, May 23, 2022

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Vallejo City Council to get update on about 40 lawsuits


  •   2 min reads
Vallejo City Council to get update on about 40 lawsuits
Vallejo City Hall.

VALLEJO – It will be another long closed session for the Vallejo City Council on Tuesday as council members will receive an update on 40 lawsuits involving the city.

About half of the cases involve the city defending the Vallejo Police Department in federal and state courts. Several of those cases are wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of men killed by Vallejo police over the past five years, including Angel Ramos in 2017, Willie McCoy in 2019, and Sean Monterrosa in 2020.

Council members will also be updated on a handful of whistleblower and wrongful termination lawsuits filed against the city, including from former Vallejo police Capt. John Whitney.

Whitney was fired in August 2019 for revealing alleged corruption in the department, including that some officers bent the points of their star-shaped badges after killing someone.

The council will also receive an update on the status of a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the president of the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association against the city last year.

Michael Nichelini, a former police lieutenant, was fired last March after he was the subject of several internal investigations. He originally sought more than $7 million from the city. That amount was increased to $10 million following his termination. He is also seeking his old job.

Vallejo is also defending itself from three former employees who served in then-City Manager Greg Nyhoff’s administration.

Slater Matzke, Joanna Altman and Will Morat alleged in a wrongful termination lawsuit that they were fired in April 2020 for standing up to Nyhoff and alleged poor behavior. Morat served as assistant to the city manager for economic development, Matzke as special advisor to the city manager, and Altman as assistant to the city manager for communications & special projects.

All three worked in the city manager’s office and allege that Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff “created a culture of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in Vallejo that was so deeply embedded that other employees felt free to do the same,” according to the lawsuit.

Besides Nyhoff, the lawsuit also names former Human Resources Director Heather Ruiz, former interim City Manager Anne Cardwell, who was serving as assistant city manager at the time, and then-interim City Attorney Randy Risner.

The council will receive information from the city attorney’s office about a case of anticipated litigation.

The Vallejo City Council is scheduled to meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday via teleconference.

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