Baltimore to Pay 'Sun' $11,000 After Withholding Report

By: E&P Staff The City of Baltimore has agreed to reimburse The Sun $11,000 for expenses and legal fees the paper incurred as it successfully obtained an investigative report into the domestic dispute between a former police commissioner and his fianc?, the paper reported today.

Court papers filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court revealed the agreement, the paper reported. In June, the Sun and local television station WBAL-TV filed a lawsuit against Mayor Martin O'Malley, seeking access to information about a May domestic dispute between former Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark and his fianc?.

After winning the lawsuit, The Sun had sought $24,939 from the city for expenses and fees related to the case, but agreed to settle for $11,000, Stephanie Abrutyn, a Sun attorney told the newspaper. She said the amount was substantial enough to dissuade other public officials from withholding public documents, the paper reported.

The Sun has also been reimbursed by the city for costs -- but not attorney fees -- related to the city's failed appeal of the initial judgment against it.

After the domestic dispute, O'Malley asked Howard County police to investigate the incident, and Clark placed himself on voluntary suspension throughout the investigation.

O'Malley received the report in early June and announced that it found any abuse charges to be unsubstantiated. Clark returned to work. O'Malley refused to release the report.

The report showed that Clark had previously been accused of domestic abuse. A week after its release, O'Malley fired Clark, noting questions that were eroding his leadership, the Sun said. Clark has since filed a $120 million suit against O'Malley, claiming wrongful termination.


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