Ex-county solicitor filed ‘whistleblower’ suit

The county’s former solicitor filed a whistleblower lawsuit naming the county and two sitting commissioners in the complaint filed in United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, on May 19.

Michael Giangrieco, who served as the county solicitor for the past four years, and prior to that was a two-term county commissioner. He is being represented in the matter by the Dyller Law Firm.

In addition to the county, Commissioners Elizabeth Arnold and Judy Herschel are also named in the suit.

In documents filed in Middle District Court, Giangrieco alleges that he spoke to Arnold repeatedly during her first term in office about “actions she was taking that were not only contrary to Susquehanna policy, but potentially exposed Susquehanna County to liability and did ultimately cause the county liability.”

The complaint states the speech was “not part of Mr. Giangrieco’s job duties as county solicitor” because the county’s insurance company had the responsibility to “control Arnold’s actions relating to litigation against Susquehanna County.”

According to the complaint, the attorney for the insurance company prepared documents in response to an EEOC complaint were false and inaccurate and did not reflect “facts given to her by” Giangrieco and others. They called the insurance company and asked the response be changed.

Giangrieco alleges that he and other employees “were asked to lie” and “asked to change a statement he had previously made so a new and different statement would protect Arnold.”

According to the court documents, he refused to change his statement, “as did other elected and appointed officials” when requested to do so. The complaint alleges that his refusal to alter the statement “infuriated Arnold.”

In the complaint, Giangrieco also alleges at Herschel “vowed to get even with him” regarding an election board hearing on the then-candidates financial statement filings.

The complaint alleges that Arnold and Herschel campaigned together in last year’s commissioners’ race, and pledged “to get rid of the testosterone in the courthouse.”

Documents filed allege Arnold and Herschel conspired both before and after the election to terminate Giangrieco from his position as county solicitor “for their perceived slights” which related to his speech. He was terminated on Jan. 6, in a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Alan Hall voting against the termination.

 

 

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