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Palm Coast Monday, Oct. 9, 2017 1 year ago

Three to pay $312,000 total in fees for ‘malicious’ complaints against county officials

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Kimberle Weeks, Mark Richter Jr. and Dennis McDonald have been ordered to pay a combined $312,000.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Three individuals involved in the filing of a series of 25 complaints against county government officials beginning in 2014 will have to pay back at least some of the money those officials spent on legal fees because of the “frivolous” and “malicious” complaints, according to a judge’s findings.

The individuals involved are Kimberle Weeks, the former county elections supervisor who is now facing a criminal trial for allegedly taping peoples’ conversations without their consent; Dennis McDonald, who twice ran unsuccessfully for a County Commission seat and who is the husband of School Board member Janet McDonald; and Mark Richter Jr., the son of former County Commission candidate Mark Richter.

Weeks had filed complaints against County Attorney Al Hadeed and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen. Administrative Law Judge Suzanne van Wyk has ordered her to pay $60,682 for a suit filed against Hadeed and another $68,888 for the suit against Ericksen.

McDonald had filed against then-county commissioner George Hanns. McDonald has been ordered to pay $59,042 for the suit against Hanns.

The younger Richter had filed complaints against County Commissioner Nate McLaughlin and then-county commissioner Frank Meeker, who died in July 2016. Richter Jr. has been ordered to pay $63,110 for the suit against McLaughlin, and $59,942 for the suit against Meeker’s wife.

In the administrative order concerning the county’s attempt to seek fees resulting from Week’s complaint against Hadeed, the judge wrote: “In this case, the evidence, by a clear and convincing margin, indicates that Weeks maliciously filed Ethics Complaint 14-233 against Hadeed in order to damage Hadeed’s reputation and to advance the political aims of herself and the Triple Rs.”

The “Triple Rs” were the Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly, with which both McDonald and Richter were affiliated, and which backed their bids for office.

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