Philly Official Demands Millions after Being Fired for Repeated Sex Harassment

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Former Head of PHA Denies Harassing Associates

The former head of the Philadelphia Housing Authority is suing the city for $4 million after he was fired for several sexual harassment incidents which he concealed from his supervisors. Carl R. Greene was sacked by the PHA Board of Directors after they discovered his history of sexual harassment incidents while on the job.

Greene’s lawyer Clifford E. Haines sent the demand letter this week saying let’s “get this settled before there’s more blood on the floor.” Asked in an e-mail to comment about Greene’s demand, PHA Board Chairman John F. Street had one response: He wrote, “Ha Ha!” – 64 times in an e-mail.

Haines claimed that the PHA was unjustified in firing Greene and called his employment contract the “tightest employment contract I’ve ever seen.” Greene was hired by the housing authority in 1998 and had his contract renewed in 2007.

In August, the PHA learned that three sexual harassment cases against Greene had been secretly settled for $648,000 and a fourth case was pending. The board was never informed of the harassment charges or the settlements by Greene or other city officials. The information came to light recently when he was accused by another woman of harassment and put on administrative leave.

After hearing of Greene’s recent demands, the reaction was one of disbelief.  “Are they delusional?” asked John Elliott, an attorney representing Elizabeth Helm in the current lawsuit. Helm, a former PHA interior designer, alleges that Greene made sexual advances during a business dinner. “It’s mind-boggling, the audacity of that serial sexual harasser,” Elliott said.

Greene filed a federal lawsuit against the board in September claiming that the PHA had violated his due process rights and breached his employment contract. He denied the sexual harassment claims against him, including those that had already been settled.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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California Lawyer Bags $500,000 Fee to Stop Suing City

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The City of Concord, just outside San Francisco, has agreed to an unusual settlement in a former cop’s sexual harassment lawsuit.  Lisa Capocci sued the city alleging that a male officer sent her messages on her police car’s computer, declaring “I love you” and other “unwelcome and offensive” messages.

The lawsuit claimed that Capocci “suffered severe and continuous gender-based harassment in the course of her employment with the City of Concord.”  She joined the force in 2006 and was subsequently trained to be a K-9 officer in 2008. She claims that after she reported the unwelcome messages on her computer, she was told by some male officers that her career was over. In early 2009, her dog was taken away from her after it performed an “unauthorized practice bite.” Capocci has since left the department.

Capocci’s lawyer, Stan Casper, filed the lawsuit in July 2009. The case was about to go to trial this week before the city decided to settle. Under the settlement, Capocci will receive $250,000 and her lawyer will get $500,000 after he agreed to never file a lawsuit against the city’s police department. Casper still has two sexual harassment cases pending against the city involving former police officers.

In 1999, Casper represented eight current and former female police officers in a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the city and settled out of court on the matter for $1.25 million.

San Francisco Chronicle

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Oregon DA Charged in Sexual Misconduct

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Former Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa has been charged with 5 misdemeanor counts of official misconduct in connection with allegations of a former employee that he used his position to obtain sexual gratification and then cover it up.

The employee claims that Gushwa subjected her to physical, sexual and emotional abuse between December 2008 and April 2010. Gushwa took a leave of absence from his position in August after a local newspaper reported the story.

The former employee has notified the county and the State of Oregon to expect a lawsuit based on the claim that they failed to protect her from the alleged abuse. The Oregon Department of Justice will be handing the criminal case against Gushwa.

The Oregonian

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Dallas Settles another Sex Harassment Suit with Firefighters

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The Dallas City Council has agreed to pay two female firefighters, Cheryl Hill and Sherrie Lopez, a total of $225,000 to settle their lawsuits. The women had filed suits for sexual harassment in September- and in Lopez’s case, racial discrimination- while working as Fire-Rescue employees.

The city settled another sexual harassment case in June for $30,000, within the same Fire-Rescue department. Still pending in federal court is yet another sexual harassment lawsuit, filed by former employee Leanne Siri-Edwards, once the highest ranking female civilian in the department.

The Dallas Morning News

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