SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Former Sacramento Fire Chief Gary Loesch filed a lawsuit against the city in response to his termination and an alleged act of retaliation.
Loesch, who became fire chief in 2018, was fired on May 26.
According to the claim, the events that led up to his firing began on Jan. 11, 2020. The documents say City Manager Howard Chan tried to dock Loesch’s pay over allegations of misconduct: retaliating against an employee and “wearing a ‘pimp’ costume to a department Halloween party.’”
According to the claim, Loesch had a hearing held on the allegations, and it was found he did not retaliate against an employee. It was also reportedly found that “Loesch should have anticipated that his costume might be considered offensive,” but that he did “not intend it as such.”
The lawsuit claims Chan was “angry” Loesch had a hearing held and at the results of it.
On May 26, the claim says Loesch had a meeting with Assistant City Manager Layne Milstein at City Hall about the fire department. According to the lawsuit, Milstein was wearing a mask, and a back-and-forth conversion ensued after Loesch asked if he should be wearing a mask as well.
The lawsuit claims Milstein told Loesch he did not need to wear one. Once in the office, Chan reportedly entered immediately, stood close to Loesch, and then said he would not be taking off his mask since he had COVID-19.
He then allegedly told Loesch he was fired and left.
A meeting with deputy fire chiefs was held in the same office after Loesch left, and the claim alleges they were given masks and advised to wear them because the office was a “tight” space.
The claim alleges the incident with the masks was an act of retaliation against Loesch. The lawsuit also states Loesch was given a notice of termination dated May 26 with the reasons for his firing.
According to the claim, Loesch had never been talked to about the four reasons or ever given a chance to respond.
The lawsuit seeks at least $10 million in damages.