An Alexandria lawyer has apologized to Acting City Manager Vola Lawson for including allegations against her in a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled police officer and has agreed to drop her as a defendant in the suit.
The complaint alleged that Lawson, who replaced City Manager Douglas Harman in February, was appointed because she had promised to "get" Public Safety Director Charles T. Strobel.
Lawyer Philip J. Hirschkop, in a letter released last week, wrote Lawson that he was "retracting those allegations made against you and I apologize for any inconvenience they may have caused you . . . . You have assured me that you are not out to 'get Chief Strobel.' "
Hirschkop brought suit against Lawson and the city government in Alexandria Circuit Court April 30 on behalf of Lt. John R. Stedman, who was seeking $17,000 in legal fees he said he incurred during a special grand jury investigation into how police handled a drug investigation.
"I'm pleased," Lawson said Friday. "The charges were untrue and totally without foundation or basis, and Hirschkop has come to the same conclusion."
The City Council is still considering whether to pay the legal bills, which some members of the council have called excessive.
City councilman Donald C. Casey, a patent lawyer, said separately that he has filed a complaint against Hirschkop with the local grievance committee of the Virginia State Bar because of the suit's allegations. Grievance committee chairman Greg Murphy declined to confirm or deny that such a complaint had been received, saying the process is confidential.
Stedman's lawsuit, which alleged that Mayor Charles E. Beatley had boasted he would "chop Strobel off at the knees," was filed a week before the city's May 7 elections in which the city government's handling of the controversy over the drug probe was a major issue.
Beatley and Casey, who lost the election and leave office tomorrow, had charged that the suit was politically motivated.