Terrace settles former employee’s suit for $587,500

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — The city of Mountlake Terrace will pay $587,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the police chief’s former confidential secretary, who alleged that city officials conspired to have her fired after she gave damaging testimony in another lawsuit against the city.

The settlement with former police administrative secretary Martha Karl comes after the city paid nearly $1 million in 2009 to settle a suit filed by former police Sgt. Jonathan Wender, who was fired in 2005 purportedly for dishonesty. Wender sued and, relying heavily on the testimony of Karl and others, alleged Assistant Chief Charles “Pete” Caw and others targeted him because he publicly favored decriminalization of marijuana.

In her suit, Karl alleged she was transferred, demoted and then fired because of testimony she provided in depositions in Wender’s lawsuit. Karl said the city had violated her First Amendment protections.

Details of Karl’s settlement agreement were not contained in the federal court docket. City officials declined to discuss it. The Seattle Times obtained a copy through a public-disclosure request. The settlement contains a nondisclosure clause in which Karl and city officials agree not to “disparage” one another and not to “discuss the settlement with the media.”

The city also has agreed not to seek reimbursement for $53,113 in city unemployment benefits Karl was paid after she was fired. And the city agreed to rehire her for a day so she could officially resign.

City Attorney Greg Schrag referred to a portion of the agreement stating that the settlement “is not to be construed as an admission of liability” and that the “payments herein do not constitute any admission of wrongful conduct by the city of Mountlake Terrace.”

More in Local News

A wobbly calf grows into a 1,800-pound Lake Stevens behemoth

A shaggy and sometimes cranky bison is the last of his herd. He lives amid encroaching suburbia.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Front Porch

EVENTS Seahawks event postponed A Toys for Tots Blue Friday fundraiser that… Continue reading

Friend or stranger, Sikhs extend hand to those in need

Sikhs have accepted people of all backgrounds as equals, regardless of race, social class or religion.

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Most Read