MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — Attorneys for a Santa Rosa County commissioner have reached a $50,000 settlement with Direct Mail Systems in a case that involves mailers that were sent to residents that the commissioner’s attorneys call “egregious.”
Commissioner Kerry Smith’s attorney Alex Andrade said they settled with Mark Zubaly, who is a political account executive with Tallahassee-based marketing firm, Direct Mail Systems, Inc.
“A local homebuilder, Edwin Henry, paid for the mailers,” Andrade said. “It appears to me that Mr. Henry may have been concerned that Commissioner Smith would oppose Mr. Henry’s business activity in the county.”
The mailers were circulated ahead of the 2022 election. The mailers attempted to paint Smith as a domestic violence offender showing two of his previous mugshots. The mailer reads: “We should not invite someone with a long history of domestic violence to our County Commission.”
According to the lawsuit, the mailers inaccurately state Smith was “found guilty several times of domestic violence against his then wife.”
The other side of the mailer included screenshots of news headlines from the disappearance and killing of Navarre mother Cassie Carli. Her family did several media interviews about the suspect, Marcus Spanevelo, being an abusive ex-boyfriend. He has been indicted on charges of kidnapping and abuse of a corpse.
“I found the mailer personally egregious because of its use of Cassie Carli headlines and the fact that Cassie’s father received one of these mailers in his mailbox a few months after his daughter was murdered,” Andrade said.
Andrade said he is considering whether to file a similar lawsuit against Henry.