A Rigby Police Department officer has filed a lawsuit against his employers alleging he was retaliated against for investigating the misuse of funds.
Alfred Jacob Hannabach, who was a corporal detective before being demoted to the rank of officer, alleged in the lawsuit that he was demoted and isolated after he reported concerns about the use of money raised to buy equipment for the city's reserve officer program.
In answers to the lawsuit, both the city of Rigby and Police Chief Samuel Tower denied the allegations, saying the use of the money was investigated and that Hannabach was not retaliated against. Tower told the Post Register he could not comment on the case because it involves personnel matters.
According to Hannabach's complaint, he and other officers in the reserve program raised money in the summer of 2020 for equipment and gave the money to Tower on Sept. 28, 2020. The suit says the officers raised $950 in donations.
The suit says Tower told Hannabach the money would be given to Records Clerk David Swager.
Hannabach said that he approached Swager in January about using some of the funds to purchase a Taser for the reserve officers, and that Swager said he was unaware of any fund set up for reserve officers.
The suit says Hannabach reported the money missing to Tower, and that Tower allegedly told him, "Oh no, I have that money. It's in my house."
Hannabach's suit says Tower left the police station and returned with a bank bag, and that Hannabach never saw the money inside the bag. He said Tower then told him the money had been in a safe in his office.
"The missing money and the contradictory explanations from the Chief of Police lead Officer Hannabach to reasonably suspect that a waste or misappropriation of public funds or property had occurred, or alternatively, a suspected violation of law, rule, or regulation," the suit said.
In his response Tower denied that he changed his story about the money's location, saying he told Hannabach it was kept in a safe in his home. He said he was holding it while looking for a bank that would set up an account for the reserve officers.
Hannabach's suit requests payment on two counts: retaliation in violation of the Idaho Protection of Public Employees Act and defamation. Both sides have requested a jury trial.
A court date for the lawsuit has not been scheduled.
Tower denied allegations that he misused the money, writing in his answer that he held onto the money when Swager refused to set up an account for the reserve officer funds.
Hannabach's suit says he reported his suspicion to a city council member. The city reportedly opened an investigation. Hannabach said that afterward, Tower held a meeting at the department to discuss the importance of "loyalty" and "chain of command."
The suit goes on to allege that Hannabach was not included in hiring decisions for the department, and that he heard from a colleague that Tower told people Hannabach was having an extramarital affair. Tower denied both allegations, saying he specifically told people he did not believe there was an affair.
Hannabach says he was demoted to officer in September for reportedly recording conversations with his supervisors.
In Tower's response, he states "multiple other agencies" investigated whether the funds were misused and that they concluded the money was accounted for and had not been misused.
A court date has not been set.