Former city official sues city for $1 million

Former Deputy City Manager Londi Lindell has filed a claim seeking $1 million in damages from the city for firing her last month.

In a press release issued Monday, Lindell and her attorney, Cliff Freed, contend that Lindell was fired in retaliation for her position supporting a sexual harassment investigation of City Manager Rich Conrad.

The six-page claim filed with the city states in part, “The city’s basis for terminating my employment is that the Council discerned that the investigation into the conduct of [Rich] Conrad and [Kryss] Segle constituted a ‘conspiracy’ between [Bob] Sterbank and me to force Conrad out of his job so that I would then become City Manager.”

Lindell denies this view and is seeking compensation for emotional distress, attorney fees as well as back pay, future pay, lost healthcare, pension and other employment benefits.

The claim also links her termination with former city attorney Bob Sterbank’s departure from the city in February. Sterbank was paid $137,500 — an amount nearly double what the Reporter initially reported in the April 23 issue — and signed a confidentiality clause as part of the separation agreement. Lindell was terminated from her position as assistant city manager on April 14. She was hired in 2000 as the city attorney and was promoted to the assistant city manager in late 2006.

As a result of the City Council’s dealings leading up to her termination, Lindell is accusing them of violating the Open Records Act. The claim also states a three-member Council subcommittee acted improperly on behalf of the full Council.

“I have great respect for the majority of the Mercer Island City Council, city staff the citizens,” Lindell said. “I am saddened that the city manager and City Council continue to cover up the mere existence of the investigation into the City Manager’s conduct by refusing to release documents from this investigation.”

City records show it paid $35,000 in early February for personnel legal services

“It is with great sadness and regret that I have been forced to file this lawsuit after spending eight wonderful years working for the City of Mercer Island,” Lindell said. “Filing this lawsuit is the hardest personal and professional decision I have ever made.”

Acting City Attorney Katie Knight told the Reporter that it received the claim from Lindell on Monday.

“Ms. Lindell’s claims against the city and the city manager are misguided and the city and city manager are confident when the litigation has concluded it will be dermined that Ms. Lindell’s claims are without merit. Because this matter is now in litigation, the city and city manager are unable to speak freely about Ms. Lindell’s specific allegations. The city and the city manager want the public to know howeer, that the city’s decisions related to Ms. Lindell were correct, completely justified and were handled appropriately,” she said.

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