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Zoo Director Will Collect $170,000 in Settlement

February 11, 1988|From United Press International

The City Council on Wednesday agreed to pay $170,000 to Los Angeles Zoo Director Warren Thomas to settle a bitter legal battle triggered by his firing in 1986.

After meeting in closed session, the council voted 10 to 1 to pay Thomas $140,912 for his legal fees and $29,160 in back pay.

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to drop its appeal of a federal court decision reinstating Thomas, and the zoo director agreed to drop his suit against the city. Thomas also agreed to drop a defamation claim against James Hadaway, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks.

The settlement is subject to the approval of Mayor Tom Bradley, who was traveling in Germany until today. His aides said he would not comment until he has seen the settlement agreement.

Hadaway fired the $73,000-a-year zoo boss in 1986, citing problems with animal transactions, Thomas' alleged use of racial epithets around zoo employees and allegations that he took zoo supplies for his own use.

Thomas sued Hadaway and the city, saying his constitutional rights to due process had been violated because he was fired without just cause.

U.S. District Judge William Rea agreed with Thomas. In a Dec. 23 ruling he found that the city improperly fired Thomas and ordered him reinstated with back pay.

Thomas was not available for comment.

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