NYC Claims Settlement Rose in 2008

City Comptroller Bill Thompson says the city paid out nearly $560 million last year to settle claims. As WNYC's Bob Hennelly reports, that's $10 million more than the year before.

REPORTER: Thompson says 61 percent of the settlements were with three city agencies: the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the NYPD, and the Department of Transportation. He says the city can't afford to simply settle without learning what errors may have prompted legal action in the first place.

THOMPSON: Those are dollars that could go into schools, that could go into hospitals, that could go to other places to serve residents. Those are dollars that could go to keep taxes down.

REPORTER: Thompson says the NYPD saw a big jump in both the number of claims against it, and the amount spent on settlements. Last year the city spent close to $103 million to settle claims brought against the NYPD, an 11 percent increase from the year before. For WNYC, I am Bob Hennelly.