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Ashland

Ashland settles lawsuit with former police chief

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ABC 17 News
Former Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford

ASHLAND, Mo. (KMIZ)

An insurance company for the city of Ashland paid the town's former police chief $137,500 to settle an employment-related lawsuit.

The settlement binds the parties -- Woolford, the city and elected city officials -- to silence regarding the lawsuit. Woolford and city officials signed the agreement in October after the case was moved from Boone County circuit court to federal court.

The city paid its insurer a deductible of $2,500 in the settlement. Woolford received a check for more than $112,000, with the rest going to his lawyer, according to the agreement.

Woolford, who now works for the Missouri Capitol Police, sued the city in February after he was suspended from his job as Ashland's police chief and removed from the post of city administrator. Woolford alleged the actions happened after he refused to personally intervene in a domestic dispute involving the mayor.

City officials kept quiet publicly about why Woolford was suspended, citing legal protections for personnel information. However, at a board of aldermen meeting, Woolford denied allegations that he mishandled paperwork in an internal police investigation. He did not disclose the source of the allegations.

Ashland City Administrator Tony St. Romaine said Wednesday that the terms of the agreement bar the city from commenting on the lawsuit.

"All I can say is that many lawsuits, including this one, are settled due to the potential costs that both sides would incur in pursuing the case through the court system," St. Romaine wrote in an email. "That is the reason that we (the City) have insurance to cover this scenario, and is why our only costs for the settlement were $2,500 (our deductible)."

Woolford's lawyer, Matt Uhrig, also declined to comment, citing the settlement terms. Jeffrey Kays, who represented the city, also declined to comment.

The settlement includes a provision that neither the city nor Woolford admit to wrongdoing. The settlement also bars the city and Woolford from making disparaging comments about each other.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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