A mailer from the Scott McKnight campaign that accused state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, of not paying his taxes led to legal action that has been resolved.
McKnight, also a Republican, is running against Claitor for his District 16 seat in the Louisiana Senate.
The McKnight campaign’s mailer said Claitor’s law firm, Claitor and Loupe LLC, had a lien placed on it for not paying withholding taxes and property taxes. Claitor sought a temporary restraining order to stop McKnight’s campaign from circulating the material, which Claitor said was false
McKnight’s mailer attributed the claims to a 2014 public document from the Department of Revenue. The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office certified the report as being accurate.
But Claitor left the law firm Claitor and Loupe LLC in 2003. He had not been affiliated with it for more than a decade by the time the Department of Revenue document was published regarding unpaid tax balances stacked up between 2008 and 2011.
In his lawsuit, Claitor argued that a quick public records search from McKnight’s campaign would have revealed that he was no longer part of Claitor and Loupe LLC.
“Every day that these defamatory statements are broadcast to Baton Rouge residents presents significant harm to Claitor by implying he has a $22,000 lien against him or a company he is presently associated with,” Claitor’s petition reads.
Claitor’s attorney, Lindsay Rabalais, and McKnight’s attorney, Bryan Jeansonne, settled the matter on Monday with a confidential agreement and state District Judge Don Johnson dismissed the suit on Tuesday. The settlement called for none of the parties involved to comment on the lawsuit, aside from saying that they had reached an agreeable outcome.
Claitor and McKnight declined to comment further.
The general election is Oct. 24, though early voting is underway through Saturday. Brent Campanella, registered as “other party,” also is a candidate in the Senate race.