(KMOV.com) - St. Clair County used $250,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Five former county employees had sued the county claiming sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and national origin discrimination. More than a dozen employees last year came forward claiming that then County Clerk Bob Delaney groped or kissed them. Delaney resigned after a women came forward.
Both sides have agreed to a deal where St. Clair County paid a total of $665,000 to the women and their attorneys. Most of the settlement total was paid by the county's insurance company, $250,000 came from taxpayer money, according to Board Chair Mark Kern.
Some St. Clair County residents said Delaney should be paying up, not them.
"It's not fair to the taxpayers. The one who is responsible for the incident is the one who should be paying," said Mary Young of East St. Louis.
"It's outrageous," said Rodney Rednour of Merissa.
Kern said since the county was sued, it was responsible for paying out the settlement.
"(Delaney) was the elected representative of the people and therefore the county is on the hook for this settlement," said Kern.
The unnamed employees in the lawsuit received between $90,000 and $200,000. They agree not to pursue any more legal action against St. Clair County, and the county admits no wrongdoing.
The Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy, III, L.C. represented the employees. Thomas Kennedy said they were pleased with the outcome.
Kern said the county's lawyers thought this was the best deal.
"(Our lawyers) felt it was in the best interest of the tax payers to accept the settlement and move forward," said Kern.