Firefighter served dog food may not get $2.7 million
L.A. mayor rejects deal after hazing tape surfaces
November 22, 2006
LOS ANGELES -- The mayor has vetoed a $2.7 million settlement the City Council awarded to a black firefighter who said he suffered racial harassment after co-workers served him spaghetti laced with dog food.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he wanted the council to reconsider its decision in light of photographs recently posted on a Web site showing the firefighter, Tennie Pierce, engaged in hazing pranks.
''Given the magnitude of the recommended settlement, taxpayers have a right to demand a reconsideration with the full benefit of the facts,'' Villaraigosa said.
''I can't wait to see them in court,'' said Pierce's attorney, Genie Harrison.
Pierce, 51, sued the Fire Department in 2005 after fellow firefighters mixed dog food into his spaghetti dinner.
Pierce said he suffered retaliation for reporting the incident and verbal slurs, insults and derogatory remarks.
11-1 vote - then photos seen
Several council members said City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo did not show any photos to them before they voted 11-1 this month to award the largest settlement in Fire Department history.
Delgadillo's spokesman, Nick Velasquez, said his boss made a comprehensive presentation to the City Council and mediator, but would not specify whether Delgadillo shared the photos.
When some photos of Pierce participating in crude firehouse pranks surfaced last week, the city council rejected a motion to reconsider the settlement.
The issue gained momentum, however, when it became the target of a radio show.
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