Thurston County Commission District 1 candidate John Hutchings confirmed Tuesday that he has settled two of the three legal claims that stem from his tenure as the city of Tenino’s police chief.
“I withdrew my lawsuit against the city, and they withdrew their counter claims against me,” Hutchings told The Olympian. “There was no money exchanged.”
In October, he filed an $850,000 defamation lawsuit against Tenino and former Tenino Mayor Bret Brodersen, who fired him, alleging that Hutchings had worked extra hours, hired a reserve officer without approval and generally overstepped his authority.
The city filed a counter-suit against Hutchings over “unjust enrichment” but recently withdrew an earlier claim that alleged he committed fraud.
“The parties have agreed to settle their claims against each other,” Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier said. “The city is no longer involved in litigation as a party. The city is pleased to have the litigation resolved … . It’s nice to have it behind us.”
Hutchings said a separate defamation lawsuit against Broderson remains active.
“That’s still in limbo at this point, still going through the process,” he said.
Hutchings was hired as Tenino’s police chief in 2012 after spending 27 years at the Olympia Police Department.
He said his lawsuit was over the “actions of its former mayor,” and that he’s been working for some time to reach a settlement with the city.
“It wasn’t about the city or the citizens, because I do love them,” Hutchings said. “They’ve been very supportive of me since my swearing in. They embraced me.”
Hutchings, who is running as an independent, will face Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper, a Democrat, in November in the race to replace retiring Thurston County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe.
Staff writer Andy Hobbs contributed to this report.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433