Kingman City councilman Travis Lingenfelter and Kingman firefighters Marc Johnston and Tom Flanagan have been instructed not to communicate with one another and Johnston has been ordered to end late night sexting and any other contact with Lingenfelter’s girlfriend, a woman whom they both dated over the past year. These directives follow extensive April involvement of the city HR department, its director Jackie Walker and a host of upper tier city staff.
Some 253 pages of material released through formal public records requests indicated that Lingenfelter, when he was running for council, first leveled allegations in a July 21, 2016 email to fire chief Jake Rhoades.
“I have spoken to several medical professionals employed within the Emergency Room of KRMC over the past three month period,” Lingenfelter told Rhoades in the email. “It has come to my attention that members of your staff – specifically Tom Flanagan and Mark Johnston – may have repeatedly conducted themselves inappropriately on several occasions, making crude comments to medical staff, and generally creating an uncomfortable working environment when in the ER of Kingman Regional Medical Center, which could easily be defined as sexual harassment.”
A lengthy report by Walker noted that Lingenfelter said the woman who was later identified as a phlebotomist was unwilling to come forward because she did not want to involve the city or the hospital. Walker said she contacted Tommy Taylor, head of HR at KRMC, who eventually made contact with the employee.
“The girlfriend of Lingenfelter stated to Taylor she is not being harassed by anyone,” Taylor said, according to Walker. Her report indicated that the hospital HR department and the city HR department both concluded that Lingenfelter’s complaint to Rhoades was “unfounded”.
Flanagan and Johnston more recently alleged that the 2016 Lingenfelter harassment complaint was fabricated.
APRIL 10, 2017:
Johnston and Flanagan meet with Chief Jake Rhoades, displaying a Lingenfelter Facebook message sent to Johnson earlier that same morning. A transcript of the post indicated that Lingenfelter had renewed his allegation that Johnston continued mistreating his girlfriend.
“She tells me that you continue to harass her while she is working. She got you and Tom Flanagan on tape,” the post stated. “We are sick of your harassment. I think it’s time we have a meeting with Chief Rhoades, City HR, City Manager Dougherty, you and I, and we can all listen to this recording together, as I request your termination from the City.”
The firefighters also showed Rhoades a text that the allegedly-harassed Lingenfelter girlfriend sent to Johnston that same morning, the morning after Johnston admitted being drunk and exchanging explicit messages with the woman the prior evening.
“I’ll take care of it. I have no recording. I haven’t even seen u or Tom in months,” Lingenfelter’s girlfriend’s text to Johnston said. “ Sorry Marc.”
Walker said on April 11 she asked Lingenfelter to produce the tape, that he said it was garbled and that she asked him to bring it anyway. She said Lingenfelter never submitted the tape, despite at least two requests that he do so.
Walker’s report said that Rhoades indicated he wanted Lingenfelter to stop threatening his employees.
The HR report indicated that Lingenfelter repeated his harassment allegations during an April 11 meeting with Walker, Dougherty, assistant Fire Chief Keith Eaton and city attorney Carl Cooper. When Rhoades indicated that the councilman’s girlfriend didn’t support his allegations, Lingenfelter responded that she was scared and had been told by firefighters “not to say anything,” and that she was now willing to speak with Walker.
APRIL 12, 2017:
Johnston and Flanagan submit a formal harassment complaint alleging Lingenfelter is abusing his council position and using false allegations and social media posts to threaten their employment.
APRIL 13, 2017:
Walker spoke with the girlfriend by telephone and reported that the woman indicated that she experienced “a little” workplace harassment because Johnston shared a revealing image of her that she had texted to Johnston. “The teasing from co-workers included a nickname for her as ‘forbidden fruit’ because if you talk with her, Lingenfelter gets mad,” Walker reported.
Walker also reported that the woman indicated that she had willingly communicated with Johnston but that, given her relationship with Lingenfelter, she felt it best that Johnston be instructed not to contact her anymore.
APRIL 28, 2017:
The final finding of the HR Department regarding Lingenfelter’s harassment allegations are “Not sustained.” Walker reported there was a lack of a preponderance of evidence to support Lingenfelter’s assertions.
Lingenfelter has been instructed to avoid contact with Johnston and Flanagan and not to visit fire stations to meet with employees. Johnston was directed to end all communication with the girlfriend.