DES MOINES, Iowa — A Polk County department head is suing the county and a county supervisor over discrimination and failure of the county to protect her.
Sarah Boese, Director of Community Relations for the Polk County Board of Supervisors, just filed a petition at law and jury demand on August 25, 2022. The incident the lawsuit is based around comes from a conversation that allegedly took place between supervisor Matt McCoy and the now former Human Resources Director Jim Nahas.
Boese’s lawsuit claims that McCoy was upset with her influence over other board members and their vote to hire John Norris instead of Frank Marasco for the County Administrator position. At the time, Boese was the interim administrator while the board looked for a replacement.
The court document said that on October 6, 2020, McCoy was in a meeting with Nahas and Marasco in a conference room that was right by Boese’s office.
The lawsuit said Boese overheard the conversation where McCoy allegedly said, “this is her fault. She is going to regret this. I’m going to stick it up her p—- and break it off.”
The court documents claim that Boese “immediately reported McCoy’s comments to Tom Hockensmith, a member of the board of supervisors.” and that “Polk County took insufficient action to protect Sarah from McCoy.”
Boese said she had started recording conversations with McCoy after she heard those comments from McCoy on Oct. 6. On Oct. 8, 2022, McCoy held a meeting with Boese where he allegedly told her, “you are on notice.”
Boese’s suit states that she submitted a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and was issued a right to sue letter.
The Iowa Civil Right Commission Executive Director is legally not able to comment on any investigation the commission may or may not have conducted. But he did comment on how the investigations take place in general.
“Once a complaint is made with the commission, including an area that would involve employment, the first thing that happens is there is a jurisdictional review to make sure we have jurisdiction under the Civil Rights Act,” said Stan Thompson. “If we do, it then goes through a screening process, where a screener will review those materials and issue what’s called a preliminary report.”
After the preliminary report, the commission can either move forward with the investigation or deem the complaint “administratively closed”.
Sarah Boese’s attorney did not comment on the litigation recently filed.
Nahas had already filed a lawsuit last year against Polk County and all four county supervisors, Tom Hockensmith, Angela Connolly, Steve Van Oort and Robert Brownell for libel, extortion and wrongful termination. Matt McCoy was the only supervisor not being sued by Nahas.
The lawsuit claims that the Oct. 6 conversation with McCoy was not about what Boese recalled it as.
Just days later, Matt McCoy filed a petition to join the Nahas’ lawsuit against the county and those officials.
The spokesperson for Polk County refused to comment on the pending litigation. Matt McCoy was reached out to by WHO 13 News with no response.