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Lawyer sues over accusations that he’s a creep

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A California woman took to to complain about her experience with Belleair Bluffs attorney Brian Mahany. Now she’s not the only one who is pissed.

Mahany saw the post and is now suing its author for libel and defamation of character. He seeks to have the post removed and all links to it through search engines deleted.

A link to the complaint is seventh on a Google search of Mahany’s name.

In the unknown woman’s complaint, she alleges she paid Mahany an $8,500 retainer and all she got in return were late-night phone calls and “sickly” breathing.

“This guy is a totally perverted creep who gets off on harassing single women. Not only did he take my money but he doesn’t do any work on my case, continues to call be (sic) and harass me. I can hear his sickly breath like he is masterbating (sic) and gets off while he talks to me about how great a lawyer he is and how he wins cases and has lots of money,” wrote the author who identified herself as Linda Hughes.

The lawsuit is filed against Jane Doe. In recent comments on the post authored in March 2012, someone — allegedly Mahany or his attorney — posted two legal notices. The first was informing the author of pending legal action for defamation of character and libel. It stated if the author “issued a correction, apology, retraction or complete removal of the post” within five days, a complaint would not be filed.

That comment was posted on May 4. On May 13 another warning was issued to the poster indicating a court proceeding had begun in order to establish the true identity of the original poster.

The lawsuit alleges statements made in “Linda Hughes’” post are “false,” “disparaging” and “impugn plaintiff’s business reputation.”

There have only been slightly more than 400 page views on the post.

There are eight comments on the post — two are regarding the legal action, five are general comments and another appears to be from Mahany. It’s posted in his name and alleges that anything that occurred was consensual.

“This is Brian Mahany responding to this complaint. Be advised that these encounters were consensual and not illegal. I greatly reduced my fee in exchange for an intimate encounter. I will do this for attractive young white women. No blacks, hispanics or asians,” the comment read. “Just remember I have practiced law for many years and I will not hesitate to file a lawsuit against anyone who writes reports I consider libelous. You will be served with a summons and complaint.

That response was posted on March 14, 2012, just days after the complaint was posted on the site.

The original poster isn’t the only one alleging Mahany has a propensity toward inappropriate behavior with women.

In a comment dated March 8, 2012, a user named Tamera indicated she had worked briefly at Mahany’s Wisconsin law firm, Mahany & Ertl. During that time she said she was frequently sexually harassed by Mahany and eventually quit her job as a result.

“He would walk past me and rub up against me. Try to massage my back when I told him to stop he offered me a full time job as his personal assistant,” she wrote. “He said he flies around … speaking and will let me travel with him. I declined politely. He did not like that. So he would call me in his office go behind my chair and put his hand in by blouse and his other hand up my skirt.”

Tamera also wrote that Mahany threatened to “make my job miserable” and if she ever filed a complaint she “would never work in law again.”

Mahany is not licensed to practice law in Florida, but his firm is based in Wisconsin where he is licensed. He practices federal tax law and also handles whistle blower cases.

Nowhere on his bio or personal website does it say he handles family law matters. The original complaint on PissedConsumer was posted from California, however Mahany’s lawsuit says he thinks the poster was a former client from Florida.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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