Minneapolis fire chief faces another lawsuit
Minneapolis, Minn. — (AP) - A male firefighter is the latest person to sue Minneapolis Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek, claiming he was discriminated against because he is a heterosexual man.
Elondo Wright filed his lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. He alleges that Bleskachek and her partner, a captain on the fire department, gave him bad reviews, harassed him and denied him advancement opportunities.
Wright's lawsuit is the fourth against the chief this year, alleging various acts of discrimination or harassment. The lawsuits, two of which have been settled, depict a woman who let her personal life interfere with work decisions.
Bleskachek, the city's first female fire chief and a lesbian, "adamantly" denies the allegations. She told The Associated Press the claims are based on rumors.
"I find it troubling," she said Sunday. "This is all based on hurt feelings and conjecture."
Wright had filed a complaint with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and probable cause was found. But a settlement with the city wasn't reached so he sued.
"It's been rough for the fire department administration. It's been rough on the rank-and-file firefighters and their families," said City Council member Gary Schiff, who hopes to resolve the issues by year's end.
Bleskachek also wants a resolution, but she wants the facts to come out.
"I just want this all to be over. I just want to be free," she said.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)