Suit Accuses Former Deerfield City Manager of Racially Charged Comments

Larry Deetjen, the longtime city manager of Deerfield Beach now working in the Midwest, has landed his new city in legal trouble. The landlords of a minority-dominated housing complex in Oak Lawn, Ilinois, say that Deetjen, as village manager, made racially insensitive remarks about the building's tenants. Last week, those landlords filed suit against Oak Lawn, alleging that the city spread false information about the complex and harassed its owners with code violations.

The conversation with Deetjen that is cited in filings occurred in October 2007 -- a mere 18 months after Deetjen was said to have made racist remarks to a Palm Beach Sheriff's Office parking cop, an event that helped precipitate Deetjen's departure from Deerfield.

Since Peggy Noland won the Deerfield Beach mayor's race in March 2009, there have been rumors that she would try to bring Deetjen back to the city in his former role. Those rumors picked up steam last month after the suspension, then termination, of City Manager Mike Mahaney.

But last week's overwhelming show of confidence for interim City Manager Burgess Hanson should bring an end to the speculation.

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