PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The former Portsmouth Chief of Police believes a lawsuit filed against her by a state senator should be dropped... but she said she never agreed to a mediated settlement with the city.
Sen. Louise Lucas filed a $6.75 million lawsuit last year against former Police Chief Angela Greene and Police Sgt. Kevin McGee, claiming they crossed a line when they took out warrants against her related to a protest at the Confederate monument in Olde Towne in 2020.
A Portsmouth city council member confirms to 13News Now that they were notified last week that Lucas would receive $300,000 from the city's Risk Management Fund as a mediation settlement between Lucas and Greene.
However, Greene claims she never agreed to any such settlement, and that the city illegally approved the settlement on the former police chief's behalf. Instead, she and her attorneys were working on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit instead.
Portsmouth's interim city attorney Burle Stromberg tells 13News Now that the settlement came after Lucas' attorney agreed to mediate instead of going to court, and that the process could be done without Greene's attorney.
Stromberg claimed the City of Portsmouth and the attorney representing Lucas have the power to settle this case without approval from others in the suit.
"While the City may argue that it has the ability to settle claims which do not impose personal liability on covered officials, the City's handling of the matter is against the Risk Management policy as Greene is not free from personal liability as to Greene's knowledge she is not a party to any agreement and is still suffering continued reputational damage, as she can no longer exonerate herself in Court," Greene's attorney said in a statement.
Greene's attorney said a day after they filed a motion to dismiss Lucas' lawsuit, Lucas' attorneys "improperly filed a Notice of Settlement, electronically signing on behalf of Greene's attorney, despite having no authorization by Greene or her attorney to do so."
While Greene said she has no issue with dismissing the lawsuit, "neither Greene nor her counsel will endorse, sign, or file an agreed Order of dismissal pursuant to a non-existent settlement."
City officials said they expect Lucas will be paid $300,000 soon, after she signs some sort of release.
When reached for comment, Lucas issued the following statement to 13News Now:
I have spent my entire career advocating for constituents in the City of Portsmouth and our neighboring communities. In addition to my service in the Virginia Senate, I have been a leader in charitable efforts in our community, including housing, religious organizations, educational opportunities, homeless issues, assisting with funeral expenses for children in our city who have been victims of gun violence, and paying utility bills for those in need. I am also honored to have the Senator L. Louise Lucas Legacy Fund through the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and was honored as a leading Black Philanthropist in our region.
My lawsuit regarding the actions around the June 10th, 2020 demonstration speaks for itself. I’m pleased the City of Portsmouth has agreed to settle this matter on behalf of former police chief Angela Greene and Sgt. Kevin McGee.
I also understand that any settlement from a locality impacts their ability to fund critical programs in our community. That’s why I am pledging that I will be donating the entirety of what I receive in the settlement to the charitable efforts in our community I have been involved with for so many years. These funds will be used to help our most vulnerable communities and will help continue the work I have been doing- and will continue to do- to benefit our community.
As a State Senator, business leader and leading community philanthropist I have always put people in our community first and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, Greene said that her own lawsuit against the City of Portsmouth for wrongful termination, defamation, and other claims remains ongoing.