City pays Kattmann

Published 10:17 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

The city of Suffolk issued a $39,000 check to former City Assessor Maria Kattmann and her attorney Lisa Bertini yesterday.

Kattmann was fired this past May, after numerous Suffolk residents complained about large, unfair increases to their property assessments.

Kattmann fired back, suing the city of Suffolk for breach of contract and retaliatory discharge in violation of public policy. Kattmann, in her suit, claimed that Suffolk City Council fired her in an attempt to appease Suffolk residents who had complained and because she questioned the city regarding her exclusion from a retirement compensation plan for city executives.


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In early September, it was reported that Bertini said her client and the city had come to a settlement. Bertini would not disclose the terms of the agreement.

This week, a check for $39,000 was written out to Kattmann and signed by both City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn and City Treasurer Ron Williams.

Debbie George, communications director for Suffolk, said Kattmann’s lawsuit has been resolved and the City’s payment to Kattmann will conclude the settlement with her.

Bertini was out of the office and unavailable for comment by press time.

A woman who answered the phone at the Kattmann residence said the terms of the settlement were confidential. When asked if she was satisfied with the settlement, she abruptly hung up.

This development comes the same week Council heard the decision from the Board of Equalization, the court-appointed group who reviewed the approximately 525 assessment appeals filed this year.

Sid Daughtrey, interim city assessor for the city of Suffolk, told Council at its Wednesday meeting that nearly 74 percent of property assessment appeals filed this year were lowered. Of the waterfront property appeals, 88 percent were adjusted.

He went on to tell Council that of the approximately 523 appeals received by the assessor’s office, 387 of these appeals saw decreases in their property assessments.