County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is also a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 10, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to his opponent, Grace Yoo, demanding that she shut down a website her campaign created that makes claims against him.
Yoo addressed the letter Tuesday in an emailed statement, saying that her use of MarkRidleyThomas.com is fair and that she was able to register the URL in May because it was available.
“As an attorney and community leader/organizer in District 10, I know how vital truth is to our political process,” Yoo stated. “Voters must have access to all the information possible before making their choice. The stakes are too high for uninformed decision making and ultimately, uninformed voting.
“Our campaign will not be bullied and intimidated by the same establishment that has failed the district repeatedly and has made a business out of blocking out the truth, as they are trying to do now,” Yoo said.
The website has news articles that mention Ridley-Thomas and claims that he intends to run for mayor in 2022. It also contains what Yoo described as numerous “misrepresentations, exaggerated claims,” and “misuse of government funds” related to the supervisor’s work.
Attorneys for Ridley-Thomas said in the cease-and-desist letter that the creation of the website by the Yoo campaign was illegal and prohibited by state election laws.
The attorneys also argued that Yoo is “cybersquatting” on the domain MarkRidleyThomas.com, the process of taking a URL and using its namesake or likeness for a different cause.
“By setting up (the website), you have intentionally prevented our client from registering a website domain name in his own personal name,” the letter to Yoo from Stephen Kaufman on behalf of Ridley-Thomas stated.
“And, by illegally setting up this website, you have confused and lured unsuspecting members of the public who were seeking to access online information from our client to your own fraudulent website in order to assault them with false and defamatory statements about Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.”
Yoo dismissed Kaufman’s letter Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Defamatory? Give me a break,” Yoo told the newspaper. She said the website makes clear that it isn’t run by Ridley-Thomas.
The letter from Kaufman said if the Yoo campaign does not take down the website immediately, he would seek legal action against her and her campaign.
Ridley-Thomas and Yoo received the most votes among candidates in the March primary election, but neither was able to get more than 50% of the vote, forcing them into a Nov. 3 runoff.