The city of San Diego settled a former high-level employee’s whistleblower lawsuit Tuesday for $200,000, according to the Union-Tribune.

Former deputy director Scott Kessler alleged in a 2009 lawsuit that Mayor Jerry Sanders or one of Sanders’ deputies fired Kessler because he was helping investigate contracting involving a Sanders supporter. City Council had authorized up to $450,000 to defend the case and in late summer it appeared headed to trial.

From the Union-Tribune:

Josh Gruenberg, Kessler’s attorney, said he believes his client would have won the case but has a new job and preferred to avoid a trial and move on with his life.

“Scott had a very righteous case and we believe the settlement to be an appropriate measure of justice for what he suffered,” Gruenberg said.

Janice Brown, the outside counsel hired by the city to defend the case, said the settlement was in the city’s best interests because it avoided expensive litigation costs and the risk a jury could side with Kessler.

“Today you have the resolution of the litigation for $200,000 where there’s no more litigation cost. There’s no more appeal. It is over,” she said told the council. “It’s really a smart decision by this body.”

The council voted 7-1 to approve the settlement. Councilman Carl DeMaio dissented because the settlement’s details weren’t disclosed before the vote, the U-T reported.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

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Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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