City repays Sun $11,000 spent to get Clark report


The city of Baltimore has agreed to reimburse The Sun $11,000 for expenses and legal fees incurred as the newspaper successfully fought to obtain an investigative report into the domestic dispute between former Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark and his fiancee.

Papers indicating the agreement were filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

In June, The Sun and WBAL-TV filed a lawsuit against Mayor Martin O'Malley, seeking access to information about Clark's May 15 domestic dispute.

After winning the lawsuit, The Sun had sought $24,939 from the city but agreed to settle for $11,000, said Stephanie Abrutyn, an attorney for the newspaper. She said she believed the amount was substantial enough to dissuade other public officials from withholding public documents.

The Sun has also been reimbursed by the city for costs -- but not attorney fees -- related to the city's failed appeal of the initial judgment against it.

Abrutyn declined to comment on whether WBAL-TV would receive any of the $11,000. The paperwork filed in court requests that the city's check be made payable to The Sun.

After the domestic dispute, O'Malley asked Howard County police to investigate the incident, and Clark placed himself on voluntary suspension throughout the investigation.

O'Malley received the report in early June and announced that it found any abuse charges to be unsubstantiated. Clark returned to work. O'Malley refused to release the report.

The mayor fought the lawsuit but lost in two courts and released the report at 5 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2. Later he released nearly all the investigative files related to the report.

The report showed that Clark had previously been accused of domestic abuse. A week after its release, O'Malley fired Clark, noting questions that were eroding his leadership.

Clark has since filed a $120 million suit against O'Malley, claiming wrongful termination.

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