Michael Hancock: I care about family of Wayne McDonald, ex-employee suing Denver

michael hancock, sept 26, thumb.jpg
Big photos below.
In June, Mayor Michael Hancock fired his aide and close friend Wayne McDonald amid "serious allegations of misconduct" -- which became a major distraction at a press conference on the city's structural budget gap. Now, McDonald intends to sue the city and has filed a complaint with the city's Board of Ethics.

Questioned about these developments at an event today, Hancock didn't have much to say -- except that the situation has been difficult for him.

After he made a speech at an event called Project Homeless Connect at the Colorado Convention Center this morning, we asked him if he had any response to the lawsuit and complaint, originally reported by the Denver Post.

Mayor Michael Hancock, homelessness press conference.JPG
Sam Levin
Mayor Michael Hancock speaking at the kickoff ceremony to the Homeless Connect event today.
"I don't have any comment on that, no," he says.

When asked if he was surprised by the lawsuit, Hancock responds: "You know what, I'll let the legal team handle it. We'll go from there."

He also says he has not spoken to McDonald in a while.

And has this been hard for him personally?

"Of course it is," the mayor responds. "This is someone I've known most of my life and I care about he and his family, so it is very difficult."

He didn't comment further.

The Post first reported in June that McDonald, a longtime friend of the mayor who was appointed as a "special projects coordinator," was fired after allegedly making inappropriate comments in front of a female Denver police officer. McDonald was Hancock's driver during his campaign, attended college with the mayor and also worked at the Denver Urban League when Hancock was president.

Yesterday, the Post reported that McDonald has filed notice that he intends to sue the city, seeking more than $362,000. In addition, his attorney, Anne Sulton, has also filed a complaint with the city's Board of Ethics -- against the mayor, the police officer and Hancock's spokeswoman, Amber Miller. Sulton says he "categorically denies" the allegations of sexual harassment and that he has been unable to find a job or receive unemployment because of the case.

Continue for official comments from the city attorney's office and McDonald's attorney.

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