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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Mark Hayes, director of legal services for the Arkansas Municipal League addresses the Cave Springs city council Thursday Sept. 15, 2016 during a special meeting. Hayes was in Cave Springs to discuss a dispute between Mayor Travis Lee (right) and treasurer Kimberly Hutcheson (left).

BENTONVILLE -- Cave Springs Mayor Travis Lee filed for re-election on the same day another elected city official filed a defamation lawsuit against him.

Rogers attorney George Rozzell filed the lawsuit Friday on behalf of Kimberly Hutcheson, the city's recorder/treasurer.

The lawsuit accuses Lee of sending a letter containing false allegations of misconduct by Hutcheson to Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and some media organizations.

The letter to the prosecutor's office requested charges be brought against Hutcheson for alleged improper use of a computer, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims Lee knew or should have known the information was false.

"It is unfortunate that city treasurer has filed another lawsuit that has previously been deemed meritless by the courts," Lee said. "The goal is simply to uphold the laws that are associated with the position of treasurer for the city of Cave Spring and to hold her accountable for her job."

Lee said the lawsuit serves as a distraction to him, the county prosecutor and city council from performing their duties.

"I hope for a quick resolution to this frivolous suit and to continue the pursuit of advancing the city of Cave Springs," Lee said.

Hutcheson previously sued Lee and six city council members over the stripping of her duties, but the federal lawsuit was dismissed.

According to the complaint, Lee attempted to retaliate against Hutcheson for exercising her free speech rights.

The lawsuit claims Hutcheson suffered damages to her reputation, relations and her position within the city.

The defamation lawsuit is assigned to Circuit Judge Xollie Duncan and requests a jury trial.

Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecuting attorney, requested Arkansas State Police investigate issues surrounding Cave Springs. The investigation did not find any criminal wrongdoing.

Lee is seeking his second term in the nonpartisan election on Nov. 6. His opponents are John Craig and Randall Noblett.

NW News on 08/21/2018

Print Headline: Cave Springs mayor sued for defamation

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