City Council told Police Chief MacKinnon lawsuit dismissed by court

March 07, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times City Attorney John Cotti announced at Monday’s City Council meeting that a Ventura County Superior Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit against the city filed by former Police Chief Stephen MacKinnon. 

MacKinnon, noted Cotti, still can file an appeal.

The lawsuit also named City Manager Jaime Fontes and City Councilman Bob Gonzales; the action had not yet moved to trial when Judge Kent Kellegrew-who due to court reassignments took the case over from Judge Mark Borrell-issued a tentative ruling February 27. 

MacKinnon’s lawsuit alleged breach of contract and retaliation for reporting suspected wrong-doing, among other causes he claimed led to his firing June 5, 2012 after an investigation and months’ long administrative leave.

MacKinnon, hired as police chief in 2005, was fired due to allegations he abused a city vehicle and gasoline credit card and falsified time sheets, allegations MacKinnon denied.

Although prosecution was sought by the city the Ventura County District Attorney declined to file charges citing a lack of evidence that criminal activity had occurred.

At the March 3 meeting, when pressed by several members of the council Cotti noted the dismissal was based on the pleadings, and that the court did not take a position on the veracity of the investigation launched into MacKinnon’s activities.

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