Former Surfside Beach mayor accuses resident of defamation, cyberbullying in lawsuit

Former Surfside Beach mayor accuses resident of defamation, cyberbullying in lawsuit
(Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Surfside Beach’s former mayor claims that a Horry County resident defamed his name on social media, according to a lawsuit.

Bob Childs filed the lawsuit against Al Kelley last month. The court documents claim that Kelley made false statements on social media that accused the former mayor of misconduct and illegal activity.

In one example in the lawsuit, Kelley is accused of making a claim on social media in March 2019, saying that Childs gave a Surfside Beach business a façade grant in exchange for cash.

“The Defendant expressly asserted that the process for receiving a façade grant is to give Mayor Childs an envelope with cash in it,” the court documents state.

The lawsuit also states that on Nov. 1, 2018, Kelley posted on social media that Childs takes “cash payments in order to facility approval of requested permits from the Town of Surfside Beach.”

Childs claims in court documents that the social media posts have damaged his reputation.

The lawsuit also states that it harms the residents of Surfside Beach “because good and qualified candidates for office are electing not to serve if serving requires being subjected to a barrage of libelous and slanderous conduct and cyberbullying.”

It goes on to say that Childs will continue to suffer irreparable harm, damage and injury unless Kelley is compelled to remove the comments from Facebook and other social media outlets.

He asks for the social media posts to be taken down and for Kelley to issue a retraction.

Childs is asking for a jury trial in the case.

Childs did not seek re-election for Surfside Beach mayor in 2019.

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