Onetime Paso Robles cop sues, cites former chief as sexual groper

May 29, 2012

Lisa Solomon-Chitty

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Bringing new meaning to the phrase “cop a feel,” a former Paso Robles police officer filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday, alleging former Police Chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty made repeated sexual advances toward him, and terminated him when she was rebuffed.

In the action lodged by Brennan Lux, Solomon-Chitty and Paso Robles city staff and officials are additionally accused of creating a hostile work environment and ignoring allegations of retaliation.

Following a two-year investigation, CalCoastNews reported January 12 on Solomon-Chitty’s alleged sexual conduct with, and in the presence of, department subordinates, including Lux and numerous others. Previously, CalCoastNews published reports of Solomon-Chitty’s public behavior in local saloons, where she sometimes danced on bars, and described herself as “an entertainer.”

Since January, additional officers and police department employees have been interviewed by CalCoastNews regarding Solomon-Chitty’s reported behavior. These individuals have alleged their former boss threatened them with trumped-up criminal charges if they rebuffed her advances or questioned her management practices. She has become the subject of intense public scrutiny. But she has yet to publicly comment on, or deny, the mounting allegations.

And this week, several sources interviewed regarding these allegations have told CalCoastNews they are being physically threatened by police officers close to Solomon-Chitty — and at least one of those threatened plans to leave town.

Following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and poor management practices, Solomon-Chitty and Paso Robles officials reached a confidential agreement March 20 calling for payment of severance and back pay of more than $250,000. The agreement cited adverse “online reports” as having caused “irreparable harm” to her reputation and adversely affecting her ability to perform her job duties.

City Manager Jim App and members of the city council praised Solomon-Chitty following council’s approval of her parting package. App called her “a great asset” to the city and “a dedicated public servant,” adding that he was personally distressed by Solomon-Chitty’s departure.

In his lawsuit, Lux notes that he was hired as an officer in 2000 by then-Lt. Solomon-Chitty. Then, at a 2006 after-party for a charity event, Solomon-Chitty reportedly made her first move on Lux by caressing his leg and asking him for a ride home.

Lux refused, suggesting they should remain just friends, according to the lawsuit.

A short time later, after being named chief in early 2007, Solomon-Chitty called Lux and asked if she could stop by his home to talk. While there, she allegedly initiated oral sex on her subordinate after sharing a few beers.

Following the encounter, Lux claims he began limiting his contact with the chief.

According to the lawsuit, Solomon-Chitty became angry, and accused Lux of being distant. Lux responded by telling his boss that “he believed that a professional relationship between the two of them was best for both of them,” the lawsuit says.

In 2008, Solomon-Chitty required all members of her command staff to attend a team-building workshop at the Carmel Valley Lodge during Super Bowl weekend.

After the first day of workshop events, Solomon-Chitty ordered the seven attending officers to join her in the hot tub. Solomon-Chitty, who was becoming increasingly intoxicated, according to the lawsuit, stood and flashed her breasts.

Carmel Valley Lodge pool and hot tub

She then allegedly sat down next to Lux, slid her hand into his shorts and grabbed his penis. Lux objected, quickly got out of the hot tub, and jumped into the unheated pool.

However, because of the temperature of the pool on that cold and rainy day, Lux needed to warm up and stepped back in the hot tub.

According to the lawsuit, Solomon-Chitty then repeated her groping, while Lux continued to object to the allegedly unwanted sexual contact. Lux then left the hot tub.

The following day, Solomon-Chitty reportedly warned Lux that information about the sexual assault was not to be repeated.

Up until that time, Lux had received exemplary performance reviews. But after he rebuffed her advances in the hot tub, Solomon-Chitty began retaliating against him by directing department supervisors to scrutinize Lux’s activities, according to the lawsuit.

In Nov. 2011, Solomon-Chitty terminated Lux for allegedly committing battery, use of excessive force and unlawful detention during the arrest of a combative suspect.

Officer Dave Hernandez, the watch commander at the time, said he saw the video of the arrest and contends that Solomon-Chitty trumped up the charges in a failed attempt to have the officer charged with a crime. And while Solomon-Chitty sent reports of the alleged assault to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office, no charges were ever filed.

Additional allegations include those made by Officer T.J. McCall, who told a city investigator that Solomon-Chitty grabbed his penis while he sat in her car.

Hernandez also says Solomon-Chitty touched him inappropriately. In 2007, Hernandez and another officer in full uniform entered a saloon then called the Crooked Kilt, to do a bar check.

Solomon, who had been out on the dance floor, approached Hernandez in a room full of people and allegedly pushed the officer’s face into her breasts.

After Hernandez complained to the Paso Robles City Council about Solomon-Chitty’s management practices, she allegedly attempted to have him charged with negligent operation of a vehicle, and of being discourteous to a member of the public. Hernandez resigned Jan. 11 and is contemplating filing a civil lawsuit suit against the city.

City Manager James App

In his lawsuit, Lux seeks a judgment against the city of Paso Robles and up to 50 currently unnamed defendants for unspecified monetary general damages, economic damages, prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees.

As a result of the unlawful acts of the defendants, the lawsuit alleges that Lux “suffered and will suffer physical, mental, and emotional injuries, pain, distress, suffering, anguish, fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shame, mortification, injured feelings, shock, humiliation, indignity, damage to reputation, aggravation, inconvenience, and other non-economic damages in a sum to be ascertained according to proof.”

A current officer, Jon Tatro, has also filed a lawsuit against Solomon-Chitty and city officials, claiming the former chief initiated an illegal ticket quota scheme and punished officers who didn’t make their quotas.

And more recently, CalCoastNews reported that Solomon-Chitty has for years been tweaking crime statistic data supplied to state and federal justice departments, which were used to facilitate grant applications.


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pasojim

I understand Paso Robles is looking for a new police chief.


Maybe we should offer the job to Mr. Lux.


I am sure he is an expert on what NOT to do as a police chief.


That is 100% better than our last one.


opentruth

Mr. Lux has a rep of being a womanizer around this town, an if Ms. Soloman was not as heavy an her last name would be Lux right now. This is like a crook sueing a crook for a botched crime.


As the world turns

Sizeism is as wrong as racism and inappropriate.


danika

Lux wasn’t Police Chieft who received a ridiculous sum of money for damage to her unblemished reputation at the hands of the public. She held the highest position of public safety. SHE should have been above reproach.


racket

Geez … Spread rumors much?


On your planet are female sexual assault victims responsible for the crime based on rumors of promiscuity?


Spirit Filled

Can the ex-chief be sued or does the council take all the blame? Sounds to me like the people in Paso are going to take it in the shorts again. Not fair.


danika

If the case shows merit, the City might be a candidate for class action litigation for wrongful gifting of public funds (the payoff) by its citizens. Something to consider.


Slowerfaster

A Cop with benefits !


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA !


willieslo

“They KNEW this was coming”


Lisa Soloman’s polished resignation/ retirement is a fractional foundation layed ahead to work against the officer from having a case or to settle for less.


I need not tell you, Officer Lux, and you know as well, they have their case will prepared aginst you in advance, so good luck (I know this is sick and stressful to you, I wish you well and sucess).


MaryMalone

If Jon Seitz’s level of work is an example of how well prepared they will be, Mr. Lux will have no problems. I’ve actually faced Seitz in a legal action. I don’t think Iris P. Yang is any better.


They will probably bring in a local specialist to handle it.


Crusader

If Lux comes to court with a top-notch attorney, the party is over for Solomon. There were a lot of people in that pool. A good lawyer will get to the truth particularly now that they aren’t worried about retaliation for telling the truth.


abigchocoholic

Wow, a sexually assaulting woman. Men? We hear about it all the time but women? Almost never. This is the one out of a 1000 case.


He’s going to make bank for what he put up with.


tbonecus2000

I was in the band with Lisa during the era of “dancing on bar tops”. Your reporting on this is so out of context it’s a joke, shameful and misleading to the point of slander. I can’t trust a word you print as journalism. It’s propaganda. You can fool most of the idiots that read your crap but not me.


pasoparent5

tonecus,

Why don’t you simply advise your pal Lisa to man up, come forward, and sue the @#$#% outta Cal Coast News for slander? Paso residents want to hear firsthand from Lisa about how she’s innocent of all these accusations. We haven’t heard a peep from poor Lisa since she cashed her quarter of a million dollar payout and withdrew her bogus workers comp case.

So, please pass along a message to your karaoke-singing, National Anthem butchering, table top dancing, gun losing “retired friend.” Lisa: speak up! We want to hear your side of the story!


Paso_citizen

Right on!! What is she hiding? What is she afraid of? She (and the city council) maintain all allegations are false – then come out and defend that. Hiding behind a $250K sweet payoff somehow does not seem to be the way to go about it. The truth shall set you free.


The Gimlet Eye

Or put you in jail.


Cindy

Kelly Gearhart used to say the exact same thing and people just kept investing as the band played on. Today those investors who read CCN and paid head to the warnings are grateful to Karen & Dan and those who read but did not head are BROKE. Play on if you must tbonecus2000……..Play at whatever you want and leave this to the grown ups, we understand more than you think.


Cindy

The word “head” was intended to read “heed”. I guess you all figured that out ;)


danika

If you feel the reporting is “so out of context” then share with us all the not out of context details of her tabletop dancing. Several people have told me of incidents they have witnessed of her partying with Chuck Lidel at a tavern in SLO and doing very questionable things while being paid as the Police Chief. Are they all speaking out of context too?


MaryMalone

No offense, but you have a slight conflict of interest because of your preexisting relationship with Solomon.


Your opinion as a witness, therefore, does not carry as much weight as someone who does not have a relationship with her…outside of the bars, that is.


standup

tbone, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. The Chittys lied to the bankruptcy court, screwed their clients out of money with their printing business. The federal court may be contacting them soon. She was and is a piece of work along with her little hubby.


Scarlet

Officer Lux: For what it’s worth, I think you are a brave man and I’m sorry you are no longer serving in Paso. I can only imagine what this experience was like for you, with your job on the line, and the humiliation you must have endured. Best of luck to you, sir.


prbizownr

Remember that school districts are not connected to cities fiscally or administratively. Unfortunately Paso Robles Unified has its own problems with incompetent administration.


SanSimeonSam

Brace yourself PASO, this will be costly. I am sure it will be settled out of court for an outrageous, yet undisclosed amount. This will be done, not to save the city money, rather to avoid disclosure of the real corruption that exists in the town. And you folks sit back and accept it. Well like SLO, you get what your apathy allows.


Paso_citizen

Unfortunately, you are 100% correct. This will cost the citizens of Paso lots of money – money that could have been and should have been spent to improve our city’s infrastructure. And you are also

probably correct in believing this will be settled out of court. Jimmy App and his city council minions

refused to divulge the findings of the ‘investigation’ that did not take place, they decided to take the easy way out and paid off Solomon-Chitty to go away, so there should little doubt that they will not allow the full story to come out in a court hearing.


I can only hope that Mr. Lux and his lawyers are mindful of this and are as much interested in having the full story come out as they are in getting some large financial judgement. If that is the case, they

will refuse any offer of a settlement by the city and will demand that this case goes to trial. Same goes with Officer Tatro will demand the same regarding his suit alleging illegal ticket quotas.


If these officers (who also took an oath to uphold the LAW) and their lawyers decide to file these lawsuits just to obtain a financial settlement – are they any better than Solomon-Chiity and her $250K ‘go-away and be quite payoff’ ? If they are really interested in the TRUTH coming out, and having their names and reputations cleared, they will settle for nothing less than a trial.


Paso Robles will lose money either way (settlement or trial), but the truth, the whole truth, can only come from having a trial. Every citizen of this city should demand this.