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Larry Conners Seeks KMOV-TV Damages, Says Station Conspired to Defame Him, Lied to Press

larry-conners-thumb.jpg
via KMOV (Channel 4)
Larry Conners.
Just a few days after writing a Facebook post hinting at some sort of imminent exposé on his former bosses, fired KMOV-TV (Channel 4) anchor Larry Conners has filed a petition for damages against the news station -- arguing that his employers conspired to defame him and lied to the media in the process.

"The...statements falsely communicated to the public that [Conners'] professional performance was inadequate, poor, and seriously defective," the petition says. "Said statements consequently defamed [Conners'] reputation as a news broadcaster and anchor person, and seriously diminished public opinion of his professional competence."

The petition outlines the comments that officials with KMOV and parent company Belo Corporation made in the aftermath of Conners' controversial Facebook post on the IRS, which ultimately led to his termination.

See also: Fired KMOV Anchor Larry Conners Weighs Run For Political Office

Since his departure from KMOV in May, the veteran St. Louis newsman has taken multiple legal actions against the station, arguing that he was wrongfully terminated, that he was the victim of discrimination and that his employers had been looking for a reason to fire him for years.

The station, meanwhile, says that it had long-term plans to keep Conners on board, but that the IRS commentary -- a post on his KMOV Facebook page questioning whether the agency had targeted him in retaliation for an Obama interview -- violated journalistic standards. That is the sole reason for his firing, KMOV argues.

larry-conners-may-14.jpg
via KMOV (Channel 4)
Larry Conners makes an on-air statement about his IRS Facebook post back in May.

Most recently, Conners has gotten attention for a dispute regarding a non-compete clause in his contract, which he says is blocking him from working in the industry for a full year.

And now, he is demanding that he be awarded damages "because of Defendants' intentional and malicious conduct."

The petition for unspecified damages names KMOV president Mark Pimentel, news director Sean McLaughlin and Belo Corporation. The filing describes his reputation this way:

Until December, 2012, he had always been the anchor person for the premium and most watched news broadcast at 10:00 p.m. each weekday evening. He had a great reputation in St. Louis, and enjoyed a very high degree of respect. His ratings and audience viewing were consistently superior to all other 10:00 p.m. news broadcasts. He was the recipient of numerous Emmy Awards....

Plaintiff's reputation in the community, as both a news broadcaster, television personality, and honorable and honest person, was the highest and as unblemished as possible.

Plaintiff was well known in the community and extremely popular, and participated in many outside and charitable events. He is recognized wherever he goes.

That all changed, the petition says, when his employers began lying about him in public statements.

After the IRS commentary -- which the petition emphasizes was not an opinion -- Pimentel gave false statements to the press that Conners was violating "important journalistic standards," the filing says. He also references comments from Belo's vice president to BuzzFeed calling Conners' comments "inappropriate."

The explanation KMOV-TV gave for Conners' firing was a pretext for the station's intent to replace him with a younger person, the petition alleges.

"The statements made by Defendants and their agents...were false and defamatory in nature, and published by Defendants, with Plaintiff clearly as the sole target of the defamation. All Defendants and [Belo vice president] Michael Valentine conspired to defame Plaintiff to provide an excuse for the termination of his employment agreement and his discharge from KMOV-TV, and to prevent him from employment by any competitor under a one year non-compete provision," the petition continues.

Daily RFT left a message with Pimentel this morning. We'll update if we hear back.

Here's the full petition.

Petition for Damages

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.



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36 comments
Mark Greenspahn
Mark Greenspahn

Great journalism. I remember that. It must have been ratings week.

Brian N Leather
Brian N Leather

no I wouldn't repeatedly and publicly whine about perceived unfairness.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

He probably signed something stating that he would maintain an unbiased public image. That alone puts him in the wrong. He was hired to do a job and he slipped up. It is up to them if they want to keep him or not. Apparently, they didn't want to retain his services. He should get a job where he can freely express his opinion against the government...or just pay his taxes like the rest of us. I think that now it is just about the money.

Cody Nix
Cody Nix

I think who gives a crap about Larry Conners

Anne Klein
Anne Klein

So Larry, did you pay your taxes yet?

Gary Woodcock
Gary Woodcock

Here is a link to a great example of his work:

Tim Nelson
Tim Nelson

Good luck Larry, miss ya on the air!

James Madison
James Madison

Mr. Conners deserves his day in court to prove his allegations, and KMOV-TV must make records and executives available for review and depositions. I suspect perjury charges to be filed after a long litigation against some at the TV station.

Mary Battenberg
Mary Battenberg

OMG.....and yes, part of his defense is that people recognize him......who told him that was a wise thing to include in his motion?????

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

he should sue for racism, he's way too White for them///

Mark Greenspahn
Mark Greenspahn

These situations happen every day at companies all over the place and the people involved handle it privately with the appropriate parties. Just because he worked in television doesn't make him any different than all the others. Why should strangers even care? Like many have already said... really tired of this whining. You lost your job Larry. Move on! (BTW.. do you need a new resume? I know a guy....)

Kathleen Wilson Griswold
Kathleen Wilson Griswold

I think his ship has sailed. Onward and upward. Let it go or at least keep it out of the media.

Matt Ferch
Matt Ferch

I think this story was old a long time ago. Take it off life support RFT and let it go.

Tony Loquasto
Tony Loquasto

wasn't it larry who got the famous chicken ranch busted and all of that? he's an asshole

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

There is a compete clause that he has to deal with

Sherry Moore
Sherry Moore

He makes himself look bad. Just go away Larry!

Barney Rodawald
Barney Rodawald

So if he claims they defamed him how's he getting all these job offers and offers to run for office? Larry dude you can't have it both ways. Why not just give it up and go away.

Melani Nicole
Melani Nicole

Dude. I don't care either way. Is he too young to take some retirement cash? I mean, it's just not really our business.

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