EllenBeth Wachs

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Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit To Be Heard On Appeal – Plaintiff EllenBeth Wachs

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Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit To Be Heard On Appeal –Plaintiff EllenBeth Wachs

From:    johnkieffer@atheistsofflorida.org

Date:    Thu, February 7, 2013 3:20 pm

To:      johnkieffer@atheistsofflorida.org



Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit To Be Heard On Appeal – Plaintiff EllenBeth Wachs

Lakeland, FL, Thursday, February 7, 2013 — The Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit (“Atheists of Florida & EllenBeth Wachs v. City of Lakeland and Mayor Gow Fields” ) will be heard on appeal next week as plaintiff Wachs faces yet another trumped up arrest threat conjured up by one of her own members in part of a leadership coup, orchestrated by its then chairman, Edward “Golly” Gollobith in late 2011 against Wachs, its vice-president and John Kieffer, its president.   The three are currently embroiled in litigation over control of the non-profit.  Wachs is also suing Gollobith and seven others for defamation.

Wachs gave Atheists of Florida legal standing as plaintiff in a 2010 federal lawsuit to replace the all Christian prayer rituals at City of Lakeland meetings with a more inclusive seated moment of silence.  The case will be heard on appeal in Atlanta on February 13 and has the potential of affecting current case law as it applies to government prayers, at least in the Southeast if not appealed to the Supreme Court.

Of the litigation with Gollobith, Wachs stated, “He has been doing a smear campaign against me claiming that I have misappropriated funds despite any evidence to back up his assertion.  For a year Mr. Gollobith has made this ridiculous claim that I have stolen money based upon the fact that I wanted keep my attorney-client privilege protected.   Now that the judge has ruled that my attorney-privilege will remain protected, he is getting the attorney invoices the way that I’ve offered them all along.”

In the most recent court filing, Gollobith’s new attorney claims that Wachs, a retired attorney, “has acted as the attorney for … Kieffer.”

Wachs responded, “Resorting to this underhanded tactic, Mr. Gollobith must be feeling very desperate if he feels he should have the authorities of Polk County take me down instead of facing me in a courtroom.”

Wachs is referring to an event in March 2011 in which the sheriff of Polk County, Grady Judd, sent over a dozen SWAT deputies to arrest her and search her home.  The charge, practicing law without a license, a felony, was eventually dropped by the county’s prosecutor.  The arrest was in retaliation over Wachs’ public records request that she had made on behalf of the atheist organization to Judd, an outspoken evangelical, over his highly publicized Christmas gift transfer of his jail basketball goals to eight of his county’s churches.

That arrest, which occurred after the Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit was filed in July 2010, was facilitated in part by Lakeland’s Mayor Gow Fields, one of the named defendants in the federal suit and an affiant in the 2011 arrest affidavit.

Kieffer remarked, “Gollobith sabotaged our rapidly growing state-wide movement for his own personal objectives, making false accusations against us and, in the process, defamed one of our most outspoken, courageous defenders of state/church separation, which of course includes Ms. Wachs’ role as plaintiff in this Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit.  And now, because Gollobith knows that he cannot win on the merits of his unsubstantiated and ever changing allegations, he is amazingly going to try to win by alleging that she is practicing law,” said Kieffer.


For more information contact John Kieffer at:



Additional information about the Lakeland Prayer Lawsuit:

“EllenBeth Wachs & AoF Sue City of Lakeland”  (July 2010)


“Prayer lawsuit moves forward; plaintiff curiously arrested”  (March 2011)


“Motion for Summary Judgment Denied in Part”  (February 2012)



Written by EllenBeth Wachs

February 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm

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