News

Romaine files $10 million claim against City

POULSBO — Grant Romaine, a former detective for the Poulsbo Police Department, has filed a $10 million notice of claim against the city of Poulsbo.

His allegations include wrongful discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of character and violation of civil rights.

Romaine resigned from the department in December 2007 amid an independent investigation conducted by the Bremerton Police Department, which reported he allegedly abused his police authority.

His 10-page claim was filed May 12. Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said it is still being assessed by the city and its attorney and no response to Romaine or his lawyer, Randy Loun of Bremerton, has been made. The city is investigating Romaine’s allegations.

Responding to inquiries by the North Kitsap Herald, the city released an official statement Tuesday. It states many city officials are concerned Romaine is misusing the judicial system, and if he is, the city has the right to seek reimbursement of its costs and expenses in any litigation.

“Many of the allegations included in the notice are not supported by the facts,” the city’s statement reads. “Many are irrelevant to his decision to quit his position, which occurred just before the date he was scheduled to respond to the information in the Bremerton investigation. His allegations also constitute an unwarranted personal attack against the Mayor, whose involvement in the investigation was minimal.”

The statement goes on to say, “by personally attacking the Mayor and distorting the facts surrounding certain events, Mr. Romaine is attempting to undermine the credibility of the City administration because City Officials responded appropriately to a citizen complaint by pursuing an internal investigation.”

The Herald received a copy of the claim Wednesday after submitting a public records request earlier in the week. In the claim, Romaine cites a string of alleged issues with city leaders beginning in 2002, including allegations Quade and interim Police Chief Jake Evans conspired to remove Romaine from the department. Romaine alleges Quade was angered by his vocal opposition to an outside hire for the police chief search.

Contacted Monday, Romaine referred all questions to Loun. Loun returned a phone message Tuesday, but said as per his norm he would refrain from comment. He said the the claim should speak for itself.

“I can’t speak for the city council, but I can tell you there are six other citizens I sit with and this claim is a living nightmare for all of us who tried honestly to serve their community and fellow citizens,” said City Council Member Ed Stern. “That is a vicious, personal attack on one’s very character for simply carrying out their public duties.”

Contacted Monday, Romaine referred all questions to Loun. Loun returned a phone message Tuesday, but said as per his norm he would refrain from comment. He said the claim should speak for itself.

Attorney Eileen Lawrence, with Davis Grimm Payne & Marra, was assigned to the city by its risk manager, the Association of Washington Cities.

The investigation into Romaine, which began in September 2007, reported he indulged in actions of harassment toward women, lying on the job and surfing law enforcement databases for personal use. Accounts in the report against Romaine date back a decade.

The report also states there are indications Romaine was untruthful in one, possibly two, previous internal affairs investigations. Being untruthful in an internal investigation is grounds for de-commissioning an officer.

The investigation began at the request of former Poulsbo Interim Chief Jake Evans.

Romaine was hired to Poulsbo’s patrol force in August 1989 and has served as a School Resource Officer for North Kitsap High School. He ran but was not elected for a position on the North Kitsap School District Board of Directors in 2005, and according to the Bremerton report was discharged from the Navy for a psychological issue before joining Poulsbo’s police force.

Last year, Romaine was placed on administrative leave Oct. 8 and resigned Dec. 11. The resignation was not forced.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said cases involving Romaine were reviewed, but nothing was found where his credit at issue could cause a turn in conviction. Hauge said he believes convictions will still stand if a challenge against a case was raised because of his involvement, and because so much time has passed since Romaine’s resignation he doesn’t expect any appeals will arise.

The North Kitsap Herald first broke the story of Romaine’s claim on Tuesday in its online edition. For up-to-date information throughout the week, visit northkitsapherald.com.

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