Millions awarded to former H*MAC owner, business partners in defamation suit

The front exterior of H*MAC in Midtown Harrisburg

A Dauphin County judge has ordered four defendants to pay millions of dollars to the former owners of H*MAC, ruling that they were defamed in online comments.

Last week, Judge John McNally awarded about $4.7 million in combined damages to former H*MAC co-owner John Traynor and the former controlling partnership of Bartlett, Traynor & London (BTL).

In his opinion, McNally agreed with the plaintiffs that the online news blog, YC News Network, and three of its employees, Nikolaos Hatziefstathiou, Travis Wilber and Shawn Cooper, “acted with actual malice” and defamed both Traynor personally and the H*MAC partnership as an entity.

The three were responsible, McNally wrote, for online posts and a YC News blog that claimed a link between H*MAC, a 34,000-square-foot arts and dining venue in Midtown Harrisburg, and criminal allegations that later proved to be false.

“YC News Network, Shawn Cooper, Nikolaos…

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