Houston City Council members Wednesday approved a $70,000 settlement with a former Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care veterinarian who filed a whistleblower suit against the city in 2009.
Gil Costas was fired in February 2009 for what a BARC spokesperson said was a lack of Texas Department of Public Safety credentials. Costas, a part-time contract-worker for BARC, was a popular veterinarian among animal rescue workers. He was one of three vets who were either fired or quit under contentious circumstances in a two-month time period, when BARC was still under the auspices of the Health and Human Services Department.
Costas filed suit shortly after his termination, saying he was singled out for accusing another vet, David Rundell, of animal cruelty in 2008. Rundell was fired shortly after Costas, but an investigation by the Houston Police Department's Office of Inspector General determined that Costas's claims could not be substantiated.
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Costas filed his suit in August 2009, demanding his job back, and accusing the city of "trying to hurriedly squelch [him] and discredit him," after he complained about Rundell.
"We're relieved that it was resolved and it's not hanging over BARC's head anymore," BARC Spokesman Chris Newport told Hair Balls this morning. He also said Costas would not be returning to BARC.
Costas could not be reached for comment.