As R. Scott Moxley has previously reported in Navel Gazing, three former Newport Beach police officers filed an eyebrow-raising lawsuit against their former bosses last year.
Two of the cops, Craig Frizzell and Steve Shulman, claimed their superiors repeatedly rigged promotion tests, gave improper consulting deals to favored retired cops, granted secret access to sensitive police databases to unauthorized individuals outside the department, took free hotel rooms, handed special favors to businessmen who provided free meals and retaliated against honest officers who complained. Another officer, Robert Morton, claimed he was demoted for complaining about the promotion process.
Now, the City of Newport Beach has apparently decided they don't want the case to go to trial. To wit: City Hall agreed to a nearly $1 million settlement with the trio. Frizzell and Steve Shulman will each receive about $425,000, while ex-officer Robert Morton will win $100,000. (The city also spent about $650,000 in lawyer fees on the lawsuit).
Keep in mind these cops weren't lollygaggers; Morton and Shulman had been previously honored for their police work. Shulman's detective work was featured on national television after his key role in solving the murders of Tom and Jackie Hawks, who were tied alive to an anchor and thrown off their own yacht in 2004.
Frizzell and Shulman hired John A. Girardi, the Los Angeles-based powerhouse attorney who won an impressive $1.2 million judgment against Newport Beach police bosses for discriminating against another highly touted veteran cop, Neil Harvey. A 2009 Orange County jury determined Harvey's career had been sabotaged because police management absurdly speculated that the decorated, heterosexual cop might be gay because he was a perfectionist in his duties and once lived in artsy Laguna Beach.
The Newport Beach City Council previously rejected a claim filed by Frizzell and Shulman against the city as meritless–claims usually being the first step in a lawsuit–just as the city has done with similar personnel complaints about its police department. City officials now claim that while they still reject the most recent allegations, they settled the cases at the insistence of the Newport Beach insurer, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Newport Beach will pay $350,000 of the settlement, and its insurance company will cover the remaining $600,000, according to the paper's report that quotes the city attorney saying the city's share of the tab could have climbed to $1 million without the settlement.