A Creighton woman filed a complaint this week in U.S. District Court against the City of Creighton and City Council Member Bob Jensen. The woman is alleging she was not hired due to retaliation against her boyfriend, Mike Nutting.
Rosemary Davis of Creighton filed the complaint and is requesting a jury trial in which she is seeking punitive damages.
Davis alleges she was not hired for a position with the City of Creighton because of past issues involving Nutting.
According to the complaint, Nutting wrote letters to the editor in the local newspaper (November 18, 2013) that led to a cease and desist letter from then-Creighton City Attorney Andrew Marshall. Marshall allegedly threatened legal action if Nutting published more letters about the conduct of the city government or if he failed to issue a public apology.
Nutting did not apologize and wrote another letter criticizing the City of Creighton and City Council in December 2013. According to the complaint, Nutting was the subject of multiple executive sessions in late 2013 and early 2014 by the council in which they considered litigation against him. No litigation has been filed.
In November 2014, Nutting was elected to the Creighton City Council and took office a month later.
According to the complaint, Rosemary Davis applied for the position of Deputy Clerk Treasurer for the City of Creighton on March 16, 2015. Davis interviewed three days later with Bob Jensen, the council member the complaint is against, along with City Administrator Lisa Parnell and City Council President Drew Nelson.
Nutting - her boyfriend - and Mayor Chris Patrick recused themselves from the interview due to conflicts of interest.
Davis is alleging that Jensen began the interview by stating, "I guess I didn't come here with any questions. I'm here to make a political statement." It is alleged that Jensen repeatedly used the phrase "all the trouble your boyfriend brought to town" and "all the letter writing that brought so much trouble to the town," referring to the media attention of Nutting's letters and the coverage when Nutting involved the American Civil Liberties Union.
The complaint further alleges Jensen told Davis in the interview "certain people in (the City of Creighton) would never stand for it if (Rosemary) got this job" and "it would put the City at risk if (Rosemary was) hired."
The day after the interview, the city administrator allegedly left a voicemail for Davis complimenting her conduct in the interview and indicating they had offered the position to another candidate.
The complaint references the City of Creighton handbook that states the personnel commission will attempt to fill any employment vacancy with a qualified applicant residing in the City of Creighton. The complaint states the individual hired is not a resident of Creighton.
The complaint also states Nutting's letters were protected by the First Amendment and that Jensen's action polluted the hiring process. "Jensen's actions and harassment during Rosemary's interview, and the City's decision not to hire Rosemary were in retaliation of Nutting's protected speech."
The documents seek punitive damages for past and future injuries and damages, including but not limited to, mental and emotional distress, lack of sleep, humiliation, fear, embarrassment, lost wages and other monuments of employment.
The City of Creighton has not officially responded to the complaint at this time.