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 customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Most Read