City Hall

Avi Adelman Told a Judge He Wouldn't Use Philip Kingston's Name on a Website. So Here's

In the end, Belmont Addition attorney Melissa Kingston's lawsuit against neighborhood activist Avi Adelman ended not with the expected bang, but with a whimper of a settlement agreement. Under the terms of the settlement, Adelman agreed not to do a handful of annoying and/or stalker-esque things, like taking pictures of Kingston's house or writing emails pretending to be her. In exchange, Kingston agreed to no longer pursue the suit.

The legal spat just so happened to coincide with Kingston's husband's bid for City Council. Matter of fact, his candidacy was revealed in legal filings in the case. Philip Kingston won the District 14 runoff on Saturday, and Adelman, it seems, couldn't help himself.

Some time between Saturday night and this morning, Adelman went live with It's a Facebook page, at least for now, and it features Philip Kingston's face Photoshopped onto -- what else? -- a weasel.

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"I was elected in June 2013 to represent Dallas City Council District 14," the page reads. "I have no frigging idea what I am doing here. I only care about my friends in the Belmont Addition Conservation District. Everyone else can go to hell." The "About" section lists the weasel's gender as "Neutral (It)."

Now, there's nothing in the settlement that bars Adelman from Photoshopping Kingston's face on the mammal of his choice. That still qualifies as speech. Bizarre and mean-spirited speech, perhaps, but constitutionally protected nonetheless.

There is, however, a stipulation that Adelman refrain from "[R]egistering, creating, establishing or otherwise setting up any other websites or domain names using "Kingston" or any part, version or variation thereof in the domain or website name."

Notice how the domain name, and the website itself, carefully omits the Kingston name. You have to study the context clues -- the "P.K." of the page's title, the numerous references to being District 14's council representative, the Photoshopped face, Adelman's demonstrated, unstinting hatred of the Kingstons -- to puzzle out who exactly is being referenced.

Adelman declined to comment on the settlement or the Facebook page, though all available evidence suggests he's confident he's managed to brush up against the line without technically crossing it. The evidence also suggests that the man does not know how to bury a hatchet, unless, of course, it's in Kingston's back.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson