SAN DIEGO (CN) - A former San Diego County pension fund officer claims in court that a publicity-hungry attorney defrauded him and cost him his job by persuading him to leak documents about pension fund investments to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Jeffrey Baker sued the San Diego law firm Aguirre Morris Severson, and his former attorney Michael Aguirre in Superior Court, alleging legal malpractice, fraud and five other counts.
Baker also sued the law firm's partner Christopher Morris.
The San Diego Union Tribune reported on March 22 that a judge dismissed Baker's 2012 complaint against his former employer, the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association.
Baker claimed he was fired for blowing the whistle on $8 billion in risky investments. He claimed the pension fund violated its own policies in the investments.
The Union Tribune reported that a federal judge upheld the Civil Service Commission's firing of Baker for giving confidential documents to "outside parties."
In his new complaint, Baker blames the law firm for his firing.
He claims his troubles started when Aguirre persuaded him to leak emails on his whistleblower claims to the Union Tribune.
He claims the attorneys failed to help him fight his harassment, disability discrimination and whistleblower case against his former employer. And he claims the attorneys were woefully ineffective at the administrative and Civil Service Commission proceedings that led to his dismissal.
Baker claims the defendants billed him $6,000 in attorney fees and another $1,000 for a bogus private investigator, though he hired the law firm on a contingency basis.
Baker says in the complaint that he met Aguirre about two years ago.
"At their first meeting, Aguirre misrepresented to plaintiff that he had 'busted' employees at the City of San Diego's pension fund and sent them to 'jail,'" the complaint states. "Plaintiff later learned that Aguirre did not prosecute any employees at San Diego's pension fund and was not responsible for sending anyone to jail."
Baker claims that from the beginning Aguirre encouraged him to send emails on to the pension fund investments to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Baker claims that he "expressed concern" about handing over the emails in May 2011, but relented when Aguirre assured him that the emails were part of the public record.
"Plaintiff was not informed that these emails would be scanned and attached to an online version of a story on the UT's website," the complaint states. "The UT sent plaintiff a draft of the story to fact check. The story was completely inaccurate and plaintiff instructed them not to run it. The story erroneously focused on one manager, Hoisington, for all SDCERA's [San Diego County Employees Retirement Association] risk problems. Plaintiff informed the UT that this information was wrong and that he believed the UT could be sued by Hoisington if they ran the story as drafted."
After the UT printed the story, Baker says, the pension fund put him on administrative leave for submitting confidential information to outside parties.