Reassigned ex-clerk sues city, officials over multiple claims

HATTIESBURG — One of the former clerks reassigned after an investigation into the Hattiesburg City Court has sued the city, Mayor Johnny DuPree and City Council President Kim Bradley.

Sharon Mark seeks damages over a number of claims including slander, The Hattiesburg American reports.

Mark argues the defendants made or allowed repeated statements that she misused her position for private gain and assisting criminals, gaining from improperly charging fees and favoring relatives.

“Plaintiff’s most personal and most private medical documents and history were released into the public domain for public viewing by the Defendants,” states the lawsuit, filed in Forrest County Circuit Court. “Those defendants who did not participate in the actual release ratified those actions and are, consequently, equally culpable.”

City Attorney Charles Lawrence said he has yet to see the complaint, but that he feared a lawsuit might result from last year’s investigation. He says the city is now positioned to produce evidence of claims made against the court employees.

According to information released by the Hattiesburg Police Department last year, an internal investigation uncovered employees improperly destroying warrants and receiving rewards for dismissing tickets, fines and warrants.

One clerk was fired, and Mark was one of three who were suspended briefly without pay and then reassigned during the restructuring of the court that followed. The suit says Mark came back to work at lower pay as a result of the defendants’ malicious intent.

Mark’s attorney, Kim T. Chaze, could not be reached for comment.

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