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October 18--  A Lyons businessman and civic leader is denying allegations by three former employees that he engaged in "sexually-oriented inappropriate conduct and unconsented physical contact."

Thriftway CEO Michael Grimes says "It's not true" that he engaged in such behavior with three female cashiers who quit their jobs in August and September.  

The three have filed civil suits under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Twenty-year-old Jessica Beasley was employed more than five years and alleges Grimes engaged in sexual advances on multiple occasions before she quit after he "touched her inappropriately" on September 6.

Other instances are alleged by 19-year-old Skylar Moore, who worked at the store for more than four years and left in September, and 20-year-old Chelsea White who was employed for a year before leaving in August.

The trio is represented by Soperton attorney Keith Pollette who requested and was granted a temporary injunction by Superior Court Judge Kathy Palmer.  The injunction prohibits transfer of any of Grimes' assets and orders him to stay away from and not communicate with any of the three women.

Judge Palmer has scheduled a hearing for November 9th regarding continuance of the injunction.

The trio seeks a jury trial in Toombs County Superior Court and compensatory and punitive damages in the millions of dollars.

Grimes says he will be represented in the case by Statesboro attorney Susan Cox.  

Meanwhile, Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker says his department is "looking into the allegations to determine if there have been any criminal violations." 

Grimes was named the "Lyons Citizen of the Year" in 2008 and was elected to the Toombs County school board this year with no opposition.