Ex-prosecutor Olson settles for $50K

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

She sued county, ex-DA Riese over her firing in 2007

A former prosecutor has been awarded a $50,000 settlement for her 2008 wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Del Norte County and a former district attorney.

Karen Olson was chief deputy district attorney in 2007 when she was terminated. She claimed she was fired in retribution for her testimony to the Del Norte Grand Jury regarding her boss, then-District Attorney Mike

Riese, related to his handling of a financial elder abuse case. Riese denied the claim at the time the lawsuit was filed.

Earlier this month, Olson was awarded a $50,000 settlement, said Del Norte County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr, adding the settlement does not acknowledge wrongdoing on the part of any party.

The settlement money will come from insurance the county has that covers certain claims, said County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina.

"It's not general fund," said Sarina. "We do pay into it to deal with the unexpected situations that are related to a myriad of things that come up, whether it's claims or lawsuits."

Olson said that she was happy the lawsuit is concluded, but declined further comment.

The suit included several allegations against Riese asserting vindictive actions following her 2005 testimony to the grand jury and leading up to her 2007 termination.

Riese placed Olson on administrative leave in May 2007 shortly after the Triplicate published stories regarding her attempt to dismiss a colleague's speeding ticket. Shortly after that, he informed her of his notice to terminate her employment.

Reach Anthony Skeens at askeens@triplicate.com .

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The Del Norte Triplicate
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