At a recent council meeting, village commissioners and the mayor voted 4-1 to approve a settlement in the long-running lawsuit against the village by former village commissioner – and former mayoral candidate – Theresa “Terry” Steinbach.
In August 2006, Steinbach had filed suit against the village in federal court claiming her village e-mail account had been spied on by village officials.
Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
“It’s confidential,” Village Administrator Tim Gillian told the Forest Park Review. “Obviously, they put that in the agreement.”
The Review filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the settlement, but the request was denied by Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz, who serves as the village’s FOIA officer.
Mortiz said the settlement agreement could not be released to the Review because it had not yet been signed by all parties to the suit.
“It isn’t signed,” Mortiz said. “It’s not final. There’s no agreement until it’s signed.”
Mortiz added that when the settle agreement is signed by all the parties, it would be released to the Review.
In the lawsuit, Steinbach had accused Mayor Anthony Calderone and Craig Lundt, director of communications for the Forest Park Police Department, of getting into her village e-mail account and reading private messages.
Calderone was dropped from the suit after U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel ruled that the statue of limitations against him had expired.
According to the court record, a preliminary investigation indicated that the mayor’s laptop was used to access the e-mail of several political rivals, including Steinbach. But the investigation also indicated that the viewing was brief and appeared to be limited to “a test e-mail.”
Calderone, who lives next door to Steinbach, has repeatedly denied that he ever accessed her village e-mail account. The Thomas Avenue neighbors have known each other since kindergarten at Garfield School.
The mayor would not comment to the Review about the settlement but said he stood by his previous statements.
Steinbach, who lost a bitterly contested mayoral race to Calderone in 2007, also isn’t talking.
Steinbach has not returned repeated telephone calls from the Review asking for comment. Her attorney also refused to talk about the settlement.
“I cannot comment and my client doesn’t have a comment,” said Charles Lee Mudd Jr., who represented Steinbach in this case.
Lundt also did not return a call from the Review asking for comment.
Commissioner Mark Hosty had cast the only vote against the motion to have the mayor sign the settlement.
“My vote is enough on that topic,” Hosty said. “I really don’t want to comment further.”