Anchorage taxpayers' total bill following police lawsuit
Almost a year after former Anchorage Police Department Lt. Anthony Henry won his wrongful termination suit against the Municipality of Anchorage, the total cost of the lawsuit is revealed.
A federal jury awarded Henry nearly $2.3 million in November 2018, but after an appeal and more litigation, the parties settled on $1.87 million, according to municipal attorney Rebecca Windt Pearson.
Pearson said that payment included all claims and attorneys fees for Henry, but it does not include the municipality's own costs in the multi-year legal battle.
The amount of resources the city used to fight the suit amounts to more than Henry won.
Thursday, Pearson said the municipality's costs and fees totaled in $2,270,794.76, adding up to a tab of more than $4 million for taxpayers.
The bill is initially paid through an existing fund, but ultimately goes to homeowners in Anchorage.
"We have basically a savings account and first thing we do is we pay those settlements when the judgments come through, judgments or settlements," Lance Wilber, director of the municipality's Office of Management and Budget explained in a previous interview. "When those are issued, we pay them out of that account and then we replenish that account when we set the tax cap the following year."
For the average home valued at $350,000, Wilber said every $1 million equates to roughly $3 billed to the taxpayer. Using the same formula, a $4 million settlement comes out to roughly $12 per taxpayer.
"We are pleased that we were able to reach a reasonable final resolution to this long-standing dispute, with a total cost to taxpayers of almost $3 million less than initially requested by Mr. Henry’s team," Pearson wrote in an email. "Both the Municipality and the Anchorage Police Department are now under different leadership, and we can say with certainty that APD takes any allegations of misconduct seriously and any substantiated misconduct will not be tolerated."
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.