.

Banning's Employment Risk Management Attorney Weighs in on Purvis Settlement Debate

Published 6:15 p.m. Dec. 31 2013

Patch file photo by Eric Reed.
Patch file photo by Eric Reed.
A Banning city spokesman and the lawyer for the city's Employment Risk Management Authority contacted Patch Monday and Tuesday, respectively, to suggest the ERMA attorney be given an opportunity to clarify recent statements about the city's $300,000 settlement with former Chief of Police Leonard Purvis.

Melanie Poturica, ERMA lead counsel for the City of Banning, wanted to respond to a press release distributed Monday by City Council member Don Peterson and to comments made by Purvis' attorney, Bradley Gage of Woodland Hills.

The information was first published Dec. 30 by Banning-Beaumont Patch under the headline

Peterson Touts Finding of No Wrongdoing, Says Purvis Accusations were 'Fabricated and False'

The report was updated Monday afternoon under the headline

UPDATE: Purvis Attorney Fires Back at Peterson, Says 'Payment by City Proves There Were Problems'

In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Poturica told Patch the following:

I want to clarify that Mr. Peterson was not cleared of wrongdoing. There were no findings against him. But he was not cleared of wrongdoing. There was no investigation.

Mr. Peterson made a statement that former Chief Purvis' accusations were completely fabricated and false. There was no such finding. And there is no finding that he, Peterson, has always acted in the course of his elected duty.

And again there were no such findings because there was no investigation.

I agree with Mr. Gage's statements that there was neither an investigation or discovery that was provided in the lawsuit to absolve anyone from the city of wrongdoing.

That includes his client, former Chief Purvis. No one was absolved of wrongdoing.

There was no clearance of wrongdoing or finding of wrongdoing on anyone's part.

And I disagree with Mr. Gage that the large payment by the city proves that there were indeed problems with the way the city treated Chief Purvis.

I disagree that former Chief Purvis was mistreated by the city or its council.

I disagree with Mr. Gage that the city paid large sums of money because of wrongdoing of its employee.

I disagree with Mr. Gage that the city would not have paid so much money early in the litigation if the city did not realize there were problems with the case.

I disagree with Mr. Peterson that Chief Purvis' accusations were completely fabricated and false.

The city believes it was in its best interest to settle the case rather than spend a lot of money litigating the case and fighting it, which would have cost money and time and energy.

I want to be clear that while there were no findings against Mr. Peterson, there were also no findings against former Chief Purvis.

The city and former Chief Purvis made a decision to settle the case and move forward, and it is unfortunate that this matter is being raised again to the press, because the parties had agreed to move forward.

Given an opportunity to comment for this report, Peterson declined.

Gage and Purvis did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Purvis first filed a $250,000 claim against the City of Banning in July, alleging misconduct violations by Peterson that occurred in December 2012 and March 2013. The city settled with Purvis in November, and Purvis was rehired by the Sheriff's Department earlier this month.

For background see:

City of Banning's $300K Settlement with Former PD Chief Purvis: The Fine Print

Purvis Rehired by Riverside County Sheriff's Department

UPDATE: Banning Police Have No Chief, Purvis on Voluntary Paid Leave

Banning Police Chief Files $250,000 Claim Against City
Libi Uremovic December 31, 2013 at 09:20 PM
'...there was neither an investigation or discovery that was provided in the lawsuit to absolve anyone from the city of wrongdoing....' ........................................................................................ if there was no investigation or discovery then why did purvis stroll off with $1/4 million...???
Paul of Banning December 31, 2013 at 10:15 PM
As I have said before. All parties involved as well as the public need to move forward and not ponder on the past.
a litttle justice December 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Peterson declined to comment on this report because he never should have commented in the 1st place!
Alexander Cuttleworth December 31, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Interesting to say the least. No investigation. Who's decision was that? "I want to clarify that Mr. Peterson was not cleared of wrongdoing. There were no findings against him. But he was not cleared of wrongdoing. There was no investigation." If taxpayer money was used, in any manner, then there should have been a full and complete investigation, as well as a complete public disclosure of the findings. @Paul, the public can't afford to move on. Peterson is an elected employee and we pay his salary. He works for us. If he is a bad apple, then he needs to be put through the grinder. We have him, as a council member, for several more years. Are you comfortable with his truthfulness and integrity?
beaumontdave January 01, 2014 at 10:16 PM
We are to "not ponder the past"? There's a disturbing edict.
a litttle justice January 01, 2014 at 10:50 PM
thebanninginformer.com/?page_id=7266 Council member Don Peterson Cleared of Wrongdoing — THE BANNING INFORMERwww.thebanninginformer.com In the sports world we would call the banning informer "homers." According to ERMA's attorney he was not cleared of wrongdoing. There was a settlement before there was an investigation. You draw your own conclusion.
Alexander Cuttleworth January 02, 2014 at 03:16 AM
A little justice, I don't think the mis-Informer is capable of telling the entire story. They only publish what they want people to believe, and often are somewhere out in left field with outright slander. It's not, in any manner, a real 'publication'. It's the Daily Star without page #3.
Fred Root January 02, 2014 at 03:50 PM
Well the Mis-informer will more than likely back Peterson. It appears that he has was trying to send a press release out and fool the public. So he has basically lied. So anyone associated with the Banning Mis Informer would probably lie or stretch the true. So he has cost the Tax Payers at least $300,000 I wonder how much the attorney fees cost the taxpayers and the way he interrogates the staff at Council Meetings how much more will he cost the Taxpayers of Banning. Time for the carpetbagger to go back to La Mirada and cause problems there.
a litttle justice January 02, 2014 at 09:16 PM
Andrew Cuttleworth, I agree with you 100%. Maybe the mis-informer will print a retraction on their website and post it on facebook???LOL
Alexander Cuttleworth January 02, 2014 at 11:07 PM
Totally true, Fred Root. Pretty high cost to taxpayers in a single year. Justice, it might not be a good idea to hold our collective breaths, waiting for the mis-Informer to retract anything. Their motto is 'Go forth and find something suspicious, but be sure to embellish it until the truth is completely covered up"....
haden ward January 03, 2014 at 10:00 PM
I have to agree with you guys, from what I have heard, Peterson was nothing more than a volunteer fireman and claimed to be a Navy Seal....or some BS to that effect.
ATC January 04, 2014 at 11:16 AM
@haden ward: "...from what I have heard, Peterson was nothing more than a volunteer fireman and claimed to be a Navy Seal...." sorry, haden, but that was Don Robinson, not Peterson.
haden ward January 04, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Ohhhhh, Sorry........Peterson is the retired cop then? I got it thanks, I mixed up Dons

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