MADISON – The superintendent who will take over School Administrative District 59 at the beginning of July was involved in a dispute with his supervisor in Wisconsin that involved a restraining order and a defamation lawsuit.

The restraining order against incoming Superintendent Todd LeRoy was dismissed, and he then filed a defamation lawsuit against the man who took out the order — his boss at the time.

Though a judge found no grounds to award damages and the lawsuit also was dismissed, an attorneys’ agreement awarded LeRoy monetary compensation and an official apology from the man who had falsely accused LeRoy of verbally threatening to harm him with a gun.

“I feel I was very much vindicated in the situation,” LeRoy said. “In essence, everything that was brought up was brought up as a means of hurting us and was never followed through on. It was a very ridiculous situation. It made no sense whatsoever but was utilized to damage my reputation in the community.”

LeRoy is superintendent of the Madawaska School Department and was hired in February to replace SAD 59 Superintendent Lyford Beverage, who is retiring. He will officially start work July 1. SAD 59 comprises Madison, Athens, Starks and Brighton Plantation.

LeRoy informed school board members of the civil court history during his second interview for the superintendent position, he said.

“The board saw this issue as a non-issue in his ability to lead this district in education,” said board chairman Troy Emery, of Madison. “This is a personal matter, and in our mind it was cleared up a long time ago.”

When LeRoy was a principal in the Algoma School District in Wisconsin, his supervisor, Superintendent Mark Smits, who was married, had an affair, according to court documents filed in Washington County Circuit Court in Wisconsin.

When Smits and the woman ended the affair, the woman then began dating LeRoy. LeRoy married her in July 2002, and they moved into a house next to where Smits and his wife lived. Their backyards bordered.

In October 2003, Smits and his wife filed a temporary restraining order against the LeRoys, claiming harassment.

According to court documents, they alleged that LeRoy told Smits he had a gun and “was willing to use it.” The documents state the LeRoys harassed them by staring at them as they walked by the Smitses’ home.

Smits also alleged that LeRoy started rumors about him and broke into his office at work.

LeRoy denied the accusations.

“I’ve never threatened anybody with anything in my life. It’s ludicrous,” he said.

When the Smitses opted not to attend a hearing about the temporary restraining order, the injunction was voluntarily dismissed. But newspapers and the radio had already picked up the story about the restraining order.

LeRoy said his name was tarnished, so he filed a lawsuit in November 2003 alleging defamation.

“Having my name and reputation tarnished over things that were untrue was very serious. I don’t take legal action lightly,” LeRoy said. “I needed to be vindicated, and I feel that I was vindicated, and I feel that the fact that we did basically come out of this with a winning situation showed that the things that were said were untrue.”

Court documents indicate a judge dismissed LeRoy’s lawsuit against Smits in February 2005, saying he had no proof Smits based his filing for a temporary restraining order on untrue grounds.

The attorneys for each side, however, reached a private agreement, LeRoy said.

“There was a monetary award, and there was also a letter written by Mark Smits apologizing for the things he had said,” LeRoy said. The agreement came with a confidentiality pact, however, and is not public, he said.

That time in his life was “very trying,” he said, and cost him his marriage. But it won’t affect how he does his job in Madison, he said.

“The things that are coming up are becoming ancient history, and I’m not ashamed of dealing with them. I’m not ashamed of answering questions about them. I hope people would be honest and forthright — that if people have questions or concerns they would bring them to me directly,” he said.