Former library administrator sues Lake CityA former Lake City library administrator has filed a lawsuit against the city of Lake City and Mayor Jerry Dunbar alleging breach of contract and sexual harassment.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
A former Lake City library administrator has filed a lawsuit against the city of Lake City and Mayor Jerry Dunbar alleging breach of contract and sexual harassment.
Sheryl V. Mooers, along with her attorneys, filed the civil complaint in Wabasha County District Court July 11. Also listed as defendants are City Attorney Karen England, City Council member Mark Spence and John and Jane Doe, representing another City Council member and an anonymous complainant.
The complaint alleges that Mooers was terminated from her position as library administrator on March 12, 2012 because she did not reciprocate sexual advances from Dunbar and because she disciplined Spence’s wife, who worked under her.
“Because Plaintiff opposed the sexual harassment, Mayor Dunbar … subjected her to adverse working conditions, … and ultimately terminated her employment for false and pretextual reasons,” the complaint says.
Dunbar allegedly sent Mooers “inappropriate” emails, called and texted her cell phone and showed up at her apartment uninvited on one occasion to make “unwelcome sexual advances” toward her.
In addition, the complaint contends that Council member Spence continued to vote on personnel matters dealing with Mooers, even though there was “a clear conflict of interest.”
“As a result of Plaintiff’s lawful action toward Mrs. Spence, Council Member Spence engaged in a pattern of behavior which was intended to and did result in Plaintiff’s termination,” the complaint says.
The complaint also states that anonymous complainants reported things like an inappropriate relationship between Mooers and Lake City City Administrator Ron Johnson and possible fraud on Mooers’ employment application.
Even though there was no “documentation or evidence supporting allegations of fraud by Plaintiff,” and “the allegations of a personal relationship … are false,” both matters were discussed in open meetings, the complaint said, which affected Mooers’ reputation.
In all, the 79-page complaint alleges 20 counts, among them violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, defamation, invasion of privacy and violation of due process.
Julie Fleming-Wolfe, an attorney representing the defendants, said the claims made in the complaint are untrue.
“Ms. Mooers’ claims are factually and legally without any merit and we intend to prove that in court,” she said.
Mooers was suspended from her position Jan. 21, 2012, when she was escorted off the premises by a police officer. Mooers is asking for an amount exceeding $50,000, as well as back pay and attorneys’ fees, among other damages.