St. Charles police officer battling cancer sues village over lack of promotion
(5/21/2018) - A police officer who got cancer and believes the building he works in caused it is now suing the village that employs him.
The lawsuit isn't directly about his cancer battle. Rather, he is suing because the village passed him over for the police chief position, which be perceives as discrimination or retaliation.
Officer Benjamin Jaime was the acting chief in St. Charles after the resignation of Allen Rabideau last year. Rabideau resigned in part because of concerns about the office building that houses the police department.
The previous two chiefs got cancer and at least two other officers who used the St. Charles police building also were diagnosed with cancer.
Jaime's attorney, Victor Mastromarco, said he was passed over for the chief's position because he was vocal about the building contamination and got cancer himself. That cancer, diagnosed in 2014, is in remission.
"The chief's position is a very prestigious position," Mastromarco said. "He was the most qualified for the job."
But he said the process of selecting St. Charles' next police chief was "rigged" against Jaime.
Court documents say Jaime was selected as a finalist for the job. A village trustee inquired about his health status during the interview process.
Two other candidates finished ahead of Jaime after the hiring process concluded. One of them failed a background check.
Eventually, the job was given to a person who Jaime claims never applied for the job, John Meehleder. The lawsuit claims Meehleder attempted to do a Law Enforcement Information Network check on himself under orders from Village Manager Matt Lane.
Mastromarco said people aren't allowed to run LEIN reports on themselves. Jaime learned of the alleged violation and reported it to the state.
"I have to report it or I could be held legally held accountable as well," he said.
Nevertheless, Meehleder became police chief on April 30. He declined to comment about the lawsuit, along with Lane.
The lawsuit comes as a clean up of the contamination at the police station property is scheduled to start soon.