A former Los Angeles fire marshal will be paid $800,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against the city, alleging that Mayor Eric Garcetti and the firefighters’ union conspired to remove him from his job in 2016.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the payout on a vote of 10-0.
The suit was filed in January 2017 against the city and United Firefighters of Los Angeles. John Vidovich, a longtime LAFD veteran, alleged that his August 2016 ouster was the result of a plan by the mayor’s office to unseat him in exchange for an endorsement by the firefighters’ union of Garcetti’s March 2017 re-election bid.
The union contributed $350,000 to the re-election campaigns of Garcetti and others, the suit stated.
Vidovich maintained the city’s fire inspection program was riddled with problems with extensive backlogs when he took the fire marshal job in 2014. He alleged inspectors falsified records and altered department data to prevent the inspection of some facilities, including the Veterans Administration hospital near Westwood, but the city argued in court documents that Vidovich was removed from his position because of numerous problems involving his leadership skills.
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