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
  • $500K coming to sports complex

    In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, Effingham City Council narrowly approved $500,000 in hotel/motel tax revenue to help fund the construction of the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center during a meeting in which the council approved funds for other entities as well.

    August 20, 2014

  • Shimkus not taking anything for granted despite past electoral success

    U.S. Rep. John Shimkus  hasn't had a serious election challenge in more than a decade. But the longtime congressman said he's not taking anything for granted, even though his sprawling district appears tailor-made for continued Republican representation.

    August 19, 2014

  • Power out in Effingham subdivision; cause not yet known

    A small number of Ameren electric customers on the west side of Effingham were out of power this morning.

    August 19, 2014

  • Unit 40 presents $57k deficit Thanks to a series of personnel moves, Unit 40 officials have estimated a $57,136 deficit for the school year — much less than the $834,000 deficit the previous year. With this year’s expected revenue at $28,695,717 and expenditures coming in at $28,

    August 19, 2014

  • 8-16 bank robber 2.jpg Police seek suspect after Marshall bank robbery

    Police from several agencies were seeking a man suspected of robbing a bank in Marshall Friday morning.

    August 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Church Briefs

    Centenary UMCCentenary United Methodist Church, Effingham, will host the following activities: • Saturday, Aug. 16: Pick It Up Effingham at Menards, 8 a.m.• Sunday, Aug. 17: Connection Time, 10 a.m.; Glenwood Worship, 10:30 a.m.; Lavender Ridge Worsh

    August 15, 2014

  • tony- rural health pic 'A more urban nation' The demographic of those in need of health care in rural areas of the heartland are changing. While those native to the Midwest are moving to the south, east and west coast for better climate and employment, the number of immigrants and elderly is on

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Making preschool possible

    A quarter of children starting kindergarten in Effingham have no preschool experience. Studies say this lack of prior school experience is a disadvantage, but a group of community members intend to change that.

    August 14, 2014

  • Thankyou Dear T-town residents,To all of you who were in any way responsible for the perfect roll-out of our Terquasquicentennial, I want to say a public thank you. I know I speak for many.The planning for such an event must have consumed your lives for the p

    August 14, 2014

  • State board recommends license suspension for local lawyer

    August 13, 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.