Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fired U.S. attorney sues to get job back

Paul Mansfield, fired in 2007 after an 18-year career as assistant U.S. attorney, wants his job back prosecuting organized-crime cases.

Mansfield successfully prosecuted members of the John Stanfa crime family in 1995 and the Cali Cartel, in which members pleaded guilty, in 1993, after working as a federal organized-crime prosecutor in South Florida.

Late Monday, Mansfield, 51, of Wynnewood, Montgomery County, filed a 75-page federal civil complaint against Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the complaint, Mansfield, acting as his own attorney, claimed that he had been dismissed from the U.S. Attorney's Office here - which created a hostile working environment - in retaliation for filing a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint alleging discrimination based on age and physical disabilities in April 2006.

Besides winning back his job as a federal prosecutor, he is seeking damages and attorney's fees.

From December 2005 and his Oct. 27, 2007, dismissal, Mansfield alleged that he was harassed, humiliated and marginalized by former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, now running for Congress from Delaware County; Meehan's then-first assistant, Laurie Magid; Linda Dale Hoffa, former chief of the criminal division, and others - all of whom, he alleges, pressured him to drop his EEOC complaint.

Yesterday, Meehan and Hoffa did not return Daily News calls. Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, where Magid and others still work, said, "We do not comment on pending litigation."

The Justice Department had not received the lawsuit by yesterday, said a Justice spokeswoman.

In December 2005, Mansfield said, the alleged harassment began when he was ordered to conduct legal research and write immigration briefs - a departure from organized-crime cases - while suffering from severe sleep apnea and taking medications for serious heart problems that left him drowsy and unable to concentrate.

On Jan. 24, 2006, he was transferred involuntarily from the organized-crime team - the same day he was rear-ended in an accident on the Schuylkill Expressway.

Three months later, he was again transferred, this time to the firearms unit, where he was told to write immigration briefs indefinitely, the complaint stated.

While pressured to rescind his EEOC complaint, Mansfield said, he received a written reprimand, a two-day and 10-day suspension, a negative-performance evaluation and termination - even though he earlier received "outstanding" evaluations which were "whited out."

He also alleged disparate treatment by being punished for mistakes while others were not for theirs.

A person familiar with the U.S. Attorney's Office said that Mansfield "was not the first person who had problems, and in the past, [management] guided people to a soft landing. That didn't happen in his case."

caparek@phillynews.com 215-854-5880
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