Suspended BES director threatens suit against city

Dean Marriot's legal staff filed a tort claim alleging constitutional violations

Dean Marriott, the City of Portland's Environmental Services director, will be resigning from his position and dropping his lawsuit against the city, officials said Jan. 2, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Dean Marriott, the City of Portland's Environmental Services director, will be resigning from his position and dropping his lawsuit against the city, officials said Jan. 2, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Legal staff representing Dean Marriott, the suspended director of the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) filed a tort claim against the City of Portland alleging continued violations of his constitutional and common law rights beginning in spring 2014.

The claim follows the city’s October decision to place Marriott on leave from the position of BES director after a city audit found the construction of an employee building at the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant ballooned to more than $12.5 million despite an original estimate of $3 million.

READ the KOIN 6 investigation that brought forth the audit

The tort claim, filed Nov. 19 by Portland attorney Chares Rohney, asserts the city treated Marriott disparately, with malice, and “reckless disregard for Mr. Marriot’s {sic} constitutional rights” beginning in spring 2014.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Service's Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant, March 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
The Portland Bureau of Environmental Service’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant, March 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

The suit calls for damages stemming from a loss of public esteem, significant emotional distress under publicly humiliating circumstances, loss of reputation, and humiliation.

The tort also alleges violations of due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and Marriott’s statutory rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act — that younger bureau directors received different treatment than he.

The audit

Portland City Auditor Lavonne Griffin-Valade found weaknesses in oversight during the design and construction of the building; that the project changed from an office building to a showcase of sustainability; and that the project’s scope ballooned during the design and construction process.

Many of those increases in cost over the course of the project were green-lighted without approval from City Council, the audit found.

Marriott’s tort alleges the Griffin-Valade’s audit on the building was “highly skewed and biased,” and that plans to suspend him — allegedly construed in a “politically calculated maneuver by Commissioner Nick Fish” — began in May, before the audit was published.

Other claims include intentional interference with business relationships and defamation, according to the tort.

Additionally, Marriott is seeking punitive damages against Griffin-Valade and City Commissioner Nick Fish.

READ the full tort claim

 

 

 

 

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