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Florida prison agency ends years of denials and agrees to pay whistleblowers $800,000

Julie JonesYears after three prison investigators came forward with evidence of inmate abuse and cover-ups at the Florida Department of Corrections, the state has agreed to settle a retaliation lawsuit — and pay them $800,000.

The prison agency also agreed to end lawsuits by three other department whistleblowers, closing a chapter in what has been one of the most tumultuous eras in state prison history.

The agreement, filed in Leon County Circuit Court on Tuesday, exonerates investigators of the FDC inspector general’s office, Doug Glisson, Aubrey Land and John Ulm, after they came forward with evidence that they believed an inmate at Franklin Correctional Institution, Randall Jordan-Aparo, had been gassed to death by prison guards. The Aparo’s family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the state.

The agency does not agree to the allegations but does agree to pay Glisson, Land and Ulm each $133,333 and drop all pending internal investigations. Glisson and Ulm will also receive more than $4,100 in wages lost from a recent demotion, in return for agreeing to leave the agency.

The settlement also ends the retaliation claims by employees James Padgett, David Clark and Christina Bullins, who each will receive $50,000. The attorneys who handled the case, Steven R. Andrews and his son, Ryan Andrews, will be paid $250,000.

“They didn’t offer up this settlement because they liked us,” said Glisson, a supervisor whose last day at the agency he has worked at for more than 20 years will be Wednesday. “They really didn’t want this to go to a jury trial.” Story here. 

Photo: Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones 

 

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