A defamation lawsuit brought by G&I clients, Lyn Bedell and Joseph Krzys, against the City of Rochester and former Mayor William Johnson has been settled. It was alleged in the suit that Mr. Johnson made false and slanderous statements about Ms. Bedell and Mr. Krzys in April, 2005 concerning the administration of the Charter School of Science and Technology.
According to G&I attorney, Joseph B. Rizzo, Mr. Johnson held a news conference, and made certain follow up statements, implying that Ms. Bedell and Mr. Krzys, who had been members of the Board of Directors of the Charter School, stole or misappropriated the Charter School’s funds. He implied further that Ms. Bedell and Mr. Krzys were able to perpetuate their misconduct due to their close personal relationship and their co-signing authority over the Charter School’s checks.
“Mr. Johnson’s false statements were made without any semblance of personal knowledge or investigation of the facts,” said Rizzo. “Had Mr. Johnson simply consulted with past or present Board members at the time, or the Charter School’s independent auditors, or conducted any other form of responsible investigation, he would have learned the facts.” Rizzo believed that Mr. Johnson tried to shield himself from liability for defamation by calling for a formal investigation by the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
The Office of the Comptroller did in fact conduct a risk assessment of the Charter School and determined that there were no indications of fraud, abuse or misconduct, and that a further audit was not even warranted. According to Rizzo, the findings of the Office of the Comptroller support the falsity of Mr. Johnson’s statements and constitute complete vindication for Ms. Bedell and Mr. Krzys.
Ms. Bedell and Mr. Krzys commenced litigation to protect their good names and standing in the Rochester community. As the findings of the Office of the Comptroller accomplished that very objective, they agreed to settle and discontinue the costly and time-consuming litigation.