Undeterred by criminal charges, Fillmore fire chief sues to get job back

The former fire chief of Fillmore, California has filed suit against the city for wrongful termination despite his having been charged with three counts of grand theft and one count of embezzlement.

Peter Egedi was fired him in October, 2008 after allegations surfaced that he misappropriated thousands of dollars when he was chief. He was suspended in April, 2008 pending an investigation. In August, 2009, Egedi was formally charged with four felony counts by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. He pled not guilty to the charges and is free on $10,000 bail. If convicted, he could face over four years in prison.

Last week, Egedi filed suit in Ventura County Superior Court seeking damages for lost income, emotional distress, attorneys fees, and a court order directing the city to restore him as fire chief. The suit alleges that the termination violated the California Firefighter’s Procedural Bill of Rights Act, as well as his Constitutional right to due process.

Egedi claims the city permitted unlawful searches of his fire department locker without his consent, presence or search warrant, and that he was not permitted to respond to the theft allegations. He also alleges that the city’s Municipal Code required the City Council’s consent before he could be terminated.

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About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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