Denison clerk, manager win defamation lawsuit against council member, former mayor

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DENISON, Iowa (KCAU) – A verdict has been reached for two Denison city employees who sued the former mayor and a city council member.

A jury ruled in favor Tuesday of Denison City Clerk Lisa Koch and City Manager Terence Crawford in the case, awarding a total judgment of $376,500 in damages.

Koch and Crawford sued the former Denison Mayor Jared Beymer and City Council Member Corey Curnyn over allegations that Crawford and Koch were placed on administrative leave in December 2018 after officials took issue with three incidents.

The first was the authorization of a payment for “prop-house for firefighter training.” The next issue was Koch receiving an unauthorized raise, and the third was that Koch inappropriately gave her vacation time to the firefighter chief. The investigation found no wrongdoing, and both were reinstated to their positions. 

The suit said Beymer and Curnyn have “engaged in outrageous conduct towards Crawford and Koch” saying they never discussed issues before suddenly being suspended, and not telling them the reasons for the suspensions. The suit also said that the two repeated false statements or had “reckless disregard for the truth” and tried to make Koch and Crawford resign so they could replace them. 

The jury found that a claim made by Beymer and Curnyn constituted as defamation against Crawford and Koch. The jury also found there was “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

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