Thursday, September 11, 2008
APS Spent $102K on Lovato Suit
By Journal Staff Report
Albuquerque Public Schools spent more than $102,000 defending itself in the year-old lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Gil Lovato.
Lovato announced earlier this week he was dropping his suit against the district.
The tab for APS covered work by two law firms and court costs. The Bannerman firm represented the school board and former superintendent Elizabeth Everitt; Sheehan and Sheehan represented defamation claims made against APS police Sgt. David West.
Lovato contended he lost his job because he complained to administrators about their decision to hire a private investigator to look into allegations against certain employees. Lovato claimed his due process and free speech rights had been violated.
Lovato was on paid leave and under investigation during the first six months of 2007 due to allegations of favoritism, misuse of police property and mishandling of money collected as evidence.
U.S. District Court Judge William "Chip" Johnson threw out the due process claim in July, ruling that Lovato was an at-will employee and his due process rights were not violated when his contract was allowed to expire last year.