Target of Los Osos contract killing plot files lawsuit
April 27, 2016
A Los Osos businessman harassed and then attempted to kill his former employee after the man started a competing company, according to a lawsuit filed in San Luis Obsipo Superior Court last week.The harassment included a Craigslist advertising the former employee as a gay “butt-scratcher,” the lawsuit states.
In February, police arrested Anthony Gene Stevens, 52, after he allegedly paid an undercover officer to kill a business associate with whom he had a falling out. Stevens, who owns T. Stevens Moving Services, remains in San Luis Obispo County Jail on a charge of solicitation to commit murder.
Aaron Stireman, the alleged target of the contract killing plot, argues in the lawsuit that Stevens was upset at him for starting his own company.
Stireman began working for Stevens’ moving business in 2013, according to the lawsuit. In 2014, Stireman began doing jobs under his own name, and that did not sit well with Stevens, the lawsuit states.
Stevens began harassing Stireman online by posting photographs that his employee had given him. In Sept. 2015, Stevens filed a request for restraining order against Stireman, claiming Stireman was flagging his company ads for removal from Craigslist.
Stireman filed a response stating it was Stevens who was flagging his Craigslist ads. Stireman’s response to the restraining order request also stated Stevens was bad-mouthing him to customers and competition. Stevens then withdrew his restraining order request.
In late 2015, Stevens’ attorney sent Stireman cease-and-desist notices demanding he remove allegedly infringing images from his ads.
Then in December, Stevens posted a false ad on Craigslist that showed Stireman’s face and advertised a “butt-scratcher” who “will scratch any animal butt,” the lawsuit alleges. The ad stated Stireman will perform sexual acts on an animal, and it implied Stireman is gay.
The “Butt-Scatcher” post hurt Stireman’s reputation and feelings, but the harassment took a serious turn when Stevens was arrested for attempting to hire a hit man to kill Stireman.
Stireman accuses Stevens of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unlawful business practices, copyright infringement and other complaints. The plaintiff is seeking monetary damages, punitive damages and reimbursement for legal fees.
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