Jim Thomas: Lawsuit against Sheriff’s Dept. leaked

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News briefs from California’s Central Coast The Associated Press Friday, November 1, 2002 (11-01) 07:21 PST SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Former Sheriff Jim Thomas was critical of his adversaries who he believes leaked a nearly $1 million settlement against the Sheriff’s Department had been reached this week for an incident that occurred while Thomas was in office. The settlement was scheduled to be announced at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, though it became public record Oct. 23 when the plaintiffs formally accepted it. The County Counsel’s office was required to release information about it to anyone who made a specific request. Thomas said someone tipped off the media about the settlement so that the story broke Thursday, just days before the bitterly contested recall election on Tuesday. Thomas is among the leaders of the campaign to recall Supervisor Gail Marshall. His name is the only one on the ballot and if the recall against Marshall is successful, Thomas would become the new supervisor. “There’s no doubt in my mind that someone probably had ulterior motives to embarrass me,” Thomas said. “Who would have known the information prior to the time it was supposed to be released? I have my suspicions.” Marshall’s camp denied that it had anything to do with the settlement disclosure. “We didn’t leak it. No one from our office leaked it,” said Das Williams, manager of Marshall’s campaign. “I didn’t even know about (the settlement) until yesterday.” The supervisors authorized the $950,000 settlement on a 4-0 vote in an Oct. 8 closed session hearing. The payment settles allegations that sheriff’s deputies beat up two Harley Davidson bikers in a Los Alamos bar last year. The county will pay $500,000 to the plaintiffs, David and Carina Richardson, of Los Alamos, and George Beeghly, of Lompoc, and insurance will pick up the rest. :nav Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2002/11/01/state1021EST0048.DTL

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