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COER leader ordered to stay away from Windermere realtor
A district court commissioner has ordered that jet noise critic Michael Monson stay away from South Whidbey Windermere Realtor Joe Mosolino.
The order for protection from harassment was requested June 6 but was made final Friday.
Court Commissioner Linda Kipling ordered Monson to refrain from contacting Mosolino, and he must stay 300 feet from Mosolino’s residence and 30 feet from his person at all times, according to court documents.
Monson has been critical of Mosolino for leaking what he considered confidential information on the Whidbey News-Times website in January.
An increasingly vocal opponent of the Navy’s touch-and-go operations at Outlying Field Coupeville, Monson claims that his brokerage, Windermere, did not offer him a noise disclosure to sign when he purchased his home near the field.
However, upon reviewing his file, Windermere Realtors discovered that Monson did sign a noise disclosure, although the form has since been updated because residents complained it wasn’t detailed enough.
The disclosure signed by Monson was a one-paragraph document intended for building projects not real estate transactions, and did not include language required by the county’s noise disclosure.
Monson is president of the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, a group that sued the Navy last year over jet noise and is demanding the closure of OLF.
“As a leader of the COER group, and the self-purported honest man he is, we should see a retraction of his statements and a correction on his website any moment now,” Mosolino posted on the Whidbey News-Times website in January.
In return, Monson accused Mosolino of attempting to “smear” his reputation on the COER blog.
Mosolino filed for the harassment order after Monson followed him around at a June 3 campaign event for Congressman Rick Larsen in Coupeville.
Mosolino wrote in his court filing that Monson approached him at the event, grabbed his hand and began to “shake my hand vigorously and would not release my hand.”
Monson said, “How did you slither in here,?” according to Mosolino’s court filing, and the South Whidbey Record has reported that Monson called Mosolino a “snake.”
Mosolino said he moved away from Monson after freeing his hand and asked him repeatedly to leave him alone.
Monson followed Mosolino around the room making comments, and grabbed his shoulder to keep him from moving away. Mosolino told him “if you don’t take your hand off me I’m going to punch you,” according to the court documents.
Monson reportedly replied, “I would like that, I would love to have an assault charge against you.”
“I moved away from him quickly and told the congressman’s aid that I must leave because Mr. Monson is deliberately trying to provoke me in public and she agreed and said there was much tension and it would be best for me if I left,” Mosolino wrote.
Mosolino said in a Monday interview that his interaction with Monson has been upsetting and has caused him to avoid Coupeville businesses and public events.
“I consider myself a good friend of his (Larsen’s),” Mosolino said. “That was embarrassing.”
Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who attended the event during the exchange, said that she didn’t observe the harassment but spoke to Mosolino in the parking lot after he left.
Price Johnson said Mosolino said he was made uncomfortable by the exchange.
“My biggest fear about it is it pulls our community apart,” said Price Johnson.
When asked about COER’s demonstration tactics, which have included flying the American flag upside down and interrupting Larsen’s campaign event to raise questions about OLF, Price Johnson said that she still appreciates their concerns.
“I understand their frustration,” Price Johnson said. “We might disagree about tactics. My role is to find common ground for our community. That’s where I’m focused.”
The harassment order is good through January, but Mosolino said he plans to extend indefinitely.
Mosolino owns the Langley and Freeland Windermere offices, but lives in Coupeville.
Monson did not return phone calls for comment.