News

Atherton's legal costs in Johns case, including settlement, total $619,500

 

The town of Atherton paid a total of about $393,200 in attorney fees to investigate former finance director John Johns, and to fight the lawsuit he subsequently filed against the town, Atherton officials announced today.

With the $225,000 settlement Atherton paid to Mr. Johns in April, plus another $1,305 in an employee tax, the town's total bill is $619,500.

The town initially put the total figure at $618,187, but within minutes sent out a correction that included the Medicare tax paid as part of the back wages Mr. Johns received in the settlement.

Mr. Johns sued the town in 2008 over his October 2007 firing, claiming his termination was in retaliation for blowing the whistle on fiscal improprieties in Atherton's building and other departments.

In August 2007, he was put on administrative leave while a private attorney hired by the town conducted an investigation into complaints against him. The investigator's report painted Mr. Johns as a bully who may have improperly done outside work while on the town's time.

Mr. Johns called the report from the investigation flawed and inaccurate.

Comments

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

What a terrible use of taxpayer money. This is a travesty.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Jon states:"What a terrible use of taxpayer money. This is a travesty."

I fully agree and I hope that enough of the citizens are outraged by this that we will begin to see strong citizen support for new Town leadership. Unfortunately I doubt that the vast majority of the Town citizens even know about this or even care how their tax dollars are being wasted.


Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I thought our town has insurance against all of these high pay outs ?
Being self insured is crazy. No wonder our budget grows more negative each
month. How do you budget lawsuit pay outs ? Maybe we should add a couple of "Mil" each budget, just in case we loose again ! OR try &
reclaim it from the one responsible for it .


Like this comment
Posted by Pound of flesh from MARSALA
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 8, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Marsala led this witch hunt that has now cost $619,000. I should say $609,000 since the Town could have avoided all this expense by paying Johns merely $10,000, but Marsala vetoed that.

Let's sue Marsala to get this money paid back! Take whatever equity is left in that home of his, whether it's rented out or not.


Like this comment
Posted by Thelma
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Yes! Make Charles compensate for all the insanity.
The Town could use Marsala's house on Emily for the next city manager to live in--and give the HP Park cottage for the new library location!!!! No need to tear down and rebuild the old Palmer house.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Concerned
"I thought our town has insurance against all of these high pay outs ?

I don't think insurance covers fraud, and they won't pay for cases that should have been settled, $10,000.00 vs $619,500.00.

Atherton has more payouts on the horizon. Get control of your Town NOW.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Great job Charles! Anything else you can do to cost the tax payers of Atherton money before you leave office?


Like this comment
Posted by Harpooner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

So John Johns blew the whistle on fiscal improprieties in Atherton's building department, did he? Well, good! And was high time someone did. This town desperately needs people like Mr. Johns to keep real estate developers and their 5th-column cronies in office from abusing Atherton’s land-use regulations. Isn’t that right, Elizabeth Lewis?


Like this comment
Posted by John P Johns
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Marsala led the charge against me. Elizabeth Lewis joined in the pursuit, calling my audit of the Building Department a "witch hunt".

Jerry Carlson, who everyone forgets, was the one who called for the Building Department audit, lent Marsala and Lewis his tacit support.



Like this comment
Posted by Thelma
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Are you telling me that 4 different law firms managed to milk this totally trumped up John's issue for 400,000 dollars, and all because a couple of rich developers wanted to divert scrutiny from their prominent appearance in the finance director's Bld. Dept audit? And that Charles personally led the charge against Johns for these resident developers just so he could show off for his new best friends, flex his back channel muscles, and try to feel important?
Last month Elizabeth Lewis called Charles "a stand up guy" at his ethics hearing, and I have to concede that Charles made, with out any doubt, a herculean effort to protect the people who needed to use him to subvert the whole issue on their behalf." Standing up" for anyone who will have you does not qualify as any thing like civic leadership or representing the public interest, I'm glad he is stepping down, but some one should explain this to Ms. Lewis before Atherton ends up catering another party for more glutenous attorneys, held again at the public trough.
I don't imagine that Charles has the money to compensate the town for what this rather desperate indulgence of his has cost, but the beneficiaries of his largess might well be held to some account before they set about, to install another "go to guy" to replace Marsala.


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