Wednesday, September 05, 2007

City Settles Discrimination Suit Against Fire Department

The City of Indianapolis had a change of heart in Ruth Morrison's discrimination lawsuit against the city at the last minute as it prepared for trial. It settled for $350,000. Capt. Ruth Morrison, a long-time veteran of the fire department, alleged the top brass in the department discriminated against her because of her sex by denying her promotions, and retaliated against her when she complained. The Star article doesn't mention whether the amount included Morrison's attorneys' fees. Her attorney is likely to collect up to 40% of that amount under a typical contingency fee agreement.

Advance Indiana wonders if a last-minute affidavit in which a man present for the Mayor's budget presentation for the City-County Council swore he heard Indianapolis Fire Chief James Greeson refer to tax activist Melyssa Donaghy as a "bull dyke" before the start of the meeting had anything to do with the city's decision to settle the suit. The comments attributed in an online Star article to the City's chief legal counsel are quite telling. "What happened to Captain Morrison is unacceptable, it can’t be tolerated," said Kobi Wright, the city's lead attorney. The Star article also quotes Wright as saying disciplinary action will be taken against unnamed fire department employees.

Morrison was represented by the law firm of DeLaney & Delaney. Yes, that's the family law firm of Democratic operative Ann DeLaney of Indiana Week In Review fame. Donaghy contacted the Delaney law firm after she obtained the affidavit from the man claiming he heard Chief Greeson call her a "bull dyke". A copy of the sworn affidavit is posted above. Click on the image to enlarge it.

While the derogatory comment directed towards Donaghy may have helped Morrison exact a good settlement in her case, it apparently has done little to settle the case the city has against her for alleged zoning violations. Donaghy alleged the City filed a politically-motivated zoning lawsuit against her and Mayor Peterson lied about her business during a press conference announcing the lawsuit. She says her lawyer, Mark Small, and the city had reached an agreement to a settlement of her case and she had already signed an agreement drafted by city lawyers when Corporation Counsel Kobi Wright ordered the settlement agreement withdrawn. Donaghy believes the settlement with her was withdrawn in retaliation for her anti-tax efforts over the summer and her pressing city officials about the alleged "bull dyke" comment made by Chief Greeson with various city officials.


Anonymous said...

I heard it was 7 figures! Thats quite a settlement. We'll see what happens to Greeson in the near future. Hopefully he is relieved of his position.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I would be shocked if the settlement amount was that high.

Anonymous said...

Sex discrimination in city government? Why should it be any different than the private sector. As far a Bart, he is a liar. Kobi Wright has proven he knows nothing.

Anonymous said...

The same Kobi Wright that gave Sweet Pea a free pass on the ethics violations?

Thought So.

Anonymous said...

I'm no Kobi Wright fan. I've dealt with him twice, and each time, he was out-lawyered. Easily.

That being said, Melyssa operated a for-profit dominatrix business from her home. That line of work is not in the home occupation zoning ordinance. Neighbors objected. Inspectors found merit in their objections.

I'd want the city to rid my neighborhood of that kind of home business. She may be perfectly nice, and her chosen line of work evidently draws a clientele. It's just inappropriate for a neighborhood.

But she should not have ever been slandered like that.


If you want to hear real slander, sit near the council's attorney sometime. If anyone dares question the chair's rulings or intellegence, Aaron Haith can oft be heard making extremely derogatory personal remarks about the protestors.

It's pathetic. Maybe he insults others so much because he needs to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Just heard from a rleiable source, Gary, that the settlement amount was $410,000. If it's true, and I suspect it is, it's probably an odd figure because it was calculated on a certain amount of lost wages, perhaps times 8 or 10.

That's no small amount. Curiously, I believe the city's insurance carrier covers up to half a mil, stops covering from $500K-$1.5 mil, then kicks in again over $1.501 mil. It's an odd insurance arrangement; I'm told it was put in place to encourage negotiated settlements to a certain degree, self--funding for the interim cases, and insurance on large cases.

Anonymous said...

From the Indy Star - City to pay fire captain $350,000 to settle suit

Official admits Fire Department's treatment of woman was 'unacceptable'

Anonymous said...

That idiot Greeson, who thinks he is a hippie, has to go! He cost the taxpayers far more than he is worth.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

8:14, I don't care for the chief, either, but if you type accusations like that, you'd better have proof.

I know many people who have been around him a long time, and don't like him. They have many complaints. Your complaints have never been mentioned to me.

Those kinds of accusations are dangerous stuff. He's done enough official-duty type stuff to get fired. Personal accusations tend to drag us all down, dontcha think?

By the by, total cost of this lawsuit, settlement and outside legal fees to "defend" the city, is close to the $410. Cause we never let Kofi or his dregs defend us--we always hire out expensive counsel.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The person signed a sworn affidavit. A copy of it was shared with me.

Anonymous said...

8:23 Has Kofi ever won a case? I don't know firsthand but have been told 'no'.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 8:14, In fact, the city has been using its own counsel on most of these cases. Not sure about his one, but it has become a common practice under Peterson to let his own corporation counsel staff handle these case.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Kobi does not have a litigation background, but it is my understanding he doesn't try these cases. Others within the corporation counsel's office with litigation experience handle them.

Anonymous said...

8:28: You would benefit from getting up to date on the FACTS (not your perceptions) about how I conducted my home based business as an educator.

If you dig on the internet, you can find most of the legal documents concerning my case, as well as transcriptions of the pertinent depositions from both sides.

I invite you to get up to date with the facts before you judge. Not all dominatrices practice from the same approach. You are right though...many women in that line of work provide sex for hire. I did not.

My Mission and Manifesto were the guides I used to define my approach. They have been published since 2001.

And I have a right to be treated with integrity, dignity, and respect by the public officials who are employed by our collective tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Let's evaluate Greeson's effectiveness as Fire Chief:

1. His appearance with long hair, like the prior posting stated, "HIPPIE" is unprofessional and presents a poor image.

2. Leadership & Integrity: He has none, but has proven himself a part of The Machine.

-The Fire Chief making insulting comments about a taxpayer while in his official capacity as Fire Chief attending a city council meeting are more than reprehensible, but render him unfit to continue as Fire Chief!

-The Machine imposed a gay rights ordinance on this city. If the Fire Chief cannot obey the ordinance, he is not fit for a leadership position in the city.

-As a part of The Machine, the Fire Chief has allowed ghost employment by Vern Brown & Monroe Gray, neither of whom has assigned meaningful responsibilities as members of the executive staff of the Fire Dept and provided city cars that are not needed. (Monroe has been on TV appearing in criminal court with a city council member. Was he on vacation time or city time?)

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine if a Republican had made a comment like that? The GLBT leaders would be screaming all over the place for Greeson's resignation. Why their silence now? Are they protecting Bart?

Anonymous said...

When I confronted Chief Greeson by phone (sorry I didn't tape it), I also asked about Monroe Gray's job and specifically what Monroe Gray did.

I was told he is a "communications legislative liasion" . So I asked why anyone in their right mind would put a mumbling incoherent speaker like Monroe Gray in that kind of position. He agreed with me in a half-hearted way that Gray is about worthless in that job.

Anonymous said...

Public Safety Director (and Greeson's boss),Earl Morgan will NOT return my phone calls. I have taped recordings of voice mails I left.

He PROMISED me that he would "investigate" this matter. However, he will not give me the courtesy of a phone call even after suffering Greeson's public degradation.

Anonymous said...

A very excellent point, 11:58am.

Wilson? I've been a reader here long enough to know that you are a member of the GLBT community. Where is your justified outrage over Gleeson's remarks? Or does an alleged lesbian not merit the same consideration of protection from vilifaction in a public meeting?

Unless its a Democrat, appointed by a Democrat making the remarks, its not worthy of anger and calls for resignation?

Tell me I'm wrong. Otherwise, you and any other GLBT Democrat have ZERO credibility in making prejudice a political strategy...ZERO!! That goes for all you Democrat CC members who passed the HRO.


Anonymous said...

Melyssa, I've read some of the court documents before today. I'm fully aware you did not provide sex as a part of your services.

It's still not a service I'd want next door to me. I'm not a prude, but it is not a business that is contained entirely within the home-based occupation zoning ordinance.

Be careful with the "you're not as informed as me so you must not be as smart as me" attitude. It'll smack you in the butt someday.

And yes, you do have the right to be treated with courtesy by city officials whose salaries we all pay. Their crass attitudes toward you are reprehensible.

Which does not alter the fact that your business was run from your home, and the city took the view it was not appropriate. I'm glad they did. I just wish they'd behaved like ladies and gentlemen whilst doing so. And try to understand, some people, with very goo dintentions and trying to be polite and professional, don't want that kind of business in their neighborhood. It's not narrow-minded, it's different-minded.

Anonymous said...

Gary, I'm told by those in the know that Baker Daniels attorneys assisted city legal witih this Fire Dept. matter.

At no small cost.

Anonymous said...

12:32...Read the zoning laws. Then read the Constitution and decide if there is compatibility.

Keep in mind that there are still a whole lot of closed minded people who don't want a gay couple living next door to them and prefer they weren't there.

There is a psychology office in our neighborhood who neighbors don't like because sometimes they do assessments on offenders who are escorted by law enforcement officers into the place. They prefer they weren't there.

As a libertarian, I am interested in the rule of law based in our constitution.

I hired Greg Bowes for advice and overview on all laws pertaining to my work a couple years ago while he was practicing as an attorney and still on city council. He told me the CCC rarely thinks about the Constitution when they write ordinances and many city ordinances are unconstitutional in his opinion...including the one that could be applied to me.

I made a decision at that point that I was going to obey the Constitution...not a corrupt CCC.

Anonymous said...

Can you imaging kobi and aaron haith going up against a couple of real lawyers. it would be like clubbing baby harp seals. those two fools couldnt win a case if their life depended on it.

Anonymous said...

Greeson allows 2 union officials to never report to their firehouses. they do not have an assigned position within IFD. ghost employment
and Greeson has assigned a take home city vehicle to local 416 president mike reeves.
Ask any firefighter if you don't believe this shit

Anonymous said...

"I hired Greg Bowes for advice and overview on all laws pertaining to my work a couple years ago while he was practicing as an attorney and still on city council. He told me the CCC rarely thinks about the Constitution when they write ordinances and many city ordinances are unconstitutional in his opinion...including the one that could be applied to me."

Melyssa, that is simply untrue from top to bottom. You never hired Bowes for legal advice although you tried to hijack a meeting with him you were sitting in on to get some. Apparantly you did not pay the bill for the meeting and the people who did pay it cut you loose from their acquaintance soon thereafter for numerous reasons, mainly because you are batty. Apparantly you don't remember the numerous times Bowes flat out told you during that meeting that you were in violation of home business ordinances and probably adult business ordinances and that the current administration was hostile toward such activities. Apparantly you don't remember denying that you recieved any legal counel at all about your businesses.

You also fail to mention how excited you were at the thought of getting busted so you could make it pay for you by "educating the masses, getting lots of money in legal donations and ending up on Oprah".

I wasn't there but I've known and trusted the people who were there for years and we all agree, you're full of it lady.

Anonymous said...

The city attorney admitted her businesses were not "adult" and you admit her focus was education.

Let the lawyers sort it out.

Anonymous said...

Greeson allows 2 union officials to never report to their firehouses. they do not have an assigned position within IFD. ghost employment
and Greeson has assigned a take home city vehicle to local 416 president mike reeves.
Ask any firefighter if you don't believe this shit"

2:02 PM EST

This is different from the FOP in what way????????
You have an axe to grind?

Anonymous said...

Wilson Allen is a hypocrite. Just like most Democraps in office. Liars, unethical and self-serving.

Wilson46201 said...

Nice unprovoked personal attack on somebody who hasn't even yet commented on anything in this thread. Of course, it was made anonymously...

Moderator: please remove that totally off-the-wall personal attack.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen DeLaney will never admit it, but the affidavit was a big impetus for getting this suit settled. The whole lesbian issue was at the center of Morrison's allegations, although Morrison's case was based on sex discrimination and not sexual orientation, which federal law doesn't cover.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 2:06 p.m. sure shut "M" up, lol!

Anonymous said...

Uummm…. Anybody figured it out yet? Delaney & Delaney representing a disgruntled female firefighter. Ann Delaney, founding partner and the former chair of the Indiana Democratic Party and, let us not forget husband/partner Ed, who was/is a member of Mayor Bart Peterson’s Indy Works Committee. Who could possibly imagine in this day of corruption that Delaneys’ firm would represent a city employee in a discrimination case, and make a hefty fee? If that doesn’t do it for you, imagine a Delaney attorney in a District Court settlement conference, looking over the table at a city attorney, and negotiating a settlement that will put money in their pocket and take it from ours.
Refusing to acknowledge this part of the story --- the hidden chapter --- is pure stupidity on our part. Is this really about a situation or discrimination or is this about throwing weight at a problem after the fact using the age old adage “heads will roll” to boost the polls for Bart. Wouldn’t it have been better for all of us if the city had stepped up to the plate and diffused the situation months ago --- after the EEOC complaint and prior to a Federal law suit? Remember --- WE paid for the settlement and what proof do we have that any allegation is factual as reported when once again --- we’re lining the pockets of Bart supporters. For those who understand, go to the court files and look at how poorly the city defended those who serve this city.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I listened in on a conversation several fireman were having about this lawsuit in the Mass Ave. pub a few months ago. There was another side of the story, which casts an entirely different light on the case. I got the impression from some of these guys, who are more progressive in their thinking than most in the department, that most people in the fire department thought the lawsuit was a big joke. There was one specific glaring example that made that point clear; however, I won't mention it because it might tip off folks about who was talking about the case. I have to believe that last-minute affidavit gave the city's lawyers cold feet about going forward with this case.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I got that affidavit to them. A lot of people come to me with inside information because they know I can keep trust.

I learned a couple days ago from a long time fire department insider that Chief Greeson has a long history of this behavior and typically treats women as sluts and show little respect.

As you know, the city's very public libel and slander against me put me into a very long period of suicidal depression. A condition that is well-documented with three psychologists and one psychiatrist during a one year period. I think you know where I am headed next.

There was a period of time that I was so distraught my friends thought they lost me forever. Men are not going to treat women like this in my city. I'm seeing to it that it NEVER happens again among city officials who are supposed to have the public trust.

Anonymous said...

Hear a taped phone call between me and Kobi Wright when I called a couple weeks ago to find out what they planned to do about Monroe Gray's ethics violations.

It is obvious there is no respect for female citizens of Indianapolis by city personnel.

Click the link that says "phone conversation" after you paste this URL:

Anonymous said...

For Immediate release.

Sept. 07 2007

Chief James Greeson announced at staff meetings yesterday and today that all firefighters will be careful as to what they say and will also attend cultural diversity training for the second time in 2 years.
Does this moron realize it isn't the street firefighters that need the training. it is him and the idiots he surrounds himself with.
He also mentioned to the staff not to pay attention to the blogs because they are self serving and no truth to them.
looking at his posture during the meeting he seemed visibly upset. I believe his days are numbered. Vern and sweet pea feel the same.

Anonymous said...

Greeson may be on his way out, and everything floating around out there make it seem he should be, but don't be confused about this fact: Vern and Sweet Pea would be very bad for the Fire Department.

Anonymous said...

Did the Sheriffs Dept pay out a large sum of money for a law suit against Herman Humbles for unwanted sexual advances. Could it be more than once?