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Town of Beloit to pay Abegglens’ legal fees

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 22, 2011
— The town of Beloit will pay more than $300,000 in legal fees on top of a $1.5 million judgment to its court clerk and former deputy police chief.

Meanwhile, another case connected to former Police Chief John Wilson is headed to federal appeals court in Chicago.


A federal judge last week in Madison awarded Mary and Willis Abegglen $306,668 in attorney fees, according to online court documents.


The two were among current and former employees to sue the town, Wilson, and former Administrator Bob Museus. The Abegglens claimed the town retaliated against them when they spoke up against Wilson, who was accused of using racially discriminating language at work.


In May, a jury agreed and awarded the Abegglens $1.49 million. Mary Abegglen is the town’s clerk of courts, and Willis Abegglen is a former deputy chief who retired as a sergeant in February 2010.


In April, a different jury did not award money to a Beloit Township business owner in a related case.


Anthony Smith claimed Wilson discriminated against him when Wilson refused to hire Smith to tow vehicles for the Town of Beloit Police Department.


Smith is black.


The jury decided that Wilson did take race into consideration when he would not hire Smith.


The jury decided, however, that Smith’s race wasn’t the only reason Wilson wouldn’t hire him.


Smith was not awarded any money.


Smith’s attorney has filed a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals in Chicago.


Five similar cases filed by four former employees are pending in federal court in Madison.



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