Council Settles Bates Lawsuit For $550,000

Jul 24, 2009

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council has settled the Ruth Bates bias suit against the City and Mayor Funkhouser out of court... ending months of controversy and averting a trial that could have started next week.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser expressed disappointment. He said he was ready to go to trial and confident he would have been vindicated, but he had been focusing on his agenda, and "now, we can put this behind us and we can do that."

Council members said under the terms of a gag order from the court they can't comment beyond summarizing the ordinance they passed, which Ed Ford, who voted against the settlement, did: "The city council voted to settle the discrimination lawsuit brought by former mayor aide Ruth Bates for $550,000. The vote was 7 to 3, and the mayor abstained."

Jury selection for a trial was set to begin Friday, July 24. And courts watchers said it would be the "juciest" area political trial in years, what with charges the mayor's wife, Gloria Squitiro, called Bates "mammy" and made other racially and sexually improper remarks, the publication of parts of the Squitiro's diary, and allegations that the mayor's office favored whites and males in matters of pay and promotion.

Ironically, on the day the suit was settled out of court, the city faced a reverse-discrimination lawsuit from two former white employees. Steve Bell, KCUR News.