By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) - CBS4 has learned the city of Denver has reached a tentative agreement to pay Senior Assistant City Attorney Stuart Shapiro more than $600,000 to settle his claims of retaliation by the Denver City Attorney's office.
Multiple sources told CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass members of the Denver City Council were briefed on the proposed settlement earlier this week but that it will have to be officially approved in an open council session.
Two sources say in addition to the cash settlement, the city will also provide Shapiro with what amounts to a letter of apology for his treatment. That would be an unusual move, as the city typically settles cases without an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.
Thursday afternoon, acting Denver City Attorney Shaun Sullivan confirmed the CBS4 report saying the city has agreed to pay Shapiro a total of $660,000. Sullivan said $360,000 would come from a "settlement and claims fund" and $300,000 would come from the city attorney's budget. Asked about the size of the settlement, Sullivan said "I'm not going to characterize it at all."
He acknowledged the CBS4 reporting that a letter of apology is part of the agreement but declined to discuss what it would say or why it was done.
"It will be self explanatory," said Sullivan.
CBS4 first laid out how Shapiro was placed on paid leave for nearly two years and received multiple pay raises during that time, even though he was not assigned any work and was ordered to stay at home.
The paid suspension resulted from Shapiro's involvement in the case of a Denver jail inmate, Jamal Hunter. Hunter sued the city for injuries he received at the jail and received a $3.25 million settlement. The city then placed Shapiro on leave, saying his handling of the case was questionable.
Shapiro responded with a whistleblower claim saying he was being punished for disclosing "official misconduct" on the part of the city attorney's office.
The payout will settle that whistleblower claim. Shapiro's attorney, Nathan Chambers, declined to comment on the CBS4 settlement report.
Sullivan told CBS4 the settlement agreement would likely be voted on by Denver City council next Monday night. If approved, he said the full settlement would be released Tuesday along with a statement from the city.
for more features.