A former executive director of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit against individuals she claims concocted a survey of members of the local business community that irreparably damaged her reputation.

The lawsuit on behalf of Claire Adams of Appleton was filed Feb. 3 in Knox County Superior Court. The lawsuit is unusual in that the defendant is unknown.

Adams’ lawsuit lists Thomas Walters as the defendant but acknowledges that Walters is an “assumed name used to conceal the identity of one or more persons who held themselves out to be members of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce.”

Adams served as executive director of the chamber from June 2006 until April 2008.

The lawsuit claims that Walters authored, collaborated, sponsored and/or conspired to publish and did publish a survey and other communications through a Hotmail account and an online survey service — SurveyMonkey.com. The survey and communications went to more than 450 e-mail addresses belonging to people and businesses in Knox County.

The communications solicited and published false, disparaging statements about Adams, according to the lawsuit. Those statements included that Adams had requested more money from the chamber board in conjunction with her upcoming annual review, that Adams was the cause of falling membership in the chamber, that she was at fault for declining revenues, and that she poorly managed events, increased staff turnover, and was responsible for a disastrous chamber publication. She was also accused of being unprofessional and it was implied that other undisclosed defamatory information existed.

Adams states in the lawsuit that prior to the publication of these false statements, she had received high performance evaluations for her job and had a reasonable expectation of continued employment.

The lawsuit states that the communications were written to look like they were a chamber survey and that this influenced the members.

“Walters’ conduct constituted a witch hunt and exceeded all bounds of decency,” the lawsuit states.

Adams left the position on April 15, 2008. At the time, the chamber board did not comment on the reason for her departure, saying it was a confidential personnel matter.

She is suing for unspecified damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, libel, interference with a business relationship, and a civil conspiracy. She is also seeking punitive damages.

Adams is represented by attorney Judy Metcalf of Brunswick. Metcalf said Feb. 4 that one of the objects of the lawsuit is to determine the identity of the person or persons who sent out the communications.