Tarrant commissioner defends $375K payout in harassment case

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on January 27, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 7:25 PM

FORT WORTH — Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen is defending a costly payout to former county attorney Sabrina Sabin, who accused District Attorney Joe Shannon of sexually harassing her.

On Friday afternoon, more than 100 pages of documents associated with the case were finally released by the county. The documents detail e-mails, texts and journal entries involving Sabin and her one-time boss, Shannon.

Nguyen wouldn't comment on specifics, but said he believes the $375,000, no-fault settlement paid to Sabin in September was the best way to protect taxpayers. 

"I was surprised and shocked. Anybody who went through the details would be," Nguyen said.  "Eventually, just the cost of litigation could have been up to a million dollars."

Nguyen said there also could have been a steep payout on top of that, had the case not gone in the county's favor. 

Still, he acknowledged that some voters are less than satisfied with how the settlement was handled, noting there are other places that amount of money could have been spent.

"We have a lot of needs out there — from transportation to social affairs and education," Nguyen said.

Shannon has continually denied Sabin's claims, and said he didn't approve of the payout.

Sabin told News 8 over the weekend it was necessary to finally speak up. "And really for me, that is what it was: Telling the truth," she said. 

The settlement agreement didn't admit fault.

Close to an additional $100,000 was spent by the county on outside legal advice and procedures. 

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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