RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A lawsuit filed by a former deputy claiming unfair termination by Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker was settled, a news release said Tuesday.

Richard Johnson filed the suit in January 2020. It claimed the firing was about retaliation for demoting one of Baker’s friends.

Johnson served as chief of operations for the sheriff’s office at the time he lost his job. He first started working for the agency in 1976 until he retired in 2000. Former Sheriff Donnie Harrison asked him to return to the office in 2003.

Johnson was seeking more than $1 million in damages. The lawsuit was settled for $99,999, one-third of what is payable to his legal counsel.

Sheriff’s office spokesperson Eric Curry noted that there is no admission of liability on the part of Baker.

“The decision is consistent with Sheriff’s Baker’s pledge to use resources and taxpayers’ dollars to best serve the residents of Wake County,” a statement said.