Former Long Beach Corporation counsel and acting city manager Rob...

Former Long Beach Corporation counsel and acting city manager Rob Agostisi is shown on Jan. 25, 2019. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Long Beach City Council approved a $250,000 settlement on Tuesday with a former city official over separation payments.

The settlement resolves a city suit brought against Robert Agostisi in 2020 and a countersuit brought by Agostisi against the city in federal court in 2021. Agostisi previously served as Long Beach’s corporation counsel and acting city manager.

The city will pay Agostisi to end both lawsuits.

The city sued Agostisi in 2020, seeking $889,985 in separation payments and back wages as well as punitive damages, alleging he had committed breaches of fiduciary duty and loyalty, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

In 2019, an audit by the state comptroller’s office found the city had made separation payments in 2018 that overpaid at least 10 employees. The audit recommended the city try to recoup the overpayments, and on Tuesday a city official said most efforts to recoup overpayments had been successful.

In 2020, then-Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas declined to prosecute city officials over the payouts, concluding that improper payments were a result of “incompetence” rather than knowing misconduct or intentional breach of duty.

Agostisi sued the city in federal court in 2021, alleging the city’s attempt to clawback money had been politically motivated retaliation, breach of contract and that he had been defamed.

Last year, a state appellate court threw out most of the city’s allegations — including fraud — but left claims related to breach of duty and unjust enrichment.

As recently as last month, the city’s outside legal counsel indicated to the court the case would proceed without mediation.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Council President Brendan Finn, who came into office in January, said the city needs to make sure a situation like this never happens again.

“The way it has to never happen again is we have to rectify this situation” by changing city ordinances,” Finn said. “It hasn’t happened yet but we are going to make sure that it does.”

In a news release Wednesday, Agostisi said he was pleased the city has “resolved this very partisan attack from the previous administration.”

“As we all move forward, it is my hope that future administrations and the people of Long Beach will remember the great cost these slanderous attacks have on taxpayers,” Agostisi said in the release.

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