NEW YORK – Dr. Koularmanis, former head of the Greek School of the Cathedral of Saint Demetrios of Astoria and current director of Education of the Holy Archdiocese of America, filed a defamation lawsuit on January 20, 2021 against Nikos Stamatakis, owner of a website. Dr. Koularmanis is asking the court to award him $10 (ten) million dollars in damages.
He also asks that Stamatakis withdraw all his slanderous articles, as he characterizes them, from his website, to refute what he has written and posted against him, and to apologize to him.
Dr. Koularmanis refused to comment to The National Herald on the grounds that the matter is pending in Court.
Statements made to The National Herald by Stamatakis are presented at the end of this article.
In the 47-page lawsuit, reference number 154305/2020, which Dr. Koularmanis filed through his lawyer, he alleges that since 2019 he has been the victim of a vicious and relentless defamation campaign by defendant Nikos Stamatakis and his company Media LLC.
The lawsuit states that “the defamatory statements published by Stamatakis utterly destroyed the reputation and good name of plaintiff, who was the principal of a Greek parochial school in Astoria, Queens, and who is now unable to get a job as a school administrator or teacher because of Stamatakis’ falsehoods. Defendants John Does 1 through 10 are persons whose identities are currently unknown to plaintiff and who conspired with, and aided and abetted, Stamatakis to write his falsehoods.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that Stamatakis’ articles “falsely stated that Koularmanis stole money from children and his school, made personal charges on the school’s credit card of thousands of dollars, threatened retribution against students, parents, and teachers, and is a sexual deviant who allegedly harassed female students.”
Elsewhere in the lawsuit, specifically on page 3, it is stated that Stamatakis, in his defamatory attacks against the plaintiff, “falsely and repeatedly stated that Koularmanis engaged in ‘criminal behavior,’ ‘illegalities,’ ‘blackmail,’ ‘corruption,’ ‘predatory acts,’ ‘mishandling of money,’ and ‘terrorism,’ among other falsehoods. Stamatakis also falsely stated that Koularmanis belongs to a ‘mafia like organization,’ is a ‘co-conspirator’ in various schemes, is a ‘thug who terrorized the community’ and is an ‘Astoria rat.’” The lawsuit continued, “these statements were more than rhetorical hyperbole. Rather, they were part of a concerted and lengthy campaign to destroy Koularmanis’ reputation and good name.”
According to the lawsuit and specifically on page 7, it is stated that “defendants John Doe 1 through 10 are persons of Greek heritage in Astoria, Queens, and elsewhere in the United States, whose identities are presently unknown to plaintiff who conspired with Stamatakis, by paying him money or otherwise causing him to publish false and defamatory statements about other people connected with the Greek Community for personal, financial , or religious reasons as part of a vendetta against people whose reputations they wish to besmirch with falsehoods.”
The lawsuit contains English translations of some of Nikos Stamatakis’ articles which Koularmanis claims accurately substantiate his complaints.
There is also a reference to the out-of-court settlement between Koularmanis and his wife Mary with the community of the Cathedral of Saint Demetrios in Astoria and members of the parish council regarding the lawsuit filed by Koularmanis against them.
The following statement was included in the Amended Complaint:
“St. Demetrios is pleased to announce that the parties have settled their differences, and we wish to issue this public statement in an effort to heal any harm which this matter may have caused our community and our School.
“Mr. Koularmanis was employed at the St. Demetrios School for more than twenty years as the school’s Principal. At no time during his tenure was he accused by the St. Demetrios School Board of any misconduct, nor was the Board presented with any credible evidence to suggest any such misconduct, including the mishandling of school funds, embezzlement, sexual harassment, use of a school credit card for personal purchases, inappropriate behavior towards students or any other act of malfeasance or incompetence. The St. Demetrios School considered Mr. Koularmanis to be a competent and skilled teacher and administrator.
“St. Demetrios is also aware that Mr. Koularmanis has been the subject of a lengthy series of articles by Nikos Stamatakis, who writes a blog called Helleniscope. We wish it to be known that St. Demetrios has never authorized, approved, or asked Mr. Stamatakis to write about Mr. Koularmanis. We understand that, while the claims against St. Demetrios and its Board Members have been resolved, Mr. Koularmanis will continue to pursue defamation claims against Mr. Stamatakis, only. St. Demetrios and its Board will cooperate in that litigation, including testifying truthfully if subpoenaed to do so. The St. Demetrios School stands ready to recommend Mr. Koularmanis to any potential future employers and wishes Mr. Koularmanis well.”
Page 10 of the lawsuit reveals that “Stamatakis himself admitted to Koularmanis’ brother George Koularmanis in the summer of 2020 that Stamatakis attacked the reputation of Koularmanis solely to attack Nick Andriotis, and that it was Andriotis that Stamatakis was ‘after.’ Stamatakis also admitted to George Koularmanis that ‘all I made was $1,800 from all this,’ meaning that he was paid $1,800 by a member of the Astoria Greek Community for his attacks against Koularmanis.”
Paragraph 26 of the Complaint states that “[o]n information and belief, Stamatakis was paid substantially more than this amount to attack the reputation of Koularmanis. Stamatakis also said to George Koularmanis that ‘your brother’s career at St. Demetrios and at the Archdiocese is over, and he should look for employment elsewhere,’ thus admitting that Stamatakis’ goal is to prevent Koularmanis from being employed at the Archdiocese and at the School where he had worked for 20 years.”
In an effort to give Mr. Nikos Stamatakis an opportunity to present his views, TNH spoke with him. The statements he gave are printed below:
The National Herald: Good morning Mr. Stamatakis, I’m calling you about the following: TNH will publish the lawsuit of Mr. Koularmanis against you; do you want to make a statement?
Nikos Stamatakis: My statement goes as follows: As I said in court, I personally look forward to the moment when Mr. Koularmanis will be forced to present the evidence that will prove the abuses he committed against the community.
About the rest, the statement (meaning the lawsuit) did not even have to be presented and you do not have the right to do so because it was done in violation of the New York Code of Procedure and I have already refuted it. The court considers the statement non-existent.
TNH: Which statement? Do you mean the lawsuit?
Stamatakis: The lawsuit, let's say the complaint, is considered non-existent.
TNH: We have the lawsuit in our hands. I’m calling you to make a statement to us.
Stamatakis: Let me send you my answer then, which is that the statement (meaning the lawsuit) was made in violation of the procedural code and must be withdrawn. And, right now, from the point of view of the court it is considered non-existent and if you publish it you will have a problem; you will commit another violation of your journalistic duties.
Note: At this point we gave him our e-mail.
Stamatakis: Okay I will send you the answer I sent to the court and the court has responded positively and the existing lawsuit is considered as not filed, so if you publish it you will not do any good; I will respond to you via email.
TNH: I will publish what you said; send me yours, also and I will move forward.
Stamatakis: Certainly, certainly.
TNH: Nothing more, nothing less. Are we in agreement? The threats that you will respond, etc., please, stop it there. Do not threaten, please. Do you hear me?
Stamatakis: You do not have the right to publish something that has been rejected by the court.
TNH: Send them to me.
Stamatakis: I am sending them right now.
TNH: Send them; we're done. Thanks.
A few minutes after the above telephone communication of TNH with Stamatakis, the latter sent the following e-mail:
I enclose my application which was accepted by the court.
Please publish my answer to your telephone inquiry as follows:
The outlaws in the community of Saint Demetrios of Astoria, who used Mr. Koularmanis as a pawn, will soon be held accountable before Justice. They have already been condemned in the conscience of the Greek Diaspora when they were arrested in the act for abusing every notion of church and democracy, within the community, where the surveillance camera of the Church recorded them.
It is also morally right to note that Judge Hagler had rejected Mr. Koularmanis' first request (injunction) on August 11, saying on the record that the chances of success were non-existent in a possible trial and therefore the applicant was not entitled to any measures of protection of his reputation.
Below you can see the answer of the court that accepted my request to reject the lawsuit of Mr. Koularmanis as contrary to procedural institutions. So far the other party has not submitted a new application to the court and the one submitted is considered non-existent.
You have everything.
The “answer of the court” Stamatakis referred to in his email stated that the Summons and Amended Complaint were returned to plaintiffs for correction as a result of a procedural rule. The exact text from the court is as follows: “The court has returned the documents listed below for correction. Reason for Returning: Parties cannot be renamed, removed or substituted without leave of court as per CPLR 1003. Please obtain a court order directing the desired changes. Or you may add the desired party to the existing caption as you are within your time to do so and later move to amend the caption. Be sure to resubmit the corrected filing using the "refile document" link for documents #81 and #82. Thank you and enjoy your day.” There was no mention of the court accepting Mr. Stamatakis’ request to ‘reject’ (dismiss) the lawsuit – he did, however, attach a copy of the Notice of Rejection he filed pro se on the Court’s website.