CITY HALL — A city employee who sued the city for false arrest after getting caught up in a 2008 prostitution sting should get $370,000, a City Council committee recommended Tuesday.
Hugo Holmes, a former field service supervisor for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said he was falsely accused of soliciting sex from undercover officer Michelle Acosta, who was named in the lawsuit with the city.
All charges against Holmes were dropped by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and an investigation by the city's inspector general found no wrongdoing by Holmes, who was on duty at the time of his arrest, First Assistant Corporation Counsel Jane Elinor Notz told the Council's Finance Committee.
Holmes, who retired in 2014, said he developed shingles — a painful skin rash — as a result of the stress caused by the incident.
Holmes told officials that he was inspecting some work when Acosta approached him near Washtenaw Avenue and 47th Street in April 2008 while posing as a prostitute.
While Acosta said Holmes accepted her offer to perform a sex act for money, Holmes said he refused it, and drove away, only to be arrested a short distance away.
Acosta, who has not been disciplined in connection with the incident, has no memory of her encounter with Holmes, Notz said.
Ald. Ed Burke (14th), the senior member of the Council, said the city should “apologize to this man and his family for what he has gone through.”
“To resolve something like this requires more than a financial settlement,” Burke said. “Where does this man go to get his reputation back?”
The settlement agreement does not include an apology or an admission of wrongdoing, Notz said.
In a separate matter, the Council took no action on a recommendation from city attorneys to pay $250,000 to a motorcyclist who was struck by a Chicago Police SUV driven by an officer who is now the department's second-highest ranking official.
Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the settlement was tabled after members of the Finance Committee asked for more information about the lawsuit.
McCaffrey said he expected the settlement to be presented to the committee again next month, but declined to say what additional information aldermen requested.
The incident occurred nearly five years ago when Officer Kevin Navarro, now the Police Department's first deputy superintendent, was called to investigate reports of drag racing on South Chicago Avenue near 85th Street.
Carlos Russian, 26, a bartender, was driving a Suzuki GSX-R 750 just before 2 a.m. Aug. 30, 2011. In a lawsuit against the city and Navarro, he alleges that he crashed into the Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Navarro when the officer made a U-turn and headed north in the southbound lanes on South Chicago Avenue, without his emergency lights or sirens on.
Russian was catapulted 30 feet by the force of the impact and was seriously injured, according to his lawsuit.
The suit accuses Navarro of acting negligently, and claims he was poorly trained by the city.
Navarro is expected to take over the Police Department when Supt. Eddie Johnson goes on leave for a kidney transplant when an organ becomes available.