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El Cajon councilman served with lawsuit during council meeting

Ben Kalasho now faces another civil suit
Posted: 7:36 PM, Sep 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-12 02:40:55Z

EL CAJON (KGTV) - During the El Cajon council meeting, councilmember Ben Kalasho was served with another civil lawsuit.

Mark Lane filed the lawsuit and said Kalasho has been dodging it for weeks. He accuses Kalasho of violation of first amendment rights for blocking him on social media.

Recently, a federal judge ruled President Trump could not block Twitter followers, calling it unconstitutional.

"Freedom of speech means anybody from anywhere in this country can come to this council can call you out for being the jerk that you are," Lane said during public comment.

"He's brought enough shame on our city," Lynn Powell-Macklin told the council. Some asked Kalasho to resign.

Kalasho did not make any direct comments to those speaking out against him.

"We're asking you to be a better person. If there's one thing you have accomplished, at a time where our country's extremely divided, you've managed to bring together liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, all to oppose you," said El Cajon resident Phil Ortiz.

A civil lawsuit was filed last year against Kalasho and his wife, accusing them of fraud and defamation against contestants in their Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant USA. The Kalashos help run the pageant.

The lawsuit claims the woman who won in 2016, Zhala Tawfiq, was stripped of her title and not awarded the total prize money she was supposed to receive. Around that time, a fake Instagram account was also created that posted the beauty queen’s face on top of other naked women’s bodies, according to the suit.

 

Kalasho is also accused of making inappropriate comments to another contestant.

 

He has denied all allegations.

 

After the meeting, he released this statement to 10News:

 

The lawsuit today which was served similarly to National City Mayor Ron Morrison, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed last month, and other elected officials alike. The attorney who is bringing these frivolous lawsuits is acting unethical and only looking to line his pockets. Mark Lane, the plaintiff in the case at bar is a known agitator. Mr. Lane does not even live in El Cajon. He is not my constituent. In my case, I didn’t block Mr. Lane but simply exceeded the 5000 friend limit on my personal page. I simply wasn’t allowed to add anymore friends due to Facebook limits. Besides, that’s my personal page. I do have a professional LIKE page which anyone can post to.