An Olathe man has filed a lawsuit claiming he was unfairly fired by the city for belonging to a motorcycle club.
Larry Brown’s lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Johnson County District Court and seeks unspecified damages for his termination in October 2016. The lawsuit names as defendants the city, Mayor Michael Copeland, Police Chief Steven Menke, City Manager J. Michael Wilkes and then-chief information officer Shawn Whitcomb.
City officials said they had not yet seen the lawsuit and had no comment.
The complaint lays out the following allegations:
Brown was hired by the city of Olathe in September 2016 for a managerial position in the Information Technology department. To obtain that job, he successfully completed a background check and drug testing. Then, during a visit to the police department, he was told he would need to pass an additional police department background check, which Brown complied with.
Then, on Oct. 3, 2016, Brown was informed by his supervisor, Shawn Whitcomb, that although Whitcomb had no problems with his performance, his employment was terminated. Whitcomb explained that Brown had allegedly failed the police department’s additional screening, with an item of concern pertaining to the Overland Park Police Department.
According to the lawsuit, Brown visited Overland Park police to find out more about the situation. He was told by an officer that there was a notation on a “master name file” stating Brown was a “Full Patch Member of Brothers Word MC.”
The lawsuit said Brown has never received “any legitimate reason for his termination.”
“Mr. Brown alleges that he was terminated from his position with the City of Olathe not because of his failure to pass the additional background check but rather because he belonged to a motorcycle club,” the lawsuit says.
The plaintiff argues the firing violated his constitutionally protected rights of free speech, free association, due process and equal protection.
Over food, music, and good community interaction, the group had a raffle rolling as well as an auction with a variety of items including their traditional strider bike.
All of these items are donated by the community and the president of Twisted Misfits says Hogtoberfest is chance for groups like his to join in and erase a stigma.
“The image out there of bikers and clubs has not ever been too good you know and we’re just trying to change that image. there are good guys in clubs. We do have hearts and we’re trying to bring the community together and just have a good time,” said Johnny Osborne, president of the Twisted Misfits Motorcycle Club.
The Twisted Misfits hopes to raise more than $10,000 at Hogtoberfest 2018 and are confident the event will continue to grow.