St. Paul's new city attorney on Friday filed a defamation suit against Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul.
Lyndsey Olson, whom Mayor Melvin Carter appointed to the job last month, said in her lawsuit that Lesch sent Carter a letter in early January in which Lesch questioned Olson's fitness for the city attorney's position.
Olson claimed Lesch's letter included "a number of false and defamatory statements and innuendo," and said she would go "so far as to commit misconduct" in pursuit of a political win.
Olson serves in the Minnesota National Guard and used to be its general counsel. She was the first woman appointed to be general counsel.
Lesch is a former Guard member and an attorney himself, but Olson said in her lawsuit that they did not work together. Lesch also worked as an assistant St. Paul city attorney from 2001 to 2016.
Olson, who joined the Guard in 2001, said she faced sexual harassment and gender discrimination, including unwelcome sexual advances from a superior officer. She also said in her complaint that a "coordinated group of males" launched a rumor and disinformation campaign against her that included anonymous complaints to the inspector general.
Olson said the complaints were investigated and determined to be unsubstantiated, and she has no record of professional misconduct.
In a statement, Lesch said he is "confident this case will be dismissed for the frivolity it represents."
In a separate statement, Carter said he has full faith and confidence in Olson's ability to serve as city attorney.