, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

May 11, 2014

After years of litigation, verdict delivered swiftly for McAlester

McALESTER — It took eight years for the city of McAlester’s lawsuit against former City Manager Randy Green to wend its way through the court system and reach a jury.

But it only took an hour for the jury to reach a verdict.

A Pittsburg County jury delivered a unanimous verdict Friday in favor of the city of McAlester in the city’s lawsuit against Green and Green’s counter-suit against the city.

A jury consisting of seven men and five women deliberated for approximately 60 minutes at the Pittsburg County Courthouse before returning the verdict.

Jurors awarded the city of McAlester three times the actual damages sought — for a total of $3,354,388.77.

On one cause of action, the city won a verdict for three times the actual damages of $457,849 —the amount of vacation and sick leave which federal investigators determined Green was not entitled to that he sold back to the city of McAlester in the early 2000s.

State law allows for triple damages, so the total damages awarded the city on the buyback issue came to $1,489,213.77.

On a second cause of action regarding the transfer of city bond money to other accounts during Green’s administration, jurors awarded the city three times the actual damages of $621,725, for a total of $1,865,175.

The total $3,354,388.77 awarded the city comes from adding the triple damages on the two causes of action together.

Jurors also rejected Green’s counter-claim that he’d been entitled to severance pay in an amount equaling six months of his salary and benefits at the time the McAlester City Council voted to fire him in January 2005.

One matter’s left pending — Green’s claim that his retirement pension from the city should be almost twice what he’s currently getting.

Green’s receiving $3,694.11 in a monthly pension from the city of McAlester, with a quarter of that taken each month because of a federal court order that Green must repay the city for the $457,849 federal prosecutors said he unlawfully took from the city.

Green and his attorneys contend his retirement pension should be $6,554.55 per month.

Before the case went to the jury, attorneys on both sides agreed to let Associate District Judge James Bland decide the pension issue as a matter of law. Bland instructed the attorneys to get him written briefs with their legal arguments within 20 days.

Jurors began deliberating the case shortly before noon Friday after listening to closing arguments from attorneys on both sides.

Green had been convicted in federal court in 2006 on five counts of embezzlement in a case in which federal prosecutors said Green improperly sold $457,849 in vacation and sick leave days back to the city of McAlester.

James Beaty writes for the McAlester News-Capital.

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