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March 26, 2013

Methuen to pay Solomon $100K plus legal fees


“It’s different than a settlement,” said Sulman. “Legally speaking, Chief Solomon is the prevailing party in this case.”

But according to the offer of judgment, the agreement “shall not be constructed as an admission that (the city and Manzi) are liable in this action or that (Solomon) has suffered any damages.”

In his statement, Zanni wrote that the agreement eliminates “a potential liability with unknown costs for the city.” In a June 2012 court disclosure, Solomon had sought damages in excess of $480,000, according to Zanni.

“While the total award remains a high figure, we acted upon the advice of our legal counsel Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP to limit the city’s costs and put an end to this dispute,” wrote Zanni.

Zanni said the city incurred roughly $10,000 in legal bills after hiring the Quincy-based legal firm to work the case earlier this year.

Yesterday’s agreement comes with no contract extension. During settlement negotiations, Zanni said Solomon was seeking an eight-year extension. The chief is currently working without a contract.

Still pending between Solomon and the city is a civil case in which the chief was awarded back pay. The city has appealed the decision.

“I would like to try to settle that case as well,” wrote Zanni in his statement. “I look forward to working with Joe over the next several weeks to see if we can put this behind and move forward in the best interest of the city.”

Solomon wrote in a statement yesterday that the agreement is “in the best interest of the city and my family.”

“I am hopeful that the resolution of this one matter as a judgement will serve to facilitate a quick resolution to all other outstanding issues,” wrote Solomon.

Lawsuits between Solomon and city stem from the chief’s firing in 2008. The City Council also cut his $158,295 salary by $25,610 in 2007. Solomon returned as chief in 2010, after the state Civil Service Commission reduced his punishment to a one-year suspension. The city’s appeal of that decision was rejected by a judge in July.

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