A social media firm whose partner sent private messages to a podcast host that the host deemed threatening has run afoul of the city of Santa Clarita for claiming the city was a client, though city officials said Thursday they have not used the firm.
City spokeswoman Carrie Lujan said the city will ask Stark Social Media Agency to remove the city seal from the firm’s “Our Clients” page, which featured the city seal as of Thursday afternoon.
“The city has never paid Stark Social Media (Agency) for projects or under contract, but Mr. (Nathan) Imhoff was a college intern with the city in tech services,” Lujan said. “We are going to request they take (the seal) down. It is a trademarked seal.”
Lujan added that Imhoff was a college intern for the city from July 2008 to December 2011. Imhoff is a partner and creative director with the agency.When asked for comment on the story, Nathan Imhoff initially declined, and then called back the reporter to say The Signal and Stark Social Media are competitors, and then hung up the phone.
The city’s request came a day after The Talk of Santa Clarita podcast host Stephen Daniels said he was “shaken” about the ramifications of posting a podcast after receiving messages on social media from Imhoff. Daniels interviewed Jennifer Van Laar, a former campaign consultant who filed a formal complaint against Assemblyman Dante Acosta and Sen. Scott Wilk. The complaint, filed with the Assembly’s Rules Committee in December, accused them of coordinating to defame her after the 2016 election.
Daniels published the podcast online Tuesday morning and was contacted by several people, including Imhoff. Daniels said the messages lasted for about four hours.
Private messages shared with The Signal verified the claims Daniels made, which included Imhoff saying he could “cold cock” Daniels. Imhoff spoke with The Signal earlier this week in a conversation he recorded, declining to give comment on the record. Imhoff read a message he sent to Daniels that said he “would never dream” of hurting Daniels, who later confirmed that account.
A search on Stark Social Media Agency’s website confirmed Imhoff is a co-founder. Among the company’s clients were Sen. Scott Wilk, Cameron Smyth’s 2016 City Council campaign and the city of Santa Clarita, according to the Stark Social Media Agency website and Smyth’s campaign website.