Oct 22, 2016 11:42 AM
AG settles with Jim Reams for $30K after an illegal suspension
The state recently paid retired Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams and his attorney $30,000 to settle claims that Reams filed last year after Attorney General Joseph Foster illegally suspended Reams from his elected office in 2013.
The $30,000 was only 40 percent of the $75,000 Reams sought for attorney fees for the eight months he fought his suspension in court from November 2013 through June 2014, according to Senior Assistant Attorney General Nancy Smith, InDepthNH reports.
Foster had accused Reams of ethics violations, financial mismanagement and gender discrimination in November of 2013. Reams prevailed six months later when a judge ruled he couldn’t be removed from office without criminal allegations and ordered him back to work.
Smith said the Attorney General’s Office agreed to the negotiated settlement because the law is unclear as to the state’s potential liability.
Documents that were produced on Friday show the agreement was signed on Aug. 30, but wasn’t made public at the time.
“The Department agreed to pay $30,000, approximately 40% of the fees Mr. Reams incurred in exchange for a full release of any potential claim against the Department or its employees,” Smith wrote.
Smith noted that the petition to remove Reams from office was pending when he retired. “The resignation mooted the removal petition and it was withdrawn,” Smith wrote.
Smith said the Attorney General’s Office will need more time to determine whether the other documents related to the Reams’ payout will be released to InDepthNH.org.
Reams did not respond to calls asking him to comment.