Former Treasurer Plans Legal Action Against Shawnee County

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Former Shawnee County Treasurer Rita Cline, now Rita Rookstool, says she's suing current Treasurer Larry Wilson and the Board of County Commissioners.

Rookstool says her experience and knowledge of the office make her a powerful plaintiff.

"Larry Wilson remains a valuable member of this community," Rookstool told 13 News. "But let's face it, this community no longer values him as our county treasurer."

Rookstool says Wilson isn't collecting motor vehicle taxes during the hours the county commissioners have set by resolution. She says she's been working to get Wilson out of office since June. And though a District Attorney's Office investigation into the conduct of the treasurer's office cleared Wilson just months ago, Rookstool wants another investigation. But she says commissioners won't comply.

"I think it's a sad day when the citizens, including myself, have to resort to lawsuits to make elected officials respond to a simple complaint or a simple request. But that's what's going to happen if the commissioners continue to deny the request that I sent to them back on July 11th," Rookstool said.

Rookstool says Wilson's offices aren't sufficiently staffed, and she says cutting long lines off early means Wilson isn't adequately serving the people.

Rookstool says the new state motor vehicle system installed in May might be adding to the problem, but she says it's not the cause.

"We all know people have been waiting extremely long periods of time well before the new system was implemented," she said.

Rookstool wants 100 more plaintiffs to join in on her class action suit. The complaint asks for residents to be repaid their lost wages for waiting in line, parking meter fines, and expired tag fees.

Shawnee County Counselor Rich Eckert says it's unfortunate that taxpayer resources will have to be spent on a lawsuit with significant legal limitations. He says the suit seems to be more about Rookstool's publicity.

Rookstool was treasurer from 1988 until she resigned in 2003 amid allegations she used motor vehicle funds for personal purposes. She says if Wilson is still in office in October, she'll run again, this time as a write-in candidate.

If you're interested in becoming a plaintiff in the class-action suit, Rookstool wants you to call her at (785) 862-2572, or e-mail her attorney Joseph Ledbetter at joe@ltlaw.topeka.com.

13 News did reach out to Larry Wilson and the County Commissioners. None were available for comment Sunday night (8/5).


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