$6.2 million dollars to settle the Ryan Harris case. That's quite a bit of money for a young kid. Does he deserve it? We make no judgments on that one. Do taxpayers deserve to get stuck with the bill? Probably not, but what can you do when plaintiff lawyers look for that "deep pocket" entity to make their pay days and the city just makes it easy for them, settling cases left and right and setting a precedent for big payoffs.
And that's hardly the whole story. Among the coverage here
, and here
, we found this ABC report
(if it's still posted) that states:
The city settled the 7 year old lawsuit for $2 million and paid the private law firm of former corporation counsel and mayoral friend Brian Crowe an estimated $3 million to wage a six-year legal battle against the other boy's claim. (emphasis added)
"I think it's well spent money on their case, and I have a law firm with some very, very talented lawyers, and just the fact that I was the corporation counsel, the fact that I know municipal law, I don't think should penalize me or my firm," said Brian Crowe, attorney for city. (emphasis added again)(Just so no one is confused, this is referencing the February 2005 settlement for the first kid who sued.)
So even in one of the city's (and the department's) more trying episodes, the mayor's guys are still getting their cut to the tune of $3 million. The Channel 2 report quotes a juror that "five of us were for the City" which tells us that the city was operating from a decent position and may have been able to swing it closer to the previous settlement of $2 million like the first case had they gone to the jury. But anything to get the mayor's bad publicity off of the front pages and back on governor ryan we suppose. Too bad taxpayers are on the hook - oh wait, that's US!