Plaintiff In Multi-Million-Dollar Lawsuit Against Signal Weighing Run For Seat On Town Council

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - by Judy Frank
Richard Saputa
Richard Saputa

A Signal Mountain man who is suing the town for millions of dollars now wants to help lead it. 

According to Hamilton County Election Commission records, Richard Saputa has picked up papers which, if properly filed, would allow him to run for a seat on Signal’s town council. 

The deadline to qualify is Thursday

Earlier this year, Mr. Saputa and his wife filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga seeking $60 million in damages from the town of Signal Mountain, SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank. 

The legal action – filed in response to Mr. Saputa’s arrest on Feb. 23, 2017, for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest/obstruction of the legal process – contends Signal police officers acted improperly after receiving reports from employees at two local banks that he was attempting to steal money from an elderly relative. 

His decision to pick up qualifying papers for the town council election is not Mr. Saputa’s first foray into Signal politics. Earlier this month, he filed an application asking to be appointed to fill the seat left vacant by the departure of former Councilman Dick Gee. 

On his application, he indicated he believes the issues facing the town include, but are not limited to:  need for improved transparency and communication, pressure for commercial development and “government run amuk.”

Current council members have not yet chosen Councilman Gee’s temporary replacement from the eight applicants. 

Monday night, during their regular monthly meeting, the group decided to delay the decision until their work session scheduled for the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend. 

Should Mr. Saputa meet the Thursday deadline for qualifying, it will bring the total number of candidates in the running to six. 

To date, qualified candidates include: 

·         Joe Durek, who qualified Aug. 13.


·         Current town council member Dan Landrum, who qualified Aug. 7.


·         Former Signal Mayor Bill Lusk, who qualified June 6.


·         Dun Monroe, who qualified July 30.


·         Susannah Murdoch, who qualified Aug. 10.


Two other potential candidates have yet to formally qualify to run.


They include Rob Hensley, who picked up his papers on Monday, and incumbent Mayor Chris Howley who picked up papers on June 22.

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