Suing each other: NKY governor candidate and former Trump associate

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Corey Lewandowski, an associate of former President Donald Trump, is suing former Northern Kentucky attorney and current gubernatorial candidate Eric Deters over breach of contract.

Deters is counter-suing Lewandowski, who served as a campaign adviser for Deters, for the same, and for defamation.

“Corey Lewandowski is a fraud,” Deters said. “He sells himself as a Trump confidant. He’s not. In addition, he never did one single thing to help my campaign. Not one. In fact, all of his advise [sic] was wrong. There is a reason everyone fires him.”

The lawsuit against Deters was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on Monday by Northern Kentucky attorney Chris Wiest. Wiest is also currently representing Kevin Harris, a former employee of Deters who also sued over breach of contract. Deters also filed a countersuit in that case. 

Wiest declined to comment on his client’s behalf, saying the lawsuit speaks for itself.

The lawsuit shows that Deters met Lewandowski at a fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, the private Florida club and residence of former President Donald Trump. The event required a $100,000 buy-in. In hopes of securing Trump’s endorsement, Deters continued to attend these types of events. 

“At that February 23, 2022, Mar-a-Lago event, Deters made the following material representations to Mr. Lewandowski: that he, Deters, was a well-respected Kentucky attorney, was independently wealthy, had more than $5,000,000 in the bank, and had sufficient funds to self-fund his campaign for Governor,” the lawsuit says. 

In March, Deters and Lewandowski signed a contract that showed a retainer fee of $17,500 per month for Lewandowski’s political services. Lewandowski took a trip to Kentucky in May to meet with Deters and his team.

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Things started going sour for the pair that same month after Deters paid $75,000 to attend a Kentucky Derby event with the former president. “Certain behavior” was expected from attendees, including talking to the press about what Trump said at the event, the suit said. 

Deters told the Courier-Journal that he and Trump agreed on their dislike of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. 

“Mr. Lewandowski informed Deters that Deters’ behavior at the Derby event, and his comments to the media that followed it, would likely be seen as being disloyal to former President Trump,” the lawsuit says. 

A few days later, Trump endorsed Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is also running for the Republican nomination in next year’s governor’s race. 

“Deters was incensed by this development. He called Mr. Lewandowski and screamed at him. Deters became even more incensed when Mr. Lewandowski told Deters that Deters only had himself to blame,” the lawsuit says. 

Lewandowksi became alarmed by Deters’ behavior and found out that he was no longer an acting attorney in Kentucky and the claims he made at Mar-a-Lago were “categorically false,” including Deters’ claim that he was independently wealthy and could self-fund his gubernatorial race. 

Lewandowski then terminated the contract, with Deters still allegedly owing him more than $35,000. 

In response, Deters filed suit in Kenton County against both Wiest and Lewandowski for defamation and breach of contract. 

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