Community Bristles Over Law Firm Ads - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Community Bristles Over Law Firm Ads

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - While hundreds are coming out supporting the victims of the sugar plant explosion, some are trying to make a buck.

If you opened up the Savannah Morning News this morning, you may have seen the ad pictured here.

It's a full-page ad, and reads "Sugar Refinery Explosion." However, if you scroll down, it is actually an advertisement for a law firm out of Dallas, Texas.

The calls have been pouring into WTOC, some people not happy about this at all.

It's not the only law ad concerning the explosion in the paper. Viewers have cried foul, many claiming the ad is bad timing and in bad taste.

"It just makes me sick," Margit Annas said.

This morning, Annas opened up the Savannah Morning News, and saw the ad.

"They got the picture of the explosion. It's terrible," Margit said. "It's deplorable."

At the top, the picture. At the bottom, following facts about the fire, and a phone number for the Dallas, Texas, law firm of Jeffrey D. Slakter.

"The last thing we want to see is a big lawyer ad," Annas said. "That's why a lot of people don't like lawyers, just because of this. It's just sick, it hasn't been a week, running advertisements to sue."

Annas has worked for Printcraft Press since 1991, and Dixie Crystals has been a long time customer.

"They are just wonderful people. I think they're great," she said.

Annas has a beef with the lawyers and the newspaper.

"I think the Savannah Morning News, I know business is business, you have to make your money, but there is some money you could turn down," she said. "They are part of our community. They've been here forever. I think it's disgusting. Very bad taste."

"I think that is very insensitive to the people at this time," Rev. George Moore, Jr., Told WTOC.

We showed local reverends Moore and Samuel Williams the ad.

"I think it's a little early to launch this type of setting, but this is the world we live in," Moore said.

"If it's a means of exploitation, whether locally or out of town, it's wrong," Rev. Williams said.

On the flip side, Rev. Williams says some families may need the legal counseling.

"Whatever can be done, in that light, to help those folks, needs to be done," he said.

"It's deplorable," Margit Annas said.

Flip the page, and we showed Margit another ad, same theme.

"Gee, they just outdid themselves with the ads, didn't they?" she said.

But it's not just newspapers. A New York City law firm bought the website domain name, www.sugarrefineryexplosion.com.

"I don't like it," Annas said.

Annas complained about the newspaper ad to the Savannah Morning News. She's afraid victims will be exploited by outsiders with greedy intentions, hurting any chance of a sugar plant return. 

"If everybody sues the sugar plant, do you think they will rebuild here? They won't have money to rebuild," Margit said. "I just think it's disgusting."

we contacted both the Slakter Law Firm and the Savannah Morning News. Stacy Jennings with the newspaper told us everyone has a right to advertise in the paper, they are not the ad police, and it's not their job to tell good lawyers from bad lawyers.

Jeffrey Slakter did not return my call. However, we had someone call and ask questions, not as a reporter, and they were told the law firm would be sending counsel from Dallas to Augusta and Port Wentworth to deal with families who may be interested in learning more about their rights.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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