View Mobile Site

Officer who revealed corruption gets job back

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED August 5, 2012 10:19 p.m.

BELL (AP) — A police sergeant from the city of Bell who was forced to retire after reporting corruption in local government has been given his job back, along with a $400,000 settlement.

James Corcoran will receive $240,000 in lost wages and $160,000 in lawyer’s fees in a settlement approved Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Corcoran alleged then-Chief Randy Adams retaliated when Corcoran reported allegations of voter fraud, unlawful vehicle seizures and illegal selling of building permits.

Retired U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian, who served as mediator, said Bell could have lost more than $3 million if the case had gone to trial, according to a memo that City Attorney Dave Aleshire wrote to City Council members.

“He thought that, given everything out there about Bell and how it operated and the idea of a whistle-blower, the management of Bell was a very unsympathetic defendant and the jury would want to send a message to the city,” Aleshire told The Times.

Tevrizian had recommended that the city pay Corcoran $1.6 million, Aleshire said, but the City Council refused to approve that deal. Continued discussions between Corcoran and the city led to the settlement.

City Manager Doug Willmore said he thought the deal was “almost an act of generosity” on Corcoran’s part.

Corcoran had worked as a Bell police officer for 19 years, and said he took a deal that gave him less cash because he wants “to go back to work. To go back to my profession. It’s a matter of professional pride.”

Corcoran said Adams was angered when Corcoran went to him with the corruption. He said Adams wanted Corcoran to let him know if he took his information to the FBI, although he already had spoken to the bureau. Instead of investigating, Corcoran said, Adams retaliated against him.

Corcoran also said that in 2009, he and two other Bell officers went to the district attorney’s office to try to persuade the agency to investigate city officials.

Thomas O’Brien, Adams’ attorney, has denied that the former chief became angry at Corcoran or tried to intervene in any investigation. He has said Adams did not act on the allegations because Corcoran told him he had reported them to other agencies.

Adams placed Corcoran on administrative leave in January 2010. Thinking he would be fired, Corcoran said he took retirement and filed a whistle-blower lawsuit.

Adams lost his job after The Times revealed the enormous salaries that city leaders were earning. Eight former Bell officials were ultimately arrested on corruption-related charges. Adams was not among the eight.

Corcoran, 59, will resume work as a patrolman and will be made a sergeant again when a position opens.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...