ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man just won a half-million dollar settlement from Albuquerque Public Schools, but he says he is not happy about it.
At an Albuquerque School Board meeting on Tuesday, Charles MacQuigg sat silently in the back, but don’t let that fool you.
“I have been at odds with the leadership of APS for nearly two decades,” MacQuigg said.
APS said MacQuigg doesn’t follow the rules that are in place to maintain order and safety.
“I think he’s really disrespectful,” said School Board Treasurer Steven Michael Quezada.
Once, MacQuigg wore an elephant mask to a meeting and refused to remove it.
More than once, he was kicked out. Eventually, he was banned from all meetings indefinitely and APS cited safety concerns.
However, MacQuigg responded with a federal lawsuit.
“The evidence is clear,” he said. “My civil rights were violated.”
While APS denies violating MacQuigg’s rights to freedom of speech and due process, they settled for $575,000. APS said MacQuigg will receive $480,000 to cover attorney fees and $95,000 in damages. In addition, APS said its attorney fees came to $288,000. APS said insurance will be used to handle part of the payout.
“I’m not happy at all,” Quezada said. “I don’t think that we should settle with people who come to disrupt meetings and use that kind of format to make a living or make money.”
MacQuigg has sued before.
“I’ve sued them now three times over their retaliation that they’ve released on me for trying to hold them accountable for their conduct,” MacQuigg said.
There is one thing MacQuigg and APS can agree on.
“They shouldn’t have been wasting taxpayers money on this,” MacQuigg said.
“We’re wasting our funds fighting this,” Quezada said.
At a time when the budget is already tight, no one is happy to see part of it spent this way.
“It is just not right,” Quezada said.
“I think it’s outrageous,” MacQuigg said.
He said the settlement is not gratifying because nothing has changed in terms of accountability within APS leadership.