National News

Norwood campaign under fire for alleged "robo calls"

Posted November 6, 2017 11:21 a.m. EST

— Mary Norwood, one of the front-runners in the race to replace Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, is doing damage control after a woman claims the Norwood campaign is violating her rights.

Sara Totonchi says she's fed up with receiving phone calls day and night, with a voice recording asking her to vote for Norwood. She feels her rights are being violated.

"Last Thursday, I received on my cell phone a robocall from Mary Norwood, asking me to vote for her for mayor," said Totonchi. "For one thing, my cell phone number is on the national do not call list. Another thing, I definitely did not give Mary Norwood's campaign permission to call me."

Totonchi says she may even have to take it a step further. "From what I understand it's not legal for candidates to use these robocalls for phone numbers they don't have permission to call so I did file a complaint with the FCC about the call I received," said Totonchi.

Atlanta attorney Marc Hershovitz says it's illegal for anyone to make robocalls to your cell phone without permission.

"The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal law that makes this illegal, allows individuals to sue for a mandatory minimum of $500 per phone call," says Hershovitz. "If the court finds it was an intentional or willful violation, the judge has the authority to triple that to $1,500 per violation."

Hershovitz says if a class action lawsuit was filed, citing thousands of calls, a candidate could be on the hook for millions of dollars.

The Norwood campaign sent CBS46 this statement, regarding the issue:

"The individuals receiving calls were from a list of friends, contributors and supporters. Any cell phone numbers contacted were provided from her (Mary's) list of personal contacts."

Totonchi says she's never been a friend, donor or supporter and has no idea how the Norwood campaign got her cell phone number.