Friday, August 8, 2003

Top cop in sniper case
settles isle bias lawsuit

The former Maryland police chief
accused the Ihilani of prejudice

ROCKVILLE, Md. >> The police chief who led the investi-gation into last fall's Washington-area sniper shootings received an undisclosed amount of money from Ihilani resort at Ko Olina after threatening to sue over an alleged incident of racial discrimination late last year, according to a published report yesterday.

Former Montgomery County police Chief Charles Moose sought $200,000 to settle the discrimination charges, the Washington Post reported citing confidential sources.

The settlement came to light through a review of Moose's 2003 financial disclosure form, which listed a legal settlement as income. Montgomery County is withholding Moose's final paycheck while the Ethics Commission seeks more details about the settlement, county officials said.

Moose resigned as police chief in June after a clash with county officials over his plans to write a book about the sniper investigation.

He is asking to keep confidential the source and amount of the money he and his wife received before his resignation. The payment was mentioned on forms made public by the commission last week.

The forms do not disclose who made the payment.

The Ethics Commission collects financial disclosure reports from top county employees and elected officials every year. As part of his 2003 report, Moose filed a form in which he invoked a provision in the county's ethics law that allows the details of such a settlement to remain confidential, so long as the employee assures the commission that his county department was not regulating or doing business with the party that paid him.

County officials said that because Moose supplied so little information about the settlement, the commission has no way of determining whether he can legitimately keep it from public view.

The commission asked county officials to withhold Moose's final paycheck while a county attorney seeks more information from attorney John Relman, who represents Moose and his wife, Sandy.

Moose sought a financial settlement this year from Marriott International Inc. after alleging that he was a victim of racial discrimination while staying at JW Marriott Ihilani resort in Ko Olina, the Post reported, citing a source who was briefed on the incident at the heart of the allegations.

The source did not know how much Marriott paid, but said Moose and his wife requested the company give them $200,000 to avoid a lawsuit.

Moose, his wife and Relman declined comment.

"He did stay with us in Hawaii. An issue arose inadvertently during his stay. We resolved it," Marriott spokesman Tom Marder said in a statement. "Beyond that, there isn't more that we can discuss."

Late in December, Moose flew with his wife to the Oahu hotel to celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary.

Sources familiar with the allegations told the newspaper that the chief wandered into an unfinished area reserved for employees and was confronted by a hotel employee. When Moose was asked to produce proof he was a guest at the hotel, in the form of a room key, an argument ensued, the sources told the Post.

The details of the exchange have not been publicly disclosed.

In a letter to a Marriott executive, a source told the newspaper, the Mooses threatened to sue over what they considered discriminatory behavior at the Hawaii resort.

Moose asked for $100,000 for himself and $100,000 for his wife to compensate them for "suffering" and "distress," the Post reported.


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