OC offers $135,000 for inmate’s abuse
By Dave Rogers
For The Record
Orange County commissioners’ court voted to offer a $135,000 settlement to a lawsuit brought by a former jail inmate Tuesday.
With County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton and Commissioner Barry Burton absent, the remaining three commissioners, Johnny Trahan, John Gothia and Jody Crump, voted unanimously to OK the offer in the Jerry Carthel vs. Orange County lawsuit.
County Judge Pro Tem Crump, who ran Tuesday’s meeting, said commissioners could not comment until final disposition was made in court.
Carthel alleges in the suit that in January 2015 former Orange County jailer Brian David Lee slammed him into the concrete floor of the jail, breaking ribs and teeth.
Lee was fired by the county and found guilty of misdemeanor assault in February 2016. Carthel, who was in custody on suspicion of public intoxication, seeks payment for medical bills associated with the incident in his suit.
The vote was preceded by a short closed meeting involving the commissioners, Sheriff Keith Merritt and Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning.
It followed a short 25-minute open meeting full of 3-0 votes involving mostly line-item budget transfers designed to help various county departments get through the month of September, the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The county paid just over $1 million worth of bills Tuesday, including a $815,000 payment to Way Services, the fifth of six installments for heating and air conditioning efficiency improvements.
The $5 million Way Services deal, designed to save the county more than it costs through increased energy efficiencies, was done through bonds, which the county will pay over time.