Hartford Housing Authority Settles With Former Chief
Hartford Housing Authority
By JEFFREY B. COHEN | The Hartford Courant
December 16, 2008
The former executive director of the Hartford Housing Authority, who filed suit after he was fired in 2006 for allegedly misusing public money, will get nearly $150,000 from the authority's insurer, officials said Monday.
Lancelot Gordon was fired by the authority's board in August 2006 because of accusations that he misused roughly $11,000 in authority money. He later filed a federal lawsuit to get his job back, claiming that he was fired because he was trying to uncover widespread corruption at the agency involving developers, politicians and agency officials.
Last month, as lawyers worked to avoid litigating Gordon's suit, federal officials said the authority could not use federal funds to settle the suit because Gordon engaged in "a pattern of financial improprieties." The authority also said it wouldn't use any public funds to pay a settlement.
On Monday, authority officials said that their insurer — AIG Domestic Claims Inc. — decided to make a "business decision" and pay Gordon $147,893.30. His attorney, Craig Dickinson of the firm Dickinson & Mallow, will get $62,106.70. In return, Gordon will release all claims against the authority.
In the agreement, Gordon acknowledges that the authority says it did not act illegally when it fired him. He also acknowledges that no "documentary evidence" has come to light that substantiates his allegations of corruption or illegal activity at the authority.
"The insurance company made a business decision," said Mark Ojakian, chairman of the authority's board, saying that a court case could have cost the authority and its insurer much more, which had the potential to involve public money.
Dickinson, Gordon's attorney, declined to comment.
At the time of his firing, the authority said Gordon had hired a private detective for the authority, paid for his agency-issued car to be painted and repaired, misused his agency credit card while attending out-of-town conferences, improperly put a health club membership on an expense account, and bought two laptop computers — one of which was lost or stolen while Gordon traveled for work.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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