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STRUTHERS Police captain sues city for not defending him



Published: Mon, July 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The original suit claims the officers told Kaufmann's workers they were required to turn over the woman's work records.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- A city police captain who's being sued by a department secretary for obtaining her private work records is suing the city for not representing him in the case.

Court documents show that in March 2000, Capt. Thomas Skovira and officer Joseph Gabriel Jr. received an anonymous tip that Marilyn Amadio was working at Kaufmann's Department Store during hours she was also being paid by the city -- a practice known as double-dipping. The officers received Amadio's work schedule from November 1999 through March 2000 and reported the matter to city council.

Public Safety Director John Sveda suspended Amadio for three days without pay.

On April 16, an attorney for Amadio filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, claiming that Skovira and Gabriel told Kaufmann's officials they were conducting an official investigation for Struthers Police Department. Cleveland Atty. Alan Belkin claims the officers told the department store officials they were required to turn over Amadio's employment records.

Neither Skovira nor Gabriel were directed by the city to conduct an investigation of Amadio, the suit says.

Anguish: Amadio claims in the suit that she suffered mental anguish, emotional harm, embarrassment and humiliation from the ordeal and is requesting compensatory damages of $250,000 and punitive damages of $500,000 from the officers, plus interest and attorney fees.

Meanwhile, Skovira says in his suit that the city has taken no action to defend him or pay for about $5,700 accumulated so far in private legal fees.

Michael W. Piotrowski, Skovira's attorney appointed by the Fraternal Order of Police, said the city is responsible to handle Skovira's defense and pay his legal fees.

"The sooner the city accedes to our demands, the less money they're going to owe me," Piotrowski said.

City officials would not comment on the case.

wheatley@vindy.com




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