Louis Chapman, City Manager candidate goes from top choice to hot seat in Delray Beach

Lawsuits lead city to question Chapman's past

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - From the top of the list to the hot seat. Louie Chapman of Bloomfield, Connecticut, is in Delray Beach fighting for the city manager position. His hiring was put on hold when questions surfaced about his background.

Less than one month ago Delray Beach commissioners voted to make Chapman the new city manager. Now, they're back peddling on that decision.

"Personally he's a nice gentleman, but I'm concerned about what I'm hearing in these court rulings," says Commissioner Adam Frankel.

Since the initial vote to give Chapman the job, information surfaced to the city of Delray Beach about his past. It includes two lawsuits against the city of Bloomfield, Connecticut,  where Chapman is currently town manager. According to the lawsuits, Chapman engaged in unlawful retaliation and unlawful age discrimination.

"I'm zeroing in on those things rather than the moving of his girlfriend, that's secondary," says Commissioner Christina Morrison.

That's in reference to a claim Chapman improperly used a city vehicle to help his girlfriend move in with him. Commissioner Morrison says she wants to give Chapman an opportunity to explain.

"If someone works hard, they can make mistakes. There are two sides to every story and there's more research to be done," says Morrison.

"Certainly explanations can be given for every one, but when they all add up, I have real concerns," says Frankel.

Commissioners also want to know why the first background check on Chapman didn't reveal the lawsuits against Bloomfield.

"They City should've contracted a much wider scope of Mr. Chapman and the other finalists for city manager," says Frankel.

Another discovery about Chapman's past, he was charged with domestic violence against his wife 10 years ago. He was city and appeared in court, but the charge was later dropped.

City Commissioners are expected to decide Tuesday whether to extend him a contract for the city manager position.

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