Former Fort Wayne fire chief suing city

December 22, 2018

A former Fort Wayne Fire Department assistant chief is suing the city, alleging racial discrimination led him to resign.

Elbert Starks, who is black, claims in a lawsuit filed Dec. 13 in Allen Superior Court that he “was subjected to racially hostile comments from co-workers which created a hostile work environment.” He reported the comments to officials including Fire Chief Eric Lahey and was transferred to another fire station, according to the lawsuit.

A fire captain at the time, Starks resigned his post and accepted a demotion to a lower rank in January to escape the alleged abuse, court documents state. He resigned from the department on Oct. 3, “due to the racial and retaliatory hostility and disability discrimination,” a three-page complaint filed by attorney Loren K. Allison states.

The lawsuit seeks damages including back pay, front pay, bonuses, retirement compensation and medical costs.


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