City of Steamboat Springs settles with Kristin Bantle | SteamboatToday.com

City of Steamboat Springs settles with Kristin Bantle

Steamboat Springs City Hall

— The city of Steamboat Springs has avoided being sued by former police officer Kristin Bantle by paying her $75,000.

City attorney Dan Foote said Friday the city has a $50,000 insurance deductible related to the claim. He could not confirm whether the city's insurance company paid the remaining $25,000.

Foote said the settlement was effective May 11.

Bantle and her attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

Bantle has sued Routt County and Sheriff Garrett Wiggins and threatened to sue the city of Steamboat.

In her claim against the city, Bantle indicated she was willing to settle for $250,000, but would possibly seek damages in excess of $500,000 if her case went to trial.

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"As a result of the conduct by the city of Steamboat Springs, Ms. Bantle has suffered a loss of employment, harm to her reputation, malicious prosecution and other damages, including but not limited to emotional damages, attorney's fees and other expenses," the claim stated.

Bantle was employed as a Steamboat police officer from April 2011 to August 2015, when she was fired.

Bantle claimed she was passed over for promotion numerous times and experienced gender discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Steamboat's new police chief, Cory Christensen, in January stated the department's former leadership presided over a hostile work environment in which several employees felt bullied and gender-based harassment was likely occurring for more than a decade.

Bantle was fired by the police department after allegations surfaced that she had lied about prior drug use when she applied for a job at the Sheriff’s Office.

Bantle was subsequently criminally charged with felony attempt to influence a public servant, with the public servant being Wiggins.

A jury acquitted Bantle after she accrued about $45,000 in legal bills.

On May 13, Bantle filed her lawsuit again Routt County and Wiggins.

The lawsuit states Bantle feels her confidentiality was violated by Wiggins, who was so concerned by Bantle’s drug use that he found a way to disclose it, despite a warning from legal counsel that it could expose the county to a lawsuit.

Bantle claims Wiggins’ actions last year resulted in her dismissal from the police department, a loss of future employment opportunities, harm to her reputation, humiliation and severe emotional distress.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

Bantle timeline

June 11, 2015: Kristin Bantle is removed as school resource officer and reassigned after Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins forwards a complaint to the police department alleging Bantle had used inappropriate language in schools. Wiggins also tried to tip off the city about Bantle’s past drug use by telling police officials she had washed out of the application process at the Sheriff’s Office and that Steamboat is known for its “champagne powder,” a reference to cocaine use.

June 17, 2015: Bantle is placed on paid leave after the city says it received new information.

July 17: A search warrant reveals the District Attorney’s Office believes Bantle lied about past drug use on an employment application with the Sheriff’s Office in 2013. The investigation started in early June. Bantle is charged with attempting to influence a public servant, a felony.

August 2015: Bantle is fired from the police department.

Dec. 3, 2015: A jury exonerates Bantle of the charge of attempting to influence a public servant.

January 2016: Bantle threatens to sue the city and county. Complaints include working in a hostile work environment at the city and Wiggins’ efforts to have her removed from her job.

May 13, 2016: Bantle files a lawsuit against Wiggins and the Routt County Board of County Commissioners.