Jan 18, 2023 - Business

Lawyer for Tipsy Crow owner sends warning letter regarding Facebook posts

grumpy goat

Former Grumpy Goat location in downtown Des Moines. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Tim Hartman, a local Des Moines business owner, received a letter from Steve McFadden's attorney warning him to stop writing on social media about the bar owner.

  • Hartman was also warned his posts could warrant legal action.

State of play: McFadden, who owns several Des Moines-area businesses including Tipsy Crow and Grumpy Goat, has faced online criticism after several recent criminal charges.

What they're saying: Hartman, the owner of Tapz Pub in Clive, told Axios he received an email from McFadden's attorney on Jan. 13 saying he was "slanderous" in Facebook posts about McFadden and that he should remove them.

  • In response, he shared the attorney's letter on his Facebook and encouraged people to share it, saying he would donate $5 to local food banks for each share.

The other side: David Leitner, a West Des Moines attorney representing McFadden, said people can write negative posts about their experiences at one of his restaurants, but:

  • "When people say ... this guy's an abuser, a rapist, a racist and God who knows what ... This is a whole other thing," Leitner told Axios.

The big picture: The letter comes following lawsuits McFadden filed in May 2022 against 11 people, accusing them of defamation stemming from Facebook comments, the Des Moines Register reported.

  • McFadden's lawsuits against people who comment negatively on Facebook are "strategic' and are ultimately meant to "silence critics," an expert at the Media Law Resource Center told the Register.

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