Archive for Monday, January 23, 2012

Former Basehor administrator Loughry suing city for more than $500,000

Mark Loughry

Mark Loughry

January 23, 2012

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Former city administrator Mark Loughry plans to sue the city of Basehor for actions surrounding his firing in September. He’s seeking more than $500,000 in damages.

Loughry informed the city of his intent to sue last week in a claim notice, which was turned over to the Sentinel via Freedom of Information request Monday. In the notice, Loughry's attorney accused the city of public defamation, breach of contract and due-process violations, alleging “egregious conduct” by city officials.

Loughry alleges his firing and accusations of improper conduct made by Basehor City Council members in its wake damaged his reputation and hurt his chances of finding another job.

“Mr. Loughry has been the victim of a civil conspiracy and has been publicly defamed and portrayed in a false light by the City of Basehor,” said Paul Redfearn, Loughry's attorney, in the claim notice.

The Basehor City Council fired Loughry at its September meeting in a surprise 3-2 vote. After the firing, the Sentinel reported on a former city attorney's accusations that Loughry had revised his contract to add additional health benefits for his family and misreported the wages he'd received from his previous employer, the city of Hays.

Loughry has denied any wrongdoing in both instances.

The lawsuit notice cited city council members' public comments surrounding those accusations, saying they were defamatory and false. It also said the council's firing violated Loughry's employment contract, which stated that he must be provided 10 days' notice of any termination and be allowed to defend himself in a hearing with the city council.

Loughry, who was hired in December as the finance director for the city of Raytown, Mo., said Monday he would decline to comment on the lawsuit, based on advice from his attorney. Basehor Mayor Terry Hill and City Council President Dennis Mertz also declined comment, citing advice from attorneys.

Neither Redfearn nor Michael Seck, the attorney representing Basehor in the matter, could be reached for comment Monday.

Any damages paid by the city would most likely be covered by liability insurance, interim city administrator Lloyd Martley said.

According to the claim notice — which is required by state law before a lawsuit against a city government — Loughry will file his lawsuit 120 days from its receipt, unless the city denies his claims for damages earlier.

Since Loughry was fired, three Basehor officials have been the targets of recall efforts by residents accusing them of misconduct connected to the firing. Mertz and city council member Iris Dysart, each of whom voted for Loughry's firing, will be the subjects of a recall election Feb. 28. Hill, who opposed the firing, is also set to appear on the recall ballot, though he is challenging his recall in court.

Comments

Talisman 2 years, 11 months ago

I just read the claim notice from Mr. Loughry's attorney and I have come to the conclusion that Dennis Mertz should resign immediately! Dennis is an embarrassment to Basehor and his meddling will not only cost taxpayers financially but he is damaging the reputation of our city by his continued presence on the council. He evidently believes that by commenting on the online articles, he is somehow justifying his actions. However, after reading the claim notice, it is obvious that he has helped make Mark's case against the city that much stronger.

Do everyone a favor Dennis and resign immediately. If not, I guess I'll wait and vote all of you out on February 28th!

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boots 2 years, 10 months ago

I am fairly certain Mertz fell into the council by default anyways. No one ran against him. NOW if you all didn't vote, then you can't complain about who governs the city of basehor. I suppose you will start voting now won't you?! I remember they said the voting turn out was less than 2000. . . .

Well, aren't there almost 5000 residents?!

His online statements have even been noted in the suite! I guess those comments should have began with "I think" and THEN it would have been freedom of speech. . .

Guess we get what we deserve, a bunch of ignorant folks who have no college degree in any sort of city management, making decisions which affect more lives than they can imagine.

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listenupAmerica 2 years, 10 months ago

I completely agree with everything you said...right up until you threw the college degree thing in there. You don't have to hold a college degree in order to hold a political office. You just need some COMMON SENSE!!! You can have all the degrees there is to achieve, but you can still be dumber than a box of rocks. Book smarts can take you far, but only so far if you have no common sense.

This is exactly what happens when people do not want to get involved in their local community and people like this run unopposed and take office.

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politico_guardian 2 years, 10 months ago

Can you tell me if the contract was indeed altered?

Kansas law

21-5920. Tampering with a public record. (a) Tampering with a public record is knowingly and without lawful authority altering, destroying, defacing, removing or concealing any public record. (b) Tampering with a public record is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

http://www.kscoplaw.com/crimcode/2668code/art59.htm#21-5920

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ClarkKent 2 years, 11 months ago

Dennis Mertz post coming in 3, 2, 1......

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ClarkKent 2 years, 10 months ago

Evidently Dennis has been neutered from making anymore comments! Too bad he wasn't smart enough to do this before being instructed to do so by the City's insurance company.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

If you are aware of instructions given by the city's insurer - you must have been there when they were given - and you put the city at risk by posting here.

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Thinkaboutit 2 years, 11 months ago

See Dennis... This is how to properly do something. You don't run your mouth all over town like your so good at doing. You follow proper procedures. As a resident of this city, I hate to see this law suite. However, If this is what needs to be done to show everybody how terrible you are for this city, then I guess it is needed. I just wish it was only you who was financially on the hook for your actions instead of me and my family! I just wonder how this will effect this towns plans for developing.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

We all knew this was coming. Too bad those on the council that voted for the termination didn't follow the contract that they claimed Loughry violated. Mertz and Iris must go. Too bad they didn't let the Mayor pay the severance to cover the city. Making claims in the media that Mr. Loughry broke the law and was dishonest will come back to cost the citizens of Basehor. They really trashed this guys reputation. I guess I must have missed the conviction of Mr. Loughry that Mertz and Iris pushed so hard for.

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KSman57 2 years, 10 months ago

JGREEN1515 - is the legal case against Mr. Loughry settled? Also, they did pay Mr. Loughy a severance.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

The severance did not include accrued vacation and sick days, and it was paid several weeks later than it should have been, just to screw him. No charges have been filed against Mr. Loughry as far as I have heard. The Mayor tried to get the ex city manager paid in a timely manner, and for his effort to try to get this behind us, certain council members and their friends are trying to get him recalled. It is a very unfortunate situation, and defending this suit will cost thousands. One thing for sure, the cost of city liability insurance is going to go up.

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papa5 2 years, 10 months ago

If Mertz and Dysart are as smart as they think they are why didn't the follow the rules? If they wanted to fire the city manager all they had to do was follow the rules. But now they are going to cost all of us a lot of money. THEY NEED TO GO!

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basehordream 2 years, 10 months ago

I am uncertain how this will cost us a lot of money. i thought you have to win first. royals can also win the world series. so even if he won the pennat which is not a world series then the insurance will pay not us. but that is unlikely to happan

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squareone 2 years, 10 months ago

Mertz & Dysart need to go!!! Their efforts seem to be more directed at stupidly executed political power plays than what is actually good for Basehor. I think I saw a while back that the council had engaged a firm to find candidates for a new city manager. The fee that will be paid for that alone is likely to be enough to have covered the cost of Loughry's family health insurance for several years. The additional costs of their breaking the contract with Loughry were totally avoidable, had they not been so arrogant. At best, those 2 are penny wise and dollar stupid. I have a good friend who was looking at moving a business into Basehor in 2010 who was VERY favorably impressed with the team of Hill & Loughry. He has said that, based on the current city council actions, he would have 2nd thoughts now - they don't honor contracts. This hurts Basehor. The true pity of this is that Basehor lost an excellent city administrator. Hopefully, we will not lose an excellent mayor, too. Hopefully, we will lose Mertz & Dysart.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

Lets also remember in the next general council election that Box also was right in the middle of causing this mess with the Iris and Mertz. He really needs to resign with the other two. At the very least, he should not be re-elected to a 2nd term whenever that might be!

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Basehor 2 years, 10 months ago

Mertz, Dysart, and Box obviously do not know how to conduct business and should remove themselves from office end of story.

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boots 2 years, 10 months ago

Box didn't have a bad word to say about him. . . Box was not defamatory.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

Box voted to immediately terminate Loughry without following the contract the council agreed to. Mertz, Dysart, and Box all had their hands in this, and the Basehor taxpayers will end up footing the bill.

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mbb250 2 years, 10 months ago

If the mayor is so sure of himself, why doesn't he let the election stand and leave it up to the voters?

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KSman57 2 years, 10 months ago

AMEN...put it to a vote and let the people decide. I think Mr. Hill knows what the outcome will be and doesn't want a tarnished reputation. Light has been shed on his suspicious actions.

This is a tough economy that is forcing people to be more careful with their money. People are finally beginning to question how the money taken from their paycheck is being spent. An occasional "business" lunch is understandable, but there seems to be an excessive amount charged by Mr. Hill. AND...they were in Johnson County. Why not go to LOCAL restaurant to discuss Basehor business.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

Judge King confirmed this morning that Hill and Laughry's altering the contract was a criminal violation of Kansas Statutes and Hill must face recall.

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merickson 2 years, 10 months ago

LTDC: Sorry to butt in, but thats not exactly correct. The judge's decision this morning was not in the mayor's favor, and he ordered for the election to proceed unless the Kansas Court of Appeals says otherwise, but the judge did not say anything about anyone committing a criminal act.

Matt Erickson Sentinel staff writer

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politico_guardian 2 years, 10 months ago

He added 21-5920 back in correct¿ is that illegal¿ My last misdemener cost me 3 months. Someone is way wrong. Either the Mayor did or not. If yes then crime¿

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

Matt: His putting 21-5920 back in acknowledges that such a thing was a criminal act - a statement of law not a finding of fact. In this case the electorate will be the triers of fact.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

A criminal violation? If it was criminal, have criminal charges been filed, or is this some more of the small town gossip that you are trying to get people to believe?

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

it will be in the Judge's revised filing.

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onlythetruth 2 years, 10 months ago

LightTheDarkCorners (Elaine Bundy - The only member of the recall group at the hearing)

The judge never made any statements relating to any action being criminal, but you already knew that. jgreen1515 is absolutely correct this is just more false and nonfactual statements being made by the supports of Mertz and Dysart. Much like the allegations stated on the recall petition for Mayor Hill, but you already knew that as well.

Next time you feel like making posting a comment make sure you TELL THE TRUTH

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Ronald Grover 2 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone on here have any questions why those of us that live just outside the city limits fight so hard to prevent annexation into the city.

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becky 2 years, 10 months ago

i would fight to stay out of the city limit. you see how the mayor and the city adm. spend our money the mayor set the agenda at the council meeting.

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politico_guardian 2 years, 10 months ago

I thought I had a handle on this until I read the briefs and memorandum's from the Judge. So now am I to side with Hill and Loughry because they altered a contract and clearly this is the precise reason the legislation was passed to stop this? Can someone answer this. I also am concerned with the misdirection of the money but I feel the important item here is the other items claimed.

21-5920. Tampering with a public record. (a) Tampering with a public record is knowingly and without lawful authority altering, destroying, defacing, removing or concealing any public record. (b) Tampering with a public record is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

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becky 2 years, 10 months ago

he is suing the city. could it be greed. could it be he wants has much money as he can get from the city. you want a mayor that goes behind the council members backs and changes things. i want the council members to run the city of Basehor not the mayor that is why i voted for some of them. The spending need to slow down. Found out that the mayor wants to put a franchise fee on our water bill. when will the spending of our tax dollars stop. we need a mayor that helps the people of Basehor not spend our money .

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good_ol_boy 2 years, 10 months ago

Having a council run a city is what causes all this nonsense anyway. Basehor needs to bump up to the next grade and do away with all council control. Too many personal issues come up in these kind of politics.

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babetwo 2 years, 10 months ago

Suburban already collects a franchise fee and has for a very long time. Consolidated water does not which is unfair to Suburban. Franchise fees are used to relocate utility services and are not part of the city general fund. Just so that you can understand Becky, relocate means to move. Relocate also means to move to a different city which I certainly wish you would! We are seeking people with a brain to move into our city!

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KSman57 2 years, 10 months ago

Mrs. Hill, your negative actions are being noticed by many and doing little to help your husband's case.

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becky 2 years, 10 months ago

just because Suburban has a Franchise fees , Why should water #1 have a Franchise fee . Two different company. The city just wants more money from us tax payers. The people of Basehor need to know about the spending at city hall. It is the people"s money .

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onlythetruth 2 years, 10 months ago

Becky,

The people of Basehor need to know the truth about all of the lies that have been told and still continue to be told. Those lies have now caused the city to be sued for more than $500,000. Haven't we learned anything that about placing comments and false statements online. These types of actions can get people sued. It is very obvious who is sending out false statements about Mayor Hill. Do you think that the Mayor might have grounds for a lawsuit for all of the false and misleading information that has been sent out by (Dennis Mertz, Iris Dysart, Fred Box, Bob Moore, Jim Washington, Elaine Bundy, Marylin Townsend). I believe these false statements and misleading information are a clear case for a defamation of character lawsuit.

If you are wondering what types of statements and comments are grounds to file a defamation of character lawsuit, just go ask Dennis Mertz what false and nonfactual statements he made against Mark Loughry and you will have your case.

Have a nice day

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basehordream 2 years, 10 months ago

Can you specifically inform me of the case number? thats right no case has been filed. this was planned by the mayor for political gain

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

This filing is part of the recall election strategy of the dark side, anyone with any legal experience who has read the imcompetent piece of crap prepared by Redfern law firm realizes this thing ain't goin' nowhere.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

Defamation lawsuit - wrong-o. Since the mayor is an elected official and a public figure subject to an election, you can call him an illiterate, blackguard, liar, and thief with non-existent body hygiene habits and publication of such things would not be grounds for a defamation lawsuit. (I don't make those claims about him - he is a decent but misguided gentleman who has somehow fallen into a small sense of entitlement and a series of very detrimental decisions.)

And by the way "onlythetruth" can you tell me why you put out a complete lie in the third last paragraph of your unsigned Thursday mailing. The insurance company cannot deny coverage to the city. They can deny personal coverage to individual elected officials and employees only if that individual grossly breaks the contract requirement to "cooperate in the defense." For example, if the mayor or city attorney said anything to show they were supportive of Loughry's phony claim the insurer could throw them to the wolves in a heartbeat.

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whostheboss 2 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Washington can you please explain to me why the " get rid of the Mayor " group can mail out false information to registerd voters but you never make corrections towards them. You say you want good things for the Basehor voters but maybe all you want is voters to think you are so smart. You may be book smart but life is not lived in a book Mr. Washington. Pull your eyes from Google and actually listen to what people of Basehor want and need to have this great community contuine to prosperous.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

In the mail last week was a hearing notice from Suburban on their application to increase water rates by another 35%. Suburban doesn't pay any franchise fee that's added on top of whatever they charge.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually for the person who uses only 1000 gallons the rate goes from $20 to $30.33 which is a 51.7% increase. Thanks Breuer clan and Suburban employee Councilman Travis Miles.

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ProudOfOurCity 2 years, 10 months ago

ProudOfOurCity (anonymous) says… LTDC: Mr. Washington you are pathetic. Since you have no successes in your life and have never accomplished anything of importance, your only method to call attention to your narcissistic self is to tear down others. Nothing comes from you that has value. You constantly criticize, ridicule and more than anything else lie about every topic you address. You continue to try to influence citizens with your hateful comments. You must have no conscience because you have no problem trying to destroy people's lives with your lies who have not bowed down to you. If you are so miserable with Basehor please do us all a favor and move back to where you came from. Your new name should be DarkenEveryCornerWithHatred.

February 9, 2012 at 10:41 a.m. ( permalink | reply | suggest removal | ) .

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OldtimeBasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

Fellow citizens of Basehor, this is my first comment in the Basehor Sentinel. I have set back and read the articles and blogs until now. I am late in joining the story, but I hope I can shed some light on the recall processes going on in the city which are littering our streets with signs as well as damaging our reputation as a friendly city attractive to new residents and businesses.
I regularly attend council meetings where I had witnessed an event last spring that is the beginning of the fighting that has been going on in the city. Former City Administrator Mark Loughry changed IT companies for the City of Basehor. At the end of the city council meeting when the IT change was announced, Jim Washington approached Mark Loughry and said clearly that he was going to get even. A number of us present heard that threat. Incidentally, the Information Technology services that had been removed as a city vendor happens to be a company founded by Jim Washington and currently run by his family. The council meeting where “The Purple Guys” were removed as the Information Technology service, a number of people witnessed Washington approach Loughry, get in his face and threaten to get even after the meeting was adjourned. It looks like he made good on his word. Within a couple of months, Loughry was blindsided at a council meeting and removed from office by three friends of Mr. Washington. No reason was given at the time nor has there been a reason given to this day. As a result, Mertz and Dysart, were recalled based on a KOMA violation. There does not need to be proof that they met in a secret place and discussed the termination of Loughry. An outside party conducting individual conversations with 3 council members persuading them to take action is a KOMA violation. Their behavior at the council meeting was clear evidence they had discussed and were of like mind before the council meeting. County rules prevent recalling more than two council members at a time.
As a result of the recall of Mertz and Dysart, several more friends of Mr. Washington recalled Mayor Hill in what appears to be retaliation. Two of the four allegations against Mayor Hill were thrown out by the judge which casts a lot of suspicion on the other two. I received a letter with 10 thousand dollars of charges the mayor had made with a city charge card. I took it upon myself to check with the Basehor City Clerk and discovered that 90% of the charges listed were false. We had trusted Mayor Hill with our money and I was relieved to find out that he had not violated that trust. I am tired of this fight. I hold Jim Washington a.k.a. “Light the dark corners” responsible.

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onlythetruth 2 years, 10 months ago

The letter that the Recall committee against Mayor Hill mailed out to residents that alleged spending by Mayor Hill, provided false information over 90% of the alleged $10776 was determined to not to have been charged by Mayor Hill, though an open records request with the City of Basehor. To find the truth visit.

http://mayorhill.basehor-recall.com

The Best one of them all is that the recall committee alleged that Mayor Hill spent $3990 on Ingram’s Magazine. However, if we look at the 11/7/2011 visa statement you provide on the recall site for mayor hill we can see on page 6 that the City of Basehor's actual expense was $695 (not made by Mayor Hill). The remaining $3295 was paid for by Valley View Bank ($1000), USD #458($1245), Citizen’s Bank($250), Chamber of Commerce($500), and First State Bank ($300). The recall committee against Mayor Hill has provided proof on their own website that the information that they have mailed out to residents is false.

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