Chamber settles defamation suit and apologizes for false statements against bank president

Posted on March 30, 2018 by Staff reports

The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce this week settled a defamation of character lawsuit filed against the organization and yesterday Tamara Fountain, president/CEO, provided a written apology to Beach Community Bank President Tony Hughes.

In Fountain’s letter to Hughes, she notes that during an April 6, 2016 chamber board meeting former CEO Judy Morehead made a statement that “contained false information.” According to Fountain, that statement was not approved by any member of the Chamber’s Executive Board before it was read by Morehead nor was it printed in minutes for the meeting. “The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Disavows the false statements made at the April 6, 2016, board meeting and apologizes if any hard was caused to your reputation.” Fountain went to on to say, “We look forward to putting any disagreements behind us and moving forward to serve Navarre.”

“Although it took one week shy of two years since the April 2016 chamber board meeting, I am very pleased,” Hughes said of the settlement. He said the parties agreed not to disclose the amount of the settlement paid by the chamber to settle the suit against the organization and its former CEO Judy Morehead, who is facing securities fraud charges in Alabama. “Sadly tens of thousands of dollars of attorney fees were spent by both sides in this dispute and there is no telling how many wasted, unproductive hours were spent dealing with the false and damaging statements made about me. Thankfully the chamber has finally disavowed those statements and has apologized. I accept their apology.”

Hughes helped start a new chamber of commerce, the Greater Navarre Area Chamber, and he serves as co-chairman of that chamber’s Military Affairs Council.