The world of ESho blogging got a bit rougher last week when the man behind The Ripp Report and Baldwin County Legal Eagle claimed in his regular Friday email that he was taking “legal action” against a fellow blogger who runs the Fairhope Times.
F. Paul Ripp, who has spent the past several years online railing against what he perceives as injustices in Baldwin County as a whole and in its many municipalities, claimed in his “Freaky Friday” email that James Watkins, who publishes The Fairhope Times, had libeled him. Particularly galling to Ripp was Watkins’ assertion in a Jan. 31 post about Fairhope Planning Commission issues that Ripp had sustained head injuries while fighting in Vietnam.
“And as always, one of those leading the charge against is curmudgeon, citizen-activist Paul Ripp who lives on Parker Road, the development’s main entrance. His weekly ‘Freaky Friday Ripp Reports’ often rant against the mayor or city employees (the latest lays out an elaborate conspiracy theory about this issue) — and usually advocates for election “clean sweeps” of politicians if they don’t do his bidding. He has opposed the so-called “Publix” project from its inception on various grounds, including damaging Fly Creek. (Ripp is a self-identified “former marine sniper” who was disabled by a head injury suffered in an explosion in Vietnam in the late 1960s.),” Watkins wrote.
Ripp’s response claimed he had asked for a correction from the Fairhope Times but had received none, so he was taking legal action.
“The Ripp Report and BCLE have taken legal action against the Fairhope Times for printing false and libelous information about ME F. Paul Ripp. Three attempts were made in an effort to print a correction, all were ignored. The Fairhope Times stated that I received head injuries in Vietnam; I have never had head injuries or concussions. Any brain damage I may have suffered is the result of dealing with the corruption in Fauxhope and Baldwin County by elected officials and a corrupted judiciary,” Ripp wrote in his Feb. 12 email.
But when asked if he’s being sued, Watkins said he has not received any type of notifications indicating pending legal action.
“A short answer is no, I have received no complaint in writing or otherwise from Mr. Ripp. Addresses are clearly published on my blog. I suggest it is his usual attempted manipulation of media. Ripp told me the story himself, years ago, about a concussion from an artillery shell in Vietnam. Woke days later in the hospital … supposedly. Used to sign his letters to editors ‘disabled marine sniper,’” Watkins wrote.
Ripp responded to questions about the matter after print deadline, but said legal action is indeed forthcoming.
“He will be served through a P.O. box as he has made it difficult to contact through other means. I gave him three chances to correct the statement about my military medical records to no avail. Rob I don’t mind the name calling or even the gutter politics, however total fabrication for the purpose to discredit my efforts through the non-profit, The Ripp Report, I take seriously,” Ripp wrote.
He said he feels Watkins intentionally is attempting to discredit his reporting in some way, particularly as it relates to the ongoing arguments surrounding the Fly Creek Apartments.
“His intent is to limit my exposure to the public of the corruption that exists in Fairhope and in particular the Fly Creek Apartments. I realize that my actions will, and have, caused the powers to be to intimidate and harass me to stop, as that is what they do to anyone willing to stand up,” Ripp wrote.
‘Apprehensions & Convictions’
What happens when a 50-year-old leaves his comfortable job with The United Way to pursue his dream of becoming the oldest rookie cop in the Mobile Police Department?
A really interesting book — “Apprehensions & Convictions: Adventures of a 50-year-old Rookie Cop” — about the real life of Mobile Police officers seen through the eyes of Mark Johnson, who served 12 years in MPD. Johnson offers a no-holds-barred look at not only MPD, but the less gorgeous side of the Azalea City. It’s a good read and should leave those who do so with a better understanding of what it’s like to be a cop in Mobile.
Johnson’s already had a couple of local book signings, but two more take place Feb. 18 — noon at Government St. Presbyterian Church at the corner of Government and Jackson, then later that day at 6 at Page & Palette Bookstore in Fairhope.
AAA show coming
The 2016 American Advertising Awards Show will be Friday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at Byrne Hall on the campus of Spring Hill College. Tickets are: $45 per person, $20 for students, and cocktail attire is expected. For more information, visit aafmobilebay.com.