Midtown Harrisburg business’ former owner awarded damages in defamation case

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In July 2018, a woman posted on social media, that she was a victim of a rape, and that the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center (HMAC) was responsible. Recently, however, John Traynor, the former owner of HMAC, says he was awarded more than $4 million in damages after a judge in civil court ruled in his favor.

“She was never here drinking,” Traynor said. “She posted that she was taken out by my security staff and placed in the arms of her attacker, that never happened,”

Traynor says soon after the false story came out, a social media news outlet made things worse. “People were coming forward claiming we were spiking drinks,” Traynor said. “We were getting threats, and I was called a rapist.”

The Harrisburg Police Department determined the allegations were false, and Traynor says he had to file Chapter 11, for protection.

“Bands and other entertainers would not come to HMAC, and customers stopped coming,” Traynor said. “Things continued to get worse.”

Traynor says business has gotten better, and more than 50 entertainers are booked for the next few months.

“This was never about the money, Traynor said. “This was about getting the truth out.”

Traynor will remain with HMAC as a consultant and is looking forward to watching the business continue to grow.

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