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Mon, Apr 11, 2005

Criminal Complaint Filed Against Sun 'n Fun

Sun 'N Fun Accused Of Trespassing

A criminal complaint was filed with the Winter Haven (FL) PD, on Friday, after a representative of the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In trespassed onto ANN office property, defacing the office and harassing those inside -- despite specific orders to vacate the premises and depart the area.

ANN had learned over a week earlier that Sun 'n Fun's efforts to bar ANN Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell from the Fly-In continue. Campbell has been highly critical of safety and ethical issues surrounding the event -- even though in 2004, Sun n' Fun allowed Campbell to walk in during the Fly-In, escorted by several reporters and TV photographers. After a half hour of deliberations involving several SnF senior staffers via the Press Check-In booth, Campbell was turned down for a Press Pass but was told he could buy a ticket... which he did.

When questioned later about the apparent change in attitude, SnF officials said letting Campbell in had been a mistake.

ANN Legal Counsel Phillip Kuhn received a letter from SnF's attorney more than a week ago. Kuhn termed this letter "even more shrill than usual," saying Sun 'n Fun executives again demanded that Campbell not come to the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In (formerly known as the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In before the growing rift between these orgnizations resulted in changes that included EAA's name being deleted). If he did show up (even at the FAA Building controlled by the Federal Government... on Federal property), the letter said, Campbell would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

In the Friday incident, a Sun 'n Fun representative came on to ANN property without notice or permission. After being told to depart (and that the police were being called), he proceeded to tape copies of Sun 'n Fun's letter over every single office door (shown below) with clear packing tape. In one case, the tape adhered so tightly that it had to be removed from the outside after it was determined that the door could not be opened without significant damage.

In each case, removing the paperwork did cause damage to the paint. After talking it over with counsel, Campbell filed a criminal complaint with the Winter Haven Police Department. The Editor-in-Chief said ANN will demand the full prosecution of all those involved.

Campbell is currently in litigation with SnF over issues related its continuing ban against Campbell during the event. The lawsuit has continued for approximately two years, primarily due to delaying tactics in use by SnF. "They're doing everything they can to avoid substantive discovery... even to the point of trying to limit my access to documents shown to our attorney... we're not quite sure how they can justify such a request, as one would assume that a client has the right to inspect every document seen by their lawyer, but our counsel is ready to fight this kind of tactic at every turn," noted Campbell. Tired of waiting for results, Campbell says he's approved a far more comprehensive and aggressive series of legal actions, expected to be filed within days.



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