Lawsuits filed against Sauk Village, Dolton

2013-11-14T13:39:00Z 2013-11-14T22:48:18Z Lawsuits filed against Sauk Village, DoltonDavid P. Funk Times Correspondent
November 14, 2013 1:39 pm  • 

Lawsuits filed this week against Sauk Village and Dolton seek a total of $400,000 in damages. The suit against Sauk Village on behalf of a police officer claims racial discrimination, while in Dolton three mayoral appointees are suing for being fired.

Rebecca Sailsbery is seeking $100,000 from Sauk Village for what the complaint calls "unlawful employment practices on the basis of race." It alleges that Sailsbery was subjected to "racial discrimination, retaliation, harassment, demotion and denial of promotion" by the village under former Village President Lewis Towers and former Police Chief Robert Fox.

Carol Dobbins, LynnToi Lawson and Duane Muhammad are seeking $300,000 from the village of Dolton and its board of trustees. Their complaint alleges the board terminated their employments with the village because of their political alignment with Village President Riley Rogers. Rogers was not immediately available to comment on the suit. Dolton trustees did not immediately answer an email from The Times.

Chicago attorney Patrick Walsh, with Elliot R. Zinger & Associates, filed both suits in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Dobbins was Dolton's director of human resources and purchasing. Lawson worked as director of communications and Muhammad was director of media. All three were appointed by Rogers.

Sailsbery is currently a police officer in Sauk Village. She was interim chief in 2009 and was deputy chief before that. She currently holds the rank of sergeant.

Sailsbery's complaint alleges that Towers, who is black, appointed Fox, who is also black, to chief of police in 2011 despite the presence of more qualified white applicants.

It also alleges that Fox assigned all the duties of deputy chief to Sailsbery but refused to promote her or offer a raise in pay. When Sailsbery took a complaint to then-Village Manager Henrietta Turner in December 2011, the suit alleges Turner berated Sailsbery and did not investigate.

Sailsbery filed a second complaint against Fox in January 2012, which Turner then showed to Fox in a violation of the village's guarantee that such complaints would remain confidential, according to the suit.

Later that month, Sailsbery was demoted from her administrative position to street patrol and her private office was taken away, which the complaint alleges was retaliation for her filing complaints. The change left Sailsbery unable to adjust her hours to take care of her three children, one of which is special needs, according to the suit.

The suit also claims Fox took away Sailsbery's take-home squad car privileges, denied requests for days off, did not permit her to interview for a promotion, told her subordinates they were not required to follow the chain of command as it related to her, threatened her with felony arrest for misconduct without basis, forbade her from filing complaints against him to anyone except Turner and asked the Cook County Integrity Unit to conduct an investigation of Sailsbery after she unintentionally dropped a portable radio charger on Officer Timothy Holevis' hand. Holevis is the current police chief.

Sauk Village officials said they had not yet seen Sailsbery's lawsuit and declined to comment.

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