Home Defamation Lawsuits Former Wagener fire chief sues mayor, alleging defamation

Former Wagener fire chief sues mayor, alleging defamation

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WAGENER, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Claiming that false negative statements have defamed him, an ousted Wagener fire chief is suing the town’s mayor.

Mark Redd was fired from the town’s volunteer fire department in 2020 after more than 40 years of service and more than 20 as chief. The firing led to a mass resignation of volunteers and a rift among some members of the small community.

The lawsuit alleges after Michael Miller was first elected mayor in 2010, he “took control of all Wagener Fire Department accounts and has control over all of Wagener’s accounts.”

The lawsuit alleges Miller “held a long-standing grudge and dislike for Mr. Redd that pre-dated Mr. Miller’s election as mayor of Wagener” and asked for Redd’s resignation.

On Nov. 12, 2020, the Wagener Town Council called a special meeting and met with fire department officers Redd, Assistant Chief George Day, and Lt. Logan Musser, the lawsuit alleges.

“Miller led the discussion with the officers in an executive session, and then announced that the officers were relieved of their duties while in executive session,” the lawsuit alleges.

Redd complained about the action being taken in an executive session, so the mayor ended the executive session and the council immediately voted to relieve the officers of their duties, according to the lawsuit.

About four days later, Redd and Day received termination letters, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges false statements were made in articles posted on the town’s website, social media posts and comments by Miller to the media.

The lawsuit alleges these include:

  • Repeated breaches of security.
  • Lack of response and cooperation from the fire department in providing bookkeeping documentation and other information.
  • Use of funds without proper documentation.
  • That Miller didn’t know why fire department funds were transferred to other accounts
  • That Redd and other officers didn’t convey the department’s needs.

The lawsuit alleges Miller’s statements implied the commission of a crime, hurt Redd’s reputation and were made in ill will.

The lawsuit seeks “actual, special and punitive damages and costs of the action” against Miller and an order for him to stop publishing defamatory statements.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Common Pleas in Aiken County.


Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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