Government

Muscatine defamation suit proceeds against mayor

City administrator lawsuit latest wrinkle in ongoing dispute

By Sarah Ritter, Muscatine Journal

MUSCATINE — A jury will consider Muscatine City Administrator Gregg Mandsager’s defamation lawsuit against Mayor Diana Broderson at a trial in September 2019.

District Chief Judge Marlita Greve on Wednesday set Sept. 16, 2019, as the trial date and scheduled a settlement conference for Aug. 15, 2019.

Mandsager is suing the mayor for defamation during her first term and her removal from office last year.

Broderson, who was re-elected and began her second term as mayor in January, was removed from office by a unanimous City Council vote last May.

After appealing the removal vote, a Muscatine County District Court judge vacated the removal because council members violated her right to due process and had an interest in the action.

During the removal process, Mandsager alleged there were dozens of instances when Broderson slandered or libeled, injuring the city administrator’s reputation and hurting his employment opportunities.

Last month, Broderson filed a counterclaim, accusing Mandsager, City Attorney Matt Brick and City Council members who served during her removal last year of abuse of process, defamation, infliction of emotional distress, malicious prosecution and other claims.

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The trial set for next year will come a few months before the mayor’s seat is once again up for re-election. Broderson’s term expires Dec. 31, 2019.

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