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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City Fund Cut In Half With Deal

Spokane’s $1.43 million settlement with the Marks family cuts the city’s self-insurance fund in half.

Slightly more than $2 million sits in the reserve fund now, and nearly $1 million of that will go toward the settlement.

The balance will come from the $390,000 the county paid the city in 1995 to end its liability in the case, plus the interest that lump-sum payment has accrued.

Settling with the Marks family isn’t likely to affect city services, City Manager Bill Pupo said.

City departments and utilities pay biannual premiums into the reserve account, he said.

“What it might do in the future is probably cause individual premiums we charge to each department to go up,” Pupo said. “What incremental effect that might have on services hasn’t been determined.”

The city created the self-insurance fund in the mid-1980s, when premiums paid to private insurance companies increased more than what Spokane taxpayers could afford, said City Attorney Jim Sloane.

The city currently has some private insurance policies, but relies on the self-insurance fund for the majority of claims.

Pupo said he couldn’t speculate on how the city might cover a future claim that exceeded the fund’s balance.

Draining the self-insurance fund isn’t the only way taxpayers have paid for the Marks case.

Since 1990, two assistant city attorneys - Rocco Treppiedi and Jeanie Mohler - have spent countless hours on the lawsuit.

“From time to time, they’ve spent 90 percent of their time on it,” Sloane said. “At other times, they’ve spent 5 percent of their time on it.”

Sloane said he hasn’t calculated a total legal bill, which would include consultant and expert witness fees.

, DataTimes MEMO: See related story under the headline: City settles Gypsy suit for $1.43 million

See related story under the headline: City settles Gypsy suit for $1.43 million

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