Government & Politics

Ex-sheriff's former lover an d assistant to drop harassment suit against Jackson County

Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp answered questions as a search of the jail was conducted in January.
Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp answered questions as a search of the jail was conducted in January. File photo

Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp's one-time assistant and girlfriend has dropped her two-year-old discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the county.

County legislators approved a settlement Monday consisting of a mutual release of claims without any money changing hands, as well as a stipulation that the case can't be refiled.

The announcement came not quite three weeks after Sharp resigned amid public revelations made in court documents connected to the lawsuit.

In addition to details about the personal relationship between Sharp and Christine Lynde and the favoritism he showed her through generous pay raises, taxpayer-paid trips and other perks, the documents revealed facts that could have undermined her case.

While the case was ongoing and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills, those court documents revealed that Sharp discussed the case with Lynde when he shouldn't have. Their discussions included matters of attorney-client privilege, one court document said, and "what it would take to settle this case."

At the time of his resignation, county taxpayers had racked up nearly $400,000 in legal bills defending the case, including $67,420 to pay a lawyer representing Sharp, even though he wasn't a named defendant.

In a separate court deposition, Sharp said he gave Lynde $8,000 as a down payment to buy a house after she'd sued the county for alleged harassment on the job from some co-workers. Clay County court records show they've owned a house together since last year.

Lynde's lawsuit alleged that she faced a hostile environment at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. She said that began after another woman working at the department accused Lynde of sexually assaulting her in 2013 in a motel room after a night out drinking.

Lynde denied the allegation.

Also Monday, Jackson County Executive Frank White announced the names of the three finalists from whom he'll pick Sharp's temporary successor. They are retired Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte, retired Kansas City police Maj. Rosilyn Allen, and Capt. Michael Rogers at the Sheriff's Office.

The person selected will serve the rest of the year. The winner of a November election will serve the remaining two years of Sharp's term.

The filing deadline is May 14. Among the candidates who have filed so far as Democrats are Forte, Rogers and former Kansas City police Sgt. Ramona Arroyo. The primary is Aug. 7.

David J. Bernal has filed to run as a Republican.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp is resigning after court filings in an employee harassment lawsuit disclosed details about his sexual and financial relationship with the woman while her litigation was still pending.