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Fire district settles lawsuit over copier

Terms of the settlement are unknown; fire district facing two other suits.
Friday, August 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:58 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Columbia - One of at least three lawsuits pending against the Boone County Fire Protection District will be dismissed from the Boone County Circuit Court after the court is notified of the settlement.

The lawsuit was filed after the Fire Protection District leased a color photocopier from the Columbia Ikon Office Solutions in 2005 and did not make payments on it. The attorney for G.E. Capital Information Technology Solutions Inc., Thomas Berndsen, said the parties reached a settlement last month. He declined to comment on the amount of the settlement.

The fire district’s attorney, Jeffrey Parshall, told the Missourian in August 2005 that the copier did not work and that claims that the contract was signed without board approval had “little merit.”

The contract was signed by former Assistant Fire Chief Sharon Curry, who is involved in much of the controversy surrounding the fire district, according to previous Missourian reports. In June, Curry pleaded guilty to driving with excessive blood alcohol content, stemming from an arrest made at an October 2006 sobriety checkpoint.

She was also named in a lawsuit filed by former Fire District Chief of Staff Rob Brown earlier this month. Brown alleged in the lawsuit, filed in federal court on Aug. 3, that Curry spent the fire district’s money, used the headquarters to engage in sexual relations with Fire Chief Steve Paulsell, to whom she is now married, used the fire district’s property for personal use, traveled and dined on fire district money and received other financial benefits from her relationship with Paulsell. Curry resigned from the fire district in February and is now the executive director of the Missouri Association of Fire Protection Districts.

As of Thursday afternoon, the terms of the settlement with G.E. Capital were not available. Calls to Parshall were not returned and Paulsell could not be reached for comment.


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