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Terri Velasquez gets payoff from city 

Chris Melcher won't say how much the city will pay, and says the matter is pending

The city has reached an agreement to pay former finance director Terri Velasquez a sum of money to dismiss her wrongful termination lawsuit, according to Velasquez's attorney, Bill Finger.

City Attorney Chris Melcher won't say how much the city will pay, and in fact says the matter is still pending. "The City is still working to resolve this matter. It has not been fully resolved as of this date," he said Monday through a spokeswoman.

That's odd, considering Finger, of Evergreen, says, "I call tell you this, that by April 1, a full and complete settlement agreement had been fully executed."

Finger filed a motion to dismiss Tuesday morning, in which he states that "as a result of settlement reached by the parties [Velasquez] hereby moves the Court to dismiss this matter with prejudice, with each side to pay her, his and its own costs and attorney's fees."

Velasquez was fired in 2011 by Steve Cox, then Mayor Steve Bach's chief of staff. She alleged age and gender discrimination and also made several claims of impropriety, including the mishandling of El Pomar Foundation money for the U.S. Olympic Committee retention agreement in 2008. In an examination of hundreds of pages of documents, the Independent wasn't able to corroborate those financial allegations.

Bach ordered an investigation, which cost taxpayers $65,000 and found her allegations baseless. Nevertheless, on March 11, City Council met in closed legal session to discuss several legal matters, including one involving "negotiation strategy pertaining to a potential claim ... and disposition matter."

Council President Scott Hente refused to discuss the settlement, and Finger wouldn't divulge the amount. Velasquez, who Finger says is now deputy finance director for the city of Aurora, didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

She's the latest city employee who has, in one way or another, been paid to leave during Bach's tenure ("Take the money and run," News, April 3), a strategy that has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

  • Chris Melcher won't say how much the city will pay, and says the matter is pending

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