For information on City of Tempe statements on a variety of topics, contact Communication and Media Relations Manager Nikki Ripley at 480-350-8846.
City of Tempe Statement
Dec. 6, 2019
The city has tentatively agreed to settle the lawsuit brought by former Police Chief Tom Ryff that alleged a breach of a consulting agreement. The city participated in a mediation process as ordered by the court. The city’s decision to settle is based on the desire to avoid significant expenses associated with protracted litigation. The city makes no admissions of liability. The settlement is subject to the City Council’s approval and will be considered by the Council at its Dec. 12 Regular Council Meeting.
City of Tempe Statement
Oct. 15, 2019
The City of Tempe has received a Notice of Claim (NOC) from former Councilmember Kolby Granville that contains false, misleading and potentially defamatory allegations. The receipt of the NOC follows Mr. Granville’s firing from Tempe Preparatory Academy, his voluntary surrender of his Arizona teaching certificate and being actively investigated by the State Bar of Arizona for the same misconduct that resulted in his removal from office.
Mr. Granville’s removal from office in April 2019 was carried out by the City Council according to applicable laws and the City Charter. According to Section 2.07 of the Charter, the Council “shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members …” and, according to Section 2.06, “may remove a Councilmember, by affirmative vote of five of seven Councilmembers, with due process and clear and convincing evidence, for unlawful conduct involving moral turpitude, fraud or corruption.”
The city strongly urges members of the public and media outlets not to repeat specific allegations against the Mayor and Councilmembers that are potentially defamatory in nature.
The City of Tempe will vigorously defend against these allegations if they appear in the form of an actual lawsuit. It does not intend to publicly address each false allegation in the Notice of Claim or answer individual questions.
City of Tempe Statement
Oct. 4, 2019
A Valley media outlet recently reported on a records request filed by the attorney for the family of Antonio Arce. The City of Tempe believes there are factual inaccuracies in that story. The City of Tempe does not discuss pending litigation. However, we did want to set the record straight on several allegations made in the story.
The City of Tempe continues to express its condolences to the Arce family on the loss of their son.
The incident involving Antonio Arce and the former City of Tempe police officer is under investigation by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has made it clear that records relating to an ongoing investigation should not be released while an investigation is pending.
The City of Tempe initially released the former officer’s redacted body-worn camera footage to the public and to the Ortega Law Firm, which represents the parents of Antonio Arce, immediately following this incident. The City of Tempe will release additional records relating to this incident once the County Attorney’s investigation has been completed.
Certain records require redactions prior to release, including depictions of minors and deceased individuals. Without a confidentiality agreement or protective order to ensure that unredacted records are not improperly distributed, Tempe is not in a position to provide unredacted records relating to this incident, as was requested by Ortega Law Firm.
Some of the inaccuracies in the story regarding the non-disclosure agreement include:
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or protective orders are fairly common in cases in which a criminal investigation is pending.
- Because the unredacted records Ortega Law Firm requested involve a minor and a deceased individual, Arizona State law requires certain redactions under a public records request. Once a suit is filed against the City, as the Ortega Law Firm claimed it intends to do in a prior Notice of Claim, the firm will be able to receive all related records through the discovery process.
- The article claims that Daniel Ortega did not have a problem keeping confidentiality of the records, but that he only disputed the terms of the NDA. That is inaccurate. The Tempe City Attorney’s Office did negotiate and offered to consider a reduced liquidated damages amount, as well as offered a different term entirely, to provide protection against dissemination of unredacted records. Ortega chose not to continue to engage in negotiations on the NDA.
- The NDA sought protection from Ortega’s law firm, not the Arce family, through liquidated damages. Had the NDA been broken, the law firm would have been liable for the $1 million liquidated damages amount.
- The article stated that a civil lawsuit could be precluded if there was a breach of the agreement. This is incorrect. The NDA and a civil lawsuit are unrelated. According to Ortega, the confidential information requested was for use to determine whether a civil suit would be pursued.
The city hopes to work with Ortega Law Firm and the family of Antonio Arce to resolve this matter in the near future.