Whipple files lawsuit in response to attack ad

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The race for Wichita mayor is taking a new legal turn, with one of the candidates filing a slander lawsuit. 

Mayoral candidate, Brandon Whipple, told KAKE News he had already hired a lawyer after an attack ad was posted about him. Tuesday, he filed a lawsuit.

The ad first surfaced on Youtube in mid-October. In it, anonymous women allege harassment by Whipple, who denies the allegations. KAKE News discovered the quotes used in the video actually came from a 2017 Kansas City Star article, accusing another lawmaker in Topeka.

The video traces back to a New Mexico LLC. "Protect Wichita's Girls," which is named in the lawsuit.

"Right now, we are seeing that a shadow corporation is being created in New mexico. They're skirting ethic laws, they're not being transparent," says Whipple.

The suit also  names Matthew Colborn, owner of a Wichita based media company. It alleges Colborn was hired by two John Doe's to produce the ad, and that he then hired an actress, paying her $50, to read the lines without telling her who the ad was targeting.

"She approached a friend of a friend and she felt terrible that she was tricked into this," says Whipple.

Colborn shares a downtown office space with Wichita City Council Member, James Clendenin. He claims he first found out about the lawsuit Tuesday, and until then, knew nothing of Colborn's involvement.

"I don't know that Matthew did this, this is way out of character," says Clendenin.

The suit claims a conspiracy between Colborn and supporters of Whipple's opponent, Jeff Longwell, but it doesn't name Longwell as responsible.

"Our campaign had zero to do with it. It's not linked to our campaign, we absolutely condemn this campaign and always will," says Longwell.

"I think it would be naive for someone who's directly benefiting, who's connected politically to not have any details by this... we knew," says Whipple.

KAKE News attempted to call Matthew Colborn for comment and went to his office, but couldn't reach him.

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A candidate for mayor is suing a man he calls the producer of an attack ad.

Attorneys for Brandon Whipple filed a slander lawsuit against Matthew Colborn, the CEO of Colborn Media and resident of Wichita. The suit was also filed against Protect Wichita’s Girls, LLC, John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.

The suit claims there was a conspiracy between Colborn and supporters of incumbent Mayor Jeff Longwell. Whipple’s attorneys say Colborn hired young women and paid them $50 in cash through an app to act as victims of harassment allegedly committed by Whipple.

It was that video that alleged Whipple harassed interns. He vehemently denied the allegations earlier this month. Further research found that the quotes used in the video were published about a different lawmaker, not Whipple.

According to the lawsuit, Colborn media claims to “use influencers, modern video production and media planning and distribution” to “generate business outcomes.”

Colborn does have political ties. He’s the campaign manager for Rep. Michael Capps, R-Wichita and he shares an office space with City Councilman James Clendenin.

No one was at the office when a KAKE News crew stopped by late Tuesday afternoon, after the suit was filed. Clendenin responded in a text message that he was in a meeting and would have to get back to the reporter.

Mayor Longwell told KAKE News that he had no involvement in the ad.

"We still condemn this style of campaigning. We always have and always will," he said. "Our campaign has zero to do with it, it's not linked to us."

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