are false and defamatory.

Perez further alleges that despite the defendants’ knowledge that their statements were false, on March 29th, McKeon and Mazzotta, respectively, in their official capacities as CEO and President of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, published a letter/memo stating that at the 02/29th meeting at Safe Homes: “[Perez] challenged [Kostyal] on programming and insulted [sic] [Safe Home’s staff]”; “[Kostyal] felt threatened by [Perez]; and “[Perez] was [hostile] towards [Safe Homes]”, all of which plaintiff also claims are defamatory. Perez is seeking full compensatory and punitive damages for the defendants’ defamation of her character and tortious interference with Perez’ prospective business relationships.

Ms. Perez is being represented by Jimmy M. Santos, Esq. of Cornwall, Orange County, New York. Any media inquiries should be directed to the Law Offices of Jimmy M. Santos, PLLC, attn. Jimmy M. Santos, at office no. (845) 534-3185, fax no. at (845) 595-2266, and/or via email at jmssesq(at)gmail(dot)com.


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Jimmy M. Santos, Esq.
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