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Madison County facing another lawsuit; Former State's Attorney employee claims retaliation

By Record News | Feb 23, 2016


BENTON – Madison County state’s attorney Tom Gibbons retaliated against an employee who won a suit to keep his job, according to a new suit at U.S. district court.

Andrew Kane sued the county and Gibbons’s office on Feb. 18, seeking more than $100,000 in lost wages, benefits and opportunities.

His lawyer, Lee Barron of Alton, wrote that defendants treated him in a demeaning, insulting and disparaging manner.

Barron wrote that defendants tried to humiliate and embarrass Kane in an attempt to force him to quit his employment.

The complaint states that defendants employed Kane as a secretary “from June 2011 forward.”

It does not state whether he works for them now.

Gibbons fired Kane in 2012, for allegedly making racist remarks and threatening blackmail.

Kane brought a claim through the government employees union and won an arbitration award that gave Gibbons 90 days to reinstate him.

When the time passed, the union filed a civil suit.

In 2013, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara L. Crowder ordered back pay and reinstatement.

She ordered the county to pay Kane $17,407 in lost wages and restore his time off and benefits.

According to the new suit, Gibbons and the county created a position inconsistent with Kane’s previous duties.

Barron wrote that defendants assigned him to an isolated location doing significant manual labor.

The position required Kane to be supervised by Kevin Hendricks, who had discriminated against him, the suit claims.

Barron wrote that instead of disciplining Hendricks, defendants gave him a substantial raise and “additional valuable perquisites of employment.”

He wrote that defendants made false and demeaning public statements against Kane.

District Judge Phil Gilbert will preside over the action.

Barron currently pursues a separate federal suit against Gibbons’s office and the county, on behalf of Julia Matoesian, wife of sitting Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian.

She alleges age and sex discrimination when Gibbons terminated her in 2012, at age 75.

“Plaintiff is female; the Madison County State’s Attorney did not initially tell plaintiff her employment was being terminated,” the complaint states. “Instead of informing plaintiff that her employment was being terminated, the Madison County State’s Attorney first discussed the termination of plaintiff’s employment with plaintiff’s husband.”

Attorneys for the county have denied Matoesian's allegations. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson presides over the action.

Earlier this month, Barron won a $450,000 verdict against county treasurer Kurt Prenzler in federal court at Benton.

Jurors found Prenzler terminated former county comptroller Linda Dunnagan in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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