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Former West Jordan City Attorney Jeff Robinson has notified his ex-employer of his intention to sue over what he feels was mistreatment at the hands of Mayor Kim Rolfe and others when he was mysteriously and abruptly suspended.
Robinson filed the notice of claim a precursor to a lawsuit on Friday.
The action came just about three weeks after the City Council had scheduled a vote on a proposed $103,000 settlement to Robinson, but then, without explanation, pulled the tentative deal from the agenda.
City Manager Mark Palesh said negotiations are continuing with Robinson.
The notice of claim was not immediately disclosed by the city, but it appears to contain complaints similar to ones Robinson made in a June 26 letter of resignation just released by the city after weeks of holding it back on claims of confidentiality.
In that resignation email, Robinson asserted that then-acting City Manager Bryce Haderlie had "repeatedly admitted and acknowledged the harassing, bullying and threatening hostile work environment to which I've been subjected.
"Furthermore," Robinson wrote, "you and others have acknowledged that Kim Rolfe acted illegally and you have acknowledged Kim Rolfe's admission that his actions against me were in retaliation" for an investigation of and criminal charges filed in 2012 against West Jordan Justice Court Judge Ronald Kunz. Those charges, amid an attempt to have Kunz removed from the bench, accused him of misconduct in releasing protected criminal-history records of a defendant. West Valley Justice Court Judge Brendan McCullagh found Kunz not guilty after throwing out evidence he ruled had been illegally seized from Kunz's desk.
Robinson, in his June email, said the actions against Kunz were "directed by city management and [the] City Council."
Robinson and then-City Manager Rick Davis were named defendants in a notice of claim brought by Kunz and a lawsuit brought by justice court clerk supervisor Shelley Thomas. Kunz's complaint was dropped in exchange for the city's payment of $42,000 in legal fees and a one-hour closed-door meeting with City Council members to air his grievances. The city also paid $75,000 in legal fees to settle Thomas' lawsuit.
Davis abruptly resigned without explanation in August 2014, receiving a severance package worth about $200,000, and Robinson was placed on paid leave last April when Rolfe directed Police Chief Doug Diamond to escort him from his city office. Rolfe said he was following the wishes of the City Council, but other members denied that and said the mayor had overstepped his bounds in assuming authority reserved for the city manager.
Haderlie invited Robinson to return to work in June. Instead, Robinson submitted his resignation and began seeking redress for his treatment.
"I cannot return to work and subject myself to further hostile work environment behavior, retaliation and defamation with a city manager and council who cannot or will not take steps to protect me and other city staff," Robinson wrote in his June resignation email.
Palesh, who took over as city manager Sept. 9, on Monday denied Robinson's assertions in the letter, especially his claims that the city admitted wrongdoing.
"When I looked at the letter, it looked nasty, but it's one person's opinion and, you know, looking at other sides, they say, 'I didn't say that,' " Palesh said. "So I'd rather have [the resignation letter] open and then indicate that any sane person is not going to say things like that, so we'll fight it."
Robinson did not respond to a request for comment.