MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa — A former mayor and city clerk are suing their now-defunct southeastern Iowa city, saying they were defamed by lies that they had embezzled money.
Dan Johnson was Mount Union’s mayor for a time and his sister, Linda Johnson, was its city clerk. They are suing the defunct city for a total of $250,000 in damages, alleging they were the victims of lies that began in 2010, after Dan Johnson was succeeded as mayor by John Marek, the Hawk Eye reported .
At a hearing Tuesday in Henry County District Court, Dan Johnson told the judge that Marek accused him and Linda Johnson of embezzling $105,000 of city money, mismanaging public funds and forging checks. The Johnsons testified that they suspected Marek made up the accusations because he didn’t like them.
Available audit reports show no evidence of embezzlement, intentional mismanagement or forgery in Mount Union. However, these audit reports were only conducted by the state auditor’s office in 2006, 2013 and 2016.
Under state law, cities with populations below 2,000 don’t have to be audited annually unless they spend over $750,000 in one year. Mount Union was a 98-person community.
The Johnsons don’t have criminal records and denied all accusations.
“To see my name, my family name being defamed, it hurts me,” said Linda Johnson.
No individual was present to represent Mount Union. A state board will decide how damages will be paid if awarded.
Dan Johnson is seeking $200,000 in damages and his sister Linda is seeking $50,000.
“I chose $200,000 because I thought it was a number that shows that I was done wrong, but it’s not out of line,” Johnson said.
Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com