Best Gadfly St. Louis 2004 - Thomas Diehl
This past December, a group of neighbors opposed to a trash-transfer station in their neck of south county distributed a tough-talking anonymous flier slamming Fred Weber Inc., the company behind the proposed waste dump. The handbill suggested that residents contact county officials, boycott Fred Weber's landfill and make a donation to the cause in order to "stop the trash terrorists." Fred Weber Inc., a multimillion-dollar construction firm with deep pockets and a shallow grasp of the First Amendment, took umbrage at being labeled terrorists and sued Thomas Diehl, the landfill's most vocal opponent, along with his "John Doe" cohorts, for a cool $5 million. According to the lawsuit, "FWI [Fred Weber Inc.] is not a terrorist, FWI is not fanatical, FWI has not killed or injured people at any time and FWI does not hate the United States." True. They're just a big company that's bogging down the legal system by threatening to break the financial backs of ordinary folks who dare to speak against them. On second thought, ain't that the American Way?