Former Pequot Lakes police chief Jerry Braam and the city of Pequot Lakes agreed to a $150,000 settlement of a lawsuit Braam filed against the city and mayor last September in regard to his termination.
An attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) represented the city and mayor Nancy Adams. The city is insured through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, and the lawsuit settlement was paid by the LMC. The city is not responsible for paying the settlement.
City clerk Sandy Peine said the city's deductible with the LMC is $500, and the city did pay about $6,500 in city attorney fees for the whole issue.
"Just because we settled doesn't mean anything was done incorrectly," Peine said. "Basically, it's an acknowledgement that lawsuits are expensive so the league decided to settle."
Pamela VanderWiel of Everett & VanderWiel in Rosemount, the attorney representing Pequot Lakes, said the settlement amount was $150,000 in return for dismissal of the case and release of all claims against the city and its officials.
"For financial reasons, the League of Minnesota Cities decided to settle the case," said mayor Nancy Adams.
The city council terminated Braam in September 2010 without giving a reason, saying the police chief was an at-will employee who could be terminated without a specific reason. Tom Ryan was the only council member to vote against the termination, citing the way the council handled the matter.
Braam's lawsuit alleged violations of city personnel policy in regard to personal use of city vehicles that preceded his termination were illegal. He claimed Data Practices Act violations, workers' compensation reprisal and defamation, among other charges.
Last week, Braam confirmed he also settled a suit against city attorney Paul Sandelin and a workers' compensation claim.
He declined to release the settlement amounts. Sandelin also declined comment.
"The city had to sign off on it. It's a business decision on their end," Braam said of the city portion of the lawsuit.
His attorney, Stephen Cooper of Cooper Law Firm in Minneapolis, said, "We're pleased the matters have been resolved successfully and Jerry now has the opportunity to proceed forward with his career in a much better spot."
"The matters have been resolved. Other than that everything is confidential," Cooper said.
Braam, who lives in Breezy Point, currently works as an independent contractor as public safety director with Brainerd International Raceway and doing investigations for law firms and insurance companies.
"I love being a part of this community. That has not changed," he said, noting he still coaches baseball as well.
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