Pa. journalist ordered to provide info on net worth in ex-coach’s defamation suit

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WILLIAMSPORT – A radio group and a Williamsport journalist have been ordered to disclose information on their wealth in a defamation suit in which they are defendants.

Lycoming County Judge Eric R. Linhardt ruled Monday that Colonial Radio Group and Todd Bartley of Williamsport need to provide that because it could be relevant if punitive damages become an issue.

Bartley and the radio group are to report information on any and all assets whether individually or jointly owned.

That includes salary, total compensation or benefits received or anticipated, income tax returns, ownership of real estate and personal property, bank accounts, stocks and bonds.

The judge limited disclosure of salaries, revenues, compensation, benefits received and income tax returns from 2018 to the present. The information cannot be disseminated except for use in the case.

It was sought by former Williamsport Area High School baseball coach Ryan L. Miller after he sued Bartley, the radio group and several Fox entities for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Court documents list Colonial Radio Group as owner of Fox Sports Williamsport.

Bartley and the radio group opposed release of the information contending the allegations against them do not rise to the level of recklessness necessary to support a claim for punitive damages.

They also argued if they had to provide the information it should be limited to assets they own not those with other parties.

In March, Linhardt ordered a full breakdown on how Barley is paid beyond a base salary for articles he posts on its website.

Bartley was general manager of Fox Sports Williamsport, now branded Talk Williamsport, when he published on its website on Aug. 23, 2018, the first of a series of articles entitled “Millionaire Baseball Mayhem in Myrtle Beach.”

It alleged Miller was arrested as the perpetrator of an alleged domestic assault with his girlfriend at Myrtle Beach, S.C., in March 2018 when the baseball team was in a tournament there.

The truth, the suit claims, is Miller called authorities after he and two other coaches saw an altercation and went to the female victim’s aid.

In his defense of the suit, Bartley points out within days he posted a correction that Miller was not arrested.

Miller also contends Bartley’s series contained false and defamatory statements that included he and others were involved in a conspiracy to cover up a sex incident involving several baseball players.

According to former Lycoming County Detective William Weber who investigated the incident, a player bared his buttocks and sat on the face of a sleeping player while another player videoed the act.

The Williamsport Area School District claims the matter was fully investigated and proper discipline was imposed but privacy laws prevent it from providing more details.

Myrtle Beach police also conducted a probe and charges were filed in that state’s equivalent of juvenile court and not made public.

Bartley continues to push on the Talk Williamsport website his claim of a coverup and has criticized public officials including Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The AG’s office at the request of Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan C. Gardner investigated whether the probe into the sexual misconduct incident resulted in a cover-up.

Gardner in July 2021 revealed he was informed it was unable to do so because of “a failure of the district attorney’s office to create, implement and enforce policies governing the conduct of county detectives.”

More:

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