The race for a Port of Vancouver commissioner seat has become highly personal in recent days, leading candidate Kris Greene to seek legal protection.
On Friday, Greene served a temporary protection order from harassment against his former campaign strategist and volunteer Robert Sabo.
The petition was filed Oct. 6, but Sabo claims he didn't receive notice until Friday, the same day The Columbian published an article on how Vancouver Energy and other oil insiders are shaping Greene's campaign. The article cited several emails leaked to the newspaper from Sabo a month after he left Greene's campaign in early September.
“He’s trying to blatantly deny me of my First Amendment rights,” Sabo said by phone Friday afternoon, claiming the protection order was retaliation for going to the press. “[Greene is] going to do whatever he thinks he needs to to try and dismiss that I’m telling the truth.”
The report details an incident between Sabo and Greene last month. It also says the harassment continued Oct. 2-3.
In the petition, Greene writes: “Robert shouted at me multiple times that I could not understand how much energy it takes him to hold back his anger and that his anger was uncontrollable and I could not imagine how much harm he could do to me, my family, my business and my campaign and anyone associated with it.”
Greene went on to write that Sabo killed the campaign’s internet and removed Greene’s Facebook page for a day.
Greene said the argument stemmed from a move to bring his brother-in-law, Dan Lewis, into the campaign — a decision Sabo allegedly did not agree with.
“He shouted he would ruin my campaign and my life if I continued to work with my brother-in-law,” wrote Greene.
Speaking to OPB on Friday, Greene said he did not understand why the help from Lewis caused Sabo to become so upset.
“I don’t know what set this man off, but if you take a look at his background, you’ll see some things that you need to be aware of,” Green said.
The petition includes mention of a 1997 conviction where Sabo served prison time for armed robbery in the state of Washington. He later received a pardon from then-Gov. Gary Locke.
Greene is requesting that Sabo make no additional contact and that he stay away from Greene’s home and workplace. He would like Sabo to not “text, mail, e-mail, comment or harm me or my campaign, my family on any social media or news outlet, nor disparage me or my family in any way to anyone.”
Greene is asking that the court keep this in place longer than one year and that Sabo should be required to pay all legal fees and costs.
Greene grew emotional in his conversation with OPB, saying Sabo was a close friend and that recent events have turned too personal.
“It's a shame that he feels like he has to behave like this. But I’m running a campaign and I need to concentrate on that,” Greene said. “This is a huge diversion and Robert’s doing it on purpose to draw our attention away.”
An emergency temporary protection order is in place until the first court hearing Wednesday.