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Brooksville settles lawsuits with former detective, bond companies

BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council did some financial housekeeping Monday by approving two lawsuit settlements — one in favor of the city and one against it.

Council members agreed to reimburse former police Detective Shawn Terry $31,581 in attorney's fees stemming from legal battles with the city over his employment.

Terry resigned from the Brooksville Police Department last July, three weeks after he was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. He later faced charges that he lied under oath and coerced a drug informant to lie in a sworn deposition. He was acquitted in a January trial of those charges.

Half of the settlement payment will come from the city's insurance and the remaining 50 percent will come from the general fund. As part of the agreement, Terry waives his right to file any further claims against the city pertaining to his employment.

The settlement offer, which was addressed as part of the council's consent agenda, was drawn up following an executive session between city attorneys and council members in May. Council members seemed displeased at having to pay the settlement.

Terry's checkered five-year history with the department included numerous complaints and reprimands.

The council also approved a $3.5 million settlement stemming from the city's efforts to foreclose on performance bonds from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and Chubb Group Insurance Cos.

The bonds, once worth about $20 million, were issued in 2003 for infrastructure to LandMar Developers, builders of Southern Hills Plantation. LandMar's bankruptcy filing in 2008 forced the city last August to sue the bond companies in order to complete work in the second and third phases of the subdivision. The settlement is expected to net the city about $2.6 million, with the remaining amount going to the Hogan Law Firm, which pursued the case on a contingency basis. The city's proceeds will be used to complete work on water and sewer systems in the subdivision.

Council member Joe Bernardini cast the only vote against the deal, saying that it seemed as if the city had caved in.

"I don't like it a bit," Bernardini said. "It's like having a gun held to our heads."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

Brooksville settles lawsuits with former detective, bond companies 06/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 8:15pm]
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