Courtroom tells Madison County to pay official after PTSD episode


Supporters rally for veterans advocate

Supporters gathered on the Madison County Courthouse to name on county officers to permit veterans advocate Bradley Lavite again on county property.

Supporters gathered on the Madison County Courthouse to name on county officers to permit veterans advocate Bradley Lavite again on county property.

In 2016, Brad Lavite had a psychological breakdown his physician’s attributed to PTSD from his navy service throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lavite, who heads the Madison County Veteran’s Help Fee, was arrested and later banned from getting into the county constructing the place he labored.

Nearly three years later, county taxpayers can pay greater than $58,000 in authorized charges from lawsuits filed towards Madison County by the fee and Lavite.

Lavite was allowed to maintain his job, however pressured to work from his dwelling due to the ban. The VAC and Lavite’s lawyer filed a number of lawsuits towards the county, two of which stay unresolved.

Following his election in 2016, Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler made it his first act in workplace to permit Lavite again into the executive constructing. The lawsuits nonetheless left the county on the hook for authorized charges that accrued through the ban.

In complete, the county is ready to pay $58,870.47 in VAC authorized bills from the 2016 funds 12 months.

He argued that since he was cleared by a PTSD specialist at St. Louis Veterans Administration Medical Middle to return to work, he shouldn’t have been banned. However Madison County’s psychologist disagreed with that evaluation.

“All of the county needed to do was hearken to our physician and permit me again into the constructing, however I used to be instructed no,” Lavite instructed the board.

The Veteran Help Fee, an impartial company, sued the county, however the case was dismissed. It was later reinstated by the fifth Appellate Courtroom and returned to Madison County. Lavite additionally filed one other lawsuit alleging Madison County violated his civil rights.

The appellate court docket just lately ordered the county to pay the charges, although there can be no sensible technique of amassing them. Board members voted 25-2 to stick to the court docket ruling and canopy the authorized charges.

Parkinson mentioned the board was put right into a scenario the place, if it voted towards making the charges, it could be seen as “anti-veteran.”

“We’re being put right into a trick bag right here the place we’re being instructed {that a} vote towards this could be towards veterans,” he mentioned. “None of this cash goes to assist one single veteran. It’s going to a lawyer.”

Although he voted in favor of paying the VAC’s authorized charges, Board Member Mike Parkinson referred to as the lawsuits filed by Lavite “frivolous.” He objected to the concept the county can be giving taxpayer cash to an lawyer and to not veterans who might have it.

“How a lot of this cash we’re speaking about goes to assist one single veteran?” he mentioned. “I don’t suppose it’s any. I believe it’s going to an lawyer who retains submitting frivolous lawsuits, in my view, and it’s not going to cease.”

Board member Donald Moore cautioned {that a} no-vote may probably result in additional lawsuits.

“If we proceed to battle this they might in all probability take us to court docket and this quantity we’re paying her may develop into one thing a lot bigger,” he mentioned. “It makes our choice harder however we have to take that into consideration.”

Lavite mentioned he’s prepared to finish his battle with the county and transfer on. Though, he mentioned the county paying the charges can be an vital step towards vindication.

“I’ve been battling this county for 4 years. 4 years due to a PTSD episode.” Lavite mentioned. “I’m sorry I had a PTSD episode however I mustn’t need to apologize.”

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My identify is Kavahn Mansouri and I’m a Belleville Information-Democrat and Highland Information Chief reporter. I’ve coated small cities for greater than two years, telling impactful, native tales that matter to these communities.


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