Hamilton County settles Hullander suit

Hamilton County settles Hullander suit

February 1st, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local Regional News

Bill Hullander

Hamilton County commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to spend $45,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the county and County Trustee Bill Hullander.

Former county employee Lisa Crane filed a federal lawsuit against Hullander in August 2011, claiming that Hullander told her that she "did not 'fit' his 'reorganization' for the office" before he took over the trustee position in September 2010, according to newspaper reports.

She further claimed that Hullander said he was removing employees who had been hired by former trustee Carl Levi, who lost re-election to Hullander in 2010.

But Hullander said he kept several of Levi's former employees and chose to remove others in the wake of a federal investigation into whether the office mishandled bankruptcy filings.

In the county resolution outlining the settlement, Hullander and the county deny Crane's allegations and "assert that Ms. Crane's termination was for just cause."

The suit had originally sought to reinstate Crane to her former position or an equivalent job. Crane also requested that the county compensate her for "humiliation and embarrassment" but did not specify an amount.

Crane's attorney, Harry Burnette, said that Crane is pleased with the outcome.

"She's a very nice lady, and sometimes nice folks get caught up in politics," he said. "We are glad we were able to get this resolved."

Hullander also said he is glad to have closure. He was not directly involved in settlement discussions.

"[County Attorney] Rheubin Taylor told me that if we went to court, it would probably cost us more for the time and expense than to just settle," he said.