ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Karla Hamner never kept quiet after she was fired from Anne Arundel County government. Now, she gets a $110,000 payday.
"I lost my family. I lost my home. I had to move several times in search of or because of work," said Hamner.
Hamner was working for former County Executive John Leopold in 2008 as a public information officer when he switched her to the police department, and according to a deposition, requested that she not get the job.
Karla claimed retaliation after she spoke up against harassment in the office.
"… he grabbed me and he said I want you to turn and face me like this. Get your hair out of your face," Karla said during an interview in 2012.
Her hair stood up, and five years ago she agreed to do the same. Hamner worked with attorney John Singleton, who will also get a check from the county for attorney's fees.
Earlier this year, a judge dropped several claims, including sexual harassment, but agreed to move forward on retaliation. On Tuesday, the county made what's called an "offer of judgment" to avoid trial.
"Basically it's a white flag. It's a surrender. I want no more," said Singleton.
In a statement, County Executive Laura Neuman said "We are pleased that this case has been resolved and we can put it behind us. This closes a sad and sordid chapter in our County’s history, but serves as the impetus for putting processes in place that guard against this in the future.”
Leopold is in the appeals process, hoping a judge overturns the convictions of criminal misconduct so he can run for office again.
Hamner sat down with our affiliate in Nashville, where she is now working in business development. Her claim is it's never been about the money.
"Of all people, I think women are the most afraid to rock the boat and come forward when they need to. And I would really hope that this would give women more courage to come forward," said Hamner.
The check is not in the mail just yet. Hamner will get $110,000, but a judge still has to negotiate how much the county should pay her attorney. Singleton estimates at least $200,000 over five years.
All of the money is the burden of taxpayers. John Leopold will not pay a dime since he was a county employee at the time.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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