Fulton settles harassment lawsuit

A sexual harassment lawsuit against a top Fulton County official cost the county nearly $650,000.

In the 2012 lawsuit, three women accused County Attorney David Ware of repeatedly making unwanted sexual advances and retaliating when they turned him down. Ware has denied the allegations and called the lawsuit a “blackmail attempt,” and Fulton officials said they believed the accusations were baseless.

But, in January, the County Commission agreed to pay the women $100,000 altogether and their attorney $125,000 in legal fees, according to attorney Janna Nugent, who represented Ware and the county in the litigation. Nugent said Friday the county also paid her firm $422,093.

Ware, who still works for the county, and other Fulton officials did not respond to requests for comment. Nugent said a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement prevents the parties from discussing it.

Steven Wolfe, an attorney for the women, also declined to comment.

All three women – Dionne Dixon, Tonya Fortune and Wanda Dallas – formerly worked in Ware’s office.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Dixon, a former county paralegal, said Ware fired her because she wouldn’t have sex with him. Fulton officials have said an internal county investigation cleared Ware of any wrongdoing.

Fortune, Ware’s former executive assistant, said Ware began to “scrutinize and nitpick” her work more harshly after she rejected his advances. She later resigned.

Dallas, a former staff attorney, said Ware increased her workload when she rebuffed him. She resigned to take another job at the county.