Aberdeen councilman sues mayor for $300,000

February 27, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A city councilman is seeking $300,000 in damages in a civil lawsuit against the mayor of Aberdeen, alleging that a criminal assault complaint that the mayor brought against him last March has been financially and politically harmful to him.

In the suit filed Feb. 18 in Harford Circuit Court, George DeWayne Curry, a real estate broker, contends that Mayor Ruth E. Elliott had no probable cause to file the criminal complaint against him.

Also, he alleges that the mayor was advised by Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney, that her case would be dismissed because the state could not obtain a conviction.

Mr. Curry's suit further alleges that Mrs. Elliott fueled adverse publicity about him by telling a newspaper reporter that she had no intention of dropping the criminal complaint, that she was aware that such charges would receive news media attention and that any adverse publicity would have a negative financial impact on his real estate business.

According to the suit, Mr. Curry, 62, of the 200 block of Edmund St. and Mrs. Elliott, 58, of the 100 block of Mount Royal Ave. argued during a closed council meeting March 1.

Also at the meeting were City Attorney Greg Rapisarda, City Administrator Peter Dacey and council members Ronald Kupferman, Charles Boutin and Macon Tucker.

Mr. Curry says that at about 5:25 p.m. he stood and slammed his hand on a desk.

He contends that at some point during their heated exchange over a personnel matter, Mrs. Elliott walked toward him, threw several candy wrappers at him and stormed out of the room.

Mrs. Elliott had said after the incident that she felt physically threatened by Mr. Curry and that he had approached her with a clenched fist.

The suit further states that Mrs. Elliott filed an application for charges against Mr. Curry about 9:30 that night, alleging that he had thrown out his arm with a clenched fist "as if to strike me in the face. His fist was just a few inches [very close] to my nose."

Mrs. Elliott's criminal charge against Mr. Curry ultimately was dismissed by the state's attorney.

Mr. Curry contends that at no time during the council meeting did he ever move toward Mrs. Elliott, throw out his arm with his fist clenched as if to strike her, or make any aggressive physical move toward her.

Mr. Curry in May will be completing his first two-year term as a council member.

Mrs. Elliott has been a council member since 1982, the last two as mayor.

In his suit, Mr. Curry seeks $250,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 in compensatory damages.

The suit was filed by Bel Air attorneys John S. Karas, Kallia Konstant and Karas, Bradford & Pais.

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