Village of Tijeras settles scrapbook lawsuit for $60K

Woman banned from senior center feels "vindicated"

Watson and Lark

TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The elderly women who were banned from a senior center by the Village of Tijeras over a scrapbook are now receiving a $60,000 settlement, the result of a civil rights lawsuit.

“We decided to see it through and it turned out the way we wanted,” said Floy Watson who was banned from the Tijeras Senior Center in 2014.

It’s been more than two years since Watson and her friend Doris Lark were given the boot from their favorite hangout, all over a scrapbook.

“It’s pretty silly. It’s sad it had to happen,” said Watson.

Silly as it sounds, Watson and Lark were accused of stealing a scrapbook they made there.

The scrapbook drama led to criminal charges and last year, a lawsuit against the village and Mayor Gloria Chavez.

“It was their position at the very beginning that they never took anything that didn’t belong to them. The scrapbooks belonged to Doris Lark,” said Terri Keller, Watson’s attorney.

Lark died back in 2014 before the theft charges were dismissed.

Watson was banned from the center. But Friday, she feels vindicated.

“I can finally get this off my mind and rest because it has been a long haul,” said Watson.

As part of a settlement agreement, the Village of Tijeras will pay Watson $55,000. And if the senior center wants the scrapbook back, the village will have to pay an additional $5,000 to Lark’s estate.

“They have to buy Doris’ property,” said Watson.

As part of the settlement, Watson agreed that she will not set foot inside the senior center so long as Mayor Gloria Chavez is in office.

“We were made so uncomfortable and so miserable there that it’s no big loss to me at all,” said Watson.

KRQE News 13 tried calling the mayor for comment and going by her office, but had no luck getting in touch with her.

Watson will turn 77-years-old next month. She told News 13 she’s looking forward to putting this chapter behind her.

“Bullies pick on people they think won’t fight back and Doris and I fooled ’em. We stood our ground and we fought back,” said Watson.

It’s unclear how much in legal fees the Village of Tijeras had to spend on this scrapbook scandal.

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