Durant city manager sues councilwoman, city

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Durant’s city manager filed a lawsuit Friday in Bryan County district court against the councilwoman he says has been defaming, slandering, and harassing him since she took office last year.

Durant city manager Tim Rundel and councilwoman Oden Grube

In the 17-page complaint, Tim Rundel lists several incidents involving Oden Grube, mostly critical posts about city business made in her group Facebook page "Concerned Residents Against Misrepresentation & Mismanagement (or CRAMM)".

The suit, which also lists the City of Durant as a defendant, alleges beginning last April just days after she was sworn into office, Grube and her son, Jimmy, conducted six staff meetings in the Public Works division without the knowedge or consent of the city manager, a violation of Oklahoma law according to the suit.

The suit also states that Jimmy Grube interviewed for, but was not hired as city manager when Rundle began as city manager in Durant.

The complaint continues that the following month, Grube released a report from her meetings in which she called for the firing of two employees at City Hall.

It also states that last July while attending a police union meeting, Grube was asked to step out because there were no elected officials on the agenda and it would not be proper for her to attend. The suit states that Grube agreed to leave, but confronted the police union president, calling him "a worthless piece of [expletive]" and that "the police department will not see a dime from me."

Later that month, the suit claims Grube took to Facebook once again to criticize the city's utility department's finances. News 12 had reported the previous month that an investigation was launched into the utility billing office after allegations surfaced that someone was shredding customer checks prior to them being posted, with customers being told their checks were never received by the department. That investigation found no proof of any criminal wrongdoing, we also reported last September.

Then last August the complaint alleges a hostile work environment investigation was launched by the city's insurance carrier after several complaint were made by 10 city employees. The insurance company's attorney concluded from that investigation that Grube demonstrated a clear favoritism to two departments, disregarded chain of command, engaged in bullying on social media, acts unprofessional via personal attacks in public forums and social media, and made comments before understanding the facts and if proven wrong failed to acknowledge fault or correct inaccurate public statements.

The suit also alleges Grube coordinated and promoted fake social media accounts to post defamatory, libelous, and slanderous comments about city employees including Rundel, and even their spouses.

Last October Rundel sent a cease and desist letter to Grube, in which he alleged his family members were also being harassed by CRAMM followers.

The following month Grube was publicly censured by the mayor and council.

In May, a second cease and desist letter was sent to Grube, in which she was forewarned Rundel was considering legal options.

The suit demands an unspecified amount of money to be determined by a jury.

Over the weekend, Grube posted a letter online from her attorney sent to the mayor and city attorney in which she requests the city attorney recuse himself from the executive session scheduled to discuss the litigation at Tuesday night's council meeting.

News 12 has spoken to attorneys in this case Monday. We'll bring you what they have to say tonight on News 12.