Mesa City Councilwoman Janie Thom has retracted her comments about a former Mesa employee to settle his claim against the city.
Thom said she misinterpreted information about Larry Woolf when she questioned his financial expertise at a January finance committee meeting. Woolf retired as Mesa’s financial services manager in November 2003.
The prepared statement read during Monday’s City Council meeting clarified that Woolf was not paid a consulting fee by Chandler while employed by Mesa, and Woolf was not involved in Chandler’s decision to move money from one investment pool into others.
The council voted unanimously to accept the correction and apology. The finance committee meeting minutes will be amended.
"All I ever wanted was an apology, and it’s unfortunate I had to file a claim to get it," said Woolf, who worked for Mesa from 1974 to 2003.
E. Terrence Woolf, a California attorney and brother of Woolf, wrote a letter to the city May 30 demanding Thom retract her statements. No retraction was made and on June 28, Larry Woolf filed the notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit. The claim sought $1.5 million in damages, but Woolf settled for no financial payout.
Thom, who is planning to run for re-election next year in southeast Mesa’s District 6, said she read the statement because she did not want the city to be sued. However, she questioned the need for the claim.
"The city has been pretty good to him, and it’s reprehensible for him to threaten to sue the city when the city has been so generous in hiring him as a consultant," Thom said.
Since his retirement, Woolf has done consulting work for Mesa and Chandler, including financial analysis for the Mesa Riverview project. Mesa has paid Woolf $70,875, while Chandler has paid him $7,812.