Lawsuit Against WINK Settled

By Kevin Eck 

A breach of contract lawsuit against Fort Myers CBS affiliate WINK has been settled, reports the News-Press.

The lawsuit was brought by former reporter Matt Dougherty who claimed he was fired because he wouldn’t destroy pieces of evidence he collected in a story about boxes of patient medical records, including social security numbers, credit card receipts and shot records, found in a storage unit that had been auctioned off.

“This means that Matt did nothing wrong,” Dougherty’s attorney Susan Chana Lask told the News-Press.

The suit alleged that once WINK news director Russ Kilgore saw that the story involved Dr. Gerardo A. Gamez, his family physician, he directed Dougherty and his producers to “kill the story.”

In an amended filing last year the suit added Kilgore and Joe Schwartzel, WINK’s general manager, Dr. Gamez and Maria Gamez, believed to be the doctor’s wife, Lee Memorial Hospital and Lee Memorial Health System as defendants.

Lask said that the day the settlement was signed Kilgore left the station.

Schwartzel confirmed that Kilghore had left WINK and declined to comment further citing the personnel nature of the issue.

WINK announced yesterday it had hired former WFLD news director Tom Doerr as Kilgore’s replacement.