Ku Klux Klan infiltrator Douglas Seymour said Tuesday that he has agreed to accept a settlement of nearly $300,000 from the San Diego City Council--but he says the story of his work as a police reservist is hardly dead.
Seymour, who moved from Escondido to an undisclosed town in the Midwest last year, said he agreed to accept the money because he will earn significantly more by selling the story of his undercover KKK work to a producer for a television movie and possible book.
Seymour at first was awarded $531,000 by a San Diego Superior Court jury May 9 after testifying that he suffered emotional distress and lost his wife and business while working undercover. He said the Police Department disavowed his work and kept him on the difficult assignment too long.
Reduced the Award
But Judge Raul Rosado reduced the award, which he called “a windfall,” to $162,400. He also gave Seymour the option of seeking a new trial if he was unwilling to accept the lower award.
Seymour rejected the lower award and appealed the judge’s decision.
Last August, the City Council agreed to give Seymour $294,569.89, saying it was a reasonable compromise, especially since there was some risk in allowing Seymour to take his case to another jury and possibly win an even higher award.
Seymour at first accepted the settlement, then balked. On Tuesday, he said in a telephone interview that he is now satisfied with the settlement and will drop his appeal.
Central to Seymour’s decision were the successful contract negotiations with Warner Bros. in which he will sell the story of his infiltration of the KKK for use as a television movie or miniseries, he said Tuesday. Warner Communications also has an option to buy a book on his experience, he said.
Far Surpasses Compensation
“The amount of money for the movie and book far surpasses even a compensation of $531,000,” Seymour said.
David Korrey, Seymour’s attorney, said Seymour also agreed to accept the settlement because the appeal might not be heard for three years. “That was incentive to accept the settlement,” Korrey said.
Seymour, who is in construction work, said he visited San Diego this month with a scriptwriter to begin research on the project.
Seymour was a reserve officer when he was recruited in 1979 for the undercover Klan detail. For 2 1/2 years, he attended Klan rallies, demonstrations and cross burnings throughout Southern California. He rose in the organization to become one of Klan leader Tom Metzger’s right-hand men in the inner circle of the white-supremacist organization, serving as Metzger’s bodyguard when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress.