Ex-City Hall staffer seeks $750K from city, mayor

By Corey Williams

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- A former Detroit City Hall staffer is seeking $750,000 to settle a threatened civil suit against the city, Mayor Dave Bing and communications chief Karen Dumas.

Rochelle Collins says she was wrongfully terminated. She is asking for $400,000 for her "physical injuries, pain and suffering," while her husband, Oreese, is seeking $100,000 for "emotional distress and loss of consortium," according to a settlement offer letter obtained by The Associated Press late Tuesday.

An additional $250,000 would go to their attorneys for legal fees.

Rochelle Collins was fired last month and asked in the settlement offer dated June 9 to the city's Corporation Counsel for reinstatement as an executive assistant in Bing's office with a salary of between $125,000 and $150,000. Neither the letter nor the city said why Collins was fired.

"It is unfortunate that anyone would attempt to use their position with the city for personal gain at a time when we continue to battle for our fiscal survival," Bing said in a written statement. "This will not deter this administration. We will continue to stay focused on the task at hand ... moving the city forward."

Detroit faces a $155 million budget deficit. Bing is in a battle with the City Council over budget cuts he said could result in layoffs and a loss of essential city services.

The AP could not reach Dumas for comment late Tuesday.

Debra Pospiech, one of Collins' attorneys, said early Wednesday that Collins was on sick leave when an executive protection officer brought her a letter on May 16 saying she was fired.

"This is a very straightforward case," Pospiech said. "We approached the city regarding Rochelle's treatment and how Rochelle was terminated. We were asked to provide a settlement demand. When you're negotiating, you make an offer."

The letter states the demand for settlement was sent to Detroit's Corporation Counsel at the city's request.

It also asks for Rochelle Collins to have a private meeting with Bing and "acknowledgement of and a personal apology from Mayor Bing for Ms. Collins' wrongful termination."

Published: Thu, Jun 16, 2011

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