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Angeles County | Community News File / West Covina

Council Agrees to Settle With Ousted Police Chief

October 09, 1998

The City Council has agreed to pay former Police Chief John Distelrath $210,000 to settle a legal battle over his firing in February, according to a copy of the settlement released Thursday.

The agreement, signed by Mayor Richard Melendez and Distelrath, settles all claims against the city by the former chief, including a worker's compensation claim.

Distelrath also will be provided with a letter stating that he retired from city service in June 1998, according to the settlement. He will receive the badge of a retired chief.

City officials said the council voted 4 to 1 to approve the settlement, with Councilman Michael Touhey the lone dissenter.

Distelrath, a 31-year department veteran, was fired based on allegations of conflict of interest by former City Manager James Starbird.

An investigation by the city attorney found that Distelrath had, among other things, hired a business partner as a consultant for the Police Department. City officials forwarded the investigation to the district attorney's office.

Distelrath has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigation a "political witch hunt."

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