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Former Columbus Mayor, City Reach Settlement In Public Records Suit

Kristen Brown

Former Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown. (WFIU/WTIU News file)

The City of Columbus reached a settlement earlier this month with former mayor Kristen Brown and will pay her for costs associated with her lawsuit against the city and the Columbus Police Department.

In 2017, Brown sued the city after she said the police department wouldn’t comply with her request for information related to a 2016 crash that involved law enforcement, alleging CPD violated Indiana Public Access laws. Brown was voted out of office in 2015.

Special Judge Richard Poynter ruled in Brown’s favor in June and ordered CPD to pay her $32,000 in attorney’s fees, court costs and expenses.

The city appealed the decision, but it was dismissed as part of the settlement.  The city will cover Brown’s $32,000 in legal fees.

The settlement agreement says “the parties agree that resolving the matter without further litigation is in the best interest of the Columbus taxpayers.”

Brown’s embattled four-year run as Columbus mayor ended when now-Mayor Jim Lienhoop won the Republican mayoral primary in 2015.

She clashed with Lienhoop’s administration and he alleged that she was abusing public access processes. Lienhoop said Columbus was spending thousands of dollars responding to Brown and her supporters.

The settlement was signed by Brown and Columbus City Attorney Alan Whitted on Aug. 12 and 9, respectively.

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