By Corinne Murdock |
Nearly five months ago, a group of mothers publicized a Google Drive dossier on them and other parents perceived as political enemies, compiled by the father of their Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) board president, Jann-Michael Greenburg. The trove of political opposition research leaked by SUSD mother Amanda Wray quickly made international news, and became known as the “Greenburg Files,” or “Greenburg Dossier.” Jann-Michael’s father, Mark Greenburg, didn’t shy away from the uproar that ensued.
In January, Greenburg filed an initial complaint in the Maricopa County Superior Court against the Wrays for defamation, as well as violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Several weeks later, Greenburg amended his complaint to only sue for CFAA violations, striking all claims of defamation. Reporting on his lawsuit was featured in one place: the Arizona Republic, behind a subscriber-only paywall. In response, the Wrays issued a motion to dismiss, claiming that Greenburg had ulterior motives aligned with SLAPP behavior: “strategic lawsuits against public participation” to silence free speech.
A status conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 am. A scheduling conference is also scheduled for May 19 at 3 pm. The requested relief totals nearly $10,000.
Greenburg is represented by attorney Christopher Rapp of Ryan Rapp Underwood & Pacheco. Amanda and Daniel Wray are represented by John Wilenchik of Wilenchik & Bartness and acclaimed GOP chairwoman and attorney Harmeet Dhillon with her law group. Judge Joan Sinclair is listed as hearing the case.
Greenburg’s lawsuit characterized Amanda Wray as a “political operative,” pointing to the private Facebook group she organized, “SUSD-CAN,” short for “Scottsdale Unified School District Community Action Network,” a parent and community advocacy group concerning SUSD issues like masking, vaccinations, LGBTQ+, and critical race theory (CRT). He alleged that Wray stole his private information and documents by accessing the dossier, and that she doxxed him by publishing and discussing his home address, license plate, and Paycheck Protection Program loan information on the Facebook group page.
The lawsuit explained that Greenburg shared access to his server, or Google account on which the dossier was located, with three other individuals, one of whom he identified as his son, Jann-Michael. Greenburg insisted that the Google Drive dossier was otherwise password protected. He claimed that inadvertent public access to the dossier was granted through a setting unknown to him at the time enabling third parties to access the server without a password: the use of the Google Drive’s URL. Jann-Michael inadvertently shared that URL with SUSD parents in an emailed response to defamation accusations by including 13 screenshots of public Facebook comments stored within the dossier, one of which included the URL.
“The situation was the equivalent of Plaintiff’s son accidentally disclosing his username and password,” read the complaint.
Wray was accused of intentionally breaching the Google Drive dossier by using a third party to create a hyperlink with the inadvertently-shared URL. Greenburg also accused Wray of copying, deleting, adding, reorganizing, and renaming files on his server. He estimated that she caused him a loss amounting to at least $5,000.
The Wrays’ motion to dismiss insisted that Greenburg failed to state a claim in which relief can be granted. They rejected claims that the Google Drive in question was made private, noting that Jann-Michael shared a publicly accessible URL that only needed to be typed into a web address bar to be accessed. They added that Daniel couldn’t be roped into the lawsuit because claims of “ratify[ing]” Amanda’s access to the dossier weren’t proof of liability.
“Amanda cannot be liable for criminal ‘computer hacking’ just for clicking a hyperlink created by a third party (who is not a party to this action) to the URL for Greenburg’s Google Drive that Greenburg’s son published for anyone to see and use,” read the motion to dismiss.
In a follow-up reply to Greenburg’s response to their motion to dismiss, the Wrays’ attorneys again questioned his motives for suing after challenging the truthfulness of his claims. They characterized his lawsuit as a continuation of the dossier.
“This lawsuit is the latest, and hopefully last, chapter in Greenburg’s unlawful harassment and intimidation campaign against Ms. Wray and SUSD parents in retaliation for their advocacy regarding the SUSD school board,” wrote the Wrays’ attorneys. “[T]his lawsuit was brought to deter or prevent Ms. Wray from exercising her constitutional rights and right to petition [and] intended to harass and/or cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation[.]”
In mid-February, a third-party forensic investigation carried out by Loehrs Forensics determined that neither the SUSD email server or four personal computers issued by SUSD were used to create, access, modify, or share the Google Drive folder containing the dossier.
Law enforcement cleared the Greenburgs of any wrongdoing. Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) determined in December the dossier didn’t violate any laws because it contained open source and public documents only. Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate nonetheless, positing that Jann-Michael may have conspired to wield his power over parents. AZ Free News inquired with Brnovich’s office if any DOJ investigation ever took place. They didn’t respond by press time.
As AZ Free News reported, Jann-Michael admitted to having a history of sharing computers with his family members. He was also listed as one of the individuals who had editing access to the dossier.
The SUSD board voted to demote Jann-Michael from president to regular board member last November.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.