A Detroit Fire Department EMS worker won a default judgment today in his whistleblower lawsuit, saying he had been fired after reporting that a woman at Detroit Receiving Hospital said she had been assaulted by the wife of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Paramedic Cenobio Chapa filed the whistleblower lawsuit against the City of Detroit and its fire department after being fired Oct. 24, a day after his affidavit to Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma went public.
On May 27, Oakland County Circuit Judge Wendy Potts found the city in default on the lawsuit because it had not responded in a timely manner. Today, Potts dismissed a motion to set aside the default judgment after Assistant City Attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede arrived late to the courthouse after the case had been called.
Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon said the motion was not heard on its merits because Colbert-Osamuede was late and the city will ask the court for reconsideration.
Yatooma said an evidentiary hearing will be held later to determine the amount of money his client will receive.
"I think it's terrific, about time one of these cases will near conclusion," Yatooma said. "He lost his job for telling the truth. And now he will be vindicated."
Yatooma said the city never responded to the lawsuit that was filed in December, prompting the default judgment by Potts. He said the lawsuit was filed in Oakland County because his office is there and the affidavit was taken at his office.
Chapa said in an affidavit released Oct. 23 by Yatooma, the attorney representing the family of slain stripper Tamara Greene, that the woman he saw in the fall of 2002 in a wheelchair was loud and emotional. He said she claimed to have been physically attacked by Carlita Kilpatrick.
Greene, who went by the name Strawberry, was killed in a drive-by shooting in spring 2003. The crime was never solved, and Greene's family has sued the city in federal court, claiming that officials thwarted a probe into her death.
Kwame Kilpatrick has denied rumors that a wild party and assault took place at the Manoogian Mansion in 2002. A state probe concluded that the party was an urban legend.
Chapa, a 17-year employee, said he didn't come forward earlier because he was fearful his job would be in jeopardy and he worried about his safety and his family's.
In August, EMS Lt. Michael Kearns signed an affidavit that he spoke to Greene around the time of the rumored party. In another statement, a retired EMS supervisor, Lt. Walter Godzwon, said he saw Kwame Kilpatrick and his bodyguards at Detroit Receiving, where an injured woman was taken.
Chapa said in his affidavit that he ran into a medical technician that night named Doug Bayer, and told him what he saw. Bayer previously had told state police of such an encounter.
Written by Detroit Free Press
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix