South Bend to pay Karen DePaepe $235K in settlement - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend to pay Karen DePaepe $235,000 in settlement

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg addressed the media Monday afternoon about a settlement between the City of South Bend and Karen DePaepe, former Director of Communications for the South Bend Police Department. Buttigieg stated, "The division and the distraction caused by this has been a real weight on the city. This settlement represents a big step forward."

FOX28 has a copy of the settlement.  It says that the city will pay DePaepe $235,000. The breakdown of that settlement is as follows:

  • $10,000 for lost wages and benefits
  • $215,000 for defamation and intentional infliction and emotional stress
  • $10,000 for attorney's fees and litigation costs

In February 2011, DePaepe heard phone conversations recorded on the police departments private phone lines that offended her. She then told Chief Darryl Boykins. She was then fired as the Director of Communications by the City of South Bend. Mayor Buttigieg said, "This office comes with a lot of tough decisions. The easy ones don't make it here. And that was certainly a tough situation all around."

Under the settlement, DePaepe will not be allowed to talk about the tapes of those phone conversations, and the city will not acknowledge any wrong doing on DePaepe's behalf.  If she is found discussing any matters of the tapes, or what she heard on them, she will have to pay the city $25,000.  She also can never be employed by the City of South Bend again.

In December 2013, the City of South Bend reached a settlement with four South Bend police officers and a spouse. The five split $500,000, while Captain Darryl Boykins and his attorney received $75,000. Boykins was the chief of police when the recordings were made, but he says he was demoted because of his race. Mayor Peter Buttigieg said reaching a settlement would help the city move on.

In the settlement, all parties involved deny liability. Former Chief Boykins and the former Communications Director of the South Bend Police Department were sued for recording officers conversations on a private phone line. Rumors swirled there were racial comments about Boykins on those tapes.

The settlement addressed that when Corporation Counsel Cristal Bristo said, "Under the settlement with Darryl Boykins, he acknowledges that he is unaware of any evidence that reveals the wire-tap plaintiffs, i.e. the cops, used any racist word against him. So let that sit for a minute." Brisco said the case would have gone on for far too long, and it eventually would have been appealed, and the city could have spent nearly a million dollars on this case.

Stay with FOX28 News for an update at the Mayor's media conference Monday afternoon regarding the settlement with the City of South Bend and Karen DePaepe.

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