A former Rapid City, S.D., employee who was fired amid landfill-fee fraud allegations has filed a federal lawsuit.
Former city landfill scale attendant Randy Meidinger, who was charged and acquitted of grand theft and forgery, claims that his constitutional rights were violated by the actions against him. The suit filed Friday does not specify damages.
“The intent of the lawsuit . is to provide Randy some compensation, although some of the damages are really beyond any dollars,” said Angela Colbath, a lawyer for Meidinger. “And it’s also to deter government officials involved in this matter from similar conduct in the future.”
The case began in late 2009, when the city accused Fish Garbage Service of defrauding the city landfill by lying about the contents of trucks. Criminal charges against owners George and Clifford Fish eventually were dismissed, but the city pursued a civil case and this past week accepted a $375,000 settlement.
The city said the company had wrongly declared more than 12,000 tons of garbage, worth about $900,000 in fees to the city.
Meidinger, a city employee for 13 years, worked for six years in the landfill scale house. That job ended in September 2009, when he was fired and later accused of conspiring with Fish Garbage Service to commit fraud against the city. He was found not guilty in a jury trial.
Meidinger was fired from “the best job he ever had,” Colbath told the Rapid City Journal.
“His reputation for three years has been hailed in the public by government officials pursuing this matter as a thief and a person who engaged in fraudulent activity,” Colbath said. “Those things have not left him in a very good position for future employment. And we can only imagine what it has been like to walk around this community every day with those reports in the press calling you a thief.”
Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker, one of several people named in the suit, said he just learned about the complaint and would not comment about it until next week.
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