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City pays $15K to 2 former police officers

Lawsuit settled out of court; allegations remain ‘wholly denied’

KINGWOOD — The City of Kingwood paid out a total of $15,000 to two former officers who sued the town.

 The Dominion Post obtained copies of the settlement through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the suit, former city officers Todd Nestor and Felix Thorn said they were forced to resign in April 2018 because they were investigating “high profile” people for alleged drug violations.

They settled out of court with the city last month. The settlement was covered through the city’s insurance.

 According to the paperwork obtained by the newspaper, Nestor received $11,500 in return for agreeing to the suit’s dismissal and Thorn received $3,500.

The release states that the cash is “the only consideration” the officers will receive. 

“It is expressly understood and agreed that the settlement represented by this Release of All Claims Agreement is a compromise of a claim in which the allegations and the damages asserted and sought by [Nestor and Thorn] against the [City of Kingwood] were vigorously disputed and are still wholly denied,” the settlement says. 

  The release says each side is to bear its own court costs,  attorney fees, child support and any previously unpaid bills arising from the action.

In court filings, the city said the officers were questioned after it was discovered Nestor had sent messages from a Facebook account not in his name to an 18-year-old city employee, causing her to fear for her safety.

City elected officials have never commented publicly on the officers’ departure from the city’s employment except in filings in the suit prepared by their attorney, Keith Gamble of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe, PLLC.

The officers sued on six counts, including allegations that the whistleblower statute was violated, allegations of obstructing an officer and allegations of violating statute by failing to provide a notice of hearing, rights regarding the investigation and/or a hearing.

Those allegations were dismissed by mutual agreement in December 2019, leaving allegations of wrongful discharge, abusive process and defamation of character.

 Nestor did not reply to a message left at his current place of employment, requesting comment. The Dominion Post asked the officers’ attorney, David Gruneau, to tell Thorn the newspaper would be running this story and would welcome his comments. No call was received.

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