The Shark Tank has learned that Florida Tea Party leaders who sued founders of a third political party one month ago have added more than two dozen additional plaintiffs to their suit and filed an amended complaint Wednesday afternoon listing those additional groups and activists.
The defendants, Republican consultant Doug Guetzloe and his partners in the new TEA Party of Florida, Democrat Fred O’Neal, and Ron Paul backer Nick Egoroff are reportedly contacting authentic Tea Party activists and organizations across the Sunshine State in an effort to kill a federal lawsuit against their third party.
South Florida Tea Party v. TEA Party of Florida, filed January 19 in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeks a declaratory judgment separating the new third party from the original Tea Party movement. The lawsuit also wants the court to order Guetzloe, O’Neal and Egoroff to stop threatening legal action against Tea Party activists and organizations – even the national Tea Party convention.
To date, only one true Tea Party activist has signed on to the third party’s settlement strategy: Robin Stublen, founder of the Punta Gorda Tea Party. Guetzloe originally warned Stublen “I will sue you for everything you own” on the Tea Party Patriots blog. Stublen is now backing the political party’s attempt to settle the suit on their terms. His friends in the state’s Tea Party movement say Stublen was intimidated by the legal threats.
A recent statement by the third party trio also listed Tom Gaitens of Freedomworks Florida as backing settlement. In fact, when Gaitens learned he was listed as urging settlement he demanded his name be deleted – he wants no part of the disagreement. The political party still lists Gaitens as backing them on Facebook and in direct communiqués with authentic Tea Party activists There’s another problem: Stublen is not a party to the lawsuit, and the Guetzloe gang has not peeled away even one plaintiff from the complaint.
Stay tuned to the Shark Tank as we report on this legal action being watched closely by Tea Party activists across the country.