Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Jury Favors Denison City Clerk and Engineer/Manager in Lawsuit Against Councilman and Former Mayor

The jury assigned to the civil trial of former Denison Mayor Jared Beymer and Denison City Councilman Corey Curnyn reached a verdict on Tuesday night. They ruled in favor of Denison City Clerk Lisa Koch and City Manager/City Engineer Terry Crawford in the lawsuit that Koch and Crawford introduced in April 2019.

Court documents indicate the jury found a statement by Curnyn during a January 2019 city council meeting to be defamatory against both Koch and Crawford. That statement said, “We haven't touched on 1% of what the investigation is about.” That statement refers in part to the suspension of Koch and Crawford from their jobs in December 2018 with no public explanation. They later faced several allegations including an unauthorized pay raise and improper budget practices. The subsequent investigation by an attorney from Des Moines found neither Koch nor Crawford did anything illegal or with malicious intent.

The jury also found an August 2018 statement by Beymer that called Koch's survey of firefighter salaries a “bald-faced lie” to be defamatory against her. She conducted the survey that July but Beymer reportedly didn't like the results and did his own.

Beymer also accused Koch of lying about an offer of employment to Trisha Fink during February 2018. Koch and Crawford allegedly offered Fink the opportunity rather than posting notices of the opening and interviewing applicants. The jury found that Beymer defamed Koch by accusing her of lying about the matter. They also ruled that Beymer and Curnyn intentionally caused emotional distress to Koch and Crawford.

The damages awarded to Koch in the case total $215,000. Curnyn also must pay Koch $25,000 in punitive damages on top of that with $4,000 owed to her by Beymer.

Crawford is set to receive a total of $125,000 which includes defamation and emotional distress from Curnyn but just emotional distress from Beymer. Curnyn also owes Crawford $5,000 in punitive damages with $2,500 being charged to Beymer.

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