Ex-L.A. Fire Marshal Sues City Over Ouster
Former Los Angeles Fire Marshal John Vidovich is making some serious claims about Mayor Eric Garcetti and an alleged quid pro quo between the mayor and the city’s firefighters union.
In a lawsuit filed against the city, Vidovich says he became a target of retaliation by the UFLAC after he attempted to clean up a dysfunctional department and a backlog of more than 10,000 buildings awaiting inspection. The union’s president Frank Lima then made a deal with Mayor Garcetti, he alleges: help fire Vidovich and receive an endorsement plus $350,000 in campaign contributions in return.
“In exchange for Mayor Garcetti's agreement to ratify the union's retaliation against [Vidovich] by removing him from his job as fire marshal, the union agreed to endorse the mayor for re-election in March 2017, and further agreed to contribute to his re-election campaign,” according to the complaint.
Vidovich says he was told he would be reassigned to the Mayor’s Office, but that the job never came.
"There was no such position in the Mayor's Office, and [Vidovich] was being terminated from his position as Fire Marshal ... in retaliation for [Vidovich's] reporting of illegal conduct in the Fire Protection Bureau."
Garcetti has refused to comment on the allegations, saying his office does not discuss pending litigation. Several department insiders previously blamed Vidovich for many of the problems with the agency’s Fire Prevention Bureau that put apartments, schools, and hospitals at risk.
In addition to the city, Vidovich’s suit names the UFLAC.
If Vidovich is hoping for a settlement, he'll have to get in line. A new city report says L.A. has had to borrow up to $70 million to cover its many legal payouts.
Read more about the lawsuit here.