Beleaguered San Diego County public defender Randy Mize announced his retirement to staff in an email obtained Monday by KPBS.
Mize’s apparent decision comes after the county paid millions of dollars earlier this year to settle two wrongful termination lawsuits alleging discrimination and retaliation. Beyond the lawsuit, an outside law firm is currently investigating additional allegations that some of his managers engaged in discrimination and retaliation.
Mize did not respond to a request for comment, and county spokesperson Mike Workman said Monday he was unaware of Mize’s retirement plans. I received a copy of the email and confirmed that it was sent to two other sources.
In January, a San Diego Superior Court jury awarded former public defender Zach Davina $2.6 million. A jury found that the county had failed to prevent discrimination and retaliation against Davina, who is gay. The county did not appeal the verdict, raising the jury’s award to nearly $3 million for him and covering his legal costs.
In that case, Mize admitted under oath to having signed the personnel investigation report knowing it contained false statements by his manager.
In February, the county paid $900,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by former public defender Michelle Reynoso, who accused her of being involved in Black Lives Matter in her personal life. She claimed her supervisor discriminated against her and retaliated against her.
Mize did not give a specific retirement date in his email, only saying it would be in mid-June.
“I never felt like it was the right time to retire, but I feel very close now,” Mize wrote. After that, I decided to retire.”
Davina and Reinoso’s attorney, Chris Ludmer, said he was happy with the news of Mize’s retirement.
“We continue to want the county to appoint a new public defender from outside its office,” said Rudmer. , a person who can make that office a truly servicing client, respecting employment laws, and a safe, healthy and productive place to work.”
Davina claimed in the lawsuit that his boss had scolded him for criticizing the office, which had largely failed to accommodate him and other LGBTQ people. The lawsuit alleges that the story began circulating in the office.
Reynoso and Davina were also demoted to diversity after they and some of their colleagues accused their supervisor, Sherry Stone, of being black using the word “lynching” and public defender Andrew Bollinger. He said the problem only intensified when he suggested he attend training. Latin.
After receiving the complaint, Stone participated in a tenure review panel with Davina and Reinoso, according to court records.
In February, the county hired San Diego law firm Meyers Nave to investigate complaints of discrimination, retaliation and unprofessional conduct within the public defender’s office.
Bollinger, who left the office earlier this year, told KPBS on Tuesday he had no comment on Mize’s retirement.
“I hope the county will take this opportunity seriously to find a successor who can lead the public defender’s office on the right path,” he said.