Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

September 29, 2010

Judge denies motion to dismiss lawsuit against St. Elmo mayor

VANDALIA — VANDALIA — A judge Monday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against St. Elmo Mayor Larry Tish, stating more information was needed in the case.

    Judge S. Gene Schwarm gave former St. Elmo Police Chief Ken Thomason 90 days to file a second amended complaint after the original complaint accusing Tish of making slanderous and defamatory comments was dismissed in June and amended to include more specific information.

    Schwarm took aim this time at one of the paragraphs in the complaint alleging Tish stated Thomason had not solved a criminal case since he began working in St. Elmo.

    “It it true or not?” said Schwarm, adding the statement should be proven.

    Schwarm also believed when the statements were made was relevant. Thomason’s amended complaint alleges the comments by Tish calling Thomason incompetent and an idiot during a conversation with a resident were made before and after August 2009. Schwarm said the complaint needs to specify exactly when the comments were made. While there could be privilege attached to the statements if Tish made them while he was mayor, there wouldn’t be if they were made before Tish became mayor in April 2009.

    “We have reason to believe the conversation happened before and after and after Thomason was removed as chief of police,” said Thomason’s attorney Lee Barron.

    Tish’s attorney Charles Pierce asserted, as mayor and chief executive officer of the city, Tish had privilege to make such comments in reference to employees.

    “Tish discussed his employee’s performance with a particular citizen,” said Pierce. “The mayor was within his scope of employment.”

    Barron argued the issue of privilege depended on where the comments were made. He said if the comments were made at a council meeting or in closed session, then he agreed the comments would be privileged.

    “But being mayor doesn’t give him the right to go around town slandering a public official,” he added.

    While Pierce said the alleged comments were made in a supervisory capacity, Barron contended there was nothing supervisory about the statements.

    “Having a random conversation is not an official function,” said Barron.    

    While Barron admitted it was Tish’s duty to take a complaint, he said, “there’s no public policy being served by the mayor making false statements.”

    Schwarm also took issue with some wording in the amended complaint pertaining to Tish’s alleged use of the words “incompetent” and “idiot.” Although the complaint was amended to include to whom and where the words were spoken, Schwarm said the complaint needed to state why they are believed to be factual and not opinion as Pierce has argued.

    Schwarm did strike Monday a paragraph in the complaint stating Thomason and St. Elmo Police Department are so incompetent they are the “laughing stock” of Fayette County, which Barron agreed to strike to focus more on the other allegations in the complaint.

Text Only
Local News
  • BRIANBLOOM-300x200.jpg Opinion: My Easter Prayer

    It was always our most solemn of holidays. Christmas was chaotic, the Christian aspect always front and center yet overshadowed by five boys anxiously awaiting the opening of gifts.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_5943.jpg Cross takes on red glow for Good Friday

    The Cross at the Crossroads hosted a Good Friday prayer service at the Welcome Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Investigator wants tougher ethics laws for legislators SPRINGFIELD (AP) -- Job recommendations and university application referrals from Illinois lawmakers should be tracked and publicized after clout-related scandals at the University of Illinois and the Metra transit agency, the General Assembly's top

    April 19, 2014

  • Medicaid paid $12M for dead Illinoisans CHICAGO (AP) -- The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo. The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press o

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 cross walk.jpg Church goers carry cross for Good Friday

    For Effingham resident Adrian Guzman, carrying a cross across Effingham is more than symbolism. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two in hospital after chase with St. Elmo police

    Two individuals were sent to the hospital after a chase with a St. Elmo Police officer.

    April 18, 2014

  • tony- sigel 1 Sigel St. Michael breaks ground TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Want to Help? Donations are still being accepted for the addition. Donations may be mailed, dropped off at the parish offices, or placed in collection baskets. A donation wall in the renovated parish center will feature a "Giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meth suspect sentenced to 54 months NEWTON -- A man accused of cooking methamphetamine in a vehicle with a child present was sentenced in Jasper County Court Thursday. Charles "Chase" L. Shroyer, 23, was sentenced to 54 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of methamphet

    April 18, 2014

  • Low ridership drives fee up TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Low ridership drives fee up

    April 18, 2014

  • Easements still sought for project After an approval for work on a 21-mile water transmission line between Teutopolis and Newton at a meeting earlier this month, progress continued to trickle in at Wednesday night's Teutopolis Village Board meeting. The Village Board heard from Connor

    April 17, 2014

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.