HAZELWOOD, Mo. – The Robertson Fire Protection District in Hazelwood is suing two retired fire chiefs, saying they left with special retirement packages that they weren’t entitled to and cost taxpayers $500,000.
A Hazelwood Citizens group took over the Fire District Board after defeating the previous board that they accused of wasting money. They had an audit done after a willing election.
Jennifer Guyton is now the Fire District President. She says of the situation, “What we call unlawful retirement packages, they received on their way out the door. We’re trying to get our money back. We did this on behalf of the residents.”
“We are very confident in our case, and we would not do this unless we thought we had a substantial amount of money coming back to us,” she continued.
One lawsuit was filed against retired fire chief Don Miner, who left Robertson in 2020. The lawsuit accuses him of getting money from unwarranted sick time and special deals for the worth of a vehicle. The district says, all totaled, it comes to $230,000.
The fire district filed a separate lawsuit against retired Fire Chief Maynard Howell. The lawsuit accuses him of getting away with $255,000 for items like sick time, as well as a deal on a vehicle.
”This is not part of our normal retirement package,” said Guyton. “This is not part of their pension. These were what we consider to be unlawful bonuses. It was made up of fake sick time vacation time that didn’t exist. One of them received Wi-Fi for their house for two years after they were no longer here.”
The You Paid For It team could not reach Don Miner or Maynard Howell for comment.
We are going to pursue every option available to us legally to get our money back. These buildings or fire houses are falling apart. We had our employees not receiving their services awards. Our city started failing and meanwhile these guys are walking out the door with $230,000 of payouts for things like internet and cars.”
Howell is quoted in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch report as calling the lawsuit “bogus” He’s further quoted in the report as calling Guyton “a vindictive woman,” adding “we didn’t do anything wrong.”