Kansas City, Mo. A former mayoral aide suing the city for discrimination filed a new claim Tuesday, accusing Mayor Mark Funkhouser of attempting to destroy her reputation with statements and news releases calling her motives into question.
Ruth Bates filed the new discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the city and Funkhouser with illegally retaliating against her because of her lawsuit, said her attorney, Lynne Bratcher.
Funkhouser’s office declined to comment and Bates filed her lawsuit in June against the city, Funkhouser and his wife, Gloria Squitiro, who worked full-time as a volunteer in the mayor’s office. The lawsuit accuses Squitiro of making lewd comments and referring to Bates, who is black, as “Mammy.” Bates also claims she was paid less than her peers because of her race and gender.
Bates and Bratcher have been working to settle the claims in recent weeks. They have reached agreements with Funkhouser and Squitiro for $30,000 and $45,000 respectively, but have yet to make a deal with the city.
Bates initially sought $350,000 from the city and raised her demand to $800,000 after Funkhouser issued a news release two weeks ago that called Bates an opportunist who sued only after Squitiro declined to lend her $5,000. Funkhouser also claimed Bates joined his mayoral campaign in 2006 mainly to tear down the reputation of his opponent, Alvin Brooks.
Bratcher has said the mayor’s claims are untrue and have been upsetting to Bates.