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5th District Senate Candidate Toft Seeks Anti-Harrassment Order Against Campaign Critic

Courts will hear arguments for an anti-harassment order against Kelly Spratt, a former employee who Brad Toft says has sent his family threatening emails and harrassed him at events.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include information from Janet Irons, Kelly Spratt's attorney.

Fifth District Senate candidate Brad Toft says he believes there's no question that Kelly Spratt's attacks on him are politically motivated, but he says she's gone too far and he's seeking a court order to stop her from contacting him and his family directly.

Spratt, a Sammamish resident who had worked with Toft about 8 years ago at Quadrant Homes, began making claims of unethical conduct by Toft back in December when he first declared his candidacy, he said.

"She's never made any claims to me before this," Toft said.

Toft said he doesn't want to curb Spratt's right to criticize him or to speak, but says she has sent threatening emails both to him and to his wife, and he wants them to stop.

According to Toft, she also has appeared at events not simply to participate or to criticize him politically, but to try to take over and get into a personal fight with him in public.

"It gets to the point where you need to be concerned about safety, of myself and my family. It doesn’t abridge her right to tell what she wants to tell in public and in the media."

Toft said emails from former 5th District Senator Republican Cheryl Pflug hint at a connection by repeating vague claims about disreputable behavior that Spratt has made.

Toft also claims that both Pflug and Mark Mullet follow Spratt's twitter account, which he says has been used to further spread her vitriolic messages (the account is set to private, so only confirmed followers can see her tweets). Mullet, for his part, says he doesn't tweet at all, and has no connection to Spratt, though he acknowledges that his campaign may have a twitter account but if so, he is not directly involved in it.

Mullet says any claim by Toft that his campaign is involved with Spratt is "a blatant lie." Mullet has stated on Sammamish-Issaquah Patch that he doesn't know Spratt, and told Patch yesterday that detractors are part of the political life.

"I've been on the city council for three years. The fact is you deal with people who disagree," Mullet said.

Washington State Wire published an extensive article on the controversy yesterday, and Toft will have his day in court today, Sept. 28.

"This is a competitive race and it tells me they are nervous," Toft said, noting that Spratt is represented by Janet Irons.

Irons tells Patch that she is an active member of the Republican Party (her mother, also named Janet Irons, was formerly an activist in the Democrat Party but no longer is politically active, Irons said), and representing Spratt as a private citizen who is just trying to exercise her right of free speech.

Irons calls the anti-harrassment suit, "perplexing, because Kelly has not had any direct private contact with Brad in the last six months," either by phone or email, Irons said.

Danny Chapman September 28, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I attended one of the open meetings in Maple Valley for Brad when she was there. In my opinion she was disruptive to the meeting, impolite, rude and generally not very pleasant. I'm all for freedom of expression, but when someone (of any political persuasion) screams, yells and cries as she did at that meeting, that line is crossed. If she is unstable, I hope she gets some help, if not, then she needs to tone it down simple use the correct procedures for using our very precious Freedom of Speech rights and privileges.
Jeanne Gustafson September 28, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Thanks for your comments, Danny. It's going to be interesting to see what the court decides in this case.
Jeanne Gustafson September 28, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Oh, stay tuned--decision time.
G.Teller October 04, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Spratt's attorney, Janet Irons, comments: It is unfortunate Mr. Toft is mischaracterizing the court proceedings in an effort to continue his attack on Ms. Spratt. The Judge quite clearly expressed, repeatedly, that Ms. Spratt was exercising her First Amendment rights by challenging Mr. Toft's fitness for office, & that the Court would not restrict her right to do so. Indeed, contrary to Mr. Toft's rendition, the only time the Court spoke to Ms. Spratt was to confirm her long held intentions to contact Mr. Toft only in public forms, expressed in a letter written several weeks earlier. Ms. Spratt responded with a very clear & confident "certainly", not humbly as stated in Mr. Toft's creative rendition of the event. In contrast the Judge addressed Mr. Toft repeatedly & indicated people who voluntarily thrust themselves into public light will be criticized & Mr. Toft needs to, in the word of the Judge, "grow thicker skin." At no time was Mr. Toft given the opportunity to speak, as the Judge didn't deem it necessary to even take testimony given the nature of the petition & of Ms. Spratt's action. The Judge did not indicate that he was considering entering an order against Ms. Spratt - let alone restraining himself from doing so due to possible stigmatization of Ms. Spratt. The Judge specifically said he was denying the petition outright, not entering even a conditional order, as it was unnecessary under the circumstances. Mr. Toft's statement to the contrary is blatantly false.
G.Teller October 04, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Danny Chapman: "...saw what I did; an abusive person who was screaming, crying and disrupting an otherwise informative and peaceful political meeting." While I'm no attorney, this crafty comment is false and quite possibly illegal. Glad I'm not you right now. This harassment claim was unfounded, period. It's a facade, and an elaborate effort to publicly shame a woman for standing up and speaking out against Toft, who has a significant criminal record, past and present. I wouldn't want to be her right now, either. It's a sad day when a candidate resorts to extreme measures like this to shut someone up, and when others lie about her actions. (Hint: I was there too.)
G.Teller October 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Brad Toft: Believe every word he says. He's educated, after all, from two universities! What a stellar human being. Good thing those past transgressions are well behind him! Politician claims to have "executive degree in finance" from top university after attending 3-day seminar: http://bit.ly/TmxstM Much more efficient than going to college for four years.

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