State Senate candidates Chris Velasquez and Annette Glenn, and Dow Silicones Corporation, are being sued in a 14-page complaint that was filed July 21 in 42nd Circuit Court of Midland County by Sharon Schram.
In the Aug. 2 primary election, Velasquez and State Rep. Glenn are among four candidates vying for the 35th District State Senate Republican nomination.
The complaint details three counts: Invasion of privacy – false light (Velasquez), Defamation (Velasquez and Glenn), and Breach of contract (Dow). On its first count, the July 21 complaint alleges that Velasquez, in his recent comments in response to a Glenn campaign flyer, painted Schram “in a false light.” On its second count, it alleges that both Glenn and Velasquez defamed Schram’s character. On its third count, it alleges that, by Velasquez’s public comments about the earlier lawsuit, both Velasquez and Dow, violated a non-disclosure agreement tied to the earlier complaint.
Schram is seeking a trial by jury and damages of $75,000.
Schram filed the July 21 complaint after a series of public comments were made by both Velasquez and Glenn related to a 2016 lawsuit filed by Schram against Dow Corning Corporation in U.S. District Court. That lawsuit alleged retaliation by Dow Corning contrary to the federal Family & Medical Leave Act; disability discrimination under the Michigan Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act; retaliation under the Michigan Worker’s Disability Compensation Act; and gender discrimination under the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Velasquez, a Dow Corning manager at the time, was one of multiple Dow Corning employees who were deposed in the lawsuit. Schram’s case against Dow Corning was eventually settled out of court in 2018.
Early this month, Glenn’s State Senate campaign sent a mailer that questioned whether Velasquez “could be trusted” to treat women and men equally under the law, based on comments made by a federal judge who denied a Dow Corning motion for summary judgment. Glenn’s campaign also issued a press release stating she refunded Velasquez’s donations to her 2018 and 2020 State House campaigns.
Velasquez publicly defended himself against statements in Glenn’s campaign flyer and social media posts. State Sen. Ken Horn, also publicly defended Velasquez in a letter to the editor sent to the Daily News.
Glenn’s campaign requested that the paper publish District Court Judge David M. Lawson’s comments about the earlier lawsuit.
Daily News Editor Dave Clark wrote a column that criticized Glenn’s mailer.
In an email exchange with the Glenn campaign, Clark wrote: “Did you make any attempt to reach out to the plaintiff in the case before you published the mailer?” The campaign responded with: “Yes. The plaintiff is deceased.”
On July 20, the Glenn campaign sent the following email: “Mr. Clark, we told you in an earlier e-mail that the plaintiff in the court case involving Mr. Velasquez is deceased, based on what we were told by a Dow Corning retiree who worked with her. To correct the record, we learned today that she is not deceased.”
The Daily News has emailed Dow, the Glenn campaign and the Velasquez campaign for comments about the July 21 complaint.
“Dow does not comment on past or present litigation,” Dow spokesperson Kyle Bandlow wrote in an email reply to the Daily News.
“She (Glenn) has no comment on the substance of any pending litigation,” the Glenn campaign wrote in an email reply to the Daily News. “However, it’s notable that the attorney filing the lawsuit — Victor Mastromarco, who’s doing all the media interviews — is a $1,000 donor (in May 2022) to another Republican in the same primary contest, former state Rep. Tim Kelly.”
Victor Mastromarco, of the Mastromarco Firm, was also one of the attorneys who represented Schram in the 2016 lawsuit.
The Velasquez campaign has not yet responded to the Daily News’ request for comment.
The Daily News also left a phone message with The Mastromarco Firm seeking comment.