Ex-city Attorney Files Lawsuit Against West Jordan City
Nov 06, 2015 12:50PM
● Published by Taylor Stevens
By Taylor Stevens
West Jordan - West Jordan’s ex-city attorney, Jeff Robinson—who was escorted from his city office by police chief Doug Diamond back in April, at the direction of Mayor Kim Rolfe—has been quiet for a few months as he attempted to reach legal agreements with the city.
However, Robinson broke his silence in the public sphere again on Oct. 2, five months after initial claims of the mismanagement of his dismissal brought inquiries into Rolfe’s authority to order Robinson’s removal, an action Rolfe said was done at the direction of the majority of the council. In a notice of claim of his lawsuit, Robinson said he planned to sue the city, alleging mistreatment at the hands of the city in how it handled the affair.
In addition to wrongful termination and a whole host of other charges, Robinson’s lawsuit also alleges defamation, false imprisonment, privacy violation, conspiracy and infliction of emotional duress, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The city had been working toward approving a tidy $103,000 settlement for Robinson, a business item that was pulled from the Sept. 9 city council meeting without explanation. A draft of the settlement contained a clause preventing both Robinson and the city from suing the other and from engaging in libel, slander and defamation. Additionally, if signed, the city would have written Robinson a sparkling resignation letter.
When the city decided not to award the settlement or pay Robinson any severance, Robinson escalated the lawsuit.
In his resignation letter, Robinson described an environment of bullying, harassment and hostility at City Hall—a claim that has been reiterated in past months by several city employees and councilmembers, but denied by Rolfe.
Robinson wrote in his letter: “You and others have acknowledged that Kim Rolfe acted illegally and you have acknowledged Kim Rolfe’s admission that his actions against me were in retaliation,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
After he was escorted from his office, Robinson was placed on administrative leave, during which time he was paid and received benefits, while the city scrambled to figure out whether he had been removed with the proper authority. In June, then-interim city manager Bryce Haderlie extended an invitation to Robinson to come back to work: an offer Robinson refused.
According to reporting from the Salt Lake Tribune, Robinson instead wrote a resignation letter, which he submitted to the city on June 26.
“I cannot return to work and subject myself to further hostile work environment behavior, retaliation and defamation with a city manager and council who cannot or will not take steps to protect me and other city staff,” he said.
Although the city did not pay out a settlement, the affair has cost thousands of dollars when considering that the city kept Robinson on its payroll for two months and has had to employ other means of defending itself in lawsuits like this. And, in the face of an impending lawsuit, the situation will likely cost the city and its residents even more money in legal fees, deliberation and whatever settlement comes next.