Former Tempe PD chief to sue city for $1 million

TEMPE, Ariz. - A former Tempe police chief plans to file a $1 million lawsuit against the city, saying his successor broke a non-disparagement clause in his retirement agreement, keeping him from getting a new job after his retirement as chief.

A lawyer for former Tempe PD chief Tom Ryff said current chief Sylvia Moir advised the Tempe Union High School District against hiring Ryff as a safety director for the district.

A letter to the City of Tempe from Ryff's lawyer Steven Montoya alleges Moir told district superintendent Kenneth Baca that PD staff would be "uncomfortable" working with Ryff as part of his new position with the district.

Montoya's letter states that Baca's call to Moir was a "final preliminary" to hiring Ryff, but Moir's statement of doubt was enough to keep Baca from hiring the former chief.

Ryff retired from the Tempe PD position in June 2015.

The non-disparagement portion of the retirement agreement, according to Montoya's letter, says in part:

Neither of the parties ... will disparage, defame, or besmirch the reputation, character, image, or services of the other party, or make any comments or statements that reflect adversely or negatively upon the reputation, character, image or services of the other party.

The letter says that the district job would have paid over $109,000 per year.

A spokesperson from the City of Tempe said the city had received Montoya's notice letter and the city attorney's office was reviewing the allegations.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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