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Maryland to pay $369,000 in lawsuit settlements after Board of Public Works approval

Maryland to pay $369,000 in lawsuit settlements after Board of Public Works approval
Maryland’s spending panel is slated to authorize paying out $369,000 to settle separate claims of mistreatment of three state employees at their workplaces. In this file photo, State Treasurer Nancy Kopp speaks at a Maryland Board of Public Works meeting at the State House in Annapolis, with Gov. Larry Hogan, center, and State Comptroller Peter Franchot, right. (Joshua A McKerrow / Capital Gazette)

Maryland’s spending panel on Wednesday authorized paying $369,000 to settle claims of mistreatment by three state employees at their workplaces.

Lawyers with the Maryland attorney general’s office asked the state Board of Public Works to approve $185,000 to settle unspecified claims made by Saira Khan, a research associate at the University of Maryland, College Park, against the university. The settlement with Khan comes prior to her filing any lawsuit against the college and the details of the matter are unknown.

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Khan’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

The second legal action the board approved was a $150,000 payment to Kesslyn Brade Stennis to settle claims of retaliation she made against Bowie State University. A former assistant professor of social work at the university, Brade Stennis said she was forced to resign in 2013 after she raised concerns about what she said was discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation in the program.

The board also authorized a payment of $34,000 to settle claims made by former deputy Juanita Gaines against the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office. Gaines said she was unlawfully discriminated against and fired because of the way she dressed and for talking about the office’s handling of a case in which fellow deputy was shot. Gaines alleged there were other officers who committed more serious infractions than hers who were not fired.

The attorney general’s office, which represents the two universities and the sheriff’s office, declined to comment beyond the requests for settlement made to the board.

The board is composed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Democratic State Comptroller Peter Franchot and Democratic State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. On Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford presided over the meeting instead of Hogan, who is out of state.

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