Matthews, Watkins case ends with settlement
WATKINS GLEN--A lawsuit by former Watkins Glen Police Sergeant in Charge Brandon Matthews and his family against the village and mayor has been settled for $93,000. The information was obtained by a REVIEW&EXPRESS freedom of information request.
The terms of the settlement state, "the adult plaintiffs, on their own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff's children, and the defendants wish to fully and finally reach a global resolution of all of the disputes, without admitting liability, wrongdoing or culpable conduct or incurring further expenses."
The settlement explains:
• The plaintiffs testified under oath on Dec. 22 and 23, 2020 (50-h) in regards to a notice of claim against the mayor of Watkins Glen and the village.
• Matthews was served with a notice of discipline by the village on Dec. 20, 2021.
• Matthews was served a notice of fitness for duty examination on Feb. 26, 2021.
• The civil action began on April 7, 2021, by the Matthews family alleging a number of claims against the village and Mayor Luke Leszyk in his individual and official capacity as the mayor. The case is entitled Brandon Matthews et al v. Village of Watkins Glen et al, in Schuyler County Supreme Court under index no.: e2021-0075.
The settlement further says, "the parties dispute the validity and veracity of all of the various contentions, claims, allegations, causes of action, and/or disciplinary charges alleged by or advanced against them, respectively, in the notice of claim, during the 50-h testimony, in the action, the notice of FFDE, notice of discipline and/or the disciplinary actions (collectively the "disputes")."
The settlement payment is divided into two parts. $90,000 is for the adult plaintiffs and $3,000 or $1,000 each goes to the minors involved in the matter. Matthews also resigns but the settlement specifically says, "the employee specifically denies any guilt, liability or wrongdoing of any kind, including but not limited to any violation of any law, rule, statue, regulation, agreement, contract or policy."
According to Daniel Rubin, a lawyer for the law firm Girvin and Ferlazzo P.C. representing the village and Leszyk, of the $93,000 settlement, $63,000 was paid for by insurance and the village pays the remaining $30,000.
This ends the civil matter.
Late last year, Brandon Matthews was indicted by a Schuyler County grand jury for eight counts of perjury in the first degree (class D felony) and one count of official misconduct (class A misdemeanor).
At the time of the indictment, Special Prosecutor Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella reported, "The perjury charges alleged that he perjured himself in testimony he provided to a previous Schuyler County grand jury concerning marijuana that was discovered by the New York State Police on his property in the Town of Dix. The official misconduct charge concerns allegations that he engaged in a pattern of sleeping on the job while employed by the Watkins Glen Police Department from approximately October of 2010 through approximately April of 2018."
Special Prosecutor Casella did not provide a case update when asked by email on Sunday, March 20.
The Matthews' attorney Matt Buzzetti did not respond to a comment request for this story.