Plaintiff moves to put former Saline Township official's assets in trust

Amelia Flood Aug. 26, 2010, 8:43am


The plaintiffs in six sexual misconduct suits filed against Saline Township and its former township supervisor say they don't need "a crystal ball" to know what will happen to the assets of one of the defendants if the court does not move to make sure they stay put.

The plaintiffs in suits – Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund, Laura Barry, Ailie Ritchie and Tara Reding – moved for a constructive trust to be set-up for former Saline Township Supervisor Alvin Steiner's assets on Monday.

A hearing on the matter is set for Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

The six women are suing Steiner and Saline Township on nearly identical claims.

The cases have been consolidated under the purview of Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth who has several issues, including dismissal moves, under advisement to date.

The plaintiffs claim that Steiner sexually harassed and touched them inappropriately when they sought utility and public aid from Saline Township.

They claim that Steiner then threatened them if they came forward and that Saline Township enabled Steiner's actions as his employer.

The suits seek damages of at least $50,000 per multiple counts of action, punitive damages and other relief.

Steiner resigned as Saline Township supervisor last year.

Saline Township and Steiner deny the women's claims.

Both defendants have moved to dismiss portions of the suits and other complaints in their entirety.

In the Aug. 23 motion, the plaintiffs make clear that they believe Steiner's assets won't be recoverable if a judgment is eventually entered against him.

"Plaintiffs' counsel did not need a crystal ball to foretell the actions of Alvin P. Steiner in this case," the motion reads. "Given his conduct that led to six sexual battery lawsuits . . . it is only a matter of time until fraudulent transfers begin."

The plaintiffs cite inquiries about Steiner's finances they have made and his objections to producing certain financial documents as reasons the plaintiffs seek the trust.

Their motion notes that Ruth had to enter and order compelling Steiner to produce a written record of his assets and liabilities.

"Perhaps delay has been part of Alvin P. Steiner's scheme, transferring assets away in an attempt to avoid paying for his actions, if judgment is entered against him," the motion states. "Given the obvious attempted fraud by Alvin P. Steiner, in seeking to avoid paying for his actions, this court should not hesitate in imposing a constructive trust."

The motion also suggests Ruth enter an injunction prohibiting Steiner from disposing of his assets during the case.

Ruth also allowed Reding and Ritchie to file their first amended complaints Aug. 25 and for Steiner to file his responses.

Copies of those filings and the order are not yet available in the case file.

Ruth also set the trust hearing in that Aug. 25 order.

The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas and Peter Maag.

Steiner is represented by Mark Weinheimer.

Saline Township is represented by William Knapp, Christopher Swenson and others.

All the suits were filed this year.

Watkins filed the first case.

Reding's was the last suit filed.

Case management conferences were held in the cases Wednesday.

The Saline Township cases are Madison case number 10-L-31, 10-L-145, 10-L-178, 10-L-219, 10-L-309, and 10-L-555.

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