It looks like the former City of Lockport's Director of Youth and Recreation, Melissa I. Junke, once at the heart of a city credit card investigation, has lost her chance to sue the city.
And the sudden resignation of her cousin, former Mayor Michael Tucker, on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in order, he said, to access more lucrative opportunities in the private sector, has led to him accepting work as a driver for Timkey Limousine, a limo service and airport shuttle, based in Lockport.
As for her lawsuits, on May 28, 2015, the state Division of Human Rights determined that Junke, who lost her $57,000 a year job as Lockport Youth and Recreation Director when the position was eliminated, has no probable cause and therefore no case to bring against the City of Lockport for unlawful discrimination.
The Human Rights Division found that Junke’s dismissal was based on the city’s financial situation and not discrimination.
Without revealing the nature of what, if any, evidence Junke submitted supporting her claims of sexual harassment by one or more city officials, the Human Rights Division concluded that nothing she may have submitted was filed within the required one year of date of occurrence time limitation.
Junke also chose not to commence a timely lawsuit against the city in state supreme court relative to the city making public her role in the use of a city credit card that helped fund a private event.
Junke filed a notice of claim against the city but the time bar for her to file a lawsuit expired in May.
Back in June 2013, Junke used then Mayor Mike Tucker's city credit card to pay $9080 in expenses for a fund raising event for her Youth and Recreation Department.
The event, a golf tournament followed by dinner at Lock 34 Bar & Grille, a restaurant owned by her brother, failed to raise enough funds to pay back the credit card.
The City Council announced it had begun an investigation of the possible improper credit card use by an unnamed employee in February 2014.
Within hours, Buffalo News reporter Thomas Prohaska reported that Junke was the target of the investigation.
Within a month Junke slipped on ice and went on workers compensation - never to return to her duties, and Tucker abruptly resigned on less than 24 hours’ notice.
When Tucker resigned he told the Lockport Union- Sun & Journal, "I want to go into the private sector. When an opportunity knocks, you have to seize it."
Four months later while Junke was still out on compensation, the council decided to eliminate her job.
Today, her chances of vindication through the process of litigation are seemingly gone.
A call to Tucker at Timkey Limo went unanswered.
The dispatcher said that Tucker was unavailable since he was driving Limo at the time.