The former Summersville police chief has filed a lawsuit against the town's mayor.

The fired Summersville police chief accuses the community’s mayor of using the department as “his own personal ‘gestapo squad’” in a lawsuit filed last week in Texas County Circuit Court.

Thaddeus L. Wheeler makes the charges against Mayor Leroy Wells, individually, and in his capacity as the town’s mayor in a five-page petition. Wheeler was fired by the city council on Feb. 13.

Wheeler, in his filing, said Wells attempted to have the former police chief:

-Give favors to the mayor’s friends and not issue them tickets.

-Not issue tickets for violation of the city’s leash law to a friend of Wells.

-Issue a ‘handful of tickets’ to a person against whom the defendant had a grudge for allowing his dogs to run at-large — even though there had been no complaints.

-Cooperate with the mayor to oust the city fire chief by having Wheeler to issue tickets to Summersville Fire and Rescue for using hydrants to obtain water to extinguish fires within the fire district.

In the petition, filed by attorney Richard Crites of Springfield, Wheeler alleges on two occasions he complained to the board of aldermen and did not follow the mayor’s orders. Wells threatened to fire him, according to the lawsuit, and it set off a series of actions by the mayor:

-Cutting Wheeler’s vacation time from three weeks to two and threatening “to make it so bad…you’ll want to be somewhere else.” According to the lawsuit, the mayor threatened to demote him and refuse to allow him to take home his city-owned vehicle. According to the suit, he suspended the plaintiff and withheld a portion of pay as chief after an earlier attempt to terminate him failed before the board of aldermen.

The suit seeks lost wages, legal costs and punitive damages.

Attempts to reach Wells were unsuccessful. The council also fired the city’s attorney, David Ray, on Jan. 13, according to the lawsuit.

 

Thaddeus L. Wheeler makes the charges against Mayor Leroy Wells, individually, and in his capacity as the town’s mayor in a five-page petition. 

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