PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A former chief inspector for Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission claims he was forced to resign after he helped an informer contact reporters about police corruption. The tips yielded the Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Tainted Justice” for two reporters at the Philadelphia Daily News.
In a federal lawsuit, Wellington Stubbs claims he was approached in December 2008 by Ventura Perez, also known as Benny Martinez, about the illegal actions of members of the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Strike Force. Martinez allegedly told Stubbs that his life was in danger.
Stubbs says he helped Martinez get in touch with reporter Wendy Ruderman, who wrote about the allegations in the “Tainted Justice” series that earned her a Pulitzer.
The articles also sparked an investigation by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office that led to overturned convictions and “other official governmental actions,” according to Stubbs.
After the stories broke, Stubbs says Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison questioned him about why Martinez had gone to the press. Gillison allegedly told him that “the Mayor is very upset with you about this and it is going to costs (sic) the City a lot of money.”
Stubbs says the meeting was the beginning of a retaliatory campaign against him. He claims he was investigated for a residency violation, though he was cleared of that charge in an earlier investigation by the Inspector General’s Office.
In addition to the purported residency violation, Stubbs claims he was accused of failing to report additional income, failing to pay a city wage tax, failing to file required financial disclosures for 2008, and having too much undocumented sick leave.
Stubbs claims that Gillison intended to fire him, and that he was forced to resign in order to keep his pension.
He says the investigations and his effective termination “were done in retaliation of (his) opposition to illegal conduct by the City of Philadelphia Police Narcotics Strike Force, and for engaging in free speech activity.”
He calls the public officials’ conduct “ill willed” and “from evil hearts.”
Stubbs is suing the city, Gillison, Mayor Michael Nutter, Director of the Police Advisory Commission Bill Johnson, and two investigators with the city controller’s office, Tim Reddick and Carey King, alleging retaliation and wrongful termination.
Stubbs demands more than $100,000 in front pay, back pay, damages and equitable relief, including reinstatement.
He is represented by Brian Puricelli and Alexis Zefferes.