On Monday, Contra Costa County issued their press release a week after the Board of Supervisors approved the settlement with two women against the former Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and its former executive director.
A public records request was made to confirm which former executive director was named in the suit which was later identified as Lamar Thorpe, also currently Mayor of the City of Antioch.
After breaking the story on Sept. 15, the county released settlement documents and according to the suit: the settlement was a result of two women who resigned from their positions at the healthcare district due to sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, hostile working conditions, and other unlawful actions resulting from Executive Director Lamar Thorpe’s misconduct, and the District’s inaction, despite having knowledge of that misconduct. The settlement did state there was no admission of guilt.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff defended the settlement citing savings in litigation costs and a potentially higher jury award. Without getting into specifics, Mitchoff said the county had credible evidence to settle this claim.
Here is the Countra Costa County release Monday:
Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, in its capacity as successor agency to the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (“District”), has approved an out-of-court settlement relating to claims submitted by Jasmine Cisneros and Jocelyn Munoz against the District and its former executive director, Lamar Thorpe.
The liability insurance carrier for the former District, RSUI Group Inc, handled this matter and provided counsel to defend the claims. Following a mediation session among the parties, a settlement was reached. The settlement was fully executed on August 23, 2022.
The total amount of the settlement of both claims was $350,000, inclusive of attorneys’ fees and costs. Of the settlement amount, $321,000 was paid by the former District’s liability insurance carrier. The remaining settlement amount of $29,000 was paid from the Los Medanos Community Healthcare fund, as an insurance deductible payment.
The Board of Supervisors approved the settlement solely in its capacity as the successor agency to the District. As the successor agency, the County was required to assume all liabilities of the District, including any claims filed against it. The settlement includes a release and waiver of all claims by Cisneros and Munoz against the District, the former executive director, and the County. The settlement also avoids potentially expensive federal court litigation relating to the claims.
Supervisor Mitchoff Defends Settlement
In an East Bay Times article, Former healthcare district Board Chair Patt Young denied the allegations and called them “completely false”. She said Thorpe this lacked facts and evidence and a jury would have found Thorpe innocent. Meanwhile, Dennisha Marsh called it an “outrage” the county settled and in court the claimants would have lost.
When asked for a response, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff told EastCountyToday Friday an independent investigation was performed and concluded it was likely the plaintiffs would prevail in litigation.
“As with all such claims, the Board was presented with this information, discussed the matter and concluded it was best to settle the matter, thus saving litigation costs and a potentially higher jury award,” said Mitchoff.
“The County had credible evidence to settle this claim. We don’t just hand out dollars without understanding all the facts.,” said Mitchoff. “Both directors quoted continued with litigation opposed to dissolving the district, even though all legal analyses pointed to the eventual decision of the state’s Supreme Court that the dissolution was legal. It’s difficult to give credence to their statements or “outrage” when for over a year, they continued to squander taxpayer dollars on frivolous litigation that could have been used to the benefit of their community and not to their personal agenda to continue an agency that the voters wanted dissolved.”
In a statement released by County Supervisor Diane Burgis, she took the county stance:
“The insurance carrier for the former Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, RSUI Group Inc, handled this case and provided counsel to defend the claims against the former District. Following a mediation session among the parties, a settlement was reached. The Board of Supervisors approved the settlement solely in its capacity as the successor agency to the District. As the successor agency, the County was required to assume all liabilities of the former District, including the claims filed against the District,” said Burgis.
- Sept. 19, 2022 – Lacey Ferguson Issues 24-Minute Statement Regarding Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe – multiple allegations shared.
- Sept. 18, 2022 – Antioch City Clerk Issues Open Letter to Antioch Regarding Mayor Lamar Thorpe
- Sept. 16, 2022 – Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock call for Thorpe to resign
- Candidates Diane Gibson-Gray, Joy Motts and Sandra White have all called for Mayor to resign.
- Sept. 15, 2022 – ECT Broke the story after public record request naming Thorpe
- Sept. 13, 2022 – Settlement approved in 5-0 vote at County Board of Supervisor meeting
- August 16, 2022 – Board of Supervisors Approve Settlement
- March 21,2022 – Councilwoman Ogorchock Brings to Light Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Thorpe
- Sept, 3, 2021 – a letter by Jocelyn Munoz was sent to Pat Young, President at the healthcare district highlighting concerns. She highlighted the sexual misconduct, harassment and hostile working conditions over a period of 8-months,