Citizens file lawsuit against Le Sueur County Historical Society

Le Sueur County Historical Society (LCHS) is headed back to court, after 16 citizens filed a lawsuit against the Society. 
The legal action was filed in the Le Sueur County District Court on February 21. According to a press release from Jaspers Moriarty Wetherille, one of two law firms in the case, the citizens seek relief from the court as a result of LCHS’ pattern of alleged closed door actions, murky financial dealings, and anti-democratic processes, which, they state are contrary to Minnesota law and the LCHS bylaws. 
The plaintiffs are William Stangler, Dean Pettis, Bryce Stenzel, Lois Mack, Joseph Doherty, Eleanor Doherty, David Winter, Violet Yahnke, Paul Malchow, Charlotte Bennett, Richard Bennett, Bonnie Reak, Sharon Pinney, Margie Cooney, Patrick McKasy and Sandra McKasy. 
The lawsuit is made up of four counts. The first is to be able to review the society’s corporate books and papers, either through an attorney or agent. The second count asks for an annual report about the financial portion and condition of LCHS. The third count requests a fair democratic election process. The fourth count asks for equitable financial relief for attorney’s fees.
According to a press release from the plaintiffs’ attorneys, court action is the result of ignored requests to the Society and its attorney. 
“The plaintiffs sought informal agreement with LCHS’ current directors and its attorney, Jennifer Urban, to resolve these issues, but all attempts at resolution outside of court were completely ignored. Instead, LCHS and Urban sent various letters in an attempt to intimidate members and further keep secret LCHS’ financial and business affairs, leaving no choice but to seek assistance from a judge,” stated James P. Conway, one of the seven attorneys who filed the case.
The plaintiffs are represented in this matter by legal teams from two local firms: from Jaspers, Moriarty & Wetherille, P.A. - James P. Conway, Kevin J. Wetherille, and Nicole Raebel; and from Wornson Goggins Neisen Morris & Brever, P.C. – Patrick Goggins and Eric Brever. 

In an email with followup questions on February 22, Urban stated she doesn’t agree with the lawsuit.


“I do not agree with the assessment made by Jaspers Moriarty Wetherille. The firm filed yesterday’s lawsuit as LCHS was preparing the Confidentiality/NDA agreement and attempting to make changes to its Bylaws as discussed at the Special Membership Meeting on December 30, 2017.  It is quite unfortunate that counsel for the Plaintiffs did not contact me for a status update and jumped to unfounded conclusions.”

For more details on the case, see the print edition.