Hermosa Beach

Former Planning Commissioner Joel Shapiro, who lost his post on the commission in April, has filed a claim against the city charging that he was dismissed in bad faith.

Shapiro states in the complaint filed last week that he was "wrongfully discharged" because of the "personal animosity" of Councilman Tony DeBellis, who defeated Shapiro in an election last year for City Council.

But DeBellis said this week that Shapiro, a real estate broker, was dismissed from the commission because he had three unexcused absences. City Atty. James Lough ruled in April that the city code requires all commission members with three or more unexcused absences in one year to be removed from office--without a vote of the council.

"He removed himself," DeBellis said. "The council voted only not to reinstate him."

Shapiro charges in the complaint that the dismissal from the unpaid advisory post has damaged his reputation in the community. He seeks $25,000 in damages.

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