A Pennsylvania jeweler is suing the owner of a local TV station for defamation over a news broadcast that implied he was a “scam artist” because of an expired precious metal license.
According to papers filed Aug. 16 in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, Timothy J. Shadle, owner of All American Gold & Silver Exchange in Monroe, Pa., for years had the precious metal buying license he was required to keep by law. And while he kept records of all transactions, he did not report the transactions to the D.A.’s office because he was informed he didn’t have to, due to a period of “benign neglect” by that office, the papers said.
On June 6, according to the suit, Shadle failed to renew the license due to health issues. Two months later, law enforcement entered his shop and asked to see his license. He was later charged with 50 misdemeanor counts of buying metals without a license, and another 50 counts of failing to report. Those charges were later dismissed, and he agreed to plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct, the papers said.
That night, local TV news station WBRE ran a report on the incident.
“More people are selling gold and silver,” said one excerpt. “And that’s opened the door for scam artists and shady businesses to dupe customers.”
At one point in the broadcast, the words “scam artist” were seen in front of a shot of Shadle’s store.
The papers charge WBRE’s owner, Nexstar Communications, with defamation and holding in false light.
“At no time was plaintiff charged with scamming the public or [his] customers,” the papers read. “The charges, as filed, related solely to a lapsed license.”
Nexstar declined comment. The plaintiff’s attorneys did not respond to an email from JCK seeking comment.