MIRAMAR – The City of Miramar has paid more than $200,000 in settlements after a commissioner was accused of harassing women while on the job, as well as inappropriate behavior and retaliation.
On Monday, Miramar Vice Mayor and former commissioner Maxwell Chambers passed out goody bags at an early voting location in the city.
He spoke with Local 10 after we learned that over the summer, the city settled two lawsuits with former female employees who had filed complaints against Chambers for a total of $206,000.
“No, none of that stuff was founded,” Chambers said, adding that the city paid the settlements “Because people sue all the time and the city chooses to pay it. That has nothing to do with me.”
Local 10 first reported on the allegations that Chambers harassed and retaliated against female City of Miramar employees in August of 2018.
One of the complaints came from a former assistant city manager who was demoted days after reporting Chambers repeatedly asked her for hugs.
“She said I asked her for a hug. That didn’t happen,” Chambers said.
The city also settled with Chambers' former assistant, who was fired in 2018.
Local 10 also spoke to Chris Koval, the man who is running against Chambers in March. Koval questioned why Chambers has received no discipline despite the hefty payouts.
“How is he not being reprimanded, suspended or even fired, a lot of people have asked me,” Koval said.
While recording an interview with Koval, Local 10′s Amy Viteri noticed Chambers was nearby, recording the conversation.
When asked why the city would pay the settlements if the allegations against him were false, Chambers said, “Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an attorney when you can pay somebody $5,000, $10,000?”
The city has paid more than $200,000 in settlements, money funded by taxpayer dollars.
Miramar’s city elections are scheduled for March 9, 2021.