The last six years have culminated in this: Two weeks of legal maneuverings and testimony meant to determine whether the City of Prescott and former Mayor Marlin Kuykendall were responsible for the firing of KayAnne Riley from her job as the spokesman for the Yavapai Humane Society.
To understand the background, one has to review the details of another person who quit/got fired back in 2010. That person was Dawn Castaneda, the manager of the Elks Theater, which was owned by the City of Prescott at the time. Castaneda turned in a letter of resignation alleging a hostile work environment. Three other Elks employees also resigned. The City did an internal investigation, and determined that Castaneda had stolen property and also used the city credit card for personal purchases.
Read more: Turmoil at the Elks Theater
This situation made some people such as Riley and former Mayor Jack Wilson unhappy, but what really upset them was how the arrest was carried out. You can read about that here: More Details Emerge: Castaneda Search Warrant and Arrest
That was when Riley and Wilson planned a protest - claiming the City “bullied” Castaneda.
Wilson, in his role as spokesperson for the protest, sent out this release: New Twist on Monday’s Brown Bag Protest March
Watch the video of the protest here:
After the protest, the Humane Society fired Riley. It is Riley’s contention that Mayor Kuykendall spoke with a Humane Society Board member and asked that she be terminated.
Thus, the lawsuit from Riley against the City and former Mayor Kuykendall. Filed in Federal Court, the case has gone through several motions, appeals and even been reviewed by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court for various issues. Riley is represented by ACLU Attorney Daniel Bonnett and his team, while Jim Jellison represents the City and Kuykendall.
The civil trial started on December 5 in Judge James A. Teilborg’s court. Testimony has been heard from Kuykendall, Riley, former Humane Society Ed Boks, current and former Councilmembers, and even this reporter. Because of the subpoena to testify, PrescotteNews has been unable to attend or report on the trial.
Now closing arguments have been made by both parties, and the case has been sent to the jury. Deliberations are set to start tomorrow, the 16th. Soon, this case will be decided one way or another.