Former Topeka City Manager Stephen Wade seeking $100 million in damages from city

Former Topeka City Manager Stephen Wade is asking for $100 million in damages related to his firing earlier this year.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:08 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Former Topeka City Manager Stephen Wade is asking for $100 million in damages related to his firing earlier this year.

The letter details Wade struggling with mental distress, including a suicide attempt in June leading up to his request for leave.

Wade entered inpatient treatment after that request was granted June 6, but was placed on administrative leave and ultimately terminated July 11 while on that approved leave.

Wade’s termination came during an investigation into a complaint against him that he claims still hasn’t produced results that would justify his ousting. The City never previously provided a reason to the public, just that the decision was made ‘with cause.’

In a statement Friday, the city’s spokesperson confirmed the action was prompted because Wade engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate that violated both city policy and terms of Wade’s contract. The statement also accused Wade of enacting a misleading media campaign after his firing.

To date, the City of Topeka has remained silent as Stephen Wade embarked on a misleading media campaign following his employment termination for cause. In light of this claim for damages, the city wants the community and its taxpayers to know that it will vigorously defend itself against these false claims. Wade was fired for cause due to his inappropriate relationship with a subordinate which violated both the city’s personnel policy and his own employment contract. The city can confidently say that it did not cause Wade any professional damage. The city looks forward to its day in court and has no further comment at this time.

Statement on Wade damage claim, by City Spokesperson Gretchen Spiker

Wade’s attorney Bryan Smith told 13 NEWS Wade did not receive disability protections required by federal law and that Wade did not do anything to warrant his termination. Smith also says the city violated its own confidentiality policy while speaking on the matter.

Every U.S. citizen with a disability has rights and protections afforded by the federal government. Unfortunately, my client did not receive those considerations while he was employed by the City of Topeka. Accordingly, we have made a request to the City for just compensation. We were hopeful that this request would be handled quietly and efficiently. We have been made aware that the City has issued a statement in violation of its own confidentiality policies. This comes as a disappointment and an aggravation of Mr. Wade’s claims. He not only strongly denies any wrongdoing, but he was never afforded the opportunity to address concerns with members of the City Council regarding his employment. The City’s statement comes as a disappointment.

We stand hopeful for a resolution that will not tie up valuable time in the federal court system and will allow both parties to move forward.

Bryan Smith, Attorney for Stephen Wade