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Lee County Sheriff's Department looks into clash between officials

Alderwoman accuses mayor of getting physical, Varga says

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:23 p.m. CDT

AMBOY – A city alderwoman is accusing the mayor of getting physical with her in a confrontation outside a local restaurant that has been without city water for more than a month, Sheriff John Varga said Wednesday.

The Lee County Sheriff's Department is interviewing witnesses and trying to determine what happened late last week between Alderwoman Deanne Hoy and Mayor Tom Nauman outside The Beef Hut, Varga said. They apparently were discussing the city's water problems.

Hoy has told the sheriff's department that the mayor grabbed or touched her during the quarrel, Varga said.

Hoy declined to comment on the complaint she filed with police, saying she would discuss it Monday during the Amboy City Council meeting.

Asked about the confrontation, Nauman said he wasn't aware that Hoy had filed a complaint. He told a reporter that he would "quit" an interview, adding, "I can see how this is going to go."

Sam Taormina, co-owner of The Beef Hut, said he witnessed the confrontation, but that the sheriff's investigator had asked that he not comment for now.

The Beef Hut is among the places in Amboy that have been without water over the past month. The problems are apparently on the city's side of the system.

The city connected The Beef Hut with a hose a few days ago and plans a permanent fix in 2 or 3 weeks, Taormina said.

Taormina and others say the mayor had told them earlier that they would have to wait until the spring thaw to get water again. Nauman has denied saying that.

Nauman said last week that the city repeatedly warned residents to let their water drip to avoid freezing pipes. The six places without water, he said, failed to follow that advice.

However, the city's water bills didn't include such a warning on the monthly bills that were issued Feb. 1. The tip appeared a month later on the bills, after all the problems started.

This is Nauman's first year as mayor. In the April 2012 election, Nauman beat then-Mayor Frank Mekeel with 39 percent of the vote to 31 percent. Hoy followed close behind with 30 percent.

If you go

The Amboy City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Amboy Community Building. 

Call 815-857-3814 for more information. 

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