Lawsuit: Ex-clerk was punished after indictment of mayor

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ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) — A former city clerk in Mississippi says in a lawsuit that she was unjustly fired and she wants her old job back.

Jackie Benson was the Aberdeen city clerk for 16 years. She was fired in July by Mayor Maurice Howard shortly after he won a second term.

Benson has filed a lawsuit against the city and the mayor. The suit claims she was fired because she provided information to investigators with the state attorney general’s office that resulted in an embezzlement indictment against Howard, WCBI-TV reported.

The mayor is accused of embezzling nearly $3,500 in city funds meant to pay for travel expenses related to city business. According to the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, Howard sought and was paid advance checks for attending meetings and conferences on behalf of the city but then failed to actually attend the events. Howard has called the charges false and erroneous.

A text message Sunday to a cell number listed for the mayor for comment on Benson’s suit was not immediately returned.

In addition to seeking reinstatement to her job, Benson is seeking actual damages of $200,000 plus punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees.

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