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City Settles Lawsuit with Former City Manager

Former City Manager Sunny K. Philips. Photo: LFN Archive

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A lawsuit against the city of La Feria by its former city manager and a countersuit by the defendant (the city) have been settled with no clear winners or losers on either side.

Sunny K Philip, a former city manager who served for more than 20 years in such capacity, sued the city after he was terminated in 2013, alleging a breach or contract

The city fired back by countersuing Philip for fiscal mismanagement.

But after a special meeting was held Thursday, Oct. 25, it was announced that a settlement had been reached between the two parties by putting the suit behind them.

Rick Navarro, an attorney for the city, addressed the council after it reconvened in open session telling the two parties had agreed to walk away from the lawsuit.

He said motions were filed in early October concerning Philip’s lawsuit and the city’s counter claim.

As to the alleged missing or stolen money, Navarro said internal investigation revealed there was no such finding.

He said the case was sent to mediation rather than going to trial and it was agreed to put the issue behind.

“Both sides have something to win and something to lose,” he said. “I am recommending you ratify this agreement and to put this behind.”

He said Philip and the city will take care of their own expenses, attorney fees and neither party will admit guilt concerning their claims and counter claims.

“Mr. Philip is stepping away (from the lawsuit),” Navarro said, “and the city is doing the same.”

The city council has been discussing the lawsuit in executive sessions during its monthly meetings with no announcements made.

However, the commission called the special meeting with one single item on the agenda, which was to discuss the ongoing litigation.

A source familiar with city issues, said the lawsuits were a waste of time and of taxpayer’s money.

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