The former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, who was fired under a shroud of secrecy and controversy in October, has filed suit against leaders of the agency. NBC12 was first to tell you when this all started with Hal Hazelton being placed on administrative leave without explanation.
Hazelton filed suit in Richmond Circuit Court Tuesday. He alleges he was fired from RRHA as retaliation and publicly disgraced. Hazelton is seeking more than $500,000 in damages, as well as back pay.
This suit takes aim at the leadership of RRHA. Chief Executive Officer Adrienne Goolsby, General Counsel Michelle Waller, Human Relations Director Karen Jones and then-RRHA Board of Commissioners Chairman James Carlton are specifically named.
We are learning new details of what Hazelton says happened, which had been kept under wraps by all parties involved until now.
Hazelton alleges on numerous occasions "superiors took away the files and handled the matters administratively instead of via criminal prosecutions." He in turn complained about those procedures and was confronted about supposed "leaks of information."
The documents say leadership "conspired to fire" Hazelton as retaliation. Soon after the confrontation, the chief was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired.
Hazelton says his "office was searched, his locks changed, his computer examined and his personal items boxed up." Then, it describes without warning, armed officers came to his home to confiscate RRHA property. They were apparently alerted "the chief had mental issues or may be dangerous." The records show his home was surrounded by police vehicles, "in front of his grandchildren, relatives and neighbors."
The suit alleges "the firing was punitive and without due process" and Hazelton's reputation was tainted by libel and slander.
No response from the RRHA leaders has been filed and no hearings have been scheduled in this case.
NBC12 reached out to RRHA for comment. A spokesperson said, "RRHA is unaware of any lawsuit."
The former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has filed a lawsuit against several of the agency's leaders.
Hal Hazelton was fired under a cloud of controversy and secrecy in October. He alleges "retaliatory discharge" and defamation in the lawsuit filed this week. Hazelton is seeking $500,000 in compensatory damages, as well as back pay and punitive damages.
Chief Executive Officer Adrienne Goolsby, General Counsel Michelle Waller, Human Relations Director Karen Jones and RRHA Board of Commissioners Chairman James Carlton are all specifically named in the suit.
RRHA has not released any concrete information as to why Hazelton was placed on leave and then fired.
Richmond Reporter Laura Geller is pouring over the new court records and will have details on 12News at 5.
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:49:13 GMT
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