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Tony's Kansas City blogger retracts posts, apologizes to former head of KC firefighters union

The former head of Kansas City’s firefighters union has settled his defamation suit with a Kansas City blogger, who posted a retraction and an apology Monday morning.

Tony Botello posted the statement on his website, Tony’s Kansas City, also known as TKC, at 9 a.m. According to the terms of the settlement, filed earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court, TKC’s readers will be able to find the posting through a prominent link on the blog for 30 days. The statement “shall at all times be closed to comments,” according to the settlement.

Botello also agreed to remove the original posts that prompted Louie Wright, former president of Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, to file the defamation suit in August 2011.

The lawsuit focused on three posts that Botello published, two from May 2011 addressing an anonymous YouTube video that accused Wright of criminal activity in the merger of the MAST ambulance service into the Fire Department. The other post, from August 2009, claimed that Wright received “at least six figures” from the United Way for directing firefighter donations to the charity, according to the original suit.

“TKC acknowledges that the claims were not verified and that such claims should be viewed as baseless,” according to the statement published on the blog. “TKC agrees with, recognizes, respects and acknowledges Mr. Wright’s assertion that he has never profited from any charity work for the United Way or any other charitable or not-for-profit organization with which he is or has been affiliated.

“Moreover, TKC would like to apologize to Mr. Wright for any distress caused by the posts.”

According to paperwork filed in court, Botello denied that he was liable for anything related to the posts but only agreed to the settlement “to avoid the cost of further legal proceedings.”

Wright and Botello also agreed not to disparage each other or members of their immediate families.

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