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Father files $2m in claims against City of Tacoma, citing former advocate Fortson

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Sep. 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
September 8, 2010 5:14 pm

More news on the China Fortson front:

Now, the Lakewood man who already received a settlement from the City of Tacoma earlier this year to his legal claim about the city’s former top domestic violence victims advocate, has filed two more claims.

Kelvin Jackson is now collectively seeking $2 million.

Kelvin and Quiymani Jackson

In documents filed with the city clerk on Sept. 2 (see below), Jackson contends Fortson continued to harass him after his initial settlement, and also irrevocably harmed his relationship with his now teenage daughter, Quiymani Jackson, while Fortson worked for the city.

Jackson, who in May agreed to a $29,000 settlement, is seeking $1 million a piece for himself and his daughter.

“His own claim mainly has to deal with things that happened after the settlement,” said Thaddeus P. Martin, Jackson’s attorney. “Ms. Fortson continued to harass him and filed frivolous protection orders against him while she was still on the city’s payroll.”

The separate claim for Jackson’s daughter “is for everything — the damage to the father-daughter relationship,” Martin added. “It’s basically the loss of those years (with his daughter) because of the direct interference by the city’s employee.”

City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said Wednesday her office is still reviewing the claims.

“We’ll be looking at whether or not what he is alleging falls within the scope of what’s already been claimed and released,” Pauli said.

China Fortson testifies at her city appeals hearing last week.
China Fortson swears to tell the truth during her appeals hearing in July.
Fortson, 54, the city’s lone full-time DV victims’ advocate, was fired Aug. 31 for ethics code violations based on her actions while serving as an advocate for Kelvin’s ex-wife, Keisha Jackson, during the couple’s tangled legal separation and custody case.

A city investigation, later upheld by Hearing Examiner Rodney Kerslake, found Fortson used her position and city funds to rent a van and otherwise help Keisha Jackson illegally leave the state with the couple’s two children in 2007, in violation of a judge’s order and Kelvin’s visitation rights.

Keisha Jackson absconded with the children for more than seven months. After police in Florida later arrested her; she later pleaded guilty in Washington to a contempt of court charge.

Kelvin Jackson, who repeatedly complained to city officials about Fortson’s interference in the custody case, filed a $1 million claim against the city earlier this year based on Fortson’s actions. He ultimately agreed to a settlement in May.

Two months later, during an appeal of the city’s ethics investigation against her, Fortson sought a permanent protection order against Jackson, in part claiming that his complaints about her to the city constituted harassment. A judge denied her petition.

After learning City Manager Eric Anderson planned to fire her late last month, Fortson sued the city, claiming its investigation was shoddy and Kerslake’s denial of her appeal ignored evidence and the law. She is seeking a judge to reverse the ruling and reinstate her in her city job.

Steve Downing, Fortson’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday.

Here are copies of the latest claims against the city:

Kelvin Jackson Claim Documents

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