IRMO, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina school board member has filed libel lawsuits against two district residents connected to a Facebook group that has been critical of the member.

The State of Columbia reports that Lexington-Richland 5 Vice Chair Ken Loveless is suing Kevin Scully and Leslie Stiles. Scully has made critical comments about Loveless in a Facebook group called Deep Dive into D5. Stiles administers the Facebook Group.

Both suits were filed in Richland County last week. Stiles declined comment, while Scully could not be reached. A lawyer for Loveless said he wouldn’t comment beyond the court filings.

Loveless alleges that Scully, husband of a teacher in the 17,000-student suburban Columbia district has made “numerous and repeated defamatory statements voluntarily published on the internet… with specific knowledge they were false and/or with a reckless disregard for whether they were false or not.”

Among the comments cited in the lawsuit is “Crooked Ken is an unethical hypocrite and a liar.”

Loveless’ suit claims the statements were “made with actual malice, and with an intent to harm the reputation of Loveless.”

In the second lawsuit, Loveless claims Stiles is also liable because she made comments herself and approved posts critical of Loveless by Scully and others.

The Scully lawsuit cites several comments attributed to him, including “This is what you get with an incompetent, micromanaging board majority and an ineffective and weak superintendent,” and “The board seems to be more concerned with settling personal vendettas than taking care of our district.”

The State could not independently confirm the comments attributed to Scully on Facebook.

Some comments cited as libelous in the lawsuit reference documented actions by Loveless on the school board.

“Be it Ken’s ethics violations, waffle house quorums or other FOIA violations, this board isn’t much for following rules,” Scully reportedly wrote.

The comment references a post-school board meeting gathering of the majority of the Lexington-Richland 5 school board at a nearby Waffle House. It’s against the law for a quorum of a public body to meet and discuss public business without informing the public, even if it’s a chance encounter.

The Stiles lawsuit also cites her own statements about ethics complaints against Loveless for working elsewhere for a construction company that built an elementary school in the district.

Other school board members criticized Loveless for having a conflict of interest. Loveless ultimately recused himself from any votes and the state Ethics Commission advised Loveless to not visit the elementary school site or review project documents.

To win a libel lawsuit, elected officials generally must prove statements made about them are false and made with “actual malice” — or that the statements were not only false but that someone knew or should have known they were false at the time.

As of Thursday, a banner at the top of the Deep Dive Facebook group announced that posting and commenting had been paused until the end of April.

Besides Loveless’ two personal lawsuits, the school board is suing a former superintendent who complained to the district’s accrediting agency about its process for hiring a new superintendent. In the past year, the board has also voted on two censure motions supported by Loveless against school board members, one of whom called it an attempt to bully independent board members.