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Sex harassment settlement fails in West Palm Beach, but questions remain

Posted at 5:41 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 18:57:23-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The $180,000 settlement over sexual harassment allegations against former West Palm Beach city administrator Jeff Green is off the table, but the questions surrounding it remain.

During a commission meeting on Nov. 15, commissioners unanimously rejected the settlement offer, which Mayor Keith James had urged them to approve.

Commissioners said they were not provided with enough information to make an informed decision.

Commissioner Richard Ryles said he learned more about the settlement from the media than from city staff.

"It’s not typical," said Christopher Kellam, an attorney who specializes in settlements with municipalities. "With settlements the commissioners make the ultimate decision on whether or not to approve a settlement."

Kellam added, "The attorney will typically handle the settlement negotiations. But it is ultimately, if the settlement is above $30,000, the city commission will actually have to approve it."

The allegations made by the attorney of the former West Palm Beach employee were shocking.

In a letter, the attorney alleges his client was sexually harassed and even raped by Green.

Because the allegations were so severe, commissioners wanted more information and a more thorough investigation. Several commissioners talked about bringing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in for an external investigation of the matter.

FDLE said they were contacted by the city, but at this point, they have not been asked for an investigation.

Green has not responded to our requests for comment, but has denied the allegations to our news partners at The Palm Beach Post.

Now that the settlement is off the table, the former employee could file a lawsuit. Her attorney told WPTV that she is considering it.