February 8, 2016

Pugh served with protection order

Danedri Thompson
Sheriff’s deputies served Gardner City Council member Dennis Pugh with a temporary protection from stalking order on Nov. 29. The order prevents Pugh from following, harassing or contacting city council member Larry Fotovich or entering or being near Fotovich’s residence.
The order, issued by Johnson County District Court, does not prohibit Pugh from attending city council meetings or carrying out official duties related to his office.
A hearing related to the order is set for 10 a.m. on Dec. 15.
In the petition for a protection order, Fotovich alleges that Pugh threatened to take him into a backroom and beat him in front of 20 witnesses during a city council meeting, drove to Fotovich’s home, which is located in the same neighborhood as Pugh’s residence, and put Fotovich in a headlock.
“After escaping, (Pugh) followed me to the corner of my street and tackled me in an effort to take my camera which I had used to record his aggression,” Fotovich wrote in the petition.
“(Pugh) has demonstrated an impetuous and violent behavior, and I do not trust him to act in a different manner in the future,” Fotovich wrote. “A safe distance between us is all I have as protection.”
Council meetings are not the only places in town where Pugh and Fotovich are likely to cross paths. Their children play on the same recreational basketball team.
A spokesperson for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office said today that their investigations into the allegations are ongoing.


  1. Headlock? Corner? says:

    Bit by bit, we either learn more information about the confrontation at Fotovich’s house, or Fotovich changes his story. Since the story is never relayed (through Fotovich’s apparent press agent, Dandedri Thompson) to us the same way twice, we’re all left to speculate about the ACTUAL events that happened and the order that they happened.

    Now Fotovich claims the “headlock” occurred first, and admits that the tackle came “at the corner of (his) street” in a struggle over the camera.

    So we ARE getting the two diverse stories closer together.

    Pugh claims that they met at the corner and scuffled over the camera. Both men, in different ways, agree that Fotovich was talking into the camera, saying things about Pugh’s presumed aggression, although Pugh’s story says he had not done anything at that point, ahd Fotovich’s story says the headlock already occurred.

    It is important to note that, either by shoddy, incomplete reporting, or by the participants (both Pugh AND Fotovich) of this confrontation, the stories appear to have changed from their original versions. The NBC Action News story relied entirely on info collected from Fotovich and cheerleeder Thompson, and it made it sound like the headlock and tackle occurred pretty much on Fotovich’s front step. Now, we have a headlock that occurred…well, THIS article doesn’t tell us where…and a scuffle and *ahem* “tackle” over the camera at the corner.

    Both the “over the camera” and the location of the headlock (if it actually occurred) are important because it makes a difference in Pugh’s intent. If he just showed up and started wailing away on Fotovich — headlock and tackle and “beating the s**t” out of him — that shows a premediation that does not appear to be there if all the two guys REALLY did was argue, then scuffle over the camera.

    Scuffling over possession of the camera, while amazingly stupid for grown men to be doing, is not the same thing as “beating the s**t” out of someone.

    Now, Fotovich seeks to bolster his claim by getting a protection order against Pugh. It appears that the injunction does not reflectany ADDITIONAL activity from Pugh…just fallout from the original confrontation. That, too, is important. If Pugh were showing additional signs of stalking Fotovich, the injunction would be a slam-dunk and Pugh, stupidly, would be inviting himself to get thrown in jail by proving Fotovich right. If the injunction, as it appears, reflects only the original confrontation, it MIGHT be a good move by Fotovich, but it also might be grandstanding on his part to sell his side of the story.

    It all comes down to the headlock. For that, we have Fotovich claiming it happened and Pugh saying it didn’t.

    Too bad we can’t rely on Gardner News, or either of the Council members involved, to give us a clear timeline on the events in the confrontation. We’re STILL missing the whole picture, as Thompson’s article once again illustrates.

  2. Dawn Strahan says:

    I feel sorry for their kids. They have to play on the same team together? When will this drama end? Geez!

  3. I assume that while the Deputies were in the neighborhood, they stopped by the Fotovich house to revoke Larry’s man card.

  4. @Deputies says:

    What kind of man doesn’t want to protect himself and his family from a nut job like Pugh? And since you’re talking about being manly, why don’t you go back and post your real name with your comment? Yeah, didn’t think so. That would take real courage now wouldn’t it?

  5. loose cannon says:

    If Pugh is nutty enough to make a threat, and then follow someone home, who knows what he’s capable of. He’s mentally unstable. Not to mention he tackled someone and walked away. No city official has yet to apologize to Fotovich or call for an investigation; so apparently this violence was condoned by the city. I don’t blame Fotovich. Has nothing to do with a “man card” has everything to do with protecting himself and family.

  6. Danedri Thompson is an idiot!!

  7. Did you actually read the opinion…um…article? The “tackling” of Fotovich is now attributed to the scramble over the camera he was yelling into at the time. Both men were behaving like children, it sounds like. Mentally unstable? Sure. But are you SURE you mean Pugh? Or, at least, Pugh alone?

    Who in the world should call Fotovich and apologize? It’s not like the entire Council and staff showed up on Fotovich’s lawn with bike chains and night sticks.

  8. Captain Caveman says:

    Too bad Fotovitch didn’t file for a restraining order – now Pugh can still attend Gardner City Council meetings.

    Timeline according to Dennis Pugh:
    Me Dennis Pugh.
    Me serve on council.
    Me make stuff happen.
    Larry ask too many question.
    Larry hold process with his question. Question make Dennis feel dumb.
    Larry make Dennis mad.
    Dennis yell at Larry.
    Larry no stop. Me think Larry play too many reindeer games.
    Me slam fist on table. Me storm out from meeting.
    Me blind with rage.
    Me follow Larry.
    Larry go home?
    Me go to Larry home.
    Me make things better with hug.
    Me bear hug Larry.
    Larry no like my hug.
    Larry Wile e. like cartoon coyote.
    Larry want to take photo of my hug.
    Me no like picture taken.
    Larry make Dennis mad with photo machine.
    Dennis tell Larry to stop.
    Larry no stop.
    Larry run like deer.
    Me fast, too. Me catch up.
    Me club Larry.
    Me feel better.
    Me give statement to Peter.
    Me talk with wife, lawyer.
    Me say, “Oops.”
    Me make new statement.

  9. Bam Bam Rubble says:

    Bam Bam!!!!! Bam Bam!!!!!

  10. loose cannon says:

    Considering Drovetta also apparently taunted Fotovich, and has previously made hositle gestures, he apparently has given a wink of approval to Pugh’s actions. At least one department head sent Pugh a message immediately after Pugh blew up. No one was arrested after the physical altercation. Why don’t you go to the next meeting, stand up in front of a police officer, threaten a councilmember, then go to his house and tackle him, admit it to the media, and let’s see what happens to you. Is that really business as usual in Gardner? No matter what the names involved, is that really good for this city?

  11. Judith Rogers says:

    This news not about our local scandal but thought citizens may have an interest.


    Seeing more and more articles on Coleman. I am sure they have big money problems but don’t want to talk about it………….you better hope those industrial revenue bonds are paid on that warehouse here in Gardner……..Goodbye Kansas, hello Colorado – Coleman on the move to get sweet deals from another state and communities in order to stay alive – no loyalty among thieves………..


  12. As the rapper once said... says:

    Mo money, mo problems.

  13. excellent piece captain caveman!!

  14. doesn't matter says:

    everyday life should be treated like Hockey…….

    When two people have a problem….duke it out and then go the penalty box until further notified.

    Everyone hugs and slaps hands afterwords

  15. Judith Rogers says:

    Caveman was rather funny……….we have lots of cavemen in these parts……….

  16. Judith Rogers says:

    Sure wish I had the money to sue USD 231 School Dist. and the city of Gardner for their stonewalling and keeping information from the people. This tells you what they are doing is not right. These entities are always putting out there how they can’t do this or do that because of the fear of getting sued. Well, when they start withholding information from the people, then to me it is time to haul their sorry rearends into court – just wish I had the money to do so. Government entities belong to the people and it should be a government for, by and of the people – not some dictatorship that controls, stonewalls and manipulates what goes on.


    Former student journalist’s suit against JCCC resolved

    Marcus Clem and the Student Press Law Center sued the college in October to get seven months of emails between a former JCCC employee, who had been abruptly let go, and the employee’s supervisor.

    School officials had said it would require “a significant amount of time and expense, to satisfy the request and the documents would be released once more than $47,000 was paid.

    This week, three months of emails — more than 200 pages — were made available to Clem for $450, “a fraction of what the school had said it would cost,” said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the law center. The law center paid for the records.

    LoMonte said the school withheld two pages protected by a Kansas Open Records Law exemption.

    Clem, who dropped classes at JCCC after the lawsuit was filed, shared the documents with the Campus Ledger, the student newspaper.

    “We don’t normally take this kind of a case to court,” LoMonte said. “But this one was so flagrant that we thought it was important to make the point that these institutions can’t erect these insurmountable financial barriers to getting public documents. Either they see this as a money-making opportunity or they just wanted to make the press go away.”

    Joe Sopcich, executive vice president of administrative services for the college, said the original quote was so high because the request was of a very broad scope and might have required the school to solicit an outside contractor to handle part of the electronic archival work needed to get all the information requested.

    But Sopcich said he and the college are happy about the resolution and the eventual dismissal of the lawsuit. The case never made it to a hearing because the issue was resolved outside of court.

    He said the school found a less expensive way to retrieve the documents requested and the price was reduced substantially.

    The original request for the documents had been made by the Campus Ledger, which was not a party to the lawsuit. After Ledger writers saw how expensive their request was, they narrowed the scope asking for fewer documents.

    The college put a $24,000 price tag on the second request, still considered excessive by students and the law center. The Ledger and the law center made several attempts to get the information at a “reasonable cost.” Eventually, the request was pared to emails between two people over one day. JCCC officials said that request, for about 20 emails, would cost nearly $10,000.

    “There was no real justification for that five-figure price quote,” LoMonte said, adding that’s why a suit was filed.

    Clem, 21, of Stilwell, said Thursday that he was satisfied with the outcome.

    “We got what we were after and they dropped their fee down to a much more reasonable level and that’s all we wanted.”

  17. Even a caveman could do it. says:

    Finally found someone who appreciates your opinion, Judith?

  18. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    I wish more newspapers were concerned about how their stories are composed and perceived by readers and are willing to promptly correct misstatements or errors of fact.

    I appreciate and applaud Derek Donovan, the KC Star’s readers’ representative, for posting the following at 7:05 p.m. last night:

    JCCC lawsuit headline inaccurate

    An official with Johnson County Community College contacted me about a just-posted story concerning a lawsuit brought by a former student against the college, charging the school with demanding excessive fees for documents that are public and should be made readily available.
    The original headline for the Web: “Former student journalist settles with JCCC.” However, that’s not accurate according to the official who wrote me, noting that the text of the story avoided the word at question in the headline:

    ‘The headline of the article says the lawsuit was “settled”. For the record, there has been no settlement. The SPLC attorney filed a voluntary dismissal document today, which basically means there was nothing to the claim. That’s very different than a settlement. Mara (Rose Williams, the reporter who wrote the story) used the word “resolve” — that or “dismissal” would be far more accurate.’

    To the layman, “settle” and “resolve” are roughly synonymous. However, we’re talking about law here, and within that context there’s a world of difference. I’ve changed the online headline to “Former student journalist’s suit against JCCC resolved.” And I’ve also alerted the editor overseeing the Metro desk tonight about the distinction, to make sure it isn’t repeated in print tomorrow.

  19. I wonder if that video recording (if any) will make it to youtube?

  20. Judith Rogers says:

    Give me a break, Kellogg………..what the Sam Hill do you think of plea bargains that are made very day and how many of the lowlifes walk after serving a minimal amount of the time they are supposed to serve due to smooth lawyers, overcrowding of jails and every other asinine excuse under the sun………..you think that has anything to do with the LAW?????? How many times do people go to court and plead no contest – you think they means they aren’t guilty???? That government entity at JCCC is operating just like so many other government entities and it sure isn’t with the best interests of the people in mind and JCCC is guilty of stonewalling and keeping information from they people just like here when the jerks don’t want to the people to truly know what is going on. You support that kind of government, Kellogg and I don’t respect you for it – not that you really care about my respect.

  21. Re: "words" says:

    Great post, Judith. It perfectly illustrates really whose “…words tell you what I can’t even begin to tell you about their lack of character”.

  22. Hello Everyone.

    Please read the Gardner news article in the following link.


    This problem is going to continue to be in city council even with Pughs resignation. The one that seems to promote this behavior is the Mayor.
    This came up months ago, also, I have witnessed it personally.

  23. It is very interesting that an article written in June foretold the future 5 months later–

    eg..” …….we take issue with the Mayor standing and walking over to another council member while using inappropriate language and pointing in his face. What’s next? A fist fight?”
    written by Humble.

    And look what happened! Keep an eye on the mayor. This is not over with just Pugh gone.

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