Eckersley And MemoGate Wrap-Up
A settlement was reached in 2009 – Eckersley and his lawyers (the big campaign contributors to Jay Nixon who made a fortune in the tobacco settlement) got $500,000, and the case would go away with no one admitting fault.
At the time, lawyers for Ed Martin forwarded a letter to the Deputy Attorney General of Missouri, asking them to take into account the low probability of Eckersley’s case actually making it to trial.
Martin_letter It is this letter Martin refers to when he says he did not agree with the settlement.
Martin and the other defendants had an interest in the trial going forward. Evidence, some of which you’ve seen, showed that Eckersley knew he was treading on thin ice with his employment. It showed he knew that his insubordination could get him fired. And it at no time referenced concerns or fears about retaliation or whistleblowing.
No memo could be found where Eckersley wrote such a statement, and no email was discovered on Eckersley’s computer.
Scott met with Martin on September 26th for an hour. On September 28th, Scott returned, and this time recorded Martin in an interview.
That tape has not been made public, but there were no comments about being fired for whistleblowing. Instead, Eckersley claims he was personally made fun of and targeted for his faith.
It was clearly an attempt to gather evidence for a lawsuit, but even then, there was no talk of whistleblowing. That wouldn’t happen until it was clear that Eckersley was indeed fired, and would not be getting recommendations to work for the Romney Presidential campaign.
Martin and the rest of the Blunt staff aren’t angels. Faced with an unstable employee, their response was to do what most HR departments do – come down hard on the employee and create a laundry list of problems to justify his termination. It was overkill, and in doing so, they put themselves in legal jeopardy. Anyone who has dealt with an employment lawsuit knows it’s essentially a shakedown versus a smear job. That’s what happens when you bring in plaintiff’s lawyers.
At the same time, the legal system and its ruling do have to have meaning, and in this case, Eckersley was paid to quit suing the state. The merits of his case were not applied. The sole calculation was whether it would cost more to continue the lawsuit or settle out of court.
Koster decided to settle.
And let’s remember, Eckersley backed out of the settlement and demanded a letter clearing his name. He got one, as long as he promised to pay his lawyers.
That should tell you what this case was really about.
Now. Can we go back to talking about Russ’s record, and whether he deserves to be sent back to the House?