Banning Ex City Mgr & Chief of Police File Suit

BY GAIL WESSON STAFF WRITER April 14, 2014; 10:45 PM

Banning’s former city manager and police chief have filed a joint defamation, libel and slander claim against the city, specifically mentioning one councilman in connection with the resignation of the chief and termination of the manager.

Former City Manager Andy Takata and former Police Chief Leonard Purvis filed the claim last month. Takata also filed a discrimination complaint with the state in February.

The city of Banning released copies of the documents Thursday, April 10, in response to a Press-Enterprise public records request submitted to the city.

The claim gives a hint about circumstances surrounding Takata’s departure after nearly four years as the city’s top administrator, and suggests that his actions to follow terms of a settlement agreement and contract with Purvis may have led to a clash with Councilman Don Peterson.

After he resigned last year, Purvis filed a claim alleging misconduct and retaliation by Peterson, stating that the conduct was condoned by the city. The chief reached a $300,000 settlement leading to his resignation in November. Peterson denied any wrongdoing.

The new claim also alleges retaliation, discrimination, harassment and inducing breach of contract, beginning after Takata participated in a settlement conference involving Purvis’ claim in 2013.

As part of the settlement with Purvis, “City Manager Takata wrote a letter of recommendation. Councilman Peterson criticized and tried to prevent City Manager Takata from fulfilling his responsibilities pursuant to the settlement agreement, contract,” the claim states.

“They retaliated against Andy (Takata) after he wrote a letter of recommendation for Leonard (Purvis) in connection with the first” claim, said Bradley C. Gage, a Woodland Hills attorney who filed the new claim against the city on behalf of both former administrators. “The guys both got defamed in newspaper articles” and by other means, potentially affecting their chances of finding other employment.

Gage described the letter as “just a recommendation, which was part of the settlement agreement. He did nothing more than he was supposed to do.”

He said the statements were made with malice, and that Takata lost a job opportunity because of the parties’ actions. Purvis now works for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked before being hired by Banning in 2005.

Gage stated in the claim that he received an email at 6:49 p.m. March 21 about the March 25 agenda item on Takata’s employment. That did not give him a chance to respond or investigate several accusations against Takata dating back to 2011 that were “apparently to be used as a means of wrongfully terminating Mr. Takata in breach of his contract.”

Those reasons were not detailed in the claim.

Bill Manis, the city’s public information officer, emailed a statement saying the city did not violate Takata’s rights. “The City carefully considered his rights and any allegations that he had made prior to its consideration of the facts leading it to decide to terminate Mr. Takata. His termination was based on lawful grounds,” Manis wrote.

Last year, Purvis claimed he was harassed by Peterson when he would not violate state law and run a car registration check.

In December, Peterson released his own press release saying he had been cleared of any wrongdoing, and that Purvis “accusations were completely fabricated and false. I always acted within the scope of my elected duty.”

Melanie Poturica, an attorney who represented the city, responded by saying no findings were made in regards to actions of Peterson or Purvis because there was no investigation by the city, and instead a settlement was reached.

Contact Gail Wesson at 951-368-9075 or gwesson@pe.com

Libi Uremovic May 02, 2014 at 12:10 AM
if abi is right and the banning informer is a tool for the city that published the tank scam and knowingly falsely accused the city manager of forging his credentials then takata and purvis have a case that will blow the city of banning apart.... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- the telling sign will be if the city pays them off to shut them up...
Ken May 02, 2014 at 01:07 AM
Ive a comment that pertains to everyone posting in this thread... The Art of War........By Sun Tzu
Ken May 02, 2014 at 01:10 AM
Your battles are tiresome and pathetic
Rob Turmer May 02, 2014 at 02:03 AM
Well blame Libi for what this site has become then. Regardless of what information she's discovered, her insulting and demeaning way of delivering it has emptied this site.Anyone who showed the slightest interest or asked a question got told off- she doesn't discriminate between people from Banning or Cherry Valley or Oak Glen or even the foreign kids who used to post here- ALL of them got told off by her, that they are lazy and corrupt and stupid and responsible for Beaumont's problems. Others used to have threads on music or art or humor-- she insulted them all as fluff. And look around--all those people she dissed in one way or another just packed up and left. Yea- the battles are tiresome and pathetic- but its the only action this site gets now.
desertpatriot May 02, 2014 at 11:23 AM


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