The Racine City Council agreed to pay disgraced Mayor Gary Becker's former administrative assistant, Sandra Tingle, $50,000 on Wednesday night, to put an end to her sexual harassment complaint. The settlement was expected.
The vote was 13-0. Alderman Jeff Coe abstained, and Alderman David Maack was not present.
Tingle had claimed that Becker and former city administrator Ben Hughes created a sexually hostile workplace. During Becker's trial, District Attorney Michael Nieskes said the mayor admitted having an affair with her. She filed suit in July 2008 shortly after she was fired from her city job.
City officials said they agreed to the settlement because of rising legal fees; the city already has spent $70,000 fighting the lawsuit, and would have to spend another $40,000 before insurance kicks in. The settlement includes $25,000 for Tingle's legal fees, $20,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 for lost wages.
All the major players in this incident have now moved on. Hughes began work as city manager of St. Clair Shores, MI, on March 22. Becker was sentenced to three years in prison on March 3 for charges brought after an internet sex sting.