LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Former Metro Corrections employees sue again


Allegations of inmate abuse, budget problems and threats of intimidation in the past year have embroiled the director of the city's jail.

The director, Mark Bolton, has remained somewhat quiet on the matters aside from holding a press conference last year to say he had been the victim of anonymous threats.

And Wednesday, he took his somewhat elusive nature to a new level when he used a fire escape to avoid questions of a Fox 41 News reporter.

Bolton appeared before the Metro Council's budget committee to discuss the 2011 budget. During his appearance he told council members the department owes money to thousands of former inmates dating back to 2001.

While Bolton said his department had made "significant" strides to correct the problem (returning some $6000 owed to 100 former inmates), the announcement highlights yet another issue that could mire public perception of Bolton and his department.

"In many cases we found money wasn't returned to them," Bolton said. " I have no explanation other than it was a systems failure."

Exactly one year ago, Bolton held a press conference to say he had been the victim of anonymous threats.

"Harassing, anonymous stuff and threats those are upsetting to me and my family and I take them very seriously," Bolton told reporters on June 9, 2009.

Those statements are now at the center of a lawsuit filed this week against the city.

Attorney Andrew Horne represents two former Metro Corrections employees who claim the press conference was held to damage their reputations.

Horne says statements from County Attorney Mike O'Connell were made to imply that former Major Robert Dietz and Deputy Director Laura McKune were responsible for threats against Bolton.

During that press conference, County Attorney Mike O'Connell said there was "no love loss" between Bolton and the department's command staff.

O'Connell said in part, that there are "texts emails and text messages between Dietz and Mckune that deal with (Bolton's) safety."

The two employees were fired last year for failing to provide information on the whereabouts of another officer who was wanted on domestic violence charges.

Horne said the press conference was derived to distract the press and "raised the sensational idea that the director was under serious threats."

Horne says his clients have not threatened anyone, but emails obtained by Fox 41 News show Dietz wrote he "hates" Bolton and later called him a "bozo."

Horne provided copies to Fox 41 News of the anonymous texts sent to Bolton.

Among them, they say things like "hey, mark do you need a drink?" and "I know what you did in Tacoma."

"Later on in testimony he conceded they were more harassing," Horne said.

Horne says his clients knew embarrassing details about Bolton, that he allegedly drove his corrections car while intoxicated. And after Wednesday's hearing, another twist.

As a Fox 41 News reporter waited to question Bolton, the director noticed a video camera turned and went down a back hallway on the third floor of City Hall. A secretary and another witness later said he left out of a fire escape.

After pressing a city spokeswoman for Bolton's rebuke of our camera, Bolton later called to say he would "love to sit down" and talk about the threats, but could not because of the pending litigation.

This week's lawsuit marks the second filed by Dietz and McKune since they were let go a year ago.