Union Must Pay $2.3M to Builder in Defamation Suit

Union Must Pay $2.3M to Builder in Defamation Suit

A Lake County jury found the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters guilty of defamation and ordered them to pay Maki Construction Co. $2.3 million in damages.

The suit stems from the union’s campaign against John Maki’s company, which prompted Maki to sue the union and three of its member who acted as the campaign’s organizers.

In the union’s campaign, their representatives distributed fliers with limericks on them suggesting that Maki himself said the houses his company built were “crappy” and had leaky windows.

The union denied that the fliers were distributed to hurt his business for his contracting of non-union workers.

Maki acknowledged that “about 30” of the many houses his company built had leaky windows, and that he has had complaints from some of their owners, but also said that none of them had ever sued his firm, which has operated for 24 years.

This was the latest attack in a long fight between Maki and the union.

Maki brought to the jurors’ attention that union members also displayed a banner outside a bank deploring it for doing business with Maki. The banner claimed Maki was “convicted of defrauding a union.”

The union admitted that there was no trial conviction, but said that Maki had been fined internally by the union for operating a non-union business while being an active union member.

The union regional council fined Maki $752,150, but the international union reduced it to $500,000. Maki is appealing this amount.

Maki was a carpenter for 13 years before he started his own business. He was a union member the entire time until he resigned in April of 2005.

Circuit Judge Mitchell L. Hoffman and the jury found the union and the three organizers guilty of one count each of defamation. The union must pay $2.25 million, and the organizers are to pay $103,000 between them.

Victim of defamation? Please contact us to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your legal rights.

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