Claremont COURIER/April 29, 2000
The city of
In addition to attorney's fees, the city was also forced to pay $10.000 to the plaintiff in the case, Richard McKee, for his own attorney's fees. This brings the total cost to $34,500.
Mr. McKee, a chemistry professor at
A settlement was reached in the Mellor case with the city paving Mr. Mellor $48,000. The money was paid from the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (JPIA), a large insurance pool of which the city of
Mr. Mellor claimed he was abused by Officer Dean and that his arrest was the culmination of an organized effort, headed by City Manager Glenn Southard, to get him to move out of town.
It should be noted that Mr. Mellor's organization calls for divorcing oneself from the Federal Social Security and income tax systems. It also claims that the current United States Constitution was made invalid by the adoption of the 14th Amendment.
In 1995, the country was rocked by the bombing of a Federal building in
In the end, the city admitted no wrongdoing though the JPIA did add a statement of regret within the final settlement. The COURIER first learned in November 1998 that the case had been settled. Since that time, it has worked to make the terms public as the paper believed was required under the California Public Records Act. The city council refused a COURIER request to ask that the sealed document be opened, offering instead "moral support".
In fact, the city, through the JPIA continued to argue the settlement should be kept secret.
It was a minute order from the Federal judge in the case. Judge Robert Block, that finally swayed a state court to order the city to release the settlement terms. Judge Block refuted the city's argument that he had handed down a Federal court order preventing public release of the information in the face of a legal challenge.
Scott Grossberg, the lead attorney in the Mellor matter, also defended the city in the McKee suit. As stated, Mr. McKee filed his suit in August 1999 and it was not resolved until February 2000. Mr. Grossberg's firm was removed as a legal representative to the city of
A breakdown of the costs for defending the city in the Mellor case has yet to be released.