BREAKING: FORMER ALAMEDA FIRE CHIEF FILES $2 MILLION SUIT
Former Alameda Fire Chief David Kapler has filed a $2 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.
Kapler, who resigned his post on November 5, is claiming City Councilwoman Lena Tam and the local firefighters union conspired to destroy his reputation and get rid of him due to sour relations at the bargaining table and that former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant assisted their cause by giving Kapler a termination letter. Tam, Gallant and former City Manager Debra Kurita are named in the suit.
Kapler also accuses the city of cheating him out of his retirement benefits in the suit, filed Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court.
Kapler made national news in August after he was photographed using the city’s pumps to gas up a blue BMW coupe he owned. He accuses city officials of blowing his gas use out of proportion in order to get rid of him and says stories about him contained “false and defamatory allegations” that he used city gas without permission which city officials did nothing to correct.
At the time, Kapler said he had an oral agreement with Kurita allowing him to use the city’s gas for his personal vehicles, but Gallant said Kapler’s claim was the result of a “miscommunication” and that he was only allowed to use city gas for a personal truck specially outfitted for work use.
Kapler was placed on administrative leave in September, and his suit says he got a letter from Gallant on September 17 informing him he’d be fired on September 24 – a week before his retirement benefits were set to kick in. The council decided to fire him on October 31, the suit says, and he submitted a resignation letter in an effort to preserve his reputation on November 5, it says.
He says in the suit he established an “exemplary” track record on the job since being hired in October 2007 and across a 40-year work history. But additional allegations about Kapler’s conduct in other posts surfaced after the pictures of him gassing up his car were published.
Acting City Attorney Donna Mooney said the city had just received the suit and was evaluating it, and a representative for the firefighters’ union declined to comment. But Tam said the council raised the issue with Gallant after learning of it and prior allegations regarding Kapler’s conduct and that she spoke up because city funds were being misused.
“I approved of Mr. Kapler’s resignation following his stunningly irresponsible actions in using city gas pumps to fill personal vehicles. I can’t imagine the city would offer him anything on this lawsuit,” Tam said.