SAN DIEGO (CN) – A corruption lawsuit filed by the city of Calexico’s former police chief claiming he was fired for cooperating with an FBI investigation into the department has been settled out of court for $1.1 million.
Michael Bostic sued Calexico last May after he says the city fired him for cooperating with an FBI investigation into corruption in the border city, which is about 115 miles east of San Diego. The city’s former public works director Nick Servin was also a party to the case, claiming he was fired for the same reasons.
Lt. Gonzalo Gerardo and city executive assistant Martha Gomez claimed in the lawsuit they also reported police misconduct – including drug trafficking, theft and excessive force complaints – to the FBI in 2013.
Bostic and the city settled the lawsuit for $1.1 million, and U.S. District Judge John Houston formally dismissed the case from the Southern District of California Wednesday.
Additional terms of the settlement are confidential, Bostic’s attorney Bradley Gage said in an email. Refraining from disclosing exact numbers, he said the lowest amount each plaintiff received was $200,000 while the highest amount was just under $400,000.
“I believe this settlement helps to vindicate the rights of my clients, two of whom remain employed with the city,” Gage said.
“We had strong evidence to support our claims, and I believe the defense lawyers, who are excellent, recognized the potential exposure to the city of even more money at trial,” he added. “I am hopeful that this settlement will send a message to the city of Calexico to follow the laws and do the right thing. My client came there to help solve problems at the city and there were obviously some people there who were concerned about him doing that. When someone gets fired because they’re trying to clean up things … that seems suspicious to me.”
Bostic, formerly a top-ranking official with the Los Angeles Police Department, replaced ousted Calexico police chief Pompeyo Tabarez in 2014.
Soon after Bostic assumed the role, the other plaintiffs came forward to tell him they had reported misconduct issues to the FBI in 2013. The new police chief launched his own investigation while agreeing to cooperate with the FBI as well.
Bostic claimed Calexico City Council members conspired to get him fired after an FBI raid on the police department.
Bostic did not name city council members as defendants in his complaint, however.
The former police chief claimed he was fired after filing criminal charges against Tabarez and several officers with the district attorney and FBI.
Just days after Bostic sued his former employer, the Department of Justice released its report on the Calexico Police Department, which made 169 recommendations for reform. These included improving supervision, accountability, community policing practices and leadership.
The recommendations were not mandatory, however, and city officials did not respond to questions Wednesday regarding whether they have been implemented.
Current Calexico Police Chief Reynaldo Gomez said he was not authorized to comment on the settlement.
Calexico City Manager Armando Villa did not return email and phone requests for comment.