Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella, Joe D'Agostino defamation dispute resolved

Terms remain confidential

PORT ST. LUCIE — A resolution has been reached in a former police captain's defamation suit against Mayor JoAnn Faiella.

Joe D'Agostino claimed Faiella authored an anonymous handwritten letter which accused him of using a friend as a confidential informant and refers to $10,000 in missing money from the Port St. Lucie Police Department narcotics division. Faiella has denied she wrote the letter.

Terms of the resolution were not disclosed late Monday afternoon and neither party nor their attorneys provided additional comment, according to a news release from D'Agostino's attorney, Guy Rubin .

Calls to Faiella and Rubin for comment were not returned.

"All of the terms of the resolution are, and will remain, confidential," states the release. "There will be no further comment to this private matter."

Details of the settlement could be subject to public record, but it's still left to be determined, said City Attorney Roger Orr Monday.

As of July, TRICO, the city's self-funded insurance company, had covered more than $44,000 of its $50,000 cap toward Faiella's initial legal fees.

Both parties had a hearing scheduled Monday afternoon before 19th Circuit Court Judge Dwight L. Geiger, but it was abruptly canceled. John Anastasio, Faiella's attorney, said before the resolution was reached the hearing was for a summary judgment to dismiss the case.

Anastasio and Rubin agreed it was time to end the lawsuit, according to the release.

"It's time to put this behind them, so that the Mayor can continue her work as a public official and Mr. D'Agostino can get on with his law enforcement career," said Anastasio in the release.

Faiella, whose April 2011 personal emails indicated she was trying to gather what she called "amo" against D'Agostino, said in the release she's glad she and D'Agostino were able to resolve the matter.

"This has been a distraction from serving the people of Port St. Lucie," Faiella stated.

D'Agostino, who was laid off in April by City Manager Greg Oravec as part of a Police Department restructuring, echoed Faiella's statement and pointed to a pending wrongful termination suit filed by six former Police Department employees who were also let go by Oravec in April.

"I'm glad that Mayor Faiella was able to clear the air in this case. But the city will still need to account for its wrongful acts in violating my rights and the rights of my colleagues," D'Agostino stated in the release.

D'Agostino was Faiella's supervisor when she worked in the crime intelligence analysis division at the Police Department. Faiella later voluntarily transferred to the department's records division before taking a leave of absence for her 2010 mayoral run.

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