In her lawsuit — filed in U.S. District Court in Rome on Friday — Karen Armstrong said Garland and others acting his behalf “made statements to authorities that were knowingly false or, in the alternative, were made with a reckless disregard to the truth or falsity of the statements.”
Armstrong was acquitted of theft charges after a weeklong trial in March 2012.
According to her lawsuit, Armstrong, a coach for more than 30 years, began working for the RFPRA in December 2007.
She collected money from parents for a separate team, called the “Flip City” team, and deposited the funds into her account to pay for team expenses.
Garland reported to Rome police that Armstrong had misappropriated funds from parents by personally accepting money instead of running it through the RFPRA books.
Armstrong said in her suit that, despite the fact she accounted for all of the money, Garland manipulated the investigation by withholding information and evidence.
In one instance, Garland did not provide cash receipt books to the police, according to the lawsuit. Armstrong accuses Garland of hiding them from authorities and saying the funds in the receipt books were stolen by Armstrong.
In Armstrong’s trial held in March 2012, Garland said the books were found months after the investigation “stuffed away in a concession stand cabinet next to Armstrong’s office.”
But Armstrong’s attorney found an internal memo to Garland that told him the receipt books were found on Armstrong’s desk the day Armstrong was suspended, on Feb. 9, 2010.
Jerry Lee, chairman of the RFPRA board, said the authority was not at fault.
“We didn’t prosecute her,” Lee said. “It was the police that did the investigation. It was the (district attorney) that prosecuted her. I don’t see how she has any claim against the parks and recreation board.”
Garland did not return a phone call seeking comment.
James Radford, a Decatur attorney representing Armstrong, said they did consider including the police in the lawsuit. As for district attorneys, they have “almost complete immunity,” he said.
The suit is asking for unspecified damages for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress as well as punitive damages.