Sullivan says same suit filed twice before, expects dismissal again
By: Tom Duggan – September, 2011
LAWRENCE – On February 9, 2007 (then) Public Works Director Frank McCann was suspended by (then) Mayor Michael Sullivan for a myriad of reasons. At issue was a $400,000 cost overrun on the paving project of High Street, where McCann’s friend and ally (City Council President Patrick Blanchette) lived at the time with his family.
Also at issue was a $900,000 bill that showed up in city hall by a fiber optic company that was stringing computer cable in the water treatment plant without a contract. Sullivan also cited McCann’s “inappropriate relationship” with a subordinate in his department and, among other reasons Sullivan said at the time that he suspended McCann for hiring people to work in the city’s parking garages without the authority to do so and without conducting a CORI check on their backgrounds.
McCann sued the city for millions of dollars claiming a conspiracy had taken place to damage his good name, but on two separate occasions,(once in district court and once in superior court), the lawsuit was dismissed before there was even a hearing on the case. The judge at the time said that the disciplining of a department head was well within the discretion of the mayor of the city.
Now McCann has filed the same lawsuit a third time only this time he has filed against former Mayor Mike Sullivan personally (instead of the City of Lawrence) as well as Sullivan’s brother former Mayor Kevin Sullivan.
“They tried this twice before,” Mike Sullivan told the Valley Patriot of McCann and his lawyer Scott Gleason. “Twice they tried to get a free payday out of the city and twice they were knocked down. Both times the judge basically said there was no case. I had the authority as mayor to suspend him for his conduct and I did. He didn’t lose his job, he stayed through the beginning of the Lantigua administration so he didn’t really lose anything but a few weeks pay, though I would argue” Sullivan continued, “that he should have lost a lot more. I’m not sure what they are trying to prove here but I am putting the City of Lawrence on notice that they are footing the bill for this lawsuit. They are suing me for something I did as mayor and I am indemnified for that. It’s a lawsuit that is totally frivolous and when it’s over we are going to have to counter sue Mr. McCann for filing a frivolous suit.”
The Lawsuit against the Sullivan brothers alleges the same facts as previous suits, the main thrust of which is the claim that Mayor Sullivan’s brother, Kevin initiated a call to McCann through a third party to pressure him into resigning before criminal charges would be filed against him.
At the time, Mayor Sullivan turned over documents and filed a complaint with the Inspector Generals’ office. Nothing ever came of that complaint.
McCann again is claiming that he suffered “severe emotional distress, has suffered a loss of earnings and earning capacity, and has incurred and will incur in the future expenses for medical care and has suffered severe and irreparable harm to his reputation.”
In previous cases the judge cited the fact that McCann, as a city worker and a public figure had no right to that claim.
“The real shame here is that the city, once again, has to shell out money for a lawsuit that has no merit,” Sullivan said. It seems like Mr. McCann just can’t let this go. I suspended him in 2007, here it is 2011 and he is still hanging on to this. I would hope the city would take action against Mr. McCann on this but that’s up to the new mayor,” Sullivan said.
McCann’s Lawyer did not return our calls.