State Settles Bias Lawsuit by Former Ill. Park Supervisor

June 8, 2006

A former Illinois Department of Natural Resources park supervisor who accused the agency of discrimination in denying him a promotion has settled the federal lawsuit for $65,000, a newspaper says a copy of the settlement shows.

In the lawsuit that also named former DNR chief Joel Brunsvold and his interim successor, Sam Flood, Ray Coleman, who is black, claimed he unfairly was denied a promotion to a supervisory position that later went to Scott Flood, Sam Flood’s son and a former Belleville City Council member.

The settlement was reached in late March. The Belleville NewsDemocrat obtained a copy of the deal and disclosed the terms in a report Wednesday.

Coleman, a Democrat who has backed some Republican candidates, claimed he lost the promotion, then later his job as superintendent at Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County, because of racial and political discrimination.

Still, Coleman wants Gov. Rod Blagojevich to amend the settlement because of a stipulation that precludes him from applying for a job with any state agency for seven years.

“I do not like the settlement agreement,” said Coleman, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court here in February 2005. “But my hands were tied.”

Messages were left Wednesday with spokespeople for Blagojevich.

Calls to the DNR on Wednesday were directed to John Storino, a Chicago-based attorney representing the agency. Storino did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

No one admits liability in the settlement, which bars Coleman from discussing its terms or doing anything to “disparage, defame, impugn or otherwise attempt to damage or assail” the reputations of Blagojevich, Flood, Brunsvold, the DNR or any other state employees.

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