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Disgusted by Federal Way officials’ actions | Letter
I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to The Mirror for publishing the story about my recent lawsuit against the city of Federal Way. I also very much want to thank editor Carrie Rodriguez for writing such a thorough article and taking the time to understand why the lawsuit became a necessity.
The bottom line is this. The city knew about their error back in 2003 and they chose to cover it up. A member of the Human Resources department admitted to giving Patrick inaccurate information about this insurance policy when he was hired. The very next month after Patrick’s death, the city quietly went back and signed up every single officer who had been given the same misinformation.
When the situation came to light 10 years later, this same city employee blamed Patrick for not signing up. I got the runaround for months and was forced to do a public disclosure request to find out why no one would give me any information about the policy. I even called former Mayor Skip Priest. He promised to look in to the matter and call me back. He never did.
I filed a claim with the city asking for the policy amount my son and I would have received in 2003. I submitted all of the documents and information supporting my claim. The city ignored me. I wrote two separate letters asking for updates and received responses claiming the city was still looking into the matter even though it had been over eight months since the issue had come to light.
The only way I could get the city to respond to my claim was by filing a lawsuit. The city hired a very expensive lawyer to fight the case. The city repeatedly blamed Patrick and refused to take responsibility for the false information they gave Patrick in 2003. Yet four months after filing the lawsuit, the city agreed to pay the full amount of the policy. Four months! By then, I had incurred expenses related to the lawsuit and I had to give my attorney a large percentage of the insurance policy.
In other words, the city’s refusal to take responsibility cost my son and me over $20,000 in insurance proceeds – money we were supposed to receive in 2003 upon Patrick’s death.
As a taxpayer and citizen of Federal Way, I am appalled and disgusted by the city’s actions. My tax dollars went to fight a lawsuit that should never have been filed. How much money was spent by the city to fight a claim they clearly intended to pay? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent paying the full insurance claim to the family of a fallen officer who gave his life in service to this community? The city is willing to spend money on a Performing Arts and Conference Center, a basketball park, and all sorts of road projects, but not on doing the right thing for Patrick’s family.
One would think that our current mayor, a former prosecutor, would feel this matter deserved to be made right. He repeatedly campaigned on how important public safety is to our community. Imagine my reaction when the city claimed to “revere” Patrick at mediation while stealing more than $20,000 from his family and blaming him the whole time.
It’s easy to claim to support public safety and our officers, but in the end, actions speak louder than words and campaign promises.
Renee Maher, Federal Way