Council Member Inna Vernikov sued for defamation by Russian-language media mogul

inna vernikov
Council Member Inna Vernikov is being sued for defamation by a Russian media mogul.
File photo courtesy of John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

Southern Brooklyn Council Member Inna Vernikov is being sued for defamation by Russian-language media mogul Gregory Davidzon.

Davidzon alleges in court papers filed May 1 that Vernikov — who represents District 48 — attempted to damage his reputation through the “intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements” about his conduct and character.

The lawsuit does not lay out what the defaming comments allegedly made by Vernikov were, but Davidzon is seeking significant monetary damages.

Lawyers for Davidzon and representatives of Vernikov did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Brooklyn Paper.

Davidzon is often referred to as the king maker of Brooklyn’s “Little Russia” for his political influence over the largely Russian-speaking neighborhoods of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach. This is in thanks in part to his Russian-language newspapers and a radio station, Davidzon Radio, on which Mayor Eric Adams most recently appeared on Oct. 8, 2023.

Prior to last November’s election, Vernikov, a Republican, told the New York Post that Davidzon’s representatives allegedly tried to “extort” $30,000 out of her 2021 campaign in exchange for political ads and the station’s backing. A claim Davidzon’s reps disputed in the same article, calling the claims “false and defamatory.”

Vernikov went on to win the 2021 election and reelection in 2023 with more than 67% of the vote, outperforming Democrat Amber Adler and third-party candidate Igor Kazatsker just weeks after she was arrested for carrying a gun to a protest at Brooklyn College – the charges for which were later dropped.