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Local News

February 24, 2014

Former court clerk seeks payout

Made to resign after continuation of case, Desmond wants $500K

IPSWICH — The former assistant clerk magistrate of Ipswich District Court, who admitted lying to police who were investigating assaults on two cab drivers and a disabled man, is now demanding the state pay her more than $500,000.

Alison Story Desmond, 56, of Newburyport, has already been approved for a $40,429 annual pension despite her admission to sufficient facts last September in the witness intimidation case, which was continued without a finding for a year. One condition of that continuation was that she resign.

But in a lawsuit filed last week in Newburyport Superior Court, she is demanding that the state Trial Court pay her the $84,870 per year salary she did not receive for the nearly two years she was on an unpaid suspension while the charge was pending. She also wants all of her unused sick, personal and vacation time. And she is asking a judge to triple the amount because she did not receive the money immediately after her resignation, which, she contends, violates the state’s wage law.

That would come to $509,082.

The Trial Court has informed Desmond in an email that she is entitled only to her unused vacation time.

While she was on suspension, Desmond received unemployment compensation — over the objection of the Trial Court, according to court records.

Desmond and a second Trial Court employee, David Vitale, were charged by Newburyport police following incidents in September 2011.

Desmond, a member of the Elks Club, had been there at a gambling night with Vitale; Vitale’s nephew, Ryan Nimblett; and a third man, Robert Barron. Later, they went back to her condo. From there, the men left together in a cab but got involved in a confrontation with the driver and then with a second cab driver who stopped to help.

Desmond and Vitale, a court officer from Methuen, had worked together at the Newburyport District Court. Vitale, however, told police that night that he’d never been to Newburyport before and that he didn’t know the other two men.

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