GOP Senate Candidate Fails to Win Restraining Order Against Ex-Employee
This post has been updated with comments from senate candidate Brad Toft.
Fifth District Republican state senate candidate Brad Toft, running for the seat being vacated by Republican Cheryl Pflug, failed today to win a permanent restraining order against Kelly Ann Spratt, the woman who accused Toft of "jokingly" swinging a bat at her head when she worked for him at a Bellevue mortgage firm. A King County District Court judge ruled today that Toft's request for a restraining order was baseless and, PubliCola hears, said Spratt was exercising her right to free speech by making statements about Toft.
Toft accused Spratt of harassing him through emails and mentions on Twitter, by asking him "editorializing questions" at a political event, and by showing up at another event where he was speaking and making threatening comments to his wife. (Spratt did send Toft an email making fun of his decision to run for senate and referred to his Twitter page in several tweets calling him "shady," "disreputable," and a liar).
Toft said in a statement today that he had received a "personal agreement" that Spratt would not contact him in the future. "I feel vindicated in my attempts to protect my family from additional harassment from Ms. Spratt,” Toft said. "I believe, however, her smears are politically motivated. Now, it has the backing of a court agreement.”
Aside from Ms. Spratt’s vigorous complaints to the contrary, her First Amendment rights are protected.
Spratt has not responded to a request for comment. We have a call out to Toft as well.
In his request for a protective order, Toft said he was "concerned that [Spratt] may do something drastic. In a day when acts of violence occur with unfortunate regularity, this order is necessary."
Just before he announced he was running, Toft sought to have court records sealed in a civil case against him by College Pro Painters, which sued Toft for failing to pay a $10,000 franchise fee. (Toft eventually had $4,000 in wages garnished to settle the case.)
Toft also has a well-documented history of conflicts with his former colleagues, including his failure to pay thousands of dollars in wages to an employee and the baseball-bat incident, which he has denied ever happened. And he has been jailed at least once for failing to respond to bench warrants for a criminal traffic citation for driving with a suspended license in the mid-1990s, receiving a suspended jail sentence of 90 days and a fine of $1,000 which he did not pay until after it went into collections, in 2002.
Late last month, a judge denied Toft's initial request for a temporary restraining order, concluding that there were "no threats of violence" or "immediate threat[s] to Toft.
Toft is running against Democrat Mark Mullet, a local entrepreneur who owns a Zeek's Pizza and a Ben & Jerry's in Issaquah. Mullet won the top-two primary 54.4 to 47.8 in a district that leans heavily Republican.