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Friday, August 15, 2014

Breaking news - Charlestown settles with Councilor Lisa DiBello for $450,000

Settlement assigns no blame, settles all claims
By Will Collette

From the bulletin sent out by the town:

As I had predicted last Sunday, the Charlestown Town Council used its second, closed-door executive session yesterday with only Councilor DiBello's lawsuit on the agenda to arrive at a settlement that ends DiBello's two and a half-year old suit and four year old administrative complaint.

The bottom line figure is $450,000 that includes DiBello's lawyer's fees (usually one-third plus expenses for a contingency fee case). The Town's insurance company will pay $50,000 and the Town will pay the remaining $400,000. Exactly $382,957.82 will come from the town's legal contingency fund (that fund was beefed up last year in anticipation of extended litigation in the Whalerock case).

The remaining $17,042.18 may be paid with loose change found in the cushion's of Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz's couch. Or from some similar, but unspecified, source.

I had also predicted that the settlement would provide no further details about the case and ascribe no blame to anyone. Presumably that includes all the past and present town officials who were named in Councilor DiBello's suit either as defendants or as people who did something mean to her.

The four Town Council members who were eligible to vote on this settlement (obviously, DiBello could not vote as a Council member since she is the Plaintiff), also issued this statement:

To read the information release by the Town in its entirety, click here.

The amount and terms of this settlement are considerably less than the settlement offer she made in January 2012.

As the Town release notes, there will be a public signing ceremony on August 25. I believe that is another first-of-its-kind event generated by this lawsuit, the first being the first-ever lawsuit by a sitting Council member against the Town while still serving.