Former Niskayuna interim police chief Fran Wall is suing town Comptroller Ismat Alam for defamation following statements Alam made as part of a workplace complaint.
Wall left the department in June after 36 years on the job. Before Wall retired, the town was expected to reprimand Wall after she was investigated by the town’s Hazard Reduction Team for allegedly threatening to kill Alam and harassing her eight separate times.
Wall has denied the allegations from the beginning and is now suing Alam.
In court documents filed Tuesday, Wall said statements made by Alam, including statements made in a hostile workplace complaint filed Jan. 17, were false and caused damage to her reputation.
“The statements made in said report were false and defamatory and were done with actual malice that charged the Plaintiff Frances Wall with a crime and otherwise indicate a lack of fitness in her position and allowed for a frivolous investigation being made based on these false claims,” court documents state.
A month before Alam made a formal complaint against Wall — claiming that Wall threatened to kill her after the town hired a firm to conduct a police department audit — Wall had complained about Alam in a Dec. 17 email to Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed and Town Board member Bill McPartlon.
In that email, Wall asked that a third party at least be present whenever she had to interact with Alam.
Syed said she believed Wall’s email was handled internally but did not constitute a formal complaint because it did not go through the correct town process.
Wall said Alam’s statements were then republished in The Gazette on July 12, which subjected her to “disgrace and contempt, as well as harmed her reputation that she steadfastly maintained over her career as a Niskayuna police officer, and financial loss.”
The Gazette first published the allegations July 7. The Times Union also published the allegations on July 7. The Gazette then wrote a follow-up piece on July 10 about the allegations.
Neither Wall nor her attorney Paul Davenport could be reached for comment. Alam also could not be reached for comment.