- Written by Administrator
- Published: 08 February 2012
Former Duxbury Police Chief Mark DeLuca filed a lawsuit in federal district court on Friday against the Town of Duxbury, Town Manager Richard MacDonald and former chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen Elizabeth Sullivan claiming a violation of his First Amendment rights. In the complaint, DeLuca alleges his contract with the town was not renewed in 2009 due to his “supporting the organization of a management union.”
MacDonald and Sullivan were unable to comment due to the expected litigation and attempts to reach DeLuca’s attorney Gregory Aceto, of the Boston law firm Johnson, Aceto, Bonner and Prager, LLP, were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit was filed after a long-running controversy in town between residents, police department employees and members of the then Board of Selectmen about whether DeLuca’s contract should have been renewed. According to published reports, MacDonald sent a letter to DeLuca in June 2009 notifying him that his contract with the Town of Duxbury would not be renewed when it expired in November. DeLuca, a former Boston Police sergeant, was hired by the town in 1999 to be its police chief and had been its head during a time of departmental strife that included an investigation by the town alleging favoritism of some and intimidation of others.
The investigation of DeLuca, dated Oct. 9, 2009, was taken at the behest of MacDonald and includes sworn testimony given by police officers claiming a “toxic work environment” and “decrease in morale” caused by divided allegiances between those who supported DeLuca and those who weren’t part of his “inner circle.” All names in the report are redacted, even that of the attorney appointed by MacDonald to investigate the claims.
If the lawsuit does go forward, it will be tried in Boston. It was randomly assigned to Chief Judge Mark Wolf, who has presided over such high profile cases as former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s corruption trial and those of various members of the Winter Hill gang, including Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. He’s currently assigned to the racketeering trial of James “Whitey” Bulger. Those familiar with Wolf say he is considered to be a fair, no-nonsense judge.
Duxbury Town Counsel Robert Troy said he’s now considering how best to defend the town and its representatives from these charges. He’s already contacted the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, which provides insurance to municipalities, and has had a lawyer assigned to Duxbury to aid in its defense.
“With this case, we will follow the procedures we have in place for any litigation we have in town,” said Troy. “We will work with the MIIA to determine how the town will defend itself. We do whatever we can do to prepare.”