Jury awards former Wis. vets official $1.8 million

A jury has awarded a former state Department of Veterans Affairs administrator $1.8 million in a federal discrimination case.

Gary Wistrom accused former DVA Secretary Ken Black of improperly transferring him from his position in Union Grove to Madison, saddling him with a 200-mile commute. Wistrom accused Black of trying to hurt him because he supported another DVA administrator’s allegations that Black fired him because he wanted to purge the agency of “old white guys.”

The jury handed down a verdict Wednesday after a two-day trial. The jury found Black did indeed reassign Wistrom because Wistrom supported the discrimination claim and awarded Wistrom $300,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Black’s attorney, listed in online court records as John Sweeney, didn’t immediately return a message.