Monday, February 16, 2015

Settlement for Abuse of Process - Kellers vs. Risovi

At a recent press conference by State's Attorney Paul Murphy a question arose about a settlement which my husband and I entered into in a case entitled Ted and Judy Keller vs. Teresa Risovi.

As many of you know, former appointed/defeated Auditor Teresa Risovi filed and obtained temporary restraining orders against us.  She did not like the comments made by us at various commission meetings about her incompetence, our requests for public records, and articles written by us on this and other websites.  She lied under oath to a judge in order to get these petitions approved.

According to Risovi's testimony at the hearing about this case, she was able to get these frivolous restraining orders through the direct assistance of now-resigned Ex-Sheriff Mike Tufte, Clerk of Court Tamara Becker, and Deputy Sheriff Danielle Rosewaren.  

These applications for temporary restraining orders contained numerous perjurous statements (lies) without which they would not have been granted.  While the restraining orders were in effect - for over three weeks - my husband and I were restricted in the freedom of our movement and were under the threat of being arrested and fined.

At the hearing, it was clear to the judge that our comments/actions regarding Teresa Risovi were constitutionally protected.  He dismissed the cases after listening to testimony and viewing video tapes which showed she lied about us.

After Risovi filed these unethical petitions, my husband and I filed a complaint against her in the district court for "abuse of process."  At no point in time did we include the County of Foster in the court action.  We wanted to hold Risovi personally responsible for her unethical actions

Little did we know at the time that there was an insurance provision for the county that affords unlimited legal defense for county employees if the action involves anything remotely associated with the performance of their duties.

We only discovered this when S.A. Paul Murphy appointed Scott Porsborg as Assistant State's Attorney, solely to defend Risovi against this action.  In other words, Risovi's bad acts against us were rewarded by an unlimited defense fund paid for by Foster County tax payers and county insurance.  Risovi was not being held personally accountable for her unethical actions at all.

At numerous times during this action, we offered to dismiss any potential claims against Foster County in exchange for the County withdrawing their unfettered defense of Risovi. According to Attorney Porsborg, the insurance agreement would not allow this withdrawal from the case.

After the November election, when Risovi was removed from office by the taxpayers/voters, we no longer felt compelled to continue with the action and came to an agreement to settle the case against Risovi for $8,000.  We decided not to continue on to Federal Court and get a much larger settlement. After all, our original intent was to hold Risovi accountable for her bad actions against us, not to punish Foster County.

The settlement of this case brings to a close this sad chapter in Foster County politics by Paul Straley, Teresa Risovi and their courthouse cronies.  However, in the future the community should not be surprised to hear that other law suits, both civil and/or criminal, may be filed against Straley, Risovi and others who supported them in other questionable actions.

Lastly, we think Foster County  should look into changing the insurance clause that allows an unethical county official/employee to be defended at taxpayers' expense.  Why should we, as taxpayers, be forced to pay for the legal defense of a vindictive individual, such as Teresa Risovi, who intentionally acts unethically on her own volition?

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