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County avoids trial in claims against Congrove, commission

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By AJ Vicens

A woman accusing the Jefferson County commission and, in particular, Commissioner Jim Congrove of having her fired from a bank holding county funds has agreed to drop the claims.

Lori Stille was suing the county and Congrove, claiming that Congrove and other officials pressured the bank she worked for to fire her in retaliation for her assistance to Mike Zinna, a longtime county gadfly who has sued the county several times. The case was set for trial Nov. 18, but Stille and her attorney, David Williams of Denver, contacted the Jeffco county attorney's Office late Nov. 17 and agreed to settle the case.

In return for dropping the claims against the county, the county will not seek attorney fees and costs from Stille.

"We knew it was going to go that way," Congrove said Nov. 18. "The whole thing was nothing but false accusations. The sad thing is, it cost the county attorney fees. It's a very sad situation."

Williams could not be reached for comment.

"The county is very pleased with the outcome in this case," said Writer Mott, the assistant county attorney handling the case. "We're happy this is behind us. We feel justice was served."

Ellen Wakeman, the acting county attorney, said the attorney costs in the case were "high," but she did not have the totals as of 11 a.m. Nov. 18. Wakeman added that a consideration in the settlement was that if the county prevailed in court, it was unclear whether it would collect attorney fees and costs from Stille.

Zinna, who's involved in two lawsuits against Congrove, supported Stille's decision.

"Lori is a very smart and decent person," Zinna said Nov. 18. "If she felt it was in her best interests to settle, I support her decision."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.